Last week you may have seen the article that was doing the rounds about how Asda refused to give photographs they were printing to the parents for being "too professional".
Whilst this story went around, there was uproar from a lot of people saying that the copyright is the right of the parents as it is their child (this is not true in the UK) and that no-one should withhold photographs of your child.
The photographers, on the other hand, were celebrating that Asda were doing something right. That they had refused the images to the customers as they couldn't prove that they had the printing rights. Something their photographer (friend or otherwise) should have given to them.
In my Barnsley based Studio, customers who purchase the USB have an additional "picture" on there which is the USB Print License, which is easily accessible to staff members where-ever people are getting their items printed.
People were aghast that surely if people have them on a USB then surely they have purchased them. However, this isn't always the case. Some people screengrab, crop out watermarks and "steal" the photographs from the photographer. Asda really were doing their job correctly.
And, by UK Law the copyright always stays with the photographer. If we assigned over copyright that means you could go on to sell the images and use them for promotions etc - things that you don't really want to do with the images. What you want to do is print and share with family and friends - hence why a lot of photographers call this a "Print License" as copyright - is the wrong word to use. But it really is all about education.
The news story also issued that they had no problems getting them printed in Boots. Which is just wrong. Boots should have challenged the customer the same way that Asda staff did. No-one is being a jobsworth they're actually just trying to keep their job.
I liken it to this scenario.
When someone works in a shop that sells alcohol - they can challenge you to prove that you are old enough to purchase it. That you have a "license to purchase" alcohol based on your age. If you cannot prove it - they can refuse to serve you. This is because the fines for their job and the store they work in - aren't worth losing their job.
This is how it works, and should work. If you do not have "proof" that you have permission to print the images, they can challenge and ask you for it.
The best thing I can advise is always make sure that your photographer puts a print license either on the disc or USB - or gives you a printed copy to take with you.
Hope that helps!