Yesterday I watched a very interesting and educational video posted at BH’s Youtube channel by the Copyright Zone guys. In case you haven’t heard about them, an intellectual property lawyer, Ed Greenberg, and a commercial photographer, Jack Reznicki, joined forces in an effort to illustrate and educate, the many creatives out there, about the importance of copyright . The video is an interesting opportunity to get the real McCoy about copyright from seasoned veterans from both, legal and creative side, and to promote their just released book The Copyright Zone: A Legal Guide For Photographers and Artists In The Digital Age.
Their presentation is lengthy, about an hour and a half, but well worth it ; a must watch if you’re interested in protecting your creative work.
Many of us don’t stop and think the dimension our copyright has while producing creative work for hire and for ourselves. I had my fare share of clients requesting source files that were never discussed, nor negotiated, while signing a contract.
As creators of content, it’s very easy to give out to the temptation of sharing your work instantly with others. The easy access to vast and massive electronic social platforms, makes it too easy to neglect and properly protect and shield your work from theft.
That’s exactly the point I’m trying to get across :
Technology can be your worst enemy. An almighty double edge sword.
Not long ago I heard a somewhat successful photographer to rave about the wonderful new features of his latest camera. Among them, the possibility to post event and wedding pictures immediately to social media. This was, he claimed, a great way to attract new clients that are in the ‘now’ and follow event’s hash-tag.
Awesome, yes I though, but, wait a minute… once you post the images out there, even in low resolution, they are gone; someone can use your work for free.
I guess this clearly defines the type of business you are and set yourself in. An event photographer is only looking for the next gig and a repeated clientele – who very much appreciate this sort of over-the-top exposure for their event, thus the photographer neglects a proper protection of the copyright in exchange of immediate gratification of its audience.
A studio photographer, on the other hand, might only be constrained by the expense of running its business out of rented or acquired facilities and could have a completely opposite approach as the event photographer business model.
Professional’s work, and its reproduction, is the main bread and butter of its business.
When a camera offers you to immediately post content to social media or photo sharing sites, they’re many factors involved with the protection of this content (who owns the rights once you agree to their EULA ?) Many websites claim to own the rights of the content you upload simply because you’re using their servers, bandwidth and platform.
Without a copyright certification by the copyright office, your content might lack the proper protection and jurisdiction to be guarded from plagiarism and reproduction without your authorization.