If A Kid Grabs Your Camera In The Street And Snaps Some Photos, Who Owns The Copyright

from the well,-at-least-they're-not-monkeys dept

You may recall, from a few months back, the copyright debate we had going back and forth over the question of whether or not monekys could hold the copyright on some photographs they took. The general conclusion was that they could not, and the photos taken were almost certainly in the public domain, contrary to the claim of the guy who owned the camera, and the news agency he tried to "license" the photos to. That said, what if you have a similar situation involving a human? Photographer Mirjam Letsch has an interesting blog post on her site, in which she notes that while walking through an Indian bazaar with her camera dangling on her shoulder, a kid grabbed the camera and took five quick photos, some of which are pretty nice. Here's just one, but click through to Letsch's site to see the rest:
As she admits in her post:
I really liked the creative result when I later saw these images! Donít know who owns the copyright though!
While it may depend on the specifics of Indian law, in the US and many other parts of the world, it's likely that the kid almost certainly holds the copyright, technically, though the likelihood of him ever enforcing those copyrights is minimal at best. Similarly, it's unlikely that Letsch holds the copyrights on the images, but thankfully, this doesn't seem like a case where anyone wants to fight over the copyrights, but rather is an opportunity to just see some cool photos taken in under unusual circumstances.

Filed Under: copyright, india, photos, street

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  1. icon
    G Thompson (profile), 9 Sep 2011 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Ill-got(ten) gains

    It's not theft if the photographer saw the camera taken and allowed the child to take a few shots.

    As for model releases unless the photograph is going to be used for commercial purposes, and commercial purposes for photographs do not mean if the photo is sold for profit, as a lot of people think if sold. Commercial purposes for photos means for advertising and promotoin only.

    If I take a photo of someone and then sell that photo to a photo collector, magazine, photo gallery, whatever and the photo is not being used to promote anything it is NOT for commercial gain and therefore a model release is NOT required.

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