Rights to photography

What is the right to photograph?

Photography forms a major part of LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL case load. In the contemporary cultural context of omnipresent images and communication, especially digital, rights to photographic work are heavily impacted.

Photography, be it undertaken for artistic, documentary or advertising purposes, falls under Article L. 112-2 of the French Code of Intellectual Property within the scope of droit d’auteur or copyright, provided that the work bears the marks of its author’s personality, and that it proceeds from choices made “freely and creatively”.

LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL specialist lawyers advise companies and photographers on the degree of protection afforded and the manner in which photographic work may be exploited, supporting them in their disputes before the courts and other bodies.

Advisory Services

Fundamentally at issue is the extent to which a photograph is an original work of personal creation (are photos staged? Which interveners or collaborative digital techniques are involved in photo shoots?…).

To whom does title to droit d’auteur or copyright belong? This is an issue potentially affected by the name of the person making the disclosure, as also by the collaborative, collective or composite nature of the work, by advertising commissions, by the assignment or conveyance of rights to the work, by marital status, and by the presumptive rights of heirs to the artist’s estate.

Our advisory services also cover contracts made with publishers, museums or exhibitors, and with business undertakings (advertising photos, creation of trade marks, etc. …)


LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL litigation frequently centres on:

  • issues of the validity of photographers’ contracts (clauses assigning away rights of reproduction and the financial counterparty thereof),
  • the implementation and interpretation of contracts in the field of advertising photography, including infringements (if any) of copyright assigned for purposes of making fashion images, product images or images in media such as catalogues, poster displays or websites (whether authorised or not), including the geographical scope of the rights so assigned …

LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL assists major players in the markets for veterinary products, wines and spirits, fragrances and the beauty industry …

We also assist and advise photographers whose work suffers plagiarism, denaturing, diversion from its original purpose, or from the putative breach of the artist’s moral rights.

Thus our lawyers may be called upon to raise law suits against advertising and communication agencies.

Actions on grounds of copyright infringement are a core concern of LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL . Our duty is to adduce appropriate evidence, including by way of court-ordered confiscation, evidential reports, injunctions and other evidence-backed allegations of infringement including the calculation of financial compensation sought on grounds of prejudice suffered.

All law suits require comprehensive mastery of statutory and case law in both France and the EU by specialist lawyers who also understand necessarily related fields such as the law on advertising.

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