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Results tagged “Copyright for Photographers” from PPA Today

By: Lauren Walters

Have you ever had someone steal your work or discredit you? Don't fret! PPA is here to help! If you hire a lawyer, you'll be spending A LOT OF MONEY in legal fees, but if you are with PPA, most likely we'll be able to protect your work for FREE or, if damages have already been done, for a fraction of that insane legal cost.

PPA photographer, Ross Oscar Knight, specializes in weddings, fine art and corporate events. Ross had a project that received a lot of exposure when it went viral in 2007, thanks in part to the feature on the Oprah Winfrey show. Soon after, people started pulling and using images from his website without his permission. Some were even discrediting his work and cropping out his logo, committing the ultimate copyright infringement. Ross remembered that PPA helps photographers resolve copyright disputes and went for that help. Check out his story and hear more about how PPA helped him resolve this copyright infringement rip-off.


If you are at risk for copyright infringement or simply want to take the right proactive steps, just go to the PPA's Copyright Resources , get your Free Copyright Kit or check out the overview of copyright laws. Be More Business Savvy and Be More Protected. 

By: Lauren Walters

PPA CEO David Trust was in DC the past two days advocating for photographers like you! He and PPA's copyright team in D.C., the Nickles Group, had a series of meetings with Representatives of Arizona, California, Georgia, Missouri, Utah and Wyoming and Senators from Los Angeles and Oklahoma who all have a say on the FAA's proposed rules for regulating the use of drones in the United States. The proposed rules are awaiting approval and are now in a 60-day comment period, during which PPA is working diligently to pull together comments for submission.  

The revised proposal indicates good progress for Photographers. The FAA proposes and approves the rules on drones; those rules are not legislation and do not require congressional approval. Currently, the said rules categorize drones into three physical size groups. PPA is mainly concerned with regulation pertaining to small and micro drones. A small drone is classified as 55lbs or lighter, and a micro drone is 4.4lbs or lighter.

The FAA's proposed rules would require professional photographers wanting to use small drones (less than 55 lbs) to take an aeronautical skills test and obtain a permit and renew that license every two years.  There would also be a one-time registration fee of $150. With 560 testing sites, finding a testing center should be easy. PPA believes the proposed rules for small drones to be a major step in the right direction as they eliminate the current requirement that commercial drone users hold an actual pilot's license. 

The proposed rules for micro-drones (4.4 lbs or less) are even more favorable as they require no skills test.  Photographers wanting to use micro-drones in their business would have to register and self-certify that they understand the FAA's aeronautical information manual.

We are still months away before the rules are finalized, yet solid progresses are being made in the direction of photographers. Want to weigh in? Please visit the discussion on theLoop about drones, it's a dynamic one! 

Drones are the hot topic at the moment, but Trust also had discussions on copyright reform and the Next Great Copyright Act, which are still under development. 

By: Lauren Walters

Ready to take the plunge into Imaging USA? First, stay up to date with what's happening in the world of photography. Read our top ten favorite blog posts and use them as conversation starters at the convention!

1.       5 Tips for Successfully Marketing Yourself at an Industry Trade Show

PERSONAL BRAND: Headed to Imaging USA next week? Get a head start! Learn how to market yourself successfully for when you're walking around at the Expo. The first step is to plan, plan, and plan again!

2.       Why Sports Illustrated Laid Off All of its Photographers

LAYOFFS: For a magazine so heavily reliant on its high-quality images, we were surprised to learn that Sports Illustrated laid off their entire staff of six photographers. A cut of photographers of this scale hasn't happened since The Chicago Sun-Times cut their 28-staffed photographers in 2013. Is history repeating itself?

3.       Joshua Kane: Running a Destination Wedding Photography Business

DESTINATION PHOTOGRAPHER: PPA photographer Joshua Kane gets paid to travel the world and photograph destination weddings. Although Joshua is living the dream, it's not always a vacation. Read about the challenges and benefits of a destination photography business.

