Copyright enforcement for photographers has been a huge issue, especially since social media. Flagrant violations have become common place. Enforcement and litigation for the average photographer difficult, costly and all but impossible. This seeks to remedy that injustice. Perhaps finally a good step forward.
“Professional Photographers of America and its partners in the creative community are celebrating the passage of H.R. 2426, the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act), marking the biggest step yet in improving copyright protection under the law for small creators. The bill sailed through the House to an overwhelmingly bipartisan success with a vote of 410-6.
The CASE Act creates a small claims process for creators whose work is infringed and represents a rare bipartisan, bicameral effort on Capitol Hill. PPA has been activating its 30,000-member base to call or email their representatives in support of the bill. The bill’s central conceit is the establishment of a Copyright Claims Board that would hear and rule on small-claims copyright infringement cases worth less than $15,000. The bill is co-sponsored by 151 members including Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who introduced the bill, and ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA), along with original co-sponsors, Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
“This was a big victory,” says PPA CEO David Trust. “And an incredibly hard-fought one. It’s without question the largest grassroots campaign in the history of professional photography. But we aren’t done. So let’s take a day to celebrate, and then we’ll make preparations for the last hurdle — the Senate.”
You can’t just take a work that has copyright protection and make a Christmas greeting out of it for your business. When it is done by a business that is in a business that services and depends on copyright creators, it is really wrong.
I received this as a holiday e-mail greeting yesterday. It is from a photography rental studio, one that services professional photographers. Obviously they do not own the copyright and I suspect they did not license the copyright to this image for the use. I did send them an inquiry asking about that but they did not reply.
My guess is that they used it without so much as a passing thought. Often the case when you have newer people in your business who just think anything online is “fair game” for use. I use that term because it has been repeated to me. Usually my explanation to them about my copyrights and my defending my work in Federal Court ends that.
Anyway people who are in the business of copyright creation must lead by example. Do not use other peoples work, images, art, music or whatever just because it is online. It is not yours to do so.
By the way, my using this example in this post falls under a “Fair Use” exclusion in copyright law.
One more of my pet peeves is photography industry magazines that use really bad photographs in their magazines. Posts about that another time.
If you have been in front of my camera, you are indeed in the Library Of Congress. I do register the Copyright on my photographs. And the Library Of Congress is the repository of those registrations along with thumbnails of all of the photographs. When you think about it, that is kind of cool!
Yesterday I was made aware of yet another copyright violation of one of my photographs. The photograph was used by a company who lifted it from somewhere online for the purposes of illustration of an article which is of course to promote their business and make money. The unauthorized use was quickly resolved. But for those who think they have some knowledge of copyright based on what some people have told you or guessed online or you just think you can do what you want, guess again. You might be hearing from my attorney and then you just might find yourself being handed papers by a United States Marshal bringing you greetings from a United States District Court Judge. Thank You!