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You can download the full IPO document here but the relevant points to mention are:

  • Who owns copyright in an image?

The person who creates an image (“the creator”) will generally be the first owner of the copyright.

  • Is permission always required to copy or use an image?

Sometimes permission is not required from the copyright holder to copy an image, such as if the copyright has expired.  Permission is also not required if the image is used for specific acts permitted by law (“permitted acts”, or sometimes referred to as “exceptions to copyright”). People can use copyright works without permission from the copyright owner, such as for private study or noncommercial research, although some exceptions are not available for photographs.

The creator of a copyright work such as an image will usually have right to be acknowledged when their work has been used, provided they have asserted this right. If you are unsure whether or not the creator has asserted this right, then it is recommended that you provide a sufficient acknowledgement when using their work.

  • What if there is no © (copyright) symbol, year or name with the image?

The copyright symbol does not have to be present for copyright to exist, so just because there is no name or copyright symbol associated with a photo or image does not mean the image is not protected by copyright.

  • What are the consequences of copyright infringement?


When someone infringes copyright, there are various courses of action that could be taken by the individual or  organisation that owns or administers the copyright. The user of the image may be asked to purchase a licence,
and a commercial arrangement might be reached after which no further action is taken. However, legal action
might be taken by bringing a claim in court which could result in having to go to court for a hearing.

  • I want to use photos taken for me by a professional photographer


Where you commission a professional to take photographs on your behalf, for example wedding photographs, the copyright will usually remain with the photographer. This means that you need to get the photographer’s permission before printing further copies of the images, sharing them with your friends or family, or undertaking other acts restricted by copyright such as posting the images to social media sites.
Many photographers will include licence terms setting out exactly what use you may make of images in their
contract with you. If you have specific uses in mind, you should ensure these are discussed before contracts
are settled. You could also agree with the photographer that the copyright will be assigned to you – this would
be done by having a written and signed contract with the photographer saying you had bought the copyright
from them. Depending on your needs, a less expensive solution may be to pay for a licence.
Where a photograph is commissioned for private and domestic purposes, the commissioner does have a
right that the photographs will not be issued to the public without their permission. This means that, although a wedding photographer may own the copyright in images of your wedding, they should not post them on their website or exhibit them in public without your permission.

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