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Copyright Details

Please note that this site, and each photo displayed within it, is copyrighted. Most of the galleries contained here are additionally registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, and thus carry additional protection should violation occur.

At the same time, we recognize that there is some confusion and misunderstanding among the wider public over copyright, in particular when dealing with electronic and photographic media, given the ease of reproducing or altering and reinterpreting another's pre-existing work. While we do not profess to be lawyers, we wish to clarify that in a nutshell, with respect to photography, as soon as the shutter clicks, the captured image becomes the personal and intellectual property of the photographer. That means that in the United States, the photograph instantly bears a copyright as soon as it is taken (before developing or printing).

Any photograph on this website qualifies as a published photograph, since it is readily available to the general public, and as such bears the same protection as published / printed works. To understand the scope of a photograph's copyright, one must go back to the art (and act) of photography: it is more than depressing a shutter, it is the extension of an individual's specific vision of a scene ... its composition, its form, its use of lighting (natural or enhanced), its specific moment in time and space. Good photography (or not) is the result of an eye for a moment; it leans on the inner vision first.

As such, when another individual copies what is contained in a photograph, even if re-interpreted as say within a painting, that individual is usurping another person's intellectual property -- their capacity to visualize something, articulated through their medium of choice. It is different when another artist (painter, photographer, sketch artist) goes to the same location as where a photograph may have been taken, sees with their own mind's eye an event unfolding, and captures that in-kind. That process bears no violation. But the former is a violation as identical as the physical duplicating of a pre-existing photograph, even if the intent is not to "pirate" a work.

Should someone wish to use any photogaphs on this site, kindly contact the photographer for permission first, and resist the temptation to disseminate or copy, even in a re-interpretative fashion, what you may encounter here. The penalties for not obtaining permission are severe; registered works (which most of these are) enable one so violated to pursue criminal charges as well as receive statutory damages up to $30,000 per infringed work; and if willful infringement is proven, up to $150,000 per work infringed. Works resulting from such violations are potentially subject to confiscation, profits from their sale claimed as part of the penalty process, and attorney fees are recoverable under registered works' protection.

In synopsis we list the following:

1) All original created works are copyrighted, whether they bear an actual © or not, if the work was created on or after March 1, 1989. (Prior to that date, the copyright symbol was required to appear; currently, it is only optional). The copyright protection runs for the full lifespan of the artist’s life, plus another 70 years beyond that (for works created on or after January 1, 1978).

International copyrights reflect the laws of the country or countries involved.

2) Works carry copyright protection whether they are published or unpublished works; and whether actually registered with the US Copyright office, or not. In essence, the two statements mean that all works found on this and on other websites, plus of course the original prints and their authorized reproductions, carry copyright protection.

3) All replications including electronic replications of copyrighted works (in the case of photographs, this applies to CD-Roms and web-posted or e-mailed forms of the work) carry the copyright protection with them of the original work. This protection is not waived as a result of the work’s being available in a public site (no more than a statue loses its copyright because it is displayed in a public square rather than in a museum, or a piece of music loses it because it becomes a CD or mp3 file). To clarify, all files on this website bear full copyright protection.

4) In the case of a re-interpretation of the work by another individual, such as one done by a painter or calligraphist, without express permission to use the work for copying – whether for commercial use or non-commercial use – such is a violation of the original work’s copyright protection. To clarify further, the copyright rules stipulate that only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work. Accordingly, you cannot claim copyright to another's work, no matter how much you change it, unless you have the owner's consent. The degree of replication comes somewhat to bear on the degree of infringement; however, please bear in mind that the penalties for copyright infringement are severe: If copyright infringements have occurred, the original party may seek to protect his or her copyrights against unauthorized use by filing a civil lawsuit in federal district court. However, in cases of willful infringement for profit, the U.S. Attorney may initiate a criminal investigation as well.

To give three concrete examples of actual re-interpretated / derivative works of my own photo-notecards, each done without my permission, the following are side-by-side comparisons of the original (on the right) and of the un-licensed derivative work (on the left). In the case of the latter, the resultant extrapolated "copy" became two rectangular large oil paintings and one square oil painting (24" x 36"; 24 x 24 in the case of the smaller square) which were then offered for sale in major art shows for several thousands of dollars.

While one can recognize the talent of the painter, these are nevertheless explicit violations of the Intellectual Property rights of the photographer, rights that are protected by the U.S. Copyright office as soon as the photo was taken. Moreover, the print itself and its resultant original smaller photo-notecard were registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, and are offered ironclad protection accordingly.

There are times that a derivative work is advertised online on that artist's website, and this offers further protection to its originator: in the case of stolen electronic files, through upload or download, for example, from computer digital files and/or websites or even social media, the penalties are indeed quite severe: One may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights. The typical range of penalties (outside the digital realm) goes up to $100,000 per work, plus attorney fees. Works that violate copyrighted works can also be confiscated, and the profits from their sale claimed as part of the penalty process. It can therefore be quite a costly proposition to use another's I.P. as the basis for one's own re-interpretative / derivative work, and one is encouraged to seek licenses and/or contractual written approval well in advance of any undertakings in such a direction.

5) FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, contact one of the following: or ; also see (and other such topics, with specific case references, including the creation of derivative works from copyrighted works).

Copyright Public Information Office telephone number: (202) 707-3000
(TTY number - (202) 707-6737); 8:30a – 5p EST; M-F

Library of Congress / Copyright Office / Publications Section / LM-455 /
101 Independence Avenue, S.E. / Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

These are summarized points from the various laws, regulations and codes governing copyrights; please consult the official sites given, else an attorney for any specific concerns.