Sunday, January 5, 2014

What Does a Little Thieving Hurt?

From our friend Mark Davis:

The federal copyright law - when images are registered with the copyright office - provides damages of $150,000 per image per infringement violation - plus attorneys fees and other costs.

Images are copyrighted by the author/photographer when they are created.

Photographers generally grant a license to the end user.... just like computer software licenses.... and such use without a license is a crime.

Writers from their perspective call it plagiarism.

The pulling of images licensed for use from someone else' website and used on another website - without a license from the creator - would be considered a copyright infringement violation.

Of course, there is the chance of using the image without the creator knowledge, but the risks if caught and sued are high.

I generally will send a bill. Any amount billed after infringement less $150K is usually paid by the unauthorized user rather than going the legal route.

In addition to being a fit parent, I am a professional photographer. Once Fox News Network Bill O'Reilly program and a blogger in South Carolina used of a photograph of mine of the actor / preacher Kirk Cameron. The image was licensed only to one publication but not a third party.  Said image was on the licensed publication website. Said website included a copyright notice. The Cameron image was pulled from the licensed website and displayed on the O'Reilly Factor promoting Cameron's appearance used it.  I learned from the program producer they got it illegally from the blogger who was using it unauthorized after copying it from licensed publication website.  Both quickly paid my bill. I will add the bill was a hefty one. More than I would have billed/charged had they first sought permission.  Had they refused, I would have sued.

Most people see photographs as just that a photograph.  A photographer sees it as a work product... and consider unauthorized use of an image no different than someone stealing a product from a local department store.

Here is a qualified link of what professional photographer do if/when copyright infringement has occurred:


Now we wait and see just who sues "Busted 'N the Shoals."


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