4.       Pixels to Paint: Mixing Photography and Printmaking Yields Beautiful Results

MIXED MEDIA: How would a printmaker involve photography in their process? After mixing digital and print mediums, a hybrid medium was born. Check out a lithographer's approach to digital photography.

5.       India Through a Lens: The Nation Embraces Photography as Art

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: India has always been rich in imagery, but not so involved in the art of photography. After their first photography festival four years ago in New Deli, India has become more present in the photography scene. Check out breath-taking images showcasing the exotic Indian lifestyle.

6.       Study Finds that Professionally Captured Photos Are More Memorable Than Amateur Ones

DUH! (THANKFULLY): According to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), people can distinguish a professional from an amateur photographer. The researcher who conducted this study used special equipment to record the subject's eye movements when exposed to photographs. Check out other conclusions they drew from this experiment.

7.       Johnson Publishing to Sell Historic Photo Archive

ARCHIVES: Hoping to raise funds, the publisher of Ebony magazine is selling their entire photo archive. This collection dates back to 1945 including historic and award-winning photography. Find out more about this collection.

8.       Street Photography: It All Comes Down to Editing

EDITING: As a street photographer, you can shoot anytime, anywhere! Where the structured schedule is lacking, the photographer picks up the slack when it comes to editing. Why would one have to heavily edit street photography? Read more to find out!

9.       Photographer Suing Nike Over the Origins of the Famous Jordan "Jumpman" Logo

COPYRIGHT: Learn about Nike's "jumpman" logo legend. Was there a photograph behind this genius design for inspiration? If so, does the photographer deserve to be compensated?

10.   Photographer Captures Enchanting Landscapes Inspired by The Brothers Grimm

INSPIRATION: We all know those beloved fairytales from our childhood. How about capturing the landscapes that inspired the original Grimm's fairy tales?

Check back with us next week for more top blogs. Any interesting blogs you'd like us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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By: Lauren Walters

Itching for news in the world of photography? Here are our top ten blog posts for this week. From tips and tutorials to adventure and high art, this week's top ten is a creative cluster.

 

1.       Imaging USA: The Next Stage of Your Photography Career Begins Here!

EVENT: Become more knowledgeable, connected, and confident by attending Imaging USA. This convention hosted by PPA takes place on Sunday, Feb. 1 - Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee. Read this article to find out about all the benefits it has to offer. Come join the fun at Imaging USA!

 

2.       The Consequences of Working for Free

BUSINESS: Relating the life of a photographer to a life of a circus performer, this blog shares a few concepts of working the circus life that seem all too familiar to us photographers. There is no publicity value in working for free. North America has a silly belief system that work should not be enjoyable, therefore we should only be paid if there isn't enjoyment. But, don't sell your skills for free just yet! Value your work and yourself as a professional. 

3.       How to Make Artistic Multiple Exposures In-camera and in Photoshop

TUTORIAL: Interested in expanding your portfolio with creative pieces? Try a multiple exposure piece! From abstract to artistic portraits, regardless of the medium, this tutorial covers it all when it comes to multiple exposures. Have fun experimenting!

4.       How I Learned to Stop Taking Photographs and Start Making Photographs

PARADIGM SHIFT: Going from taking photos to making art can be a huge step. A common struggle among learning photographers can be focusing on a shallow depth of field. As soon as you start to learn that photography is a story telling device is when you start "making" photos instead of "taking" them.

5.       Why Photographers Aren't Artists

ARTISTS vs. PROFESSIONALS: As a photographer, do you consider yourself an artist? This blog distinguishes creative individuals as craftsmen, artists, professionals and finally entrepreneurs. Furthermore, this blog explains that true artistic geniuses such as Beethoven no longer exist. Instead of artists, we've become professionals.

 

6.       Help Unravel a Gordon Parks Southern Mystery

HISTORY: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The featured photograph dates back to 1956 in an Atlanta airport. Relations of race and gender are assumed through this intimate photograph. Although, the details of this photo still remain a mystery today.

