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first123
Photographer
nyk fury
Posts: 2,918
Port Townsend, Washington, US


Jay Black wrote:
Whosoever clicketh the button owneth the copyright.

do i remember incorrectly that if you pay for it in canada you own it?

Sep 04 13 10:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Seoul Photography
Posts: 407
Seoul, Seoul, Korea (South)


Jay Black wrote:
Whosoever clicketh the button owneth the copyright.

If you don't own the copyright for a portrait you appear in, it is not a self-portrait. Unless it started out as a self-portrait and you sold or gave away the copyright with someone else.

I guess I'll copy and paste this again since it must have gotten blacked out or something. This is the response the US copyright office sent when this very scenario was posed to them:

First, we apologize for the long delay in responding to your inquiry. Initially, your inquiry was given to one of our new Information Specialists who is still in training. That specialists needed to consult a trainer for help in answering the question. Unfortunately, the email was subsequently misplaced and not found until yesterday.

The answer is relatively simple, but since you've waited so long, we'll give you the full answer, plus the historical background to the answer. The short answer is in the paragraph below. But, if you're interested in the legal history, we've included the background for you. Again, our sincerest apologies for such a lengthy delay in responding to you.

508.01 of Compendium II of Copyright Office Practices states, that to be entitled to copyright registration, a photograph must contain at least a certain minimum amount of original expression. Generally, original photographic authorship depends on the variety and number of the elements involved in the composition of the photograph.  However, the nature of the thing depicted or the subject of the photograph, as distinguished from its composition or arrangement, is not regarded as a copyrightable element.  Original photographic composition capable of supporting registration may include such elements as time and light exposure, camera angle or perspective achieved, deployment of light and shadow from natural or artificial light sources, and the arrangement or disposition of persons, scenery, or other subjects depicted in the photograph.

This long standing practice at the Copyright Office, gets its start from the Supreme Court decision of Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53 (1884).

Napoleon Sarony filed a copyright infringement suit against the Burrow-Giles Lithographic Company, which had marketed unauthorized lithographs of Sarony's photograph of writer Oscar Wilde, titled "Oscar Wilde No. 18." Sarony was a well known photographer in the 19th century. Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. argued, photography was merely a "mechanical process" which does not enjoy copyright protection.

In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the trial courts findings that Sarony had, "entirely from his own original mental conception, to which he gave visible form by posing the said Oscar Wilde in front of the camera, selecting and arranging the costume, draperies, and other various accessories in said photograph, arranging the subject so as to present graceful outlines, arranging and disposing the light and shade, suggesting and evoking the desired expression, and from such disposition, arrangement, or representation" produced the photograph. This control that Sarony exercised over the subject matter, in the view of the Court, showed that he was the "author" of "an original work of art…"

In looking at the mechanical process of taking a photograph and deciding on who is the "author" of a photograph, the Supreme Court quoted a British court decision in Nottage v. Jackson, 11 Q.B. Div. 627, involving a case that aimed at determining who is the author of a photograph.  Counsel argued, "…the person who has superintended the arrangement, who has actually formed the picture by putting the persons in position, and arranging the place where the people are to be-the man who is the effective cause of that." The Justices in that court agreed; Lord Justice COTTON said: 'In my opinion, 'author' involves originating, making, producing, as the inventive or master mind, the thing which is to be protected, whether it be a drawing, or a painting, or a photograph;' and Lord Justice BOWEN said that the author is the man who really represents, creates, or gives effect to the idea, fancy, or imagination."

In the decision and narrative of the Supreme Court in the Burrow-Giles v. Sarony case, the court, as far back as 1884, recognized that authorship of a photograph was not the mere pushing of a button, but rather the authorship of a photograph lies in the control of numerous elements chosen by the photographer that leads to the resulting image.

Sincerely,

John A. Saint Amour, Supervisory Copyright Information Specialist
U.S. Copyright Office
Attn: Public Information Office-LM401
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC  20559-6000
Email: copyinfo@loc.gov
Phone: 877-476-0778 (toll free) or 202-707-5959         
Fax: 202-252-2041
Website:  www.copyright.gov

I'm going to quote the really relevant part again,

as far back as 1884, recognized that authorship of a photograph was not the mere pushing of a button, but rather the authorship of a photograph lies in the control of numerous elements chosen by the photographer that leads to the resulting image.

I'm sure i could put that in giant red blinking sized 157 font and people would still miss it, but there it is. Pushing the button is not sufficient for copyright.

Sep 05 13 01:00 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Erlinda
Posts: 7,036
London, England, United Kingdom


I do many self-portraits. People that know my work know me as a self-portrait photographer as well.

When I do self-portraits. It's all me, from creative ideas, to lighting, to camera position to pressing the shutter (or putting the timer on it)

I've not once called a photo that someone took of me a self-portrait. As soon as "SELF" is added in to the portrait it means it's all you (in my eyes and in my opinion) If your assistant is holding the camera and is zooming in on you or framing the photo of you it's no longer a "SELF" portrait because someone else's eye/brain is making adjustments to your work or adding their creative idea to your work.

This is a self-portrait (No one but me was apart of this creation)
https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/q75/944361_10201515955286422_900716660_n.jpg

More self-portraits here smile
http://erlinda.ca/personal/#6
Sep 06 13 04:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Seoul Photography
Posts: 407
Seoul, Seoul, Korea (South)


If your assistant is holding the camera and is zooming in on you or framing the photo of you it's no longer a "SELF" portrait because someone else's eye/brain is making adjustments to your work or adding their creative idea to your work.

and if they're not holding the camera, zooming, or framing?

