Well it’s been a while since I had a good old fashioned death threat – so here we go with another post on Copyrights. I’ve read a great deal on the Internet about the so-called “Culture of Sharing.” In a world full of nice, honest people, that would be great. But sorry, the world I […]

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I am frankly shocked to learn that most photographers don’t really have a clue when it comes to their rights under Copyright law.

I am NOT shocked to learn that most of the online community is equally ill-informed.

To help set the record straight, I am publishing the information that I personally rely on when making decisions about Copyright. I am not giving legal advice. I am sharing the information that I have received from my attorneys. You should contact a licensed attorney if you have any questions. To that end, I’ll close comments on this post.

The goal of this post is to clear up misconceptions about Copyright law. This is NOT a request for a debate on Copyright. Copyright offers serious legal protection to photographers, and it does so regardless of whether or not people agree with the concept. Continue reading

It’s a fact that many people do not understand the concept of Copyrights. In fact, some people have never heard any explanation for the word. Some Copyright infringement is the result of downright evil folks who would rather steal than pay their fair share. But a good portion of it is simple ignorance. One way […]

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For our US audience concerned about protecting their images from Copyright infringement, you should be a aware that a new “Orphan Works” bill is working its way through the US Congress. This bill could substantially weaken your rights when it comes to protecting your photos from unauthorized use. A group of interested parties has created […]

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Disclaimer: I am not a practicing attorney. I advise anyone reading this who needs legal advice to seek out and hire an attorney. In this blog post, I am detailing exactly how I register my Copyrights and summarizing conversations I’ve had with my attorneys, and the advice they’ve given to me. Use this information at your own risk. Your situation may differ from mine. When in doubt, seek legal counsel.

Additionally, this post is written from the point of view of a US citizen applying US law. If you reside outside of the US, there are likely to be different laws governing your ownership of creative works, although many foreign countries are signatories to the US Copyright Act.

In light of the recent Flickr/Myxer mess, I decided it’s time to talk about registering your copyrights. It’s the single most important thing you can do to protect your rights as a photographer.

You’ve heard it a million times. A photo is “copyrighted” when you press the shutter button. According to my attorney and other attorneys I have interviewed, this is absolutely true. Unfortunately, this doesn’t offer you much real world protection.

Title 17 of the United States Code (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/) covers US Copyrights. You should be familiar with this code since it governs your rights and responsibilities as a Copyright holder.

According to several attorneys that I interviewed for this piece;

When you own a copyright, you get:
To reproduce the copyrighted work;
To display the copyrighted work publicly;
To prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work; and
To distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale, rental or lending, and/or to display the image.

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Recently, it’s come to light that Flickr’s API allows companies to get ready access to your Copyrighted images for the purpose of redistribution. Many blogs have already commented on this, generating much discussion. To put my post into context, please go read those posts/comments and then return to hear my take.

Jim Goldstein on How Every Flickr Photo Ended up On Sale This Weekend.

Phototrade Blog with It Is Your Fault I steal Your Photos. Accept it. Please.

FocalPower wrote Who Controls Your Photos Online.

Plagiarism Today’s Is Flickr Letting Down its Users?

and finally

Myxer (the company which published all the photos in question here responds)

Now after you’ve read all this, (or even if you haven’t) you probably have some idea that people are not happy about someone trying to profit from their work without permission. And in my opinion, that’s valid.
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