Copyright law for Photographers

While reading Geetesh Bajaj’s Powerpoint blog on his excellent Indezine website, I came across a Powerpoint presentation that I think would be useful to all media producers who struggle with copyright and licensing issues.

The powerpoint presentation deals exclusively with copyright infringement as it pertains to photography and is the work of PACA (the Picture Archive Council of America ). It lays out the basic copyright law but it is the case studies that are included that really make this document worth your time. You get to see actual infringement cases, what the infringement charges were, and you can see side-by-side, the actual photograph and the infringement photograph. Other points…there is no fixed % an image can be changed to avoid infringement. That is a common myth that circulates within design studios.

The presentation deals with Fair Use, the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act), ISP Safe Harbor and the public domain. All in all, it’s a really good document to know about if you are ever unsure about your usage of a photo or any other work which you want to use but don’t own the rights to.

A good take-away from this presentation that I would emphasize is that often permission and licensing is easily obtainable directly from the source. In other words, instead of going into competition against a photographer, by recreating a photo (the composition), it is cheaper in the long run to contact the creator and obtain permission to create a derivitive work.

The PACA presentation can be downloaded here

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  1. Pingback: Copyright » Blog Archive » Victory for First-amendment review of copyright law

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