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PPA Today: Copyright: April 2015 Archives

Copyright: April 2015 Archives

Copyright is arguably the most important legal concern for professional photographers. With a photography career, it is inevitable that you will have to deal with copyright infringements at some point. The following are real infringement stories from PPA photographers. These situations could happen to you, so read up and be sure you're prepared!                                                                                                                   
"I didn't know I couldn't reproduce the images."

PPA member Denise Watrous found an envelope of her photographs backstage at the event she was working. She noticed the photos were taken during a former job but they had been printed by a major chain retailer. Denise reached out to both the young lady in the photograph and the retailer about their infringement. The woman was apologetic and claimed she didn't know she could not reproduce the images. Turns out, Denise was able to maintain a good relationship with the consumer while taking steps to educate and ensure she would not repeat another infringement.

However, the retailer was not so apologetic and was quick to blame the consumer - this is when Denise called PPA. We discussed the situation and gave her some information on retailers' responsibility to follow copyright law. Denise held the retailer accountable - it is their responsibility not to print or reproduce a professionally-created photograph without written permission from the photographer, even if the consumer tells them otherwise! Denise was able to negotiate with the retailer's attorney herself to reach an agreement and get a payout. 

Denise's situation with this retailer inspired her to get involved in PPA's photo retailer awareness campaign for Copyright Awareness Month. Members can sign up to receive educational brochures to distribute to local photo retailers while discussing photographic copyright. This is just one more way to protect your images. If you would like to get involved, sign-up on the Copyright Awareness page on PPA.com!

Lessons Learned:

  • Stand up for yourself - it pays off! And you don't always need an attorney to do so.
  • Keep copyright conversations with you clients educational. It will help you keep and gain customers.
  • Educating clients and local retailers is crucial to protecting your images. Sometimes infringers don't know any better, but their ignorance can harm your business.

Even Celebrities Can Infringe On You

In this case, the PPA photographer must remain anonymous, as the situation is ongoing. This photographer took a collection of photographs at an event which they later posted in an online gallery in which one of the photos pictured a prominent celebrity. They shared the photo with a family member but did not give permission for it to be distributed, printed or posted. The photo then found its way onto the celebrity's social media pages.

Next, the photo was picked up by major publications, and when we say major, we mean major!  The photographer grew distraught as they thought about the amount of money they lost due to the lack of a photo credit. This member called PPA and has kept us updated on the situation. They are working with an attorney to try and recoup the lost payments.

For Your Consideration:

  • Inform/educate your clients! Make sure they understand you own the copyright, and that they have no right to print, post, or copy them without your consent.
  • Register your photos with the U.S. Copyright Office before you share them, especially photos that would be particularly vulnerable to infringements. This will help if you ever find yourself in a copyright legal case and affects the amount you can seek in damages. 
  • Mark your images as copyrighted before posting them. If anything, it will clearly show people that this image belongs to you. Remember that your images do not have to be registered for you to mark them. Example: © 2015. PPA (include your contact information for further visibility.)
Watermark your images with your logo or another visual cue before posting or sharing them. Again, it will clearly show the images belong to you.

Take extra care in explaining your clients what copyright is and how easily they can infringe without meaning it. Here are a few things you can do:


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PPA is back in Washington advocating for photographers! CEO David Trust, Director of Member Value and Experience, Kristen Hartman and Copyright and Government Affairs Coordinator, Lindsey Forson, are there meeting with staffers and congressmen and women before they attend tomorrow's House Judiciary Committee Hearing.

Look for updates here on this post they report back! 

Update #1: Tuesday, April 28, 3:48pm

This afternoon, we met with Linda Shim, staffer of California Congresswoman Judy Chu's office. Congresswoman Chu is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Creative Rights Caucus. The meeting was productive as we talked about projects we can work on together to spread the word on the Hill about copyright from a small business perspective. 

We also met with Austin Smithson of Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert's (also on the House Judiciary Committee) office and talked about the copyright registration process itself. We showed him how this cannot be a one-size-fits-all process, which he was very receptive to. There are many different business models represented among copyright owners and the current approach is not working for everyone. 

We are looking forward to two more meetings today before attending the House Judiciary Committee Hearing tomorrow morning where the actual U.S. Copyright Office will present "The Register's Perspective on Copyright Review." We will have three additional meetings after the hearing.

READ PAST THE JUMP FOR MORE UPDATES 

If you had any hesitation there, today's free webinar is for you:

Webinar: Are Your Images Protected? 
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 3-4 pm ET

FREE

Lindsey Forson, coordinator, PPA Copyright & Government Affairs Department

 

Protecting your images isn't something you want to leave to chance. Become more confident about understanding your copyrights and you'll be able to better defend yourself as well as raise awareness with clients and retailers. This is good for the industry and the livelihood of your business!

 

Consider signing up for the webinar, coinciding with World Copyright Day. Again, it's free and it will help you understand what further steps you can take to protect your business from copyright infringements AND what to do in the annoying case that infringements occur. Sign up to participate! It's a brief but educational webinar and it WILL help you determine if you are doing everything you can to protect your images. 

 

You might feel comfortable with what you are already doing, but the law keeps evolving and you never know what you're missing! Be More Prepared, Be More Protected, Be More Aware...  all photographers need (more) copyright protection!


Want to be more involved?


