As the owner of the copyright to my work I depend on the ownership of my copyright to control the use of my photographs and to generate revenue by the licensing the use of my work for a fee. My copyright is the foundation of my photography business.
As the copyright owner to my work Section 106 of the 1976 copyright act gives me the exclusive right to do and to grant others the permission to do the following:
• To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
• To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
• To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
• To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audio visual works;
• To display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audio visual work; and
• In the case of sound recordings,* to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
Some people realize the value of your copyright and want it.
In the photography industry, this is commonly known as a rights grab.
Rights grabs are great for the grabber of the rights but bad for the ones whose rights are being grabbed.
You can also see a thread in an online photography group that deals with this issue. I was a contributor to the thread.
When you submit work to places like the online Conversations area of The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/conversations/2011/06/29/AGVXAQrH_ugcgallery.html, You give away a substantial chunk of your copyright.
Specifically take a look at section number 7, it states:
7. For any content that you submit, you give us permission to use such content. You hereby grant to Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, exclusive, and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, incorporate into other works, distribute, perform, display, and otherwise exploit such content, in whole or in part in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.”
In my opinion when you accept the terms of a rights grab, you’re giving away the control of your work and. if you’re in the business of photography, your giving away your ability to derive the full proprietary interest to whatever work you submit.