7.       Help, I Am Being Sued for Nearly $500,000 by a Model I Photographed

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION: After signing a release, participating in the shoot and getting paid, a model decides to sue the photographer for the photos getting stolen. The model signed a release allowing her photos to be used as stock, but they got stolen off her personal Facebook page after posting them herself. You won't believe where the images wound up!

8.       Gotham 7.5K A Rare High Altitude Night Flight Above NYC

AERIAL, BY NIGHT: "Gotham From Above" was shot from a helicopter 7,500 feet above the ground of New York. Capturing aerial photographs can be quite a challenge; helicopters vibrate, so the photographer had to use a relatively high shutter speed. This project showcases the scale of New York City.

 

9.       Photographer armed with just a SWORD braves threat of wolves and -50C in Siberia to snap awe-inspiring Northern Lights images

-50C AURORA BOREALIS: Into the Siberian wilderness, a Russian photographer ventured to capture images of the Northern Lights. Because of temperatures (as low as -50C), the photographer designed a coat to protect his camera. We applaud this photographer for braving such harsh conditions for the sake of art. Take a look at the results!

 

10.   Stunning Photos of Acrobatic Dancer Leap and Twirl Amid Dynamic Clouds of Powder

COMMERCIAL VS. FINE ART: Check out this high art marketing campaign. An acrobat dances in a cloud of powdered milk to create the most stunning photography designed to sell creamer. Did this approach make you crave creamer?

 

Enjoy this week's blog posts? Check back next week for more excitement! If you have a blog you want us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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By: Lauren Walters

Happy New Year! Catch up on the new blog posts of 2015 (thus far!).

1.       Maps Showing the Pro Photography Landscape in the United States

STATISTICS: Take a look at the newly released statistics about employed professional photographers in 2013. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated about 54,830 professional photographers were employed in the US in 2013, excluding self-employed photographers (which from our stand point significantly skews the data, but that's why there's the Benchmark). Also, a few of the top cities for employed photographers are Los Angeles, Orlando, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago. Can you believe that Washington D.C. has the highest average annual pay for professional photographers?!

2.       Live From Yosemite's El Capitan: Photographer Captures Attempt at History-Making Climb

INSPIRATION: Climbing the 3,000-foot El Cap is hard enough, but capturing the action is quite the challenge. National Geographic photographer and filmmaker Corey Rich attempts to capture rock climbers Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell scale El Cap. Read more about the struggle and similarities between the photographers and the climbers.

3.       Renaming your Photos on Import with Adobe Lightroom

ORGANIZATION: Developing a file structure can keep your work easily accessible. In Adobe Lightroom, you can use their built-in template if you like. The author of this blog uses a similar structure. Renaming your photos can be helpful when you've been shooting for multiple days with multiple cameras.

4.       20 Photographer-Specific Things You Can Do Today To Start 2015 Off Right

PERSONAL GROWTH: Consider some of the following tips to feel refreshed for the New Year: Calibrate your monitor, install a new hard drive, re-print some new studio samples, implement email filters, restock office supplies, and check your credit card statements. Continue reading this blog for more ways to relax and start fresh in 2015! Well, of course, all of that is on top of coming to Imaging USA!

5.       Preparing and Packing A Portable Studio Efficiently

HOW TO: Is your studio mobile? Learn how to effectively pack your supplies on the go! Every photographer carries different supplies and in varying quantities. No matter the variance, one will need a rolling storage bin that is padded on the inside such as a Stanley mobile tool box from Home Depot. Bungee cords and a rolling cart are also used for efficient transportation.  

6.       Useful Photography Tip #127: The Importance of Turning Negative Energies into Creativity

POSITIVE VIBES: Do unfortunate events leave you feeling unproductive? Next time you have a bad day, don't throw in the towel. As creative people, photographers have the gift of capturing emotion. Channel your negative energy into a positive experience!

