I work full time for a company where I perform several different roles. About a year ago they recognized my photographic skills and began to have me contribute photos to their social media campaign. They regularly publish my photos on various social media sites, their website and blog, and have even used one of my photos for a half page ad in a magazine. I recently asked if they would give me photo credit on Instagram. I was told no, that they own the photos and won't give me credit. I really like my job and want to keep it, but I feel like at the very least I deserve credit for my photos. Does anyone have some advice or thoughts regarding this? Thanks

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    \$\begingroup\$ The legal implications vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and are not suitable for this site. You may already have legal copyright unless you surrender it by submitting your work. It sounds as if you don't want to exercise your legal rights in favour of avoiding a conflict. This is politically contentious and you should immediately stop contributions until the matter is resolved to your satisfaction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Sep 9, 2017 at 3:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would suggest deleting your post because it is not only not a photographic question (perhaps suited to [Workplace SE]( workplace.stackexchange.com ) but it would be advisable to remove your name from a post your company might see as public criticism. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 9, 2017 at 4:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why do you feel you deserve credit? If you performed some other creative function for them, such as writing copy for their catalog or writing software or cooking dinner, you probably wouldn't get credit, so why are the photos different? \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Sep 9, 2017 at 5:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is probably better on workplace.stackexchange.com because there is no objective answer in terms of photography and the non-objective answers are not consistent with the non-objective answers typically acceptable on this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – user50888
    Sep 9, 2017 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Massive part of this question is missing; whether they're photos taken on company time, or were your own photos to begin with as each case (as well as other cases) will have different answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Crazy Dino
    Sep 9, 2017 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


Photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, created by an employee in the course of employment (on-the-clock), are covered by a common-law copyright. The employer owns this copyright. An expectation exists if the employer and employee have signed a written agreement stating that such work shall be “made for hire”. In other words, the copyright owner is you --- if you are an independent contractor. If you do not have such a contact, the employer need not acknowledge in any way that you, the employee, created a work of art (photograph). Further, you have no say as to how the artwork will be utilized.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not a lawyer, but this seems like reasonable description of US copyright in typical cases. How it plays out elsewhere probably has more variation. \$\endgroup\$
    – user50888
    Sep 9, 2017 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate everyone's feedback. This seems like the answer. I was looking for. Thanks Alan. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10, 2017 at 4:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1. For what it's worth, this is my understanding of the rule of thumb for UK copyright too \$\endgroup\$ Sep 11, 2017 at 8:15

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