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Hi, I am a freelance photographer. I worked for a small wedding company agreeing
to shoot for them and use my pictures for the client verbally, and use my photos
only in a physical portfolio. I am paid by the hour, and the owner claims that
covers buying the right to my photos which was never talked about. There is no
physical contract signed. I shot two wedding for the company and when they gave
my cards back they deleted all my photos so I could not have them. I feel as if this
isn’t right but I don’t know the specifics of the law.
Asked on September 30, 2016 under Business Law, California
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 7 years ago | Contributor
Yes, if you are paid by someone to take photographs for them, the photographs are "works made for hire" and the rights to them belong to the client--to the one who paid you--unless and only if you have a written agreement with them which gives you the rights. In the absence of an agreement, the rights to creative works made while an employee or contractor belongs to the person employing you.
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