What is the UK copyright law on photographs taken by professional photographers?

+1 vote

What is the UK copyright law on photographs taken by professional photographers? I have tried reading the requisite regulations but I am still a little confused. 

I have assumed that if photographs taken at the request of the subject, and are paid for are the copyright belongs to the subject (or subject's family). If taken by a press photographer for a newspaper or magazine I assume the copyright belongs to the photographer until sold for publication, in which case it belongs to the publisher.

What is the situation regarding beach photographers who took pictures of holiday-makers on spec and sold copies to the subject(s)? I think these belong to the subject if purchased, or the photographer if not. Am I correct? 

in Photos by Martin Honor G2G6 Mach 1 (18.1k points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
rights to the Photos taken by a professional photographer at the request of the subject still remain the property of the photographer. The subject gets to use the photo he received for personal use. Copyright ceases at different times in different countries.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

My interpretation of the section below, taken from https://www.dacs.org.uk/knowledge-base/factsheets/copyright-in-photographs , is that for photos taken for "valuable consideration" before 1989 are the property of the commissioner (the person requesting the photograph), unless stated otherwise in the agreement.  In my case I have many professional photographs taken between 1880 and 1940, where most are probably no longer with us and  are certainly no longer trading. 

Photographs taken between 1 July 1912 and 31 July 1989

The person who owned the material on which the photograph was taken, for example the negative, also owned the copyright.

In the case of photographs taken under commission for “valuable consideration” (money or any equivalent payment), the commissioner was the copyright owner, unless there was an agreement to the contrary.

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