Introduction to Photography: Week 8: Ethics and Copyright in Photography by ChatGPT

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Introduction to Photography: Week 8: Ethics and Copyright in Photography by ChatGPT


Photography is not just a hobby for me; it’s the driving force that shapes my life. Since 2008, I have been immersing myself in the world of photography, using Nikon DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras to capture my artistic vision. However, I felt the need to take my skills to the next level without the constraints of time and financial limitations that come with traditional schooling. That’s when I turned to ChatGPT, an AI-powered assistant, to create a personalized course plan for a self-directed “degree” in photography.

To my amazement, the AI-generated lesson plans were incredibly detailed and comprehensive. Encouraged by this, I decided to fully embrace the AI-generated curriculum, documenting my progress and insights on my blog. I wanted to share my journey with others who share my passion for emerging technologies and their potential to enrich our lives.

Allow me to introduce myself; I’m Lauren McDonagh-Pereira, a photographer, artist, art collector, and web3 blogger. I am driven by a profound enthusiasm for exploring the intersection of art and technology.

So, let’s dive right into Week 8 of the ChatGPT-generated course, where we embark on an exciting journey into the world of photography. Join me as we unravel the secrets behind creating captivating images and discover the power of this incredible art form.

Note: As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

A white Pinterest style graphic with black and blue text. The black text reads, "Introduction to Photography - Week 8: Ethics and Copyright in Photography by ChatGPT". Blue text indicates that the lesson plan is located on NFTARTWITHLAUREN.COM. It features a composite image of a motion blurred carnival ride at night in front of a full moon. The image highlights the ethics of disclosing techniques in photography.
Photography by Lauren McDonagh-Pereira


A red stop sign against a blue sky, with a red rocks on either side
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2013

Before we get into it, please consider a few quick DISCLAIMERS.

    • I am not a financial advisor, an art expert, a lawyer, or an accountant. Do your own research. 
    • This post represents my personal opinions and is NOT financial advice.
    • I am an artist. At the time of posting, I have works minted on the Tezos and Ethereum blockchain. Links contained in this article may point to my own minted NFTs or may point to the NFTs of other artists that I have collected from. If you choose to collect NFTs referenced in this article, I may earn money from your purchase.
    • This post may contain sponsored ads and affiliate links. I may earn a commission if you click on an ad and make a purchase. I am not responsible for 3rd party websites. 
    • Where noted, responses were generated by ChatGPT, an AI language model developed by OpenAI.
    • As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 
    • Review my Privacy Policy here

Why Are ETHiCs and CopYRight Important in Photography?

I asked ChatGPT why ethics and copyright considerations matter in photography. 

Here is how the OpenAI chatbot responded:

“Ethics and copyright laws hold immense significance in the realm of photography, chiefly for the following reasons:

  1. Respect for Subjects: Ethical practices in photography help to ensure that subjects are treated with respect and dignity. This is especially critical in sensitive areas such as photojournalism or documentary photography, where it’s essential to maintain the integrity and privacy of the subjects.

  2. Truth and Accuracy: Adhering to ethical guidelines helps photographers to preserve truth and accuracy in their work. Manipulating images can lead to misinterpretations and misrepresentations of reality, which can be ethically problematic, particularly in news and documentary contexts.

  3. Protecting Intellectual Property: Copyright laws are vital in safeguarding a photographer’s intellectual property. They grant photographers the exclusive rights to reproduce their photos, create derivative works, distribute copies, and display the work publicly. This protects them from unauthorized use of their work.

  4. Financial Compensation: Copyright laws also help ensure that photographers receive financial compensation for their work. When photographers’ rights are respected, they can profit from their creativity and effort, which in turn supports their continued practice of the craft.

  5. Preventing Plagiarism: Copyright laws deter others from copying or plagiarizing a photographer’s work. This promotes originality and innovation in the field.

  6. Maintaining Professional Standards: Both ethical practices and copyright laws contribute to maintaining professional standards in photography. They foster an environment of respect, fairness, and integrity, encouraging photographers to produce their best work while acknowledging the work of others.

