Forum: Couple's consent still needed for commercial use of wedding photos

We thank Mr Subramanian Venkataraman for his feedback (Concerned about giving default rights to wedding photographers, Sept 17).

The Copyright Act aims to recognise the creative efforts and contributions of all creators, including photographers.

Subject to contracts stating otherwise, the Act already makes most creators of works the default copyright owner.

This change to give default copyright ownership to photographers standardises ownership rules, and puts creators of commissioned photos, portraits, engravings, sound recordings and films on equal footing with other creators, such as those of commissioned graphics or songs.

This change is also in line with the copyright laws of major jurisdictions around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom and Japan.

Although this change grants default copyright ownership to photographers, copyright ownership of a work remains subject to contract.

As many already do today, a client and photographer can agree in writing to reverse the default position, as well as include terms regarding the use of photos, such as sharing them on social media.

Wedding couples will also continue to be entitled to use their photos for their personal use.

The latest changes will not affect contracts that were signed.

The new Copyright Act does not change the requirements of the Personal Data Protection Act. The Personal Data Protection Act enables couples to control how wedding photographs are used.

Photographers intending to use photographs that feature the wedding couple for their own purposes are required to seek the couple's consent.

Furthermore, a couple can withdraw earlier given consent, in which case the published photo has to be taken down.

We encourage parties to negotiate their rights and obligations within contracts, and be clear about the extent of any consent given, to prevent future disputes.

Andrea Goh

Director (Corporate Communications Division)

Ministry of Law

Alvin Hang

Director (Media & Communications)

Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

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