If I paid a photographer, who owns the copyright?

I took a person on two international trips for the purpose of taking photos for me. He was a friend and we did not sign a contract but he didn’t have to pay for the trips. He claims now that all of the photos belong to him due to copyright laws. Is this correct?

Anonymous on June 20, 2012

I will be your photographer for two international trips! Unfortunately for you he is right. You should have got him to sign a contract. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “… the transfer of exclusive rights is not valid unless that transfer is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed …”

copyright ownership, copyright transfer, work made for hire

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