The photographs protection

Photographs protection in Italy is dealt with in the Copyright Act, which protects the author’s right over different aspects.

The copyright Act provides for three different categories of photographs:

  • Photographic works, having such creative features to easily recognize the personal touch of the author;
  • Simple photographs, defined by the art. 87 of the copyright Act, as “the images of persons or aspects, elements or events of natural and social life, acquired by photographic or equivalent process (…)”;
  • Photographic reproductions, or simple reproductions of written papers, business documents, material items, technical drawings and similar products.

Photographic work

The Rule 633/41 grants the author of a photographic work both the moral and the economic rights as per arts. 12-19. The economic rights last his entire life and 70 years after his death: therefore, the use of a photographic work is subject to the author’s permission or his heirs and possibly upon a payment.

Simple photographs

The simple photographs, on the other hand, grant a number of “minor” rights: the author, in fact, has the exclusive right of reproduction and distribution/sale besides the right of an appropriate payment for the use of the photographs, providing they display the following details:

  • The photographer’s name;
  • The date when the photograph was taken;
  • The author’s name of the photographic work of art.

Failing this, the reproduction is not illicit and payment is not due. These rights have a validity of twenty years.

The photographic reproduction

Finally, photographic reproductions don’t have any particular protection and can freely be used.