About Me

Wells, BC, Canada
Richard is a working photographer and writer in B.C. His camera focuses on natural history. archeology, travel, and documentary photography. His photography blog may be found at: http://richardtwright.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 9, 2012

Canadian Photographers win Copyright

St. Savior's Church in British Columbia's Barkerville Historic Town.
D800, after nightfall, August,  24mm F2.8, 4sec,
The only light is from a 100 watt porch light 100 feet away.
Copyright 2012 Richard T. Wright
Great news has just been announced by The Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators (CAPIC) - Canadian photographers are finally the copyright holders of the work they produce under contract.
We have always held the copyright to self-produced images, but not images produced under contract. This is a big step.
Now, it will not clear up all the misinterpretations of what copyright is, but it will go a long way to protecting work. (If we could just convince Facebook users that our photos are not theirs to use on covers and profiles that would be another step - sorry, a pet peeve of mine.) Now we have to get the word out to our contractors that we own our images.
Make sure that you have your copyright information in your metadata and EXIF data on your camera and your production software.  If you have not you can do batch changes to those fields.
Here is the news release from CAPIC:

OTTAWA, November 7, 2012: At last, Canadian photographers own their copyright.

The Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators (CAPIC) would like to congratulate all Canadian photographers in Canada on this important date and pivotal achievement in the photographic industry. As of today, Canadian photographers now officially own the copyright to all of their work whether the photograph is commissioned or not, thanks to the new Copyright law. 

The principle of protecting photographers' ownership rights started 65 years ago by Henri Cartier-Bresson, who founded Magnum with Robert Capa and David Seymour. Magnum assured that a photographer's image belonged to the photographer and not to the commissioner of the work. 

In Canada, all other artists have already owned the copyrights to their work and thanks to this new law, Canadian photographers, albeit the last in the industrialized world, now have all legal rights to their images. 

CAPIC has been working towards this monumental achievement in Canada for more than 20 years through lobbying efforts and could not have achieved this truly important mission without the support of its members, who have contributed financially, morally and offered countless volunteer hours towards this major effort led by CAPIC National Copyright Chair, Andre Cornellier. 

The Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) were a valuable partner in this achievement as well as the lobbying firm Temple Scott Associates for their work in Ottawa.

''I would like to thank the team that worked so patiently and for so long,'' commented Cornellier. ''Finally we have won a right due to us as artists. Thank you to Canadian photographers across the country for your support and patience and to AndrĂ© Amyot and Brian Boyle of PPOC for your work. It has been worth it.'' 

CAPIC will be providing more information on the direct effects of the law for Canadian photographers in the week to come as we celebrate this important Canadian achievement.

For more information:
André Cornellier
Copyright Chair
CAPIC, The Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators
tel.: 514.933.4000


  1. So, when a photographer takes MY photo, as a performing artist, what does that mean about that image? I'd hate to think that a photographer can claim copyright to an picture of me, in costume, in character, when I am engaged in my work. Say, if the site I am working for hires a photographer to capture my image for promotion of said site only, does that mean the photographer can then use that image any way they choose from that point forward? Or if I hire a photographer to take stills of a show of mine for my own use, can s/he then use those pictures as well, in any way, without my consent? In other words, where does the right of the subject come in to play, particularly in a case where a photographer is capturing the work of another artist? Would be good to know, as I would be disinclined to hire a professional photographer for my own marketing purposes if it means handing over my image for use that is not under my control. Would a detailed release agreement be needed?

  2. Well, that is a good question and one that you might want to address with CAPIC. I am just reporting, not offering to be a copyright expert. However, almost every use of a photo of a person requires a model release, which you may or may not have signed. The use of your image is based on that release, or your contract. You may find your image used in for editorial purposes, but certainly not for advertising without your written permission. (I should say it SHOULD NOT be used.) The photographer holds the copyright to the image he/she made.
    Your point is well taken and has always been an issue at places like historic sites. Likely you will find that your personal image has been misused.
    But, as I said, I am reporting not stating the law.
    Maybe someone else can weight in here.

    Thanks for the comment DB.

  3. The decision taken by CAPIC is quite impressive. It will increase the morale of the photographers and will be helpful for the growth of the profession.