How will I be punished if I break this law?
Breaking this law is called an “infringer.” The Copyright Society of the USA explains that, “Anyone who exploits any of the exclusive rights of copyright without the copyright owner's permission commits copyright infringement. If a lawsuit is brought in a court, the infringer will have to pay the copyright owner the amount of money the infringer made from using the work or that the owner would have made if the infringement had not happened. If the copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, the infringer may also have to pay copyright owner what's called statutory damages -- an amount set by the judge that will usually be higher. In addition, an infringer may be found guilty on criminal charges and have to pay criminal penalties. Moreover, the infringer will also be stopped from making any further use of the work.”
How do I make sure I don’t break this law?
Unless you are using the “Fair Use” right (using it for limited educational purposes), you MUST pay for these works. You must trade a monetary amount for this work, including for personal use.
What is the difference between copyright and printing rights?
No matter what, every photographer has the copyright to the photographs they took of you. Even though you paid them for a service, it does not mean that you have the copyright to the photographs.
Printing rights are when the photographer gives you high-resolution photos and permission to print their photographs of you. They are not giving you ownership, but they are letting you take the photographs to get them printed. It allows you to print for personal use at home with preserving the rights of the photographer.
This does mean that ONLY YOU have the printing rights (or the person listed on the contract). Giving the digital copies for grandma & grandpa to print is considered stealing.
How do I know if I have printing rights?
You look through your contract. It will specifically state if you have the printing rights. If you are still unsure, talk with your photographer. They can help you understand.
What do I do if I want to print photos but don’t have the printing rights?
You can buy prints from your photographer. Photographers that don’t give the printing rights typically are what is called In-Person Sales Photographers (or IPS Photographers). Meaning they sell the products themselves. Printing photos without the printing rights in copyright infringement and can have legal consequences.