Once I pay a photographer for family photos, aren’t they mine to do with as I please?

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Once I pay a photographer for family photos, aren’t they mine to do with as I please?

A photographer took pictures of my family for me. I paid for a DVD with a slide show of additional pics not included in the sheets provided. We signed a release allowing the photographer to use our images for advertisement purposes. Still, aren’t the pictures that I paid for (including the ones on the DVD) mine to do with as I please? I should be able to scan, upload, rip pics off the DVD, e-mail, and anything else with the pictures I paid for, right?

Asked on March 24, 2011 under General Practice, Illinois

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Sounds right, but do you have a contract here?  And may I ask: what did the release say?  A "release" can sometimes be worded to mean that you give up your rights to ownership of the pictures.  You need to read all the documents that you have in your possession regarding this transaction and see how they all add up.  It is very difficult in this type of forum to give any form of guidance without reading the documents in your possession.  May I ask: why do you think that you can not do with the photos what you want: upload, scan, etc.?  Did he say something?  Get some legal help here.  Good luck.


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