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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default Church Website Copyright Issues

    Our church had a website and someone from within the church membership volunteered to be Web Administrator. He has since left the church and I am now running the site. We canceled our account with the web hosting service that was used he was admin and have built a whole new site using a completely different hosting service. He is now claiming that some of the pictures we have used were copyrighted by him and we can't use them. They are staff photos and church photos, taken with the church camera, mostly by the church pastor or other church members for the express purpose of use by the church. There was never any contract signed or payment made to this man, as it was all on a volunteer basis, something he told our pastor he had the desire to do. Does he have any legal grounds for copyright infringement? I know some states differ, so FYI, we are in Florida

    Thanks,
    Amy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Church Website Issue

    Does he have any legal grounds for copyright infringement?
    Only for photos he actually took. If the site features any photos he took, take them down.

    Elsewise, no. Using a photo that someone else created does not transfer copyright to you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    471

    Default Re: Church Website Copyright Issues

    If he was considered an employee, and I suspect he would have been even if he volunteered his services for no fee, that would be a work for hire and the copyright would belong to the church.

    If the photos are all about the church and there are no artsy sunsets or what not, this should qualify as fair use.

    And lastly a church doesn't seek to profit from a website, he would have a difficult task showing infringment.

    And lastlyer, (this time I mean it,) if there is no watermark then again he would have trouble proving his work was infringed or that he was creating "art."

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