Copyright Name

LareLare Posts: 46Member
edited July 2014 in General Discussions
Directed to those of you that copyright your work but have a business name different from your own:

When you put a copyright notice on your work, do you use your own name, or the business/studio name? Why? I've seen both variations on pictures here and on line and am wondering which is preferred and why.
Post edited by Lare on

Comments

  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    My business name is my name, so not really relevant to me, but;

    It depends on who the intended audience is.

    If putting up unrelated work which won't create leads then it is probably best to use your name. If putting up work which is likely to create leads, then of course you want to water mark the company name/logo. That is called advertising. If you are putting work in the public arena for the purpose of advertising and people can't readily associate with your brand, then you have missed the boat.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited July 2014
    If you want to protect the copyright, rather than advertise. I would not use a "trading name" unless it is a limited company and does, in fact, own the copyright

    if you give a company the copyright, you need to consider what happens to the copyright, if you sell the company , it goes bankrupt or stops trading
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 704Member
    The difference is pretty straightforward: we use the company name for any photographs that belong to the company; I use my personal name for any photos belonging to me (mostly portraits or my best poor efforts at artistic photography.) I sell the portraits at a nominal fee, but I get paid a lot more for photos owned by my company, as they are actually used for commercial purposes.

    Sevencrossing's point about what happens to the company is a good one. If I were to sell my company, these assets (photographs that we copyrighted) go with the company, so I sell the copyrights as well. If I were to close the company, I could transfer the ownership of the photographs to me, but that would be pointless, as in my case they only have commercial value as assets in the operation of our company.
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    @Symphotic is correct. That is basically how my lawyer has told me how it works as well and if you do it that way, you can keep "assets" separate. Since you own the business, you in effect own everything so it doesn't matter. But, If there are multiple partners in the business though, that is where you would want to distinguish who owns the image (company time vs. personal time.)

    Also it is important to point out that you do not have to "mark" images to show copyright, you always own it. (Unless you perform the work for a company or contract that specifically states otherwise.)
    Watermarking is really more about people "copying" and printing images without paying for them and advertising.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I watermark mine with Company name and my name. I don't have a business partner nor Plan on having one nor plan on selling the company. So it is safe to assume that if I retire the business I still own all of the work especially since it becomes mine when i press the shutter button?
    I water mark in part to advertise really. Although I changed my logo 3 times since 2007 I think I'll keep this one for a longer time.
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Most freelance photographers are sole proprietors. There is no "company assets" vs "personal assets" to keep separate.

    There is also no "company name". In fact, there is no "company". As a sole proprietor you can file a "trade name" different from your legal name, but there is no separate legal entity. You personally own all the assets and all the copyrights regardless on what you put in the copyright notice, if anything.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    In many states a DBA is also referred to as a "fictitious name" for this very reason, it doesn't exist.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I watermark mine with Company name and my name. I don't have a business partner nor Plan on having one nor plan on selling the company. So it is safe to assume that if I retire the business I still own all of the work especially since it becomes mine when i press the shutter button?
    I water mark in part to advertise really. Although I changed my logo 3 times since 2007 I think I'll keep this one for a longer time.
    Yep you always own the work.

    FYI: DBA = "Doing Business As." Basically you can call anything as a company, but it is not incorporated, LLC-ed, i.e. legally registered.

    There is a rational reason to keep "Personal" and "Business Assets" separate for anticipation for bankruptcy (either personal or business) and even divorce.

    This is a good site for reference - photosecrets.com/law

    If you are worried about any major issues, one really should just bite the pill and pay a lawyer as everything one may read are just general guidelines. In my state for instance, some of those guidelines don't apply at all, and others go way beyond what they suggest.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited July 2014
    <." <i>Basically you can call anything as a company,
    Not in the UK
    A Company must be Limited
    I guess liability Laws are also different
    I would not recommend anyone Trading in the UK, without being a limited company, ( even if there is only one of you.
    The Trading names do not have to be the same as your name or your company name . copyright is can be held by the photographer or the company I don't think it could be held by a trading name

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    If you want to protect the copyright, rather than advertise. I would not use a "trading name" unless it is a limited company and does, in fact, own the copyright

    if you give a company the copyright, you need to consider what happens to the copyright, if you sell the company , it goes bankrupt or stops trading
    Sign an option agreement between yourself and the company. The option agreement should stipulate that at your option, you can buy the copyrights from your company for a nominal fee, say $10.00.

    If your photos have real value (say over $10,000), be careful about local tax laws. You might create a taxable event if you are not careful. One way to deal with this in most jurisdictions would be to have a price adjustment clause in the option agreement which will give you the option (important that it is your option) to pay FMV for outright purchase or a license to your company if the tax authorities decide to make an issue.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I suspect if you company is bankrupt, the receiver may not sell you the copyright back for a nominal fee

  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    I suspect if you company is bankrupt, the receiver may not sell you the copyright back for a nominal fee

    On option agreement, assuming it is written correctly, is a contractual agreement that the receiver must abide by. If he refuses, the judge will force him to abide. Creditors do not get to rewrite contracts with other parties to increase their recovery. They might have a case if they can show that you treated a creditor preferentially at the expense of other creditors, but this is generally not an issue and can almost always be avoided. I do this two or three times a year with large real estate transactions. I am meeting a guy today with a $35 million dollar piece of land in a company that he wants to sell. I will first have to bankrupt the company to exploit the value.

    There may be cases in some jurisdictions that a statute (law passed by government) may specifically override this as governments can make almost any law that suits the fashion of the day. I am talking from US, Canadian and Japanese perspective so my experience is limited. However, I suspect that an option agreement vetted by a local lawyer will work in most jurisdictions.

    I should have said this the first time - my oversight. Make sure you vet what you do with a commercial lawyer. I even do that even if I write the agreement and I know what I am doing.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited July 2014
    IMake sure you vet what you do with a commercial lawyer. I even do that even if I write the agreement and I know what I am doing.
    excellent advice

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • LareLare Posts: 46Member
    edited July 2014
    Thanks, everyone.
    My EXIF data always has my own name and I recognize that I own my copyrights. In reality, I should have made a query about watermarking as I didn't mean to imply that I've been investigating anyone's actual copyrights.
    A lot I f good information above.
    Post edited by Lare on

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