Above: Who Owns Your Photo? Who Owns Your Fashion Modeling Photos? Photography Copyright Infringement & Can A Monkey Own Your Pictures? For example, the beautiful image shown above was properly licensed from the fashion photographer through the photography agency that licenses the photographer’s intellectual property.
Who Owns Your Photo? Who Owns Your Fashion Modeling Photos? Photography Copyright Infringement & Can A Monkey Own Your Pictures?
You may have heard about the dispute of copyright ownership over a selfie taken by a macaque (a monkey). The wildlife photographer who owned the camera claimed ownership when a website published the photo without his permission.
Under United States intellectual property law, copyright in a photograph is the property of the person who presses the shutter on the camera – not the person who owns the camera, and not even the person in the photo (even if you are a fashion model). Unless a written agreement or fashion modeling contract exists that makes the photo a work made for hire, any person you ask to take your fashion modeling picture (basically a photograph of you) with your camera owns the copyright in that photo, and not you. How many of us have those beautiful fashion modeling photos on our cameras or cell phones? Selfies appear to be a better idea and the smart choice instead of asking a friend or stranger to take your in the moment fashion modeling picture, but do monkeys own copyrights?
The answer is: “No, monkeys do not own copyrights.” The United States Copyright Office issued a document in December 2014 reiterating that it will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. According to the United States Copyright Office, a photograph of the beautiful you (or anything or anyone else) taken by a monkey or any other animal is unprotected intellectual property. The monkey selfie falls into the public domain and may be used by anyone without permission from the photographer that owned the camera.
So maybe the answer to owning those beautiful vacation photos of yourself is a drone? The United States Copyright Act states that copyright protection continues to exist in original works of authorship that are made either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Copyright in photos from a drone operated directly by a human most likely are owned by that human, but make absolutely sure that you do not program the drone to operate without you.