Copyrights to Photography and Artwork

Photography and artwork are almost always protected by copyright laws. When we receive files for printing, we print the image in good faith and assume that the copyright for that image is held by the person submitting the image. However, if we believe that there is a question of ownership or permission we will ask for clarification. We will not print an image if we believe there is issue with copyright ownership.

To help better understand issues of copyright we spoke with Andrew D. (“Drew”) Epstein, a Boston based lawyer that specializes in copyright law.

Q. What is copyright and what does it do?

A. Virtually all creative works, photography, art, music, writing, computer software, produced since January 1, 1978, and many before, are protected by copyright.

Copyright is not a single right, but a bundle of rights that is controlled by the creator of the work. Generally the owner of copyright to the work has  the exclusive power to use, reproduce, or display their work(s).

Q. If I find an image on the internet or in a magazine can I make a print for myself, for my own personal use?

A. The answer is clearly NO. The publication of a work on the Internet or in a magazine does not give anyone the right to  reproduce the work without the artist’s permission.

A copyright owner has the exclusive right to do or authorize others to do the following with copyrighted works:

·         to reproduce the copyrighted work;
·         to made derivative copies of the work;
·         to distribute copies to the public;
·         to perform literary, musical, dramatic and choreographic works; and
·         to display copyrighted works publicly.

Q. What about the “fair use doctrine?”

A. Under the fair use doctrine, copyrighted works can be used for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use) scholarship or research.  In determining whether a particular use is a fair use in any particular case, you and the courts must consider the following four factors:

(1) The purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is for commercial or for nonprofit education purposes;
(2)  The nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Unless permitted under the fair use section of the Copyright Act, the reproduction of copyrighted photographs and artwork even for personal use is copyright infringement.

Q. How long does copyright last?
A. Generally, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright lasts for the life of the author and for 70 years thereafter.  In case of joint works, the copyright expires 70 years after the death of the surviving joint author.

For anonymous or pseudonymous works, and for works made-for-hire, the copyright endures for 95 years from the year of its first publication, or for a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first.

After 95 years from the year of first publication of a work, or 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first, there is a presumption that the author has been dead for at least 70 years.

For works created before January 1, 1978, which are not published or in the public domain, the rules are complicated and are beyond the scope of this commentary.

This was written to be informational and not to be a substitute for competent legal advice.  Please use reason and good sense in reading and using the information herein.  If in doubt, go to a good lawyer for advice. 

Andrew D. (“Drew”) Epstein is a partner in the firm of Barker, Epstein & Loscocco, a full-service Boston, Massachusetts law firm. As an attorney and supporter of the arts, Drew has represented hundreds of photographers, illustrators, design firms, advertising agencies, museums and other individuals and businesses involved in photography, art, illustration, and imaging.

Drew is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts and has also served as President and Board Member at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University.

Drew was an adjunct professor at Boston University for six years where he taught Legal Issues for Arts Administrators in the graduate school Arts Administration Program. Drew has been a frequent guest lecturer to academic, professional, business and legal groups on copyright and trademark law, art law and general business law. He writes frequently on copyright law, contract law and legal and business issues for photographers and artists. Drew was awarded the first annual Attorney of the Year Award by the Massachusetts Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

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Ziatype Workshop

©Anne Eder

©Anne Eder

This hands-on Ziatype workshop will take participants through the complete process of making Ziatypes. An alternative photographic process, Ziatypes are a variation on the platinum/palladium process but offers many advantages and is a much simpler process than platinum/palladium printing. More forgiving and easier to master, Ziatypes are often mistaken for platinum/palladium prints with rich dark tones and virtually unlimited color combinations from cool to warm. Here is a brief list of the advantages of Zia printing:

• Ziatypes utilize a printing out process (POP), images can be evaluated as they print, resulting in far fewer underexposed or overexposed prints.
• Greater contrast control without graining
• Greater paper acceptance, prints well on most papers.
• Greater color control. You can “dial in” various shades of brown to red brown, purple to neutral grays.
• No developer needed.
• Excellent blacks (dmax) without the use of costly platinum or palladium.

©Anne Eder

©Anne Eder

During the course of this day-long workshop participants will take one of their images and turn it into a finished Ziatype print. (More than one print maybe made if time allows.) Expert instructor, Anne Eder, will step participants through the entire printing process, starting with making a contact negative on an inkjet printer, through coating of the light sensitive paper, to exposure with sunlight, and the final archival wash.

All materials needed will be provided. Participants need to bring 3 to 4 images on a flash drive, CD, or their laptop. Images should have good tonal scale in both the highlight and shadow areas. Two negatives will be made, one larger and one smaller, so a larger size file is better as it can always be reduced without image degradation. Files should be 300ppi, actual size. Participants will be able to keep, the prints , negatives, and custom curves made during the workshop.

Date: Saturday, August 6
Time: 10:00-6:00 with a break for lunch
Place: Digital Silver Imaging, 9 Brighton Street, Belmont, MA
Fee: 249.00

Zia Workshop

Instructor Bio: Anne Eder holds an MFA in Photography from Lesley University College of Art and Design, Cambridge, MA, where she studied under Christopher James, author of The Book of Alternative Processes, and where she is currently an adjunct professor. Her interdisciplinary work has been exhibited internationally and is held in both public and private collections. She is also a freelance writer for Lensculture.
Instagram:  @darcflower
Twitter: @ChansonetteE
Etsy shop: Woods & Willowbone

*Refund Policy: Because our instructors commit their time to workshops and space is limited, our refund policy is as follows: Cancellations 2 weeks prior to the workshop will receive a full refund. Cancellations a week before the workshop date will receive a 50% refund. All other cancellations will not receive a refund but may apply 50% of the workshop fee to a future workshop of the same or greater price. You must notify us of your cancellation or inability to attend via email. (

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BLINK – Photo Exhibit, Sale, Party & Benefit

©Sharon White (Sharon will be exhibiting at Blink 2016)

©Sharon White (Sharon will be exhibiting at Blink 2016)

Blink the photo exhibit sale, party & benefit for the Griffin Museum of Photography is back for the forth year. Invite a friend to join you at this fun 2 day event. Meet the photographers, listen to some great live music, sample the excellent wares of the Loading Dock Bistro .

• See 100 photographs by New England’s finest photographers
• A great value all photos for sale for $300 or LESS
• 10% to 100%* off all sales go to benefit the Griffin Museum of Photography
• Enjoy live contemporary and classic rock from The Sorry Honeys (Saturday 8-10PM)
• Food and drink served at the Saturday party

Make an evening or afternoon of this fun event. Additional food and drink also available for sale at The Loading Dock Bistro.

Exhibition Dates: Saturday May 21st 4-10PM & Sunday May 22nd 12-5PM
Libations & Snacks: Saturday 8-10PM
Live Music: Saturday 8PM – ? with The Sorry Honeys
Location: 9 Brighton Street, Belmont MA

*The photographer can choose to donate 10% or more of their print sale to the Griffin Museum of Photography.

Blink is sponsored by:


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