In a general sense, we all understand the issue of copyright. Getting into the definition of copyright and copyright infringement seems a little trite, when in fact it seems possible that at least fifty percent of the general population has gotten busted for it at some point. Whether it's copying someone's paper in school or using a well known logo, the issue at hand is still the same; using something you did not create without the express permission of the owner.
In the world of Photography, this unfortunately has become a gray area. With so many photographers handing out digital copies of their images, which basically equates to handing over the negatives, many consumers are becoming confused at where the line sits when it comes to copyright and photo ownership.
No matter who takes a photo; whether they are amature, professional or somewhere in between, they are always the owner of those photographs. If someone were to create two of the same painting, sell one to a consumer and keep the original, would it mean that the painter no longer was the original creator? Because he sold the copy, would it mean that he had no right to claim it as his own and show it off to other artists? The same is true with a photograph. When a photographer creates their art, the original is always theirs.
In the digital age, the issue of copyright has become a serious problem when a photographer's work is posted online. A client may believe that because they purchased a print, they now own the photograph to scan into their computer and post online. It is also a common idea that just because the consumer is part of the artwork, that they have some sort of right to the photograph itself. This would equate to posing for a painting and then believing that the painting now belongs to the person who posed for it and not the painter who created it. If only having paid for the photographers time and talent, it becomes a copyright breech when clients copy images from online galleries and post them without permission.
It is important that we continue to educate ourselves on the issues at hand that affect the creative thinkers of the world. Even if their product is not as tangible as something you may purchase at the store, it still holds value and should be treated with the same respect.