My photo? Kate’s photo?

Yesterday’s photo of the day in the Daily Gazette (which I take pictures for) was actually taken by Kate Goertzen using my camera, because I was afraid to go out into the hallway during a game of ASSassins, for fear of someone eliminating me by grabbing my butt.

The question is, who owns the copyright to that picture? The camera operator or the camera owner? My understanding is that the law in this country is that if you ask someone to take a picture of you and your family using your camera, you own the copyright, but I could be wrong. Does that picture in fact belong to me or Kate? Either way, Kate deserves some credit for venturing into the hallway where I feared to tread… thanks Kate!

4 thoughts on “My photo? Kate’s photo?

  1. “Fools rush in…”

    I think in this case, it would probably be shared copyright. I think people should share more. Does that make me a filthy communist?

  2. I think the camera operator — whoever took the photo. I don’t think camera ownership makes any difference. Does it matter who owns the pen and paper I use to write a book? Or the guitar I use to record a song?

    I think, in the example of someone asking somebody else to take a picture of them with their camera, the copyright would technically belong to the person who took the photo. They just implicitly transfer it / agree not to enforce it when they walk away. As usual when it comes to IP, the culture is ahead of the law there.

    • It depends on the unspoken agreement made when the camera gets shared. If someone’s like, “Hey, Arthur, can I borrow your camera?” it would be reasonable to assume they want to keep the pictures they take with it, but if — as is more common — I’m like, “Hey, dude, can you take a picture with my camera?” it seems logical to assume that I want the picture afterwards.

  3. Camera ownership could make a difference in determining whether Kate was your employee or merely a contractor for you (and thus, whether the work is a work for hire). But since it’s unlikely that any of the other employee-factors apply to her, she’s the owner.

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