Inform/Train photo retailers in your area. This means those who print photos for consumers,

especially those high volume/low quality retailers. Focus on larger retail chains, where your clients

are most likely to have access to self-printing and scanning services. 


It's easy to sign up and participate in the program. As soon as you sign up, we'll send you the "Helpful Tips For Handling Professional Photographs" brochure that you can use as an icebreaker and excuse to visit the photo retailers in your area. It's good to leave some behind for them too.  

 

NOTE: Before you embark on this Copyright Awareness mission, please educate yourself first so you can help retailers understand their responsibilities. It's important to maintain strong relationships with photo retailers, so make sure your conversations are positive and productive!

Q: What is the most important point to get across to printing retailers?

A: When in doubt, never print or reproduce a professionally-created photograph without written consent from the photographer!

This is a great way you can help protect your images, especially since such a critical part of your revenues come from printed work.  

 

Copyright matters. And as always, PPA has your back. This is your chance to get involved.

 


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By Lindsey Forson

April is Copyright Awareness Month at PPA! Why get involved? Because copyright is arguably the most important legal concern for professional photographers. During the course of your career as a pro, it's inevitable that you will have to deal with copyright infringement at some point. To highlight the importance of copyright protection and give you the opportunity to learn the easy way, some PPA photographers have agreed to share their experiences!

In light of a recent issue with a copyright infringement, we had a conversation with PPA member Ross Oscar Knight.

Ross has been a professional photographer since 2004. He takes great care in protecting his images but still faces around 4-5 copyright infringements per year! He has dealt with infringements from clients, retailers, and other photography businesses, along with those frustrating unknown infringers.

Ross stands with PPA in encouraging photographers to protect their images and sees copyright protection as one of the most important aspects of a photography business. For him, there are reasons to protect images beyond the obvious business-related concerns because his images will live on long after his life and the life of his business. "It's no different than a musician writing a song," said Ross. "I'm a photographer, and for me, images are my legacy."

By: Lauren Walters

As April rolls along, check out this week's top blogs about ethics. Join in the fun with other posts and learn about the PPA perk - Photovision. Remember to exercise good ethics and inspire your creative self.   

Be More Inspired with PhotoVision

PPA MEMBERSHIP PERK: Now that PhotoVision is part of PPA, you have no excuse! The sources of inspiration to be more inspired and more creative are endless! Pick a topic, pick a genre or pick an instructor, there is something for everyone to motivate and inspire you in photography. With over 800 cinematic HD streaming videos, PhotoVision is now included with your PPA membership! Visit PPA.com/PhotoVision and proactively continue to learn today!

Could the U.K.'s Copyright Hub Provide a Template for Simple Rights Use?

COPYRIGHT: We all know the troubles copyright comes with. The U.K. created a hub to identify all copyright information pertaining to a single piece simply by searching the image, video or audio file. How useful is this? Read this article to find out what the U.S. thinks of this hub.

In the Smartphone Era, Can Street Photography Be Illegal?

ETHICS: Let's find out! In Germany, a Berlin-based street photographer started a project funded by 528 supporters totaling $19,850 for his possible legal fees. Since 1907, the law stated if a photographer didn't have the subject's permission to photograph them, they weren't allowed to publish the image. This interesting article shows how this project turned out.

Photoshop and Photojournalism

ETHICS AGAIN: In a way, photography is manipulation, but photojournalism is about revealing the truth to the public. A photojournalist cannot recreate a moment by asking a subject to pose a certain way - they must be an honest and credible source. Check out this video and celebrate 25 years of Photoshop as it relates to modern photojournalism.

This Camera Survived Three Months at the Bottom of the Ocean

JUST FOR FUN: An underwater photographer, Scuba Monster team member, found a camera among the coral reef near the bottom of the ocean. Guess what? The camera sill worked! What all did this camera go through before being rediscovered? Read more to get the full scoop!

Showing Girls that 'Strong is the New Pretty'

EMPOWER: Instead of photographing little girls in pink dresses and flowery hats, PPA Photographer Kate Parker helps her daughters find their confidence. Through photography, Parker's daughters show their tough side - redefining the term "pretty".

Three Little Letters... Big Meaning.

TREAT YOUR PSYCHE: "Why become certified?" PPA photographer Suan Goralski tells all! Read about her journey on the CPP path and find out what it takes to become a certified professional photographer. It might involve a side effect that helps with you beyond the client perception's rationale... just read on!

When More Is More: Photography and Doing Away With Subtlety

INSPIRATION: Is less more? "If less is more, just think how more that will be!" Where do you draw the line? When intensifying and balancing the right elements, your work will stand out among the crowd. Check out this work and get inspired by this photographer's brave lunge into the bold.

100 Ideas That Changed Photography

REINVENTION: From camera obscura to the iPhone, Fine Art Professor Mary Marien explains the evolution of photography through her book "100 Ideas That Changed Photography". Through this article, catch the highlights of significant historical artifacts that pushed photography toward the art it is today.

5 Steps To Realizing Successful Passion Projects

PHOTOGRAPHY PASSION: In the mini-documentary, "Updating Philosophies", film makers Jared Levy and Justin Hamilton share their secrets about how to get booked for the work you WANT to do. Watch the short video and follow their 5 simple steps to start living your dream.

What's photography blogs do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop! Also, you can email your suggestions directly to OnlineContentCommittee@PPA.com.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Copyright category from April 2015.

Copyright: March 2015 is the previous archive.

Copyright: May 2015 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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