Last weekend I went to an event to take some cosplay pictures and I published them in my twitter account, previous cosplayers' authorization. Today, I got a DM from one of them, which seems to be a professional cosplayer working under a company (not the event's host), since the message was addressed from a company person. He is asking me for one of the pictures to use on a calendar.

This is where I'm getting confused, since they want to use a picture taken from me for one of their employees. Am I the legal owner of the pictures? If so, should I proceed to charge them for the photo?

If there is of any help, the event was the Comiket 97 at Tokyo

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    \$\begingroup\$ vtc b/c As far as copyright is concerned, the photographer is generally considered to be the copyright owner. Whether you should attempt to charge for use of the photos is up to you. For any serious legal concerns, consider contacting an attorney. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Jan 5, 2020 at 23:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think we can probably cover the basics here, as we have for a lot of similar questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jan 6, 2020 at 0:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ The basics of copyright are already covered in "similar" questions. Whether to charge is a personal decision. The particulars should be discussed with an attorney. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Jan 6, 2020 at 2:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xiota Then perhaps we should suggest a duplicate, which points others to useful information, rather than voting to close as off topic, which does not? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 6, 2020 at 4:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Might be a better fit on freelancing.SE. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Jan 7, 2020 at 22:22

2 Answers 2


According to most jurisdictions, you own the copyright on the images you took. Use of that copyright for publishing photographs might however be hampered by personality rights of the cosplayers and copyrights/trademarks of the respective characters, so it is not clear that you could make a lot of use of that copyright.

I'd be inclined to grant the cosplayer the requested publication rights in return for their permission ("model release") to use the image in your public portfolio. That will still not cover any character copyright/trademark so I'd likely avoid using it for anything directly connected to money making, like a picture book or a press publication. At least not without talking to an attorney.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to clarify one point, you cannot have any rights in/to an image that was not taken legally (permissible to take in the first place)... that includes copyrights. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2020 at 17:34

In some countries (China, Hungary, Japan, etc) taking a picture that focuses on one person as the subject can be a violation of their privacy rights; even if taken in public. This is known as their "portrait right."

Being that this was in Tokyo Japan, and you do not seem to be aware of the relevant laws, I would say that you might not be the "legal owner" of the image(s). IMO, your best option is to grant the use w/o charge; which would be an "exchange of value" and would (should) solidify your position as legal owner.

However, there is a chance that you did not need permission to take the picture in the first place. And I also do not know what minimum requirement there is for documenting/proving consent. So, if you really wanted to sell the image I would suggest contacting an IP lawyer with specific knowledge of relevant Japanese laws.




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