Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Images, Ownership of
Victoria Smith Ekstrand
Ownership of a photograph is vested with the owner of the photo's copyright, which may be the photographer, his designated agent or an employer. Under American federal copyright law, an image receives copyright protection from the moment it is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression” and as long as it possesses sufficient originality. Since the advent of digital technology, federal courts have ruled that for the purposes of copyright, a digital image file constitutes a tangible medium of expression, and copyright law generally acknowledges digital works as copyrightable. According to Nimmer on Copyright , the authoritative legal treatise on copyright law, most photographs also contain sufficient originality—in legal terms—to support a claim of copyright. By receiving copyright protection of their images, owners of such works are entitled to all the rights awarded to other copyright holders, such as authors or composers. Those include the exclusive right to reproduction, making ...