About usage rights
A photographer has the following exclusive rights:
(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies;
(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
(4) to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
(5) to display the copyrighted work publicly
Exclusive means the only person who can do any of those things.
Can I sell my picture
Yes, legally, you can but only the printed or electronic copy provided to you. You can’t make copies and sell them, and neither can the people you sell them to. You can’t give someone else rights that you don’t have.
Can I put them on my pay site
No, without a usage license, as “public display is not permitted without consent.
Can I edit my photos.
You made the mistake of choosing some photographer who provides unfinished images? If you don’t have a usage license, you may be able to make small changes to the image like retouching skin blemishes, but only on the physical copy he gave you. If you start getting creative and making big changes to the pictures, you need permission to do that. Otherwise you are creating a “derivative work”, and you can’t do that without permission.
Can I use them on a Comp Card.
Without permission you cannot make copies for a Comp Card. Without permission you cannot even use them in your portfolio unless it is a printed version and only the printed copy you were provided is used. If he gave you some other size, or digital files, No. You can’t put them in your portfolio, because to do that you would have to print them and that’s “making a copy”, which you cannot legally do without a usage license.
Can I print them
Some commercial print shops will enforce this on you. If you take a picture or CD down to have it printed, they may require a copy of your usage license, or refuse to make the prints. As a matter of law, that is what they are supposed to do. Printing them at home on your computer is also a violation.
A usage license is permission from the photographer to do things that, without his permission, only he can do. It can be oral or in writing. It can be exclusive, meaning only you get a license, or nonexclusive or meaning he can license other people to make copies and display the images.
If you are paid to model for these images obtaining usage rights is very unlikely as this is one of the reason s you are paid but alternatively you may be paid in trade with the resulting images.
If you commissioned the shoot, the photographer should grant a license to use the pictures for the purposes you purchased.
It doesn’t have to be some fancy legal document, or a formal contract, or anything like that. It can be as simple as a couple of sentences describing the things you want to do with the pictures, and the photographer signing that he agrees to it or in some cases it can be a verbal agreement or implied.
Suppose you call up a photographer and tell him you are a model who needs some pictures done to market yourself with. He agrees to do them, you shoot, and he gives you the pictures. Congratulations, you have a limited usage license from the photographer.
When you and a photographer shoot and he gives you pictures, he is obligated to let you use them for the purpose for which you agreed on the shoot. What’s more, if you give him “consideration”, like money or a model release, or your services as a model for him to practice, once that license is given to you, he can’t take it back. It’s yours. So in most cases you already have one for the purposes negotiated.
It comes about because of the reasonable expectations of the parties at the shoot. If you are paid, the client has no expectation that you will be publishing his pictures, and you don’t have any implied license to do it. Your intent for the pictures needs to be stated up front, or implied by the circumstances, and understood by the photographer, for that implied license to come into existence.
THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. It is intended to help provide a general description of Usage Rights in order to dispel any myths that exist.