Our January speaker, Ruth Carter, Esq., is an attorney in Phoenix specializing in intellectual property issues. Her concise and straight forward presentation outlined the nature of copyrights as well as the options available when someone violates the copyright rules. Here are the key points made during her presentation.
What is a copyright? The rights you have in your work the moment you
1.) have an original work of authorship 2.)published in a tangible media
What rights does a copyright give you?
1.) The right to copy
2.) The right to distribute
3.) The right to display
4.) The right to perform
5.) The right to make derivative works
How long does a copyright lasts?
If the copyright is credited to a person, is lasts the life of that person + 70 years
If the copyright is credited to a company, it lasts 120 years
If someone steals your work, what options do you have?
1.) Cease and desist letter
2.) Invoke the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (notice to the website hosting the stolen image)
3.) Sue – in order to sue, the work must be registered. See www.copyright.gov for more info.
a. Works can be registered either individually or as a collection. It sounds like the guidelines for registering a collection have gotten more restrictive from what I heard some time ago (now requiring a common thread or theme to the included pieces). Also, the ability to collect on a copyright violation may be limited if the pieces involved are part of a collection rather than individually registered works.
4.) Send a bill
5.) Grant permission (and forgiveness)
Ruth stressed the importance of reacting to any instance of copyright violation. If you don’t, a pattern of assumed consent could limit your claim.
Now … what about work that’s sold, not stolen? Ruth gave these tips for contracts:
Contracts are relationship management comments. They should always include:
1.) The parties involved
2.) What the contract is for
3.) The scope of the project
4.) A dispute resolution clause
5.) Who owns the copyright at the end of the project
6.) The rights of the non-owner of the copyright (limited scope of use)
a. If the original owner wants to transfer the copyright, the transaction must be in writing and signed by both parties
4 Contracts a Photographer Should Have:
1.) The contract with the client
a. Allow for the use of images for marketing purposes
b. Maintain the copyright
2.) Second Shooter Contract
a. Who owns the copyright to the images and when?
3.) Model Release
4.) Licensing Agreement
a. Stating the terms of the agreement
b. Define limited use permissions
Thanks to PAC and all the PAC Sponsors including Bay Photo, Think Tank, and Vivyx Printing for another entertaining and informative session.