7.       The 2 Faces of Running a Photography Business

DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE: As a photographer, running a business can be difficult when you're being pulled toward creative endeavors. Try setting a time limit to your sessions, and plan out your creativity. Most importantly, learn to say no to yourself and others by making financially sound choices. Get this advice and more from the Law Tog!

 

8.       9 Tips To Help You Get Sharp Focus At Night

NIGHT OWLS: Love to shoot at night? Learn how to sharpen your focus! Most cameras use contrast detection to focus; aim for an area of high contrast. Instead of focusing on the midpoint of the frame, focus on the edge of the frame to regain focus.

9.       The Ansel Adams Act Goes To Congress; Details Clear Laws Protecting 1st Amendment Rights Of Photographers

COPYRIGHT: Violation of the First Amendment has led to photographers being wrongly accused. Because of this conundrum, a state of Texas representative brought the Ansel Adams Act to light intending to reinstate the First Amendment. On January 2, 2015 Congress was confronted with the Ansel Adams Act outlining the need for clarity for photographer's rights.

 

10.   Creating Compelling B&W Aerial Images in Backlit Situations

TECHNICALLY SOUND: Make the most out of Lightroom for those significant details. The described method entails intentional overexposure of the photos. This overexposure picks up the shadows and details making your blacks blacker.

 

Enjoy the new blog posts of 2015! Have specific blogs or topics in mind that you'd like us to feature? Tell us on theLoop.

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PPA Makes a Fall Visit to Washington

Last week, PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs department met with a series of committees and subcommittees on the Hill in order to help determine future political strategy. 

A big part of the discussions in the committees was commercial policy for a pretty polarizing and popular topic of late. You guessed it--drones! PPA argued for exemptions to be made for PPA photographers in regards to the use of drones.

It's worth noting that midterm elections happen November 4th and there will be a lame duck session after that to an undetermined time. A lame duck session occurs when Congress meets with elected successors post-midterm elections but before the successor's term begins. Because it is unknown who will be elected, it is difficult to forecast exactly what will happen in a lame duck session. 

However, Tom Chapman, Counsel to the Subcommittee on Aviation, Safety, and Security, thought it was likely that significant change in drone policy could occur as early as the lame duck session. Specifically, things could change in response to the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2012 which instructed the FAA to safely introduce drones into the national air space. This change in policy is forecasted as a result of the current influx of drone exemption applications that the FAA has recently received. While commercial drone use is illegal, the FAA allows exemptions to be applied for under §333 of the 2012 Act

So as it stands, the use of drones is still technically illegal, so use at your own risk! We will keep you updated as the situation develops. 

Another central issue with copyright policy is that there is no small claims remedial process. Because of the disenfranchisement of all people in federal court, the Copyright Office agreed with PPA that there needs to be a type of federal small claims court, which would thereby allow for copyright claims to be made without an attorney. PPA argued this is necessary to help all persons through the legal system. 

PPA has long stressed the importance of a small claims court for federal suits and the proposal of a federal small claims court was generally well received. How legislators will attempt to go about this is still up for debate due to constitutional conflicts, particularly in reference to Article III of the Constitution.  

PPA will continue to be a voice for photographers on Capitol Hill. Have an issue you think we need to address? Please let us know!

We've received word from some PPA photographers that Getty Images has been sending out some unsolicited emails with YOUR images in them as a way to catch your attention and get you to become a contributing member for their libraries of stock images. Slightly unethical! (We'll explain...) 

We're not here to give you advice on whether or not to contribute to iStock, but rather to address another question: Are Getty Images/iStock infringing on your copyrights by sending you an email with your images which they did not ask your permission to use? 

The simple answer is technically, yes; however it's probably not enough to warrant any legal action. (Note: We did NOT say definitely.) The reason why is where things get interesting, because it seems that Getty/iStock have found a bit of a loophole in the law. We brought in PPA Copyright attorney, Stephen P. Morris to help explain.

