Ownership of Images

Copyright laws protect the owner of images, but allow for exceptions in the public interest. This has become a major issue and bone of contention with the rise of cameras on mobile devices. As soon as an image is created, copyright is attached to it, whether it is published or unpublished. Copyright is automatic, meaning the author doesn't have to fill out paperwork or register the work to make the copyright legal.

The media is required by law to get the express authorization of the owner of the image, with the exception of the rule of fair use. Meant to favor the pubic interest, it gives the media, or individuals, the right for limited and reasonable use of an image as long as it doesn't interfere with the owner's right. This can be done without the owner's permission for the benefit of the public. Reasons that are considered a benefit include "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research," according to the Copyright Act.

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