Have you ever been hosed in a copyright dispute? If so, we'd bet that even just the thought of copyright infringement is enough to make your blood boil. Ours too. That little circled letter © sure does come in handy, though. So do PPA's copyright resources and contracts.
Let's take a closer look at our copyright resources. There are good reasons why they are one of the most coveted PPA benefits.
Look, we know that when emotions run high it can be difficult to get your point across in a professional manner. It happens to all of us! But before you press "send" on that angry response email because your client's request is unacceptable, take a step back and even call or email us if needed. Here, take a look at how we can help.
If you find yourself having to defend your copyrights, PPA has created a handful of letters that will help you stand your ground with poise and authority. Check them out in theLoop's Copyright Q&A Community library. You'll find everything from a standard "cease and desist" letter to samples that help with specific types of infringements, like a client who has violated their licensing agreement.
These letters certainly aren't the only way PPA has your back. Know that you're never alone in addressing an infringement. If you need us, just call 800-786-6277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter the situation, PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Department is here to provide assistance, general advice or a quick pep talk before you react.
When it comes to contracts, it doesn't matter if you're dealing with a friend, family member or a strict business relationship, it's critical to take the time to document the assignment details. These details include your responsibilities as the photographer and their responsibilities as the client. Putting these items on paper will help keep everyone honest, and provide you with an additional layer of protection should you, or your client, need to call an aspect of the project into question.
But a contract should include more than just contact, session, payment, and order information. It's your opportunity to explain your studio's policies, like copyright ownership, and what it means to work with you as a photographer. It's also your client's opportunity to let you know what they expect from you/the session and acknowledge their understanding of the foundation you've laid down.
Your client is coming to you for your professional expertise, so don't be afraid to ask them to sign on the dotted line. No need to be shy! It's just as much for their protection as it is for yours (it's never a bad idea to make sure they understand that too). If you need help developing your contract "tool kit" PPA has a hefty library of samples available for you to download. We also have two free Webinars that will guide you on how to craft and enforce your agreements.
Just think of a contract as the ultimate "To Do" list.
It's hard to stay up-to-date on copyright laws and your rights as a photographer and it's probably not the thing you can't wait to dive in to when you have a little bit of downtime. But lucky for you, PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Department has come up with a handy Copyright Kit to answer all sorts of questions, and some you might not even know you had. The kit covers steps you can take to protect your copyrights, best practices of marking your images, and a quick reference guide to the most common copyright questions.
We're going to stress this one a bit...PLEASE make sure you utilize these copyright resources. They are available at no charge to you and exist only to protect you and your work; ignoring them would be doing your business a disservice. Let us help you! It's what we're here for.