Sep 06 13 09:33 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Erlinda
Posts: 7,036
London, England, United Kingdom


MC Seoul Photography wrote:

and if they're not holding the camera, zooming, or framing?

If their not their to frame or hold the camera, that means you were able to do that all on your own... So why not set the timer instead of having someone else press the shutter. All that work and you're going to let someone else press that button? I know I wouldn't (fuck that!)

Sep 07 13 06:16 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Seoul Photography
Posts: 407
Seoul, Seoul, Korea (South)


Erlinda wrote:

If their not their to frame or hold the camera, that means you were able to do that all on your own... So why not set the timer instead of having someone else press the shutter. All that work and you're going to let someone else press that button? I know I wouldn't (fuck that!)

It might not be practical. Maybe your self-portrait involves a pose or position that is difficult or took time to get into. Maybe you couldn't get away with keeping a remote in your hand..for example if I was taking a self-portrait of myself doing a hand-stand on a ladder.
It would take me longer than the timer to climb the ladder and safely get into a hand-stand that I could hold.

It would also be impractical to try and keep a remote in one hand to trigger the camera.

So I might set up all the lights, and the set, and position the camera and everything else, then climb the ladder, make sure I'm steady and say "press it!"

Sep 07 13 07:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Feverstockphoto
Posts: 587
Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom


^ And if you say 'press it' to another person who 'takes' the shot by pressing the shutter then it is not a 'self portrait' smile.
Sep 07 13 11:32 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Seoul Photography
Posts: 407
Seoul, Seoul, Korea (South)


Feverstockphoto wrote:
^ And if you say 'press it' to another person who 'takes' the shot by pressing the shutter then it is not a 'self portrait' smile.

Again, no practical difference between them and a wireless shutter, just perhaps you can't use one because of the shot. The person pressing it has no input. the copyright office assigns them no authorship. I'm waiting for someone to actually demonstrate some kind of difference between a meat/sound button and a mechanical button and so far no one has really said anything beyond "it's not!"

I get that if you actually let them hold the camera, pick an angle, frame it, etc. it's not a self-portrait, but that isn't what we're talking about.

Sep 08 13 06:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Erlinda
Posts: 7,036
London, England, United Kingdom


MC Seoul Photography wrote:
It might not be practical. Maybe your self-portrait involves a pose or position that is difficult or took time to get into. Maybe you couldn't get away with keeping a remote in your hand..for example if I was taking a self-portrait of myself doing a hand-stand on a ladder.
It would take me longer than the timer to climb the ladder and safely get into a hand-stand that I could hold.

It would also be impractical to try and keep a remote in one hand to trigger the camera.

So I might set up all the lights, and the set, and position the camera and everything else, then climb the ladder, make sure I'm steady and say "press it!"

I know what it's like to have a hard time trying to get a shot you really want.

I had my camera on the side of a building and on a timer to get this shot.. And it wasn't easy because I not only had to run but clim that damn thing I'm standing on. I think I went through 30 or more tries till I got a shot where i'm not bent over with my ass being the focus point LMAO

Shit is hard doesn't mean you should give up and have someone else do it for you.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/37376_1547589935341_2543048_n.jpg

Sep 09 13 06:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
sonn
Posts: 38
Colorado Springs, Colorado, US


I just started talking about this...mixed w/ selfies.

"whats the difference between selfies & self-portraits? well...the latter is about everyone..."

https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/60879_3442555482375_697918729_n.jpg?oh=9bba2dc03bdb5574aa2910e1ee8cf909&oe=540EF420&__gda__=1411484113_91c5d12f022a8abecd8d02a0c075014d


"they could be the same pose & everything...but the photographers intent is what is present!"

then i made a statement that selfies should be called selfishes lol...so - to speak more about it, I take all of my portraits, I was also published like this.

https://m1.behance.net/rendition/modules/132232/disp/502381203358951.jpg

So, this is a self-portrait + a group portrait! 2 Birds + 1 Point & Shoot.


*imo all of it is personal determination, I've worked where Creative Directors claim photographer lol
Jul 02 14 08:49 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Giacomo Cirrincioni
Posts: 21,076
New York, New York, US


Al Lock Photography wrote:

Your opinion is immaterial. LEGALLY, if someone else has actuated the shutter, they are the copyright holder (in full or part) and it isn't a "self-portrait".

Depends.  Look at Gregory Crewdsons work (not even portraits of himself) or some of David LaChapelle work. They often don't trip the shutter, the only legal difference being that they most likely have a work for hire arrangement with the person who does. 

As far as your further point in talking to a copyright lawyer, I have (a good one too) and while a work for hire agreement is preferable it isn't always necessary as circumstances play a role too.

Jul 02 14 11:32 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
sonn
Posts: 38
Colorado Springs, Colorado, US


I think its a matter of branding

"© John-ny May-day-weather Photography 2014"  can be any list of photographers credit for hypothetical project of the future


http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lt7yamaQAS1qjjqujo1_1280.jpg

this gets one credit @ the end of the day & it doesn't state what most think it should
-

I mean, in all reality, how hard is it to click a button? lol...is that #pandora opening?
Jul 02 14 12:10 pm  Link  Quote 
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