Copyright and Print Release…..What’s the Difference?


I’d like to take a moment to educate everyone on copyright laws, contracts, and print releases.

First, I always have clients sign a contract and, if at all possible, I like to meet with clients prior to signing to review the language so everyone understands the terms. Occasionally meeting prior to signing the contract isn’t possible.

Each of my contracts contains a clause in there giving a print release to the client however, I maintain the copyright.

The copyright stays with me. That means I own the photograph and have the exclusive right to publish, sell, use the image for advertisement, or edit the image as I see fit. This copyright IS NOT granted to the client, unless otherwise agreed upon by mutual agreement.

A PRINT RELEASE, on the other hand, grants permission to the client to print the images and to post the images to social media outlets. A print release DOES NOT grant permission for the client to edit, alter, crop, or otherwise change the images.

Why do I only offer clients a print release and not a copyright? Well, simply said, I want to control the quality of my work. If I release my copyright, then I no longer control the type or quality of the edits my images may receive.

Imagine spending years building a business based on what you value and believe to be quality work and then have someone else change what you have done and advertise it as your work…….. see where I’m going? It could have a negative impact on my business if someone else’s edits, alterations, crops, etc. are perceived as mine.

***If you are editing images, posting them online, showing them to others, and crediting your photographer for the edits, I implore you to please remove the images you edited and stop editing them. Your photographer will love you for it.***

In addition to what I have posted here, it is in fact illegal to edit images that are not your own, without the express, written permission of the copyright holder.

Please click on the link below for more legal copyright information and thanks so much for keeping the true nature of my edits.

Link to the LawTog Copyright Info