In a nutshell, ethics and copyright laws form the backbone of professional photography, ensuring the protection of both the photographers and their subjects, while promoting originality, truthfulness, and respect in the field.”

Since this is such a vital topic, let’s dive into the week 8 lesson plan for “Introduction to Photography“. 

A carnival ride's lights are blurred with motion. In neon letters, the name of the ride is spelled out as "Orbiter". In the top right corner, a brilliantly full super moon shines down on the carnival.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

Week 8: Ethics and Copyright in Photography

Week 8: Ethics and Copyright in Photography

Duration: 3 hours

Lecture Outline:

  • Recap of Week 7: Review the concept of visual storytelling and the different approaches to constructing a visual story.
  • Ethics in Photography:
    • Introduce the importance of ethics in photography and its impact on subjects, photographers, and viewers.
    • Discuss ethical considerations such as consent, privacy, representation, and the photographer’s responsibility.
    • Present case studies and examples that highlight ethical issues in photography.
  • Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights:
    • Explain the basics of copyright law and how it applies to photography.
    • Discuss the importance of respecting intellectual property rights and the legal implications of copyright infringement.
    • Explore the concept of fair use and its application in photography.
  • Class Debate: Ethical Dilemmas in Photography:
    • Divide the class into groups and assign them different ethical dilemmas related to photography.
    • Instruct each group to research and present arguments from various perspectives.
    • Facilitate a debate where groups present their arguments and engage in a discussion on the ethical implications of each dilemma.
    • Conclude the lecture by emphasizing the significance of ethical conduct and copyright awareness in the field of photography.

Discussion Topics:

  • Consent and Privacy:
    • Engage students in a discussion on the importance of obtaining consent when photographing individuals or private property.
    • Explore the boundaries of privacy in public spaces and the ethical considerations involved.
  • Representation and Stereotypes:
    • Discuss the responsibility of photographers in representing individuals, cultures, and communities accurately and respectfully.
    • Examine the potential impact of visual stereotypes and the importance of challenging and breaking them.
  • Copyright and Creative Commons:
    • Explore the concept of copyright and the rights of photographers as creators.
    • Discuss alternative licensing options, such as Creative Commons, and their implications for sharing and using photographs.
    • Ethical Approaches in Photography:
    • Introduce different ethical approaches in photography, such as documentary ethics, subjective storytelling, and collaborative practices.
    • Discuss how photographers navigate ethical dilemmas and make informed decisions about their work.

Practical Activity:

  • Class Debate: Ethical Dilemmas in Photography:
    • Provide the assigned ethical dilemmas to the student groups in advance.
    • Allocate time for groups to research and prepare their arguments.
    • Conduct the debate session, allowing each group to present their arguments and engage in a respectful discussion.
    • Encourage students to critically analyze the ethical considerations, evaluate different perspectives, and consider the broader social and cultural implications of the dilemmas.

Reading Assignment:

Note: Remind students to continue working on their ongoing assignments, including the photo story and editing and enhancing photographs. Emphasize the significance of ethical conduct and copyright awareness in their photography practice. Encourage them to reflect on their own ethical choices and to seek consent when appropriate.

A path winding around the trunk of a giant sequoia tree
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

My Plan

I will read the assigned reading, find YouTube videos that explain each of the concepts outlined in the Lesson Plan above, and I will answer each of the questions from my perspective as a short-answer posted to Twitter so that you can join in on the conversation. 

When I have completed these tasks I will post a link to my experience and resources here. 

Be sure to join the NFTWITHLAUREN.COM mailing list so that you can follow along with my progress. 


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Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

More to explore

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MEET Lauren McDonagh-Pereira

Lauren McDonagh-Pereira is a photographer from Massachusetts, USA. She captures the beauty of the world around her, favoring Nikon cameras and lenses. She is drawn to shooting landscapes, wildlife, nature, and people authentically enjoying life.