Copyright Small Claims Court: The Good and Not-so-good for Photographers

danielCopyright

copyright small claims court

Photographers would do well to familiarize themselves with the popular law school mantra, “There is no right without a remedy.” The United States has strong copyright laws protecting artists from theft. In practice, however, the high costs of taking cases to court often prevents them from enjoying these rights.

A number of photography associations, most notably the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), have lobbied for a copyright small claims court to make it easier for photographers to bring cases. The resulting legislation is bill H.R. 5757, or the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2016 (CASE Act of 2016).

What will a copyright small claims court mean for photographers and the industry? Unlike others who have reported on the CASE Act without actually reading it, we tracked down and read all 53 pages of the legislation. Here’s our take on the good and the not-so-good.

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danielCopyright Small Claims Court: The Good and Not-so-good for Photographers

Introducing Pixsy Takedowns

danielNews

At Pixsy, we believe you should have control over when, where and how your work is used. We’ve helped tens of thousands of photographers claim compensation for the unauthorized commercial use of their work, but this is still a small fraction of image theft. Many photographers asked, “What about the rest of the web?”

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danielIntroducing Pixsy Takedowns

Not Just Trump: 4 Famous Politicians Who Stole from Photographers

GrahamCopyright

This time last year, Donald Trump cheerfully gloated that he had just bought his own campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again”.

“I’ve even copyrighted it, can you believe it?” Nobody else can use it,” he said.

Actually Mr. Trump, you “trademarked” the phrase, not “copyrighted” it – there’s a world of legal difference between the two.

It’s fitting that the Republican presidential nominee misunderstands copyright law even when he’s on the right side of it. His campaign’s flagrant “borrowing” of images, music and even speeches continues to make news headlines and inspire hashtags. Although the sheer number of copyright cases against him is excessive, they’re surprisingly not that out of place in mainstream American politics.

Trump’s got a lot of troubles when it comes to intellectual property, but as the following cases make clear he’s far from being the only infringer. These would-be lawmakers can play the honest politician as much as they like out on the campaign trail — taking office is never an excuse to steal photos.

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GrahamNot Just Trump: 4 Famous Politicians Who Stole from Photographers

Should photographers ever work for free?

GrahamBusiness of Photography

Photographers should not work for free

Would an accountant file taxes for free? Is your barber throwing you a free haircut soon? So why are photographers asked to work for free?

Every photographer knows the drill: “It will be a great opportunity to build your portfolio,” and “We don’t have a budget for photos.” Given the strong competition in photography, it’s tempting to accept requests for free work.  We strongly discourage working without compensation, but when a Pixsy employee was recently asked by a friend to do a small shoot for free, we wondered how photographers should handle these situations. So we gathered a panel of industry experts and asked then one question: is it ever OK to ask a photographer to work for free?

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GrahamShould photographers ever work for free?

Why Photography Matters to Me

NadiaPhotography, Pixsy Photographers

Photo: Nicholas Goodden

One urban photographer’s incredibly honest & sincere story of how he became a respected professional || Photo: Nicholas Goodden

Why do you shoot? When did it all start? Nicholas Goodden, a professional London photographer named one of the 20 Most Influential Street Photographers in 2015, found these questions to be the most difficult ones to answer. That is until he wrapped up his thoughts and experiences into this incredibly honest story of his journey to photography. It helped him get through some of the toughest times in his life and re-discover himself. We couldn’t resist sharing his story with you. 

I kept this post as a draft for months unsure if I should publish it since it discusses things and events that aren’t very easy to share. Just like everything else I write, I hope it can inspire / help at least one person from my personal life experience.

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NadiaWhy Photography Matters to Me

Image rights: A review of the basics for photographers

danielCopyright

ImageRights

Ever wonder why stock photo agencies are so strict about model releases?

Whenever you shoot a photo of a recognizable person, the individual in the photo has a separate set of image rights. Photographers are sometimes surprised to learn that owning the copyright to a photo does not give them all the rights to their work. In many situations, the people depicted in a work also have control over how it is used, and in some countries these rights may not even let you publish a photo without the subject’s permission.

Here’s an review of image rights in several countries and how they apply to photography.

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danielImage rights: A review of the basics for photographers

10 Cases That Show How Complicated Copyright Law Really Is

GrahamCopyright, Photography Tips

copyright photography cases

From derivative images to posting other people’s photos on social media, the following cases stretch the very limits of photography copyright law.

When photographers think about image theft, copy-and-paste is the first thing that comes to mind. But there’s a lot more to copyright than direct copying, and copyright is only one component of photography law. We spoke with several of our copyright attorneys and researchers to identify these interesting cases that demonstrate the complexity of this legal field.

Note: We mostly chose United States cases to keep things consistent. We promise that copyright is equally complicated (and different) elsewhere in the word.

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Graham10 Cases That Show How Complicated Copyright Law Really Is

Where do all those “WTF” stock photos come from?

GrahamBusiness of Photography, Photography

cyber corn woman stock photo

The “Cyber Woman with Corn” still remains one of the most well known and bemusing stock photos of all time. || Image: Andjress Pidjass

Did you ever come across a stock photo and wonder, “What was that photographer thinking???” Dozens of communities and blogs post examples of “WTF” stock photos on a daily basis, and up until now, no one has ever investigated how these seemingly bizarre stock photos were made. We tracked down and interviewed the photographers behind several of the most viral stock photos to find out.

We not only found out that many of these “bad” photos sell quite well, but also learned more about how important ingenuity, creativity and a willingness to take chances are in stock photography.

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GrahamWhere do all those “WTF” stock photos come from?

The Top 5 Photography Forums and Communities

GrahamBusiness of Photography, Photography, Photography Tips

photography forums and communities

Even if you have an established portfolio and plenty of work in your schedule, a photographer should always find time to befriend and engage with other skilled professionals.

A good online photography community can be an excellent way for finding new clients, and an even better resource for learning the finer details of setting up a shot, editing images or negotiating pay. Even better, all the information is first hand and comes directly from personal experience.

The following are the 5 favourite online communities used by Pixsy’s photographers. After trying out and posting a little bit in each of them, we’ve made a list of their most unique features, as well as their biggest pro’s and con’s.

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GrahamThe Top 5 Photography Forums and Communities

Why do so many realtors steal photos?

NadiaBusiness of Photography, Copyright

image theft in real estate photography

Different photographic industries are going to be more prone to photo theft – but why is real estate one of the worst hit?

Sometimes we’re asked if copyright infringement is more common in certain areas of photography than others. Image theft occurs in every field, but we’ve been surprised at how often it occurs in real estate photography. According to our case management team, over 7% of all infringement cases we handled this year alone were connected to real estate.

Is there a reason for this? We took a look at some of the worst infringements in real estate photography and identified three reasons why real estate photographers have their images stolen more often.

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NadiaWhy do so many realtors steal photos?