Legal Stuff

The lawyer in you comes out! You can argue with the best of them…but do you know what you are fighting for? If not, Emancipated Artist has a whole section just about copyright and the legal stuff to help you get your photography or image business off the ground. Go ahead – buy that power suit anyway. We think the pinstripes complement your “argument.”


Advertising Photographers of America – Copyright Resources
APA Advertising Photographers of America a trade association that promotes and protects the interests of commercial, editorial and corporate photographers.

Artists Rights Society – Copyright Basics
“Artists Rights Society (ARS) is the preeminent copyright, licensing, and monitoring organization for visual artists in the United States. Founded in 1987, ARS represents the intellectual property rights interests of over 50,000 visual artists and estates of visual artists from around the world (painters, sculptors, photographers, architects and others).”

CEPIC: Centre of the Picture Industry
“CEPIC stands for theCoordination of European Picture Agencies Stock, Press and Heritage…. The aim of CEPIC is to be a united voice for the press, stock & heritage organisations of Europe in all matters pertaining to the photographic industry.”

Copyright Alliance
“Our shared belief in protecting copyrighted creative works brings together in the Copyright Alliance a broad panoply of parties, from artists’ unions to major publishers. Sweeping swaths of creative works are represented, from songwriters to photographers, motion pictures to videogames, recording artists to graphic designers, software developers to sports leagues.”

Copyright Corner
Great new resource from the School of Art, media + Technology at Parsons The New School for Design.

Copyright Society of USA
“The Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA) is dedicated to advancing the study of copyright law and related rights in literature, music, art, theater, motion pictures, television, computer software, architecture, and other works of authorship, distributed via both
traditional and new media.”

Creative Commons
“Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. We provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.”

Digimarc for Images
Digimarc Corporation enables businesses and governments worldwide to enrich everyday
living by giving digital identities to media and objects that computers can 'see, hear, understand and react to.' Digimarc for Images adds a persistent, yet imperceptible digital watermark to your images to communicate your copyright ownership and help locate
where they are used online.

Friends of Active CopyrightEducation
An initiative of the Copyright Society of the USA designed to provide a broad range of resources to foster and support copyright awareness. Basic information about copyright, FAQs, myths and links are provided to educate creators and users of intellectual property
about their rights and obligations under copyright law. Topics include: moving images, still images, music, words, Internet and international.

NPPA Copyright Resources

Comprehensive information from the National Press Photographers Association, with a number of useful external links. Covers both US and Canadian copyright law.

Picture Licensing Universal System (PLUS)
“The PLUS Coalition is an international non-profit initiative on a mission to simplify and facilitate the communication and management of image rights. Organized by respected associations, leading companies, standards bodies, scholars and industry experts, the
PLUS Coalition exists for the benefit of all communities involved in creating, distributing, using and preserving images.”

Protecting your copyright in a digital world
Information-packed article from the Danish photographer Haje Jan Kamps, explaining why copyright is important, how infringements happen, and how to fight back. is a helpful resource for information on image licensing. It aims to unravel the complexities, expose the pitfalls and provide image buyers with the knowledge they need to license an image with confidence.

U.S. Copyright Office
“The Copyright Office is an office of record, a place where claims to copyright are registered and where documents relating to copyright may be recorded when the requirements of the copyright law are met. The Copyright Office furnishes information about the provisions of the copyright law and the procedures for making a registration or recordation, explains the operations and practices of the Copyright Office, and reports on facts found in the
public records of the Office.”

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Point of entry for information about industrial property and copyright. WIPO is “It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.”


The Copyright Zone
“Not just copyright. A survival blog for photographers, artists, and the confused.” Written by Ed Greenberg, a New York litigator “who has represented some of the top photographers and illustrators in the business,” and renowned photographer Jack Reznicki, author of several books on commercial photography.

Photo Attorney
Blog from Carolyn E. Wright, a professional photographer and “an attorney whose practice is aimed squarely at the needs of photographers…. Carolyn practiced law with King & Spalding, one of the top 50 firms in the nation, and other law firms for more than 15 years. She has represented Fortune 500 clients in multimillion dollar litigation, and now helps photographers with their careers.”

Plagiarism Today
One of the web’s best sites about copyright and plagiarism issues on the Web.

Legal Glossary for Photographers

Contract Terminology for Photographers
Nice list of legal terms and definitions provided by Editorial Photographers (EP), a California non-profit advocacy group representing the interests of professional photographers.

Photography Release Information

ASMP: Property and Model Releases
Excellent primer from the American Society of Media Photographers. Sections on the right of privacy, the right of publicity, defamation, and property owner's rights.

PhotoShelter Blog: Model and Property Releases

Great intro to the subject. Answers to questions like: Why do stock sites require model and property releases? How do I know whether or not I need a release? How can I tell if someone is identifiable? Plus multiple model/property release examples to suit a variety of

The Tricky Side of Photo Model Releases

At, Dan Heller posts about common misconceptions about model releases. Whether an assignment is done on private property, Heller argues, is beside the point: "What matters are the laws governing 'personal privacy,' and the fact that the property itself may be private and/or personal is actually not a factor here. Privacy laws protect people's rights in ways that transcend issues of 'property' entirely. This may include conditions where 1) people waive their privacy rights even on their own property, and 2) people preserve their privacy rights on public property." Informative, detailed discussion including a real-world scenario to illustrate the key issues.

Independent Photographer's Toolkit: Photography Releases

The National Press Photographers Association has made available five release forms you can use as templates for your own business needs: Adult, Simplified Adult, Minor, Pocket and Property Release.

Tax Information

Tax Deductions for Your Photography
Carolyn E. Wright of the Photo Attorney blog provides 10 record-keeping tips to help you use tax laws to your advantage.

Taxes Are Good For You!
Todd Bigelow, an accomplished editorial and corporate photographer based in Los Angeles, has a refreshing take on the subject: "The last several tax returns have provided me a great tool for business assessment and planning. Any freelance photographer should realize the information you gather, categorize and itemize in preparation for filing taxes is extremely valuable and should be seen as a asset instead of a pain. And not just for what appears on 'the bottom line.'" By the way, did you know assignment income and royalty income are taxed differently? Read about it here.

Contract Terminology for Photographers
Wedding photographer Sean Cayton shows you how your tax return can become a critical diagnostic tool for examining the health of your business.

What Your Tax Return Can Teach You About Your Photography Business

Nice list of legal terms and definitions provided by Editorial Photographers (EP), a California non-profit advocacy group representing the interests of professional photographers.

Tips on Avoiding Common Photography Tax Mistakes

Video from Matthew T. Whatley, the "Tax Ninja", talking about he common tax-related mistakes made by photographers and other artists.

Marketing Mondays: Tax Time

Joan Mattera, New York City artist and blogger extraordinaire, shares her tax secrets, based on three basic themes: keep good records, get help when you need it, and don't cheat.

The Tax Man Cometh – Microstock Edition

John Harrington, author of Best Business Practices for Photographers and the Photo Business News & Forum, discusses the Shutterstock's decision last summer – on advice of the
company's legal counsel – to begin withholding tax for non-U.S. contributors in order to comply with tax laws. What does this mean for photographers outside the U.S., and will other microstock agencies follow suit?

Deducting Hobby Expenses: Think Business

From CBS MoneyWatch, Robert Pagliarini notes that "Hobby expenses are not deductible, but if you can turn your photography hobby into a legitimate business, you can deduct the zoo tickets, magazine subscription, camera, and much more." Overview of the three key
rules for deducting expenses.

Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center
On the website, here is everything the small business owner needs to get started: forms, publications, tips, notices of tax law changes, videos – even a Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop.

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