photographs, drawings, paintings and illustrations are all
"intellectual property" and in so being are protected by the U.S.
Federal Copyright laws and the Berne Convention. These copyright laws
were put in place to protect the interest of the artist. Without these
protections it would be difficult for an artist to control the use of
his/her work or to simply make a living. Permission MUST be obtained
from the artist of the image or his/her agent before ANY use takes
place. Failure to obtain this permission is a violation of the U.S.
Federal Copyright laws and the Berne Convention. "The Copyright Commandments" was put
together by PACA-The Picture Agency Council of America and are listed
here for your convenience. Not knowing the law does not excuse you
from the law. please, know your responsibilities when it comes to
"The Copyright Commandments"
- When it's created it's copyrighted.
- The photographer or his agent has the exclusive right to exploit
the copyright in each image. That right is for the life of the
photographer plus 75 years.
- Permission to use a copyrighted photograph for any purpose
whatsoever must be obtained in advance, in writing, to avoid
possible violation of the Federal law on copyright.
- Any unauthorized use constitutes an infringement.
- Penalties for infringement are monetary and can be severe.
- Combining, altering or scanning photographs or any part
thereof, including electronically, is an exclusive right held by the
photographer and permission to combine or alter should be obtained
in writing prior to any such changes or uses.
- Exceeding the terms of a license has been held to be an
infringement. A new license is required prior to additional use.
- An artist's rendering of a photograph in another medium is a
derivative use of an image and requires the written permission of
the copyright owner prior to use.
- Re-creating a copyrighted photograph is a derivative use and
therefore requires the permission of the copyright holder of the
- Reference use of a photograph or any part hereof requires the
permission of the copyright holder.
For more information on copyright, visit the US Government
copyright site at: