written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/10/2010
Every photographer needs to know how to write a photography disclaimer. It ensures that the consumer knows what can and cannot be done with a photograph. Learn some tips on how to write your first photography disclaimer.
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Why Create a Photography Disclaimer?
With the Internet, photographs, images and other copyright material can be easily disseminated and used. But, as a photographer, you need to let your customers know what they can and cannot do with your photographs. This is where the photography disclaimer comes into play. Every photographer needs to know how to write a photography disclaimer in order to ensure that their photographs are not improperly used.
When photographers create images for customers like portraits or even wedding photographs, oftentimes consumers believe that since they paid for the pictures that they have the right to do whatever they want with them. Most photographers generally do not care if a client shares their photographs with friends or families or even makes copies of them to share with others. For one thing, it gets the photographers work in front of more people.
But, there are circumstances where the photographer cares greatly whether or not their images are being used. This is especially prevalent online, where people can right-click and copy nearly any online image. So, writing a comprehensive photography disclaimer is extremely important.
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Copyright Infringement and Modification
The first thing that you want to do is read other photographers’ disclaimers. This will give you a good idea what should be in this paragraph. And, usually, disclaimers are only a few sentences. The shorter it is the better. If the disclaimer is really long and wordy, then the likelihood of someone reading the whole thing is pretty slim.
There are two main points that most disclaimers should cover: copyright infringement and modification. Tell the client what they can and cannot do with your property. If they do not have the right to copy, use or alter your photographs, state that. If photographs may be used for a limited purpose, state that as well.
Most disclaimers indicate that the photographs or website on which they are on may be modified, changed or amended at any time. You may also add that services may be changed or discontinued at any time. This way, if the photograph is pulled, somebody cannot complain that they wanted to use it.
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Attorneys and Online Templates
Always have a lawyer read over the disclaimer. This will ensure that you cover everything that you need to cover, and it also ensures that you are not doing anything illegal.
If you still need additional help, there are a number of online templates available that can be used for free or purchased for a fee. You do not have to use the entire disclaimer verbatim, but it can also give you starting point or just an idea what your disclaimer should look like.
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Finally, always consider where you will put your photography disclaimer. The obvious places are websites, blog and contracts. But, you might also consider adding them to the product itself (it would work fine in small print on back of the photographs or on the CD), emails or advertising.