Photographers and models often ask about how they can protect and exercise their copyright to the works they create. Currently, there is a whole number of normative acts in Ukraine, devised to protect an author’s proprietary and non-proprietary copyrights. However, in practice, it often becomes quite problematic to protect one’s infringed rights. Thus, the laws do not clearly stipulate duties of government institutions, if an author reports a copyright infringement and requests recording of this instance, gathering and documenting of evidence, and expert examination. In fact, an author is left all alone against the offender whose financial and administrative capabilities are incomparable with a photographer’s rights. Photo models have similar problems with the protection of their rights.

The most widespread examples of infringement of photographers’ and photo models’ rights include:

- reworking of an original work using graphic editors (photoshop, etc.) without author’s permission;

- appropriation of authorship to a work (plagiarism), in particular, by reworking an original work;

- fabrication of a ‘proof’ of authorship to a photograph by re-shooting a session on film and using digital camera and switching dates;

- using photographic works in mass media and on websites without signing an author agreement and paying royalties;

- infringement of the right to a name (in particular, non-inclusion of author’s name to a photograph’s captions, inclusion of a photograph author’s name to a general list usually published at the beginning or at the end of a publication.

- publishing distorted works (truncated, elongated, poor printing quality, etc.) in mass media and online, indicating or failing to indicate name of the author of original work;

- posting photographs online and in publications without permission of the author and the person(s) depicted on these photographs (photo models, ordinary citizens);

- distortion of a photo models’ face in mass media, on posters, in booklets, catalogs, etc.;

- posting incorrect captions under a photograph, which do not correspond to the actual event depicted on it or wrongly interpret the image captured on the photograph.

According to the Glossary of Terms of Copyright and Related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published in 1981, a photographic work means ‘…image of real objects obtained on a surface sensitive to light and other radiation’. At the same time, during past thirty years photography went through a wonderful transitional period, when film cameras were replaced with their digital counterparts offering absolutely new possibilities. And although fundamental principles and objectives remain the same, today it is not a secret that ‘legal reliability’ of photography copyright protection in Ukraine is not very high, while dissemination of photographic works using modern equipment becomes easier and easier.

Our project is intended to help photographers and photo models protect their rights. Besides consulting services, we are also ready to help in preparing author agreements and agreements with photo models, provide a package of documents regulating their relationship with customers, assist in registration of the right to pseudonym and copyright, protect one’s rights in court, and handle any issues involving work and creations of photographers and photo models.