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Are photographers entitled to display photos of people that they themselves have photographed?





The copyright ownership of photos taken by a photographer or another person is determined by any agreement made between the photographer and the model. In the absence of such an agreement, the photographer retains the copyright and the right to display. However, this does not give the photographer the right to publicly display the photos without the model's consent, particularly in a commercial context, which would infringe on the model's publicity and privacy rights.


In the case of photos featuring people, the photographer's copyright and the model's personality rights coexist, including the right to control the use of their likeness, particularly for commercial purposes. These rights are expressed differently in various national legal systems, with some referring to them as the right of publicity, the right of privacy, or the tort of "passing off," which are generally considered akin to property rights. Some countries have developed these rights through case law, while others have codified them in different ways.


Many jurisdictions have limitations on a photographer's ability to publicly display or commercially use photos taken in public places that include people who happen to be there. Consent is often required, except in cases involving public figures or newsworthy events where certain exceptions may apply.

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