In an ongoing trend of protests against strict photo contracts for music photographers, Quebec newspaper le Soleil sent a cartoonist to illustrate a Foo Fighters concert. The publication called the contract one of the harshest it had seen, citing passages that require photographers to surrender copyrights to their images, giving the band the ability to use images in any media without permission or payment. Read more
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A vast majority of Members of the European Parliament have voted to remove wording from a current copyright reform proposal that may have caused a lot of trouble for photographers. The proposal would have required photographers who would create or use images that feature buildings or public artwork under copyright to obtain permission to do so. Read more
The right to use pictures taken in a public place is under threat by a European Parliament proposal for the harmonization of copyright laws across the region. Buried in a complex set of amendments is the idea that the automatic Freedom of Panorama be removed from those countries that maintain it, so that copyright holders of permanent artworks and buildings will need to authorize commercial use of pictures that include their works. Read more
In case you missed it, Taylor Swift, one of the most successful commercial pop stars of all time, recently penned an angry Tumblr post aimed at the soon-to-be-launched streaming service Apple Music. She called for Apple to respect the rights of creatives. However, commercial photographer Jason Sheldon found this statement to be more than a little hypocritical. Read more
In 1984, photographer Jacobus Rentmeester photographed a then college-enrolled Michael Jordan for Time Magazine. The image was later licensed and ultimately reshot by Nike, who eventually used the reshot version as the basis for their Jordan 'Jumpman' logo. Rentmeester is now suing Nike for copyright infringement, but does he have a case? Continue reading
Update: A report issued by the US Copyright Office takes Wikimedia's side in a debate between a nature photographer and the organization. According to the report, the 'selfie' captured by a black crested macaque on David Slater's camera cannot by copyrighted since it was created by an animal. On a trip to Indonesia in 2011, Slater, a nature photographer was photographing the monkey when it grabbed his camera and proceeded to take hundreds of pictures of itself. Wikimedia defended a decision to keep the image in its database when Slater cried foul. Read more
Back in 2012, Jesse Chen - now an engineer at Facebook, but then a fresh graduate - wrote a blog post. In that post he explains how to get rid of the 'ugly copyright overlay' typically used in image proofs, posted online or sent out by professional photographers after events. Essentially a short guide to image theft, the post went unnoticed at the time, but two years later it has come back to haunt Chen, creating a storm of righteous anger from photographers on social media. Read more
Heard the one about the sculptor awarded over half a million dollars because a stamp was made including a war memorial he'd designed? At first that may sound surprising, but reading the court's judgement (and the rejections of the various defenses put forward by the US Postal Service), is an informative lesson about copyright and fair use. Click here to read more.
The UK Intellectual Property Office has issued a 'myth-busting' document about the effect on photographers of a newly-introduced law. The law includes new rules regulating the use of 'orphan works' - intellectual property whose copyright holder cannot be identified. This has led to concern that the changes will allow UK companies to use copyright material from anywhere in the world without the approval of the copyright holder.
US photographer Brian Masck has filed suit against several parties over unauthorized and unpaid use of a photograph he shot 22 years ago that has since become an iconic image recognizable to almost any US sport fan. Among the defendants is the subject of the photo himself, Desmond Howard, who used the image on his own website.
A dispute between Canadian pro photographer, Barbara Ann and Ottawa radio station HOT 89.9 illustrates the problematic climate in which companies often turn to the Internet for free photographic images. Someone at the radio station found, via a Google search, a wedding photo that was then used as part of a Keynote slide presentation made to potential advertisers. When contacted by the photographer, the station removed the image but the two parties remain far apart on an agreement over compensation. (via PetaPixel)
A major copyright reform bill came into effect today in Canada, granting photographers copyright of all of their photographs - regardless of whether they have been commissioned. Previously, copyright on photographs belonged to the commissioner of the images, not to the photographer, transferrable only by a written contract. One of the stated goals of the law is to 'give photographers the same rights as other creators'. Click through for more details (via PetaPixel).
Amateur Photographer magazine has published an interesting story about a copyright infringement case of similar, but not directly copied, images. The issue of copyright is thorny, contentious and often misunderstood but this case sheds some light on the current attitude of courts in the UK. Despite significant differences between the two images (there was no implication that the second image was a duplicate of the first), the court found that the second image copied substantially from the 'creative expression' of the first (that is the elements that can be protected by copyright in the original image, including a consideration of the composition, lighting and processing of the image).
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