Read the official statement in full below:

Professional Photographers of America and Other Photographic Associations Settle Litigation With Google

Agreement ends four years of litigation over the inclusion of visual works in Google Books 

NEW YORK, NY - Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and a group of photographers, visual artists and affiliated associations have reached a settlement with Google in a lawsuit over copyrighted material in Google Books. The parties are pleased to have reached a settlement that benefits everyone and includes funding for the PLUS Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping rights holders and users communicate clearly and efficiently about rights in works. Further terms of the agreement are confidential. 

The agreement resolves a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Google in April, 2010, bringing to an end more than four years of litigation. It does not involve any admission of liability by Google. As the settlement is between the parties to the litigation, the court is not required to approve its terms. This settlement does not affect Google's current litigation with the Authors Guild or otherwise address the underlying questions in that suit. 

The plaintiffs in the case are rights holder associations and individual visual artists. The associational plaintiffs are The American Society of Media Photographers, Inc., Graphic Artists Guild, PACA (Digital Media Licensing Association)., North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, National Press Photographers Association, and American Photographic Artists. The individual plaintiffs are Leif Skoogfors, Al Satterwhite, Morton Beebe, Ed Kashi, John Schmelzer, Simms Taback and Gail Kuenstler Taback Living Trust, Leland Bobbé, John Francis Ficara, and David W. Moser. 

The case is American Society of Media Photographers, Inc. et al. v. Google Inc., Case No. 10-CV-02977 (DC) pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

About Google Inc. and Associational Parties

Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google's innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. 

Professional Photographers of America (PPA) represents more than 27,000 photographers and photographic artists from dozens of specialty areas including portrait, wedding, commercial, advertising and art. 

Founded in 1944, The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) is the premier trade association for the world's most respected photographers. 

The Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) is a national union of graphic artists dedicated to promoting and protecting the social, economic and professional interests of its members and for all graphic artists including, animators, cartoonists, designers, illustrators, and digital artists. 

PACA (Digital Media Licensing Association) is a trade association established in 1951 whose members include more than 80 companies representing the world of digital content licensing. 

NANPA, the North American Nature Photography Association, is the first and premiere association in North America committed solely to serving the field of nature photography. 

Founded in 1946 the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) is the "voice of visual journalists" promoting and defending the rights of photographers and journalists, including freedom of the press in all its forms. 

The American Photographic Artists (APA) is a leading national organization run by and for professional photographers. 

Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

 

PPA CEO David Trust goes up to Washington whenever he can to meet with people like Howard Coble (R-NC) to advocate for photographers' copyrights. But that doesn't mean that the action stops when he returns to Atlanta. Now that PPA partners with the Nickles Group, PPA is more active and knowledgeable than ever before.

With these new abilities (thanks Nickles Group!), we can let you know who is saying what to whom and where. That being said; here's the latest scoop from the Hill! 

The House Judiciary Committee recently held a copyright hearing with several testimonies from experts. Here's three of those testimonies and what it means for photographers!

1). All artists benefit from copyright advocacy! We got a good example with Rick Carnes, of the Songwriters Guild of America, arguing for a balance between fair use of works and protection for high volume producers. He stood by the current fair use doctrine that is in place in Title 17 of the U.S. Code which dictates the non-infringing uses of copyrighted works. However, he also advocated for workable remedies for small claims when copyrighted works are stolen. Ideally, this could mean for photographers that they wouldn't have to go to federal court and be required to have (very costly) legal representation.

2). Remember the 70 years post-mortem, 120 years post-creation, or 95 years post-publication rules for copyright protection? Michael Carroll, a professor at American University Washington College of Law, argued that the current copyright term should not be extended further. Thomas Sydnor, of the American Enterprise Institute, agreed, and finds that there is little to no benefit in continuing to extend the copyright term in regards to small, medium, or large businesses. 

Over the last fifty years, the copyright term has been extended. Most notably it has been extended whenever the copyright for Mickey Mouse is about to enter the public domain. Would anyone like to guess who is behind this? That's right, Disney. The Hollywood and Disney lobby have poured huge amounts of money into ensuring the extension of the copyright term over the last fifty years. 

