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jtusa181 11-27-2012 09:51 PM

Quick legal question
If someone purchases a photo from you for commercial use, does that give them the right to edit it how they want it without the okay from the photographer? I believe it does but my friend thinks not, so just want to see if im right ;)

p8ntninja 11-27-2012 10:06 PM

This is kind of a trick question. It all comes down to how the copyright was released. If the seller authorizes changes and reprints to be made from the original then the buyer can modify it however they please. From my experience the buyer of the photo is only purchasing the reproduction portion of the copyright and CAN NOT use it for commercial purposes. (I work in a photolab at a large brick and mortar retailer and deal with copyright laws on a daily basis).

jtusa181 11-27-2012 10:10 PM

More details- It is a picture of a women (already looked into those laws and im within them) and that women bought the picture of her. On my website I have the option to purchase it as a "Commercial" download. She purchased the commercial download, edited it, and posted it to facebook. So maybe that will be more helpful ;)

Luckless 11-27-2012 10:25 PM

You need to remember that there is a difference between selling the copyright to something, and selling a license to that copyrighted material.

If you up and up sell the copyright, that means you are giving them all rights to do with as they please, and unless otherwise stated you will have no control of any kind after that point.

A license however, is an agreement that lists out what they can do with a copy of that which you hold the copyright to. So, what does your license say?

Falcon16 11-27-2012 10:26 PM

I'd imagine if it's bought for commercial use that it may give you some editing rights too and the fact that's it's her own likeness may give her even more rights regardless of who took the picture.

Steed 01-20-2013 01:46 PM

She doesn't or didn't need to purchase a commercial license for editing a photo and posting it on Facebook, that would be included in a personal license. A commercial license grants the licensee the right to use that image for advertising or to in-turn re-sell it. If you don't understand that turn the option off now before you sell an image you didn't get full rights for and it ends up being used in a manor you didn't wish or the person you took a picture of ends up being put in a very unflattering position. It's unlikely but if something like that were to happen you'd loose your shirt, pants and everything you like to call yours.

The difference between personal and commercial licensing is a very thick, very red line that you need to be very aware of if you're going to be offering images for commercial use. You need a very REAL model release signed, dated by the both of you and that includes anyone in the image or anything representing a person, personhood, unique identity or brand. The commercial sale option on most sites are there for use for commercial photographers that already have agreements with the licensee and isn't intended to be used for Janie's and John's portraits.

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