Getty Images Sues Microsoft Citing A “Massive Infringement” Of Copyrighted Images

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Getty Images has officially filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, accusing the tech giant of infringing copyright laws on millions of images from Getty’s online collection. On August 22, Microsoft unveiled the Bing Image Widget to the public, which allows anyone to embed images they find using Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine, using a simple code which is supplied by Microsoft. Once search parameters have been entered into Bing’s Image Widget generator, the code can simply be copied and pasted for use on any website, commercial or otherwise, and will display the images yielded from the search results.
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US Copyright Office: Photos Taken by Animals Have No Copyright. Nor Do Photos Taken by God.

Two weeks ago, the story of the selfie-taking monkey gave me what I had thought was the best article title I was ever going to get to right. I was wrong. This is the best article title that I’ve ever gotten to write.

For those who missed it, around the beginning of this month Wikipedia was caught in a bit of controversy for its ruling on photographs taken by a monkey with photographer David Slater’s camera, saying that Slater had no copyright to them since he wasn’t their photographer. In a update to the story equally as bizarre as the story itself, the US Copyright Office released a 1,222-page document establishing new policies and reaffirming existent stances set on copyright law; touching on the subject at hand, the Office basically said that a picture taken by a monkey is unclaimed intellectual property.

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The Ins and Outs of Using On-Line Photos

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A few months ago, a friend of mine was scrolling through a photography website when he saw something that made him jump out of his chair. There on the screen was a photo of his 6-year-old daughter– sitting on the grass under a stunning summer sky in her beautiful pink dress, having a tea party with her stuffed animals and three kittens. There were several problems with the photo. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, my friend had not taken or posted this particular photo of his daughter. In his original photo, the sky was overcast, the dress was yellow, and his daughter– who is actually dangerously allergic to cats– was enjoying a quiet moment alone. More importantly, however, the person who created this composite had never asked for permission to use the original. Needless to say, my friend was more than a little pissed off and immediately set to the task of tracking down the photographer and “politely asking” that the image be taken down immediately. It took a while, but the photographer eventually complied.

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Wikimedia: Because the Monkey Pressed the Shutter, It Owns the Picture

The two pictures above were taken by British nature photographer David Slater in 2011, when a black macaque walked over to him and hijacked his camera, proceeding to take numerous amounts of selfies. With the pictures going viral, they found themselves on Wikimedia’s Commons page, where they’ve been available as public domain. The problem? When David Slater requested the pictures be taken down, Wikimedia refused – the reason being that because it was the animal pressing the shutter, the photo didn’t actually belong to him.

It’s safe to say that Wikimedia might be going a bit bananas (I’m sorry.) here, because what they’re basically saying is that since the monkey took the picture, it owns the copyright.

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Can I Use That Picture? This Flowchart Helps You Demystify Copyright Law

UPDATE: the chart was wrong in in more than one way, we took it down. You can still see the original link in the article, but I do not suggest following its advice, you can read more about it here.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding copyright law and when it’s okay or not okay to use photographs that are not your own. Fortunately, Curtis Newbold, AKA The Visual Communications Guy, created this handy flowchart to help you assess when, why, and where you can use certain photographs. If you find yourself frequently questioning the legality (or morality) of resharing an awesome photo you came across on the internet, you may want to bookmark the chart for quick access.

The flowchart  (click here for a big version) makes it easy to understand the differences between Copyright, Fair Use, Creative Commons, and Public Domain–four topics which are often the source of great confusion.  On the flipside of things, the chart may also be useful to photographers who wonder about their own photographs and the purposed in which others may redistribute them.

[ The Visual Communications Guy via PetaPixel, lifehacker]

Protect Your Photos From Rights Grabbing

10269317_10152399728853397_554368261949275458_oOver the weekend, the team at VOTogs posted an article revealing a government organization potentially taking advantage of photographers via rather sneaky means. The Vivid Sydney arts and cultural event, headed by Destination NSW, naturally has a Facebook page (screen-captured with the lead image) where people can find all the necessary information about the event. This is all pretty casual, but what got the VOTOGs (and us) is that hidden away on the About page was a set of terms in addition to Facebook’s Terms in which it was stated that members of the public posting photographs on the Facebook page in effect gave Destination NSW the license to use said photographs in any way they saw fit, free of charge, for as long as they wished. [Read more...]

How a Band Responded in the Most Immature Manner Possible After Stealing a Photographer’s Work

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It’s a sad reality for small business photographers that there will be times where their work is stolen by others. Most of the time they’ll barely be able to fight it, either, and they’ll drop charges just because they can’t go on with them.

But its not everyday that you hear about that work being stolen by other artists.

That’s what happened to Rohan Anderson, a photographer from Australia whose work was just recently posted on the Facebook page of a band called The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Featuring one of the band’s guitarists, the photo was cropped, filtered, and put up on the page with nothing other than the caption “SHREDDER.” [Read more...]

Why Registering Your Copyright Matters

Copyright infringement is one of those problems that never seems to go away. It doesn’t seem to matter how well we educate our clients or the general public. Unfortunately, there will always be people–photographers included– who just don’t seem to get it. Clients think that purchasing a photo grants them eternal, all-encompassing rights to whatever they choose to do with our work, wherever they choose to do it. People have it in their heads that just because a photo shows up in a Google Images search, that this somehow makes it open season for use on their websites, newsletters, blogs, and Facebook posts

As photographers, we know that we need to protect our work from all of these varying degrees of infringement. Unfortunately, too many photographers don’t take the relatively easy steps to adequately protect themselves from the unauthorized use of their hard work.

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10 Good Reasons BuzzFeed Is Going To Pay My F#$king Invoice For Copyright Theft*

BuzzfeedLast week (although by the time I post this it’ll be two weeks) BuzzFeed posted a highly successful “listical” 18 Everyday Products You’ve Been Using Wrong], it went viral and you can see why. The list is useful, involving household items some of which you probably use on a daily basis and has that “of course!” level of enlightenment.

And when I say “highly successful” I mean their most viewed post in way over two months, here’s a recent top 5…

  1. 18 Everyday Products You’ve Been Using Wrong – 4,239,456
  2. 21 Painfully Awkward Band Photos – 2,920,505
  3. 28 Things That Happened After The Harry Potter Books Ended – 2,615,219
  4. Will Smith’s Family Reacting To Miley Cyrus Is Perfect – 1,733,798
  5. 17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand – 1,374,124

We’ll get back to it being one of it’s most successful pages and why this is important in a moment. But first this is where my problem with this list comes in, down at number 14…

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…where they used my copyrighted photo without permission. [Read more...]

A Great Lecture About Photography and The Copyright Law

There are a lot of misconceptions about photography and copyright. Some of the more common questions (and wrong answers – at least on the net) concern copyright ownership, photo usage, online usage, fair use and licensing.

Others concern model releases, invoicing & payments (and their relations to copyrights) and legal documents and wordings.

Jack Reznicki and Ed Greenberg A.K.A The Copyright Zone (and authors the Photographer’s Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age) have a great lecture on B&H indepth blog.

It is a one hour and fifty minutes long lecture, but it clears a lot of the questions and misconceptions around the subject of copyrights and well worth the time watching it.

[The Copyright Zone Guys | BH Event Space Videos] [Read more...]