FAQ for Consumers
Copyright gives the owner the right to copy, distribute, publicly display or create derivative works from the original work. A copyright also gives its owner the right to license those rights to others.
- Is my image is protected by copyright law?
Photographs, like other copyright-protected works, are protected by U.S. Copyright Law from the moment they are “fixed.” When the shutter snaps and captures an image as a film negative or digital media file, that photograph becomes a copyright-protected work of the photographer or his/her studio. Copyright protection (on the majority of photographs) lasts the life of the photographer plus 70 years.
If you have any questions about whether or not your image can be copied, you can always contact the PPA Call Center at 1-800-786-6277.
How can I tell if I have a professional image?
If you are unsure if the image you want to reproduce was professionally created there are few quick ways to distinguish a professional photograph. You can look for the copyright symbol (©), the photographer/studio name or logo, and the date or year the image was created on the front or back of a print, the metadata of a digital file, marked on a CD/DVD or print inside or on a photo album. If your photograph does not feature any of these markings, you can look for certain techniques commonly used by professional photographers, such as posing, lighting, and background selections among others. To view examples of these techniques, click here. (1.23MB pdf file)
- How can I find the copyright owner?
If you know your photographer’s name, the studio name or website, you can search the Photographer Registry today.
- What if the photographer/studio is not listed on this website?
Participation in PhotographerRegistry.com is voluntary. If you do not see a listing for your photographer or photography studio, we recommend attempting to contact him or her at the last known studio address. You can contact the PPA Call Center at 1-800-786-6277 to find out if they are an active member. You might also check with the U.S. Copyright Office, American Society of Media Photographers, Advertising Photographers of America, North American Nature Photography Association, Stock Artists Alliance, and Editorial Photographers among others.
- Is there a fee for using this service?
No. Searching PhotographerRegistry.com is 100% free of charge.
- What if I cannot find my photographer/ the studio?
If you cannot find your photographer in the registry, there are a number of avenues for you to explore. You can begin by checking listings in the city the photographer or studio was last established, if known. You can also check with any publications that image has appeared in; if a photographer has licensed an image, the company may be able to connect you with your photographer.
For school photography, we recommend contacting the student’s school or the school’s governing body. If your photo was purchased at a resort or on cruise, you should contact the hotel, resort or cruise line.
If you are still unable to locate the photographer/studio, you should then contact the PPA Call Center at 1-800-786-6277, and other photography associations and guilds, to find out if the photographer is an active member.
- I need a photographer for my wedding day, can www.photographerregistry.com help me?
If you are interested in hiring a photographer for wedding day services, or any other special event, we recommend using the “Find-a-Photographer” search available at www.ppa.com. In order search PhotographerRegistry.com, you must already know the photographer’s name, the studio name, or the website address.
- I found my photographer on this website. What do I do next?
Now that you have found your photographer, the next step is to contact him or her using the contact information made available to you by searching PhotographerRegistry.com.
FAQ for Photographers
- How do I know if my image is protected by copyright law?
Your images are copyrighted from the moment you create them. While this copyright exists, getting “full” copyright protection involves registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.
- I have an account on PhotographerRegistry.com. Can I also register my images with the U.S. Copyright Office through this website?
No, you cannot. To register your images with the U.S. Copyright Office, you must visit www.copyright.gov. PhotographerRegistry.com is simply a search engine that allows consumers, retailers, photographers, and others to connect with the copyright holder of an image.
- I am not listed in PhotographerRegistry.com. How will my clients find me?
If you choose not to create an account at PhotographerRegistry.com, there are many other ways to make your clients aware that you have moved. If your studio has changed locations (or if you are planning on leaving the business), you can send a simple mailer to your clients, making them aware of your address and/or whom they should contact when seeking reproductions. This is also a handy way to promote any new services to past clients. To create an account, click here.
- I’ve changed business names (relocated, retired, etc.). How can I update my listing?
You can log in at any time to update your account information. If you need to create an account, click here. If you already have an account, click to log in and update your information.
- Is there a fee for using this service?
No. Listing your business on PhotographerRegistry.com is 100% free of charge.
- Will my contact information be sold or given to any third parties?
- How can I authorize my client/ a customer to make a reproduction?
If you decide to allow your client to make a reproduction, we recommend giving them written permission they can present to a retail location. Be sure the agreement clearly states when, how and for what purposes your client may obtain reproductions. Additionally, include your studio’s contact information so that you can be contacted by your client or the retailer should they have additional questions.
- If I don’t want my client/customer to make a reproduction at another retailer, what can I say?
As the copyright holder, you reserve the right to deny your client the ability to seek reproductions outside your studio. Before deciding to prevent a client from obtaining a reproduction, you may want to take into consideration the circumstances:
- Is the client seeking a service you do not (or could not) provide?
- How does the client plan on using the reproduction?
- Is this a one-time occurrence?
If you choose not to allow the reproduction, we again recommend expressing this in writing. Be sure to clearly state the reason you are denying the rights to reproduce the image (i.e., cite the clause in your contract that states your studio retains the copyright) and remind them that you can satisfy their print order.