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VIC Who Owns Copyright of WordPress Website and Photos?

Discussion in 'Intellectual Property Law Forum' started by Nube, 14 July 2016.

  1. Nube

    Nube Member

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    So this guy helped me put together a free WordPress website where he created a collage of some of my pics. Since he was an acquaintance, no money changed hands. Now, he is asking me to either attribute the work to him or take down the collage. I thought I owned the copyright?
     
  2. Nube

    Nube Member

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    Hello! Anybody home?
     
  3. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    I believe a collage would be considered a derivative work. Copyright owners (so you in this case) have the exclusive right to make derivative works out of the original copyrighted material (i.e. the photographs). Therefore by allowing your friend to use the photographs to create the collage, you have impliedly granted him licence to use your copyright to produce a derivative work with the pictures.

    The copyright in those original photographs remains yours, however, your friend would only be able to claim copyright to any new elements of the work - so the way that the images are merged and compiled together. It's pretty grey because you can't really separate the pictures from the way they are collaged together in the derivative work. Tricky one.
     
  4. @thelawbundle

    @thelawbundle Well-Known Member

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    Nube,

    I agree with Sophea and add that your acquaintance also has "moral rights" (which are distinct and separate from copyright). They too are protected under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) and include the right of "attribution" - see here for general information.

    What you should have done is engage the acquaintance under a contract where he agrees to allow you to infringe his moral rights by not attributing him. See clause 3 of this contract as an example. You could also look for a "moral rights waiver" consent form.

    As you've lost no money, I'd suggest you engage another person to arrange the collage and have them sign the appropriate web design contract / moral rights waiver. You could also offer your acquaintance a small incentive to get him to agree to such a waiver.

    As an aside, you'll probably get a better response rate on this forum in future if you avoid phrases like "hello! anybody home?". A lot of us are practicing and busy lawyers who give our time for free to help people out who can't afford to see a lawyer. Just something you might bear in mind.
     

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