Frequently Asked Questions on Photography and Copyright addressed by the Intellectual Property Office
In a press release during the World Photography Day last August 19, 2022, the Intellectual Property of the Philippines (IPOPHL) answered several frequently asked questions regarding photography and copyright.
One question answered is whether the photographer owns the copyright to the photos they take. According to IPOPHL, the general answer is yes, the copyright for each photo lasts for 50 years from its publication or from its making if it is unpublished which include the enjoyment of several moral and economic rights. However, if the photographer is hired by an agency to do photography, then the IPOPHL clarifies that the ownership to the copyright would depend on the work arrangement between the parties. If the photographer is hired on a commission basis, then they would still own the copyright to the photo unless there is a stipulation to the contrary. If the photographer is an employee of the agency, then the copyright on any photo taken during the course of their employment belongs to the agency.
Another question answered is whether a person photographed without permission can sue the copyright law against the photographer. IPOPHL answers that this case is not covered under copyright jurisdiction and the person photographed cannot sue the photographer based on the copyright law. In a photograph, the photographer’s subject plays no part in its creation. According to the IPOPHL, copyright law benefits the creator of the work. Instead, a person photographed without permission may invoke their privacy rights as long as they are readily identifiable in the photograph taken.
In cases where a person’s photograph is shared online without authorization and only credited in the caption with “Credits to the Owner” or “No Copyright Infringement Intended”, the IPOPHL asserts that these disclaimers do not protect the sharers from liability. As a remedy, the IPOPHL advises creators to take advantage of social media platforms’ mechanisms for reporting content and activities that violate copyright laws.
Read the full press release here.