The bearings that this has on photographers are non-particular. Meaning, anyone who has ever owned a copyright is affected by this change in the same way. Once you die, your dictated heir is not going have entitlements to the copyright(s) for as long. While this is non-particular to photographers, the fact that this discussion has made headway in the legal debate represents a dramatic shift away from what is known as the Disney Curve. The Disney Curve has dominated the extension of the copyright term with the sole intent of keeping the figure of Mickey Mouse out of the public domain. If the status quo on this were to change, it would represent one of the greatest fundamental shifts in copyright policy in the last 50 years 

3). Karyn Clagget, of the U.S. Copyright Office, thoroughly argued that visual artists should be able to receive compensation relative to the increase in value over time as opposed to a mere flat rate. For photographers, this would mean that as your work grows in value, you'd be compensated accordingly. Royalty claims can be made with the proper contracts on anything created with a copyright. For more information on how you can control royalties, review our limited usage contract under Copyright Resources on our website!

 The House of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet heard another round of testimonials addressing the need to remedy current issues within the Copyright Law (and there are many). Here's how this hearing relates to our members:

1). Longtime PPA friend Steven Tepp, of Sentinel Worldwide, made the case that there were significant problems in the current copyright remedies legal environment. He argued for higher available statutory damages, since awarded damages are currently at a historical low point. He also argued for harsher penalties that could function better as a preventative measure as well as a higher top-end of possible monetary compensation for infringement cases.

This goes along with the availability for small claims courts for copyright cases. Though, instead of focusing on the methods of how damages are acquired, Tepp choose to spoke about altering the available results for whichever court might make a ruling on this. Remember though, the small claims court doesn't exist (yet). Let's hope his testimonial opened some eyes and ears on the Hill.

2). Nancy Wolff, partner at Cowan, Debaets, Abrahams & Shepard LLP, supported the U.S. Copyright Office's report on small claims recommendations. In support of this report, she argued for the ability to bring small claims cases to a court without the need of expensive legal representation and a procedure that lowers the plaintiffs' expenses relating to any sort of legal action.

Both Tepp and Wolff are attempting to streamline legal processes for high volume visual artists like photographers. Too often times, infringed-upon artists can do very little simply because it quickly becomes cost-prohibitive to pursue legal action, even if your business has been damaged. Hopefully, these testimonies will help our U.S. Representatives understand that things do need to change!

The above testimonies and arguments contribute to enlightening those who can make these changes and will help shape the way new copyright laws are made. Each testimony is a small piece of the giant puzzle that is a Law being passed. We'll keep you updated anytime we hear more from Washington!

We've (finally) got an update on the Walmart v. Huff case! Brush up on the story below first if you need a refresher. 

Update 7/16:

At a recent case management hearing, the judge set the trial for the trial term beginning April 6, 2015 and ending April 30. This doesn't necessarily mean the case will go to trial April 6, just that the case is set to be tried sometime during that term.  

Read the full story:

Your typical copyright infringement involves one photographer stealing another photographer's images, or reproducing copyrighted images without permission. But in this case, it's the largest retailer in the world bullying a small Arkansas studio.

Walmart and its founding family, the Waltons, have filed suit against Helen Huff, the widow of

walmart1.jpg

 Arkansas photographer David A. Huff.

David Huff's studio, Bob's Studio of Photography, was founded by his late father, Robert A. Huff, in 1946, and created portraits of the Walton family before the expansion of Walmart grew them into one of the wealthiest families in the world. But now Walmart and the Walton family are demanding that Helen Huff hand over those works.

The complaint states that they (the Waltons) seek to obtain six or more boxes of photos, negatives, and proofs, alleging that over the years, Bob's Studio retained those items "as a courtesy" to Walmart and their family (they didn't). The complaint further states that the Waltons own intellectual property rights to the photos (they don't). The fact is, under federal law, photographers own the copyrights to their own works.

