Las Vegas, NV asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Nevada

Q: Who owns the intellectual property (photo), if a friend used my cell phone to take the photo of my property?

My friend used my cell phone to take a picture of my sound bowl and it came out beautiful. She he says the picture is his intellectual property. Although the cellphone used to take the picture and the sound bowl is mine. Who owns the photo?

3 Lawyer Answers
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: This is not a patent question so I will defer to an attorney in your state to give you a formal answer.

To get some background on copyright from a reliable source. Here is a link to the Frequently Asked Questions Page by the US Copyright Office. https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/index.html

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD

A: The person who took the photograph owns the copyright in it. Hopefully, if you want the copyright, your friend will agree in a writing "to assign" those rights to you. I leave it to you to figure what a fair price would be for the exchange. Another alternative is that she licenses to you the right to use the photograph. Again, best to have that in a writing.

Evelyn Suero
Evelyn Suero
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Miami, FL

A: Your friend owns the "intellectual property" which in this case is the copyright to the photograph. You continue to own the tangible personal property, the camera and the sound bowl. You may, however, have an implied license to use the photograph without infringing on his copyright, if for example, you paid your friend to take the picture for a certain purpose. Consult with a copyright attorney for more specific guidance.

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