World Photography Day & The Indian Copyright Act

The Copyright Act, 1957 (as amended by the Copyright Amendment Act 2012) governs the subject of copyright law in India.

August 19th is World Photography Day.

Photo-theft has become a major concern these days. Ever since photography has been digitized, sharing of photographs has become easier. Along with this, the unauthorized use of photographs has become widespread, since obtaining photographs on the internet is child’s play.

So, what preventive measures can photographers take?

Kolkata Bloggers and The Anon. Productions took up the initiative to gather the opinions of lawyers and critically acclaimed photographers in Kolkata, on this topic, and assemble them into a video. SpicyIP and Senco Gold supported this cause.

Jayati Saha is one of the most critically acclaimed photographers who keeps a low profile, and previously, she was a lawyer.

Mr. Tinkari Jana is Senco Gold’s lawyer.

Soumya Shankar Ghosal is a street photographer, Souradeep Roy is a journalist and Biswajit Roy Chowdhury is a wildlife photographer. This video contains their views on photo-plagiarism.


Below is a small set of Q&A based on the answers provided by these five individuals:

Q. Is taking photographs from the internet legally bound?

A. If there is any photograph on the internet, it is owned by that person who has included it in his personal blog/website.

Q. How does someone prove that a photograph is his property?

A. The amendment of the Indian Copyright Act in 2012 specifies that it will be better for a photographer to register his/her photograph, in case he/she has to prove that it is his/her photograph, at some point in time.

Q. Does a photograph need to have any qualification grounds, in order to be registered?

A. Unique, eye appealing photographs with some signature quality can be registered. ‘Simple‘ photographs cannot be registered.

Q. If a company employs a photographer to shoot something, then to whom does the photograph belong?

A. The company. 

Q. Can the photograph of a late, renowned photographer be used?

A. The life of a copyright was 50 years. It has been extended to 60 years, only due to Rabindranath Tagore (his work: Sanchaita). Permission must be taken from his/her legal heirs. They might take action in case of unauthorized use.

Q. What should an individual do in case his or her photo has been infringed upon?

A. First write to the necessary people and ask them why they have taken your photograph without your consent. Ask for a compensation, for the damages, etc. This should be the first letter. In most cases, the other party does not reply. However, you now have a ground. Now you can go to the lawyer, and send them a legal notice.

A. On the day you take the photographs, after choosing the best ones and processing them, email them to yourselves. That way you have proof that the photographs were taken by you.


This world photography day, let’s pledge not to support plagiarism