PPA has been working with Huff to support her case and thereby advocate for photographers' copyrights.

"If there were ever a David vs. Goliath situation, this is it" says PPA CEO David Trust. "We simply can't remain idle and allow this to happen--it would set a terrible precedent. In our opinion, this obviously is a violation of copyright law and it is beyond question that Ms. Huff owns the photographs and if the Waltons want the photographs, they should pay for them. PPA as an association stands behind Ms. Huff and supports her case as the rightful owner of these images. We have contacted her lawyers and offered to file an amicus brief* when and if that time comes."

*What's an amicus brief, you ask? It's is a legal opinion or testimony that is volunteered by a "friend of the court" who is not a party to a particular lawsuit but has a strong interest in the case. It is a way to introduce concerns ensuring that the possibly broad legal effects of a court decision will not depend solely on the parties directly involved in the case. 

PPA also advised Huff and her attorney of a separate suit, Natkin v. Winfrey, in which Oprah Winfrey claimed she owned the rights to photos of her created on her set. Since the photographers were hired as independent contractors and had not signed work-for-hire contracts, they owned the full copyrights for the images, and Winfrey's argument was swiftly rejected by the court.

Walmart filed its lawsuit against Helen Huff in state court, but because it is a copyright issue, Huff's defense removed it to federal court. The defense argues in its answer to the Walmart complaint that Huff owns copyrights to all the works her late husband and father-in-law created for the Walton family, and that they worked as independent contractors for the Walton family. In addition, Huff's defense filed a counterclaim of copyright infringement, alleging that in the past Walmart has reproduced and allowed third parties to use Bob's Studio of Photography's copyrighted works. Huff and her attorney are awaiting Walmart's answer.

UPDATED 5/21: Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove issued a statement this afternoon: 

As you can imagine, many of the photos go back many years and commemorate the history, heritage and culture of our company. We believe that some of the photos that Bob's Studio has belong to Walmart. All we want is for the court to make it clear who rightfully owns these photographs. We tried very hard to resolve this without involving the courts. We never wanted the issue to reach this point and we've done everything possible to avoid this. 

PPA always stands for photographers' copyright protection. As such, we will continue to provide information as these cases develop. Check back for updates!

 

 

PPA's CEO David Trust is in Washington D.C. shaking hands and talking photography with legislators to keep things moving toward new copyright law. He's out there in the trenches for you all! Told you we've got your back!

He'll be passing along updates over the next couple of days which we will post here as a sort of semi-live, "PPA on the Copyright Frontlines" diary.

And look for a recap after he returns to HQ here in Atlanta!

Monday, July 7, 1:26 p.m.

Just had a great meeting with Gayle Osterberg, Director of Communications for the Library of Congress. She reiterated the importance and popularity of the photography collections at the Library. She also presented some good ideas about how PPA can work more proactively with the Library to help educate Congress about the photographic industry. Gayle is a longtime friend of PPA and industry supporter. It's good to have an ally like her working for PPA members! 

Monday, July 7, 5:50 p.m.

Had a great meeting this afternoon with Jennifer Choudhry, Legislative Director for Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia. Collins is rapidly becoming the voice of Copyright on Capitol Hill and has been very aggressive in promoting and defending creator rights--not just in Georgia but across the country. The fact that PPA headquarters in downtown Atlanta is in such close proximity to Collins' district (about 45 minutes north of Atlanta) is a plus. Look for more news in the future--we have some special plans brewing for the pro-copyright congressman.

Tuesday, July 8, 8:58 a.m.

We have a busy day planned today on Capitol Hill: Five copyright meetings scheduled with members of Congress from Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, California, and North Carolina and a lunch with David Whitney, Chief Counsel for the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. It is very hot here, but will be a great day as PPA works to advance the cause of photographers in Washington D.C. 

[Don't forget you can contact your local legislator too!] 

Tuesday, July 8, 4:42 p.m.

