I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far.

copyright & personal usage rights

Recently, I’ve had a lot of questions surrounding the topic of copyright and personal usage rights, so I thought I would create this blog page in an effort to help answer those questions.  Here are the most commonly asked questions:

If I’ve paid you to take pictures of my life event, do I own the pictures produced?

No. In the United States, the person who creates the photograph owns the copyright from the moment it’s created. The only exception would be work done “for hire,” which typically involves actual employment, or a contract that specifically sets that relationship.  Hiring me is NOT work “for hire”.  A good example of work for hire is newspaper’s employed staff photographer – the work will be a “work made for hire” owned by the corporation.  My rates would be significantly higher if I were to give up my rights to the images I have created.

We’re very private people and this is a private event, what do you do with the images you take of our event?

You have found my website or have heard of me through a friend.  You have chosen to hire me based mainly on my galleries online.  Other than capturing memories for you, each job, each time I click the shutter, I’m creating an opportunity to showcase what it is that I do.  My body of work must be available to view online in order to make a living and I rely on my body of work to live.  I use the images for self promotion on my website, blog and social media. For example : a couple from Hong Kong researched photographers in New England and hired me to photograph them while they visited Boston.  If there wasn’t an online body of work, I wouldn’t have worked that day.  I do not sell the photographs.  I tastefully choose photographs for my galleries as the work is a reflection of me.  I try to feature every wedding on my blog which helps me reach more people who may want to hire me for their future life events. I do not include last names when posting photographs online to protect my clients.  Visit this link to view what wedding features look like on my blog : http://melissamullenphotography.com/blog/category/weddings/

Digital negatives are included in my package, does that mean I own the copyright?

No, you do not own copyright. Per federal law, I own the copyright of all images that any photographers in connection with your agreement capture at the wedding. Any sale, reproduction, copy, scan, publication, exhibitions or alteration of any image produced in connection with this agreement, regardless of the ownership of the actual photograph, is prohibited without specific written consent of Melissa Mullen.  For example, if you wish to purchase the copyright for your wedding collection, you can do so for an additional $6000, which includes a Non-Disclosure Agreement specifying that we will no longer possess or use the images in any way.

The digital download of digital negatives comes with a license for personal usage rights.  What does this mean?

When you purchase the digital negatives, you receive access to download your digital negatives through your online gallery.  This includes a release that gives the client in connection with the agreement, permission to use the images for certain purposes.  Example for a wedding : the bride and groom are receiving the personal usage rights but cannot send their family members copies of a digital negative{s}.  You may, however, make prints for yourself and for gifts and post photographs to social media.

What can’t I do with the digital negatives?

You cannot alter the image in any way, transfer individual files or copies of the disk to anyone else and you cannot sell the photographs.  All vendors in connection to your event must contact me directly.

If you have any questions regarding copyright and personal usage, please feel free to email me directly : info@melissamullen.com.

xoxo . . .

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Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit the Melissa Mullen Photography blog. I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far. Please feel free to take a look around and introduce yourself by leaving a comment of affection at the bottom of any of the posts. Or drop me a note as I would love to hear from you.

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