So You Got An Invoice From My Lawyer Asking To Pay Up For The Photo You Stole…

gracias-por-nada-pal

Dear Asshole Friend,

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t responded back to your emails asking me to call off my lawyers. You are, after all, just a well-intentioned corporation doing your best to help out me–the little guy, the starving artist.

I understand that photo licensing can get pretty expensive and may not fall within everyone’s budget. Certainly, with your company selling only $10,000,000 in product a year, how could you afford to pay the $275 my agency and I ask for to use one of my images. And you needed four of them! Gasp! I see why you thought it would be better just to take them from my website and use them without asking. The point of you even putting my photos up on your for-profit commerce site was “only to promote” me anyways, surely you wouldn’t be making any money off my work. Nah, no way. All those product links and advertisements to your own inventory were totally just on there for funsies. Your numbers speak for themselves, no one’s buying that stuff… [Read more…]

New EU Proposal Could Make It Impossible To Take Photos In Public

freedom-of-panorama

Will public photography soon be impossible in Europe?  A new proposal being submitted in the European Union parliament may mean almost that.

Freedom of Panorama” is a a term we don’t hear frequently, but its importance is vital to the photography community.  In short, Freedom of Panorama is a part of copyright law that gives individuals the freedom to create works of art (whether they be paintings, family snapshots, professional images, videos, etc.) in public.  The specifics vary from country to country, but, in many places around the world, this is allowed for both personal and commercial use.

However, opponents within the EU want to pass legislation removing this freedom in all European countries.  This would mean that, when taking any photograph or creating a video in public, you must obtain the permission of the copyright holder for any copyrighted work that may appear in it, including buildings, landmarks, and works of art.

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A Guide to Plagiarism and Theft in Photography

plagiarism-in-photography

In 2013 my most popular article (by some distance) was the story of how my most successful image was plagiarised in a rather unusual way; a photographer had recreated the image from scratch. It seemed to me to be a bit of a grey area and I was unsure where I stood legally. The photographer hadn’t stolen my image and wasn’t selling his recreation, but he had stolen my idea and that is intellectual property theft. The problem was resolved rather quickly and painlessly in the end but in that regard, I was one of the lucky ones. It did, however, prompt me to write a comprehensive guide on the subject after I could only find very segmented information spread over several websites. I wanted the relevant information all in one place in an ordered fashion and as that wasn’t possible, I decided to create it myself.

This guide is in 3 major parts; prevention, detection and reaction. Firstly, how to prevent or deter plagiarism or theft of your images. Secondly, how to detect and identify any images or ideas that have been stolen – the internet is vast and finding your images where you hadn’t put them is a daunting task. Finally, the various ways in which you can react if you find one or more of your images or ideas have been stolen.

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Photographer Sues EliteDaily Over Unauthorised Use Of Photos

menzel1EliteDaily, one of the top 1000 most visited websites in the world, is being sued by photographer Peter Menzel. On April 15, 2014, the viral content website ran an article titled, “See The Incredible Differences In The Daily Food Intake Of People Around The World (Photos)”. The article was centered around Peter Menzel and his wife Faith D’Aluisio. The pair of photographers had previously published a book of their work titled: What I Eat: Around the world in 80 Diets. EliteDaily allegedly took over two dozen photos from the project and used them in their article without permission. In at least one instance, going so far as to remove a copyright notice from the one of the images. [Read more…]

Vivian Maier’s Portfolio Faces Uncertain Future As Her Estate Enters Complicated Legal Battle

Vivian Maier...A Life Uncovered by Thomas Leuthard

Vivian Maier…A Life Uncovered by Thomas Leuthard

A state public administrator’s office in Chicago, Illinois has issued letters to several individuals in possession of Vivian Maier photographs and negatives, informing them of possible lawsuits they could be facing over any money they earned from selling Maier’s work. Among the recipients of the letter were several galleries and John Maloof, an individual who owns a lionshare of original Maier works with a collection of negatives in the tens of thousands, which he bought for $400.

When Maloof acquired the negatives in 2007, he hired a genealogist to help track down any heirs of the mysterious photographer. He was able to locate Sylvain Jaussaud, whom was considered by experts to be Maeir’s closest living heir as a first cousin once removed. Maloof and Jaussaud reached an undisclosed agreement in which Maloof would assume the rights to the negatives. Maloof then filed an application to register his copyright, which is currently still pending one year after being filed. [Read more…]

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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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]

Walmart’s Latest Classless Move: Suing a Photographer’s Widowed Wife

Picture taken from Walmart Corporate on Flickr.

Picture taken from Walmart Corporate on Flickr.

It’s amazing how perfect the narrative of this story is; Americans love suing, and who not better to be the plaintiff than one of our country’s biggest corporations? Walmart, a company that builds breeding grounds for American stereotypes (and supermarkets), is filing a lawsuit against the wife of a now-deceased photographer. What’s the dispute? They want the rights to photographs taken by the late husband and his father of the Walton family themselves.

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Amazon’s New Patent: Why We Should Probably Chill Out

amazon-seamless-white

There’s been news circulating around of a new patent Amazon’s recently secured itself with, and it sounds a bit ridiculous when you take a look at the headlines coming out. For those who don’t know, Amazon basically patented a type of photography where one light is shining straight at the subject, along with light completely filling the background; in other words, seamless white background photography.

The patent was granted back in March, but news of this made the rounds just yesterday, angering many voices in the online photography community. The good news, however, is that there might not be that much cause for concern in the first place.

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