Met with Congressman Howard Coble (R-6th North Carolina) to discuss the House Judiciary copyright review. Mr. Coble is a key player in legislation related to copyright as he is the current Chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on Intellectual Property as well as the Co-Chair of the Creative Rights Caucus. David artfully made the case for a balanced view of copyright to ensure that the voices of the small businesses and solo-practitioners in the creative community, such as photographers, are heard.

Chairman Coble and David.jpg

Tuesday, July 8, 5:19 p.m.

David Trust converses with PPA consultant Cindi Tripodi, partner with the Nickles Group, outside of the Capitol after a successful day of Hill meetings.

David Cindi Capitol.jpg


Music can set the mood for your photography business, whether it's setting the mood for a client's slideshow or setting the tone on your website. Musicians, much like photographers, only make a living doing what they love... if or when they receive the proper credit.

Remember the hubbub with Napster or LimeWire? People were sharing music files without having the right to do so. It's possible some of you might be currently breaking the same laws without even knowing it, and as photographers (and business owners) it means your rights are even more sensitive.

Think of it this way; when you give your client their images on a CD, they own the rights to the CD, but not to the photos. When you download an album on iTunes, you own the album, but not the rights to the music. This holds true for any audio file including MP3, .WAV, or other musical medium. Here are some quick tips to make sure you aren't violating any music licensing or copyright laws.

 
There are a few easy resources to use to help keep you on the music copyright straight and narrow:

We can also help you for your specific situation.

If you are like many photographers and want to combine copyrighted music with your images, you must obtain two different types of copyright licenses. Yes, two. First, you'll need a "master use" license which can be granted by the record label for use of the actual recording. Then, you'll need a "synchronization license" from the songwriter or music publisher to cover the use of the music in conjunction with images. (Sounds complicated, right? But don't worry; it's much easier than you might think, just read on!)

A few pieces of information to keep in mind: the music authors/owners are under no obligation to provide you with a license. The decision of whether or not to license a song (and how much to charge) always remains at the discretion of the copyright owner. Also, the licensing departments of these companies are geared primarily toward working with members of the motion picture and television industries, so be prepared to educate them regarding your particular use for and in your photography business. A little bit of explaining will go a long ways.

Here are the five steps involved in securing the appropriate music licenses:

  1. Finalize which song(s) you wish to use on your slide show or videos.

  2. Determine who owns the master use rights to each song (or songs) you will use. This is normally as simple as looking at the CD liner notes or at any online music service for the label information, such as iTunes. Contacts for the major labels are listed on the Music Licensing section of ppa.com.

  3. Next, find out who owns the synchronization rights to the musical composition you have your eyes (or ears?) set on. This will likely be a publishing company representing the songwriter. But if you don't find the liner notes from the CD or on iTunes, you can find that information by matching the song names with publishing companies on ASCAP's ACE database (www.ascap.com), BMI (www.bmi.com) or through the U.S. Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov). It takes a few minutes of manual labor, but you as a photographer understand more than anyone else the importance of that extra careful step.

  4. Contact the owners of both the master use and synchronization rights. In some cases, this will be the same company. You will need to explain your project and ask for the appropriate license. Expect questions regarding the number and geographical distribution of your project and be prepared to negotiate on price. It's not complicated, but takes putting a little bit of time into connecting with the right people.

  5. Sign the various licensing agreements and tender payment. Remember to keep copies for your records should any questions come up in the future and you are set!

If you (or your clients) are flexible with your musical selections, royalty free music is a very cost-efficient and time-saving alternative. There are many options out there, so unless you are set on a very specific piece, you can dive in and explore the musical horizons and pick and fancy at your leisure.

Last tip on this topic: remember to leverage your PPA Perks & Savings on music licenses (this is a PPA-member exclusive). You get access to great deals with a discounted rate on XM for Business, 20% off royalty-free music with Stock20 and 10% off songs with Triple Scoop Music, so... Enjoy! 


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