Copyright and the use of submitted photos

  • Jeff Knox

    Jeff Knox

Posted6/7/2021 1:00 AM

Our staff of very talented photojournalists would love to be able to cover every community event and prep sports game. Truth is, we just cannot get to everything we want to photograph.

So, when we need a photograph from a breaking news, sports or community event, we will look to social media or solicit photos from our readers. The photos are generally easy to find, but actually using them in print or online gets a little tricky.


We must get permission from the person who owns the copyright to the photo. The person who actually took the photograph owns the copyright. It may reside on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, but if you didn't take that photograph, you don't own the copyright.

"Go ahead and take it from my Facebook page," is often what someone will say when offering us a photo. We have to follow up with them and ask if they took the picture or own the copyright to it. If not, we will try to find the legal copyright owner. If we cannot, we will not us the photo. It would be taking someone's property and using it without permission.

Others may think that once you share your photo on any social media platform, that it's fair game for anyone to use.

Not so.

If we want to use your photo in print or online, we need your permission to do so. If you do not grant that permission, we will not use it.

There's no wiggle room on policy.

Occasionally we'll need a photo of a government official. Photos on government websites, created by a government employee, are fair game to use. The sites are funded by taxpayers.

We do our very best to make sure the photos you see are honest depictions of the event, and ethically obtained.

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