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Privacy and Copyright for Photographers: What You Need to Know - Via Who Is Hosting This: The Blog

Source: http://www.whoishostingthis.com/blog/2016/05/25/privacy-photographers/

The law provides special kinds of benefits to photographers in the form of copyright and free speech rights. But it also mandates certain responsibilities regarding the rights of others — such as their privacy. We’ve put together a primer with all the relevant information.

Copyright and Photography

  • Copyright law varies in different countries
  • The following pertains to US copyright law, but is roughly the same in most countries
    • Photos are automatically copyrighted as you take them
    • Until transferring them, photographers maintain the exclusive right to
      • Copy and use photographs
      • Manage their use by others
    • Copyright lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years for images created after January 1, 1978

Your Responsibilities

  • Privacy Issues
    • Photographers don’t have absolute rights to publish anything they see through the lens. There are:
      • Privacy concerns
      • Copyright issues
    • If you are lawfully in a public space, you are allowed to photograph:
      • Buildings and other property
      • Public officials on duty
    • Generally, people’s recognizable bodies are protected automatically
      • Privacy rights protect those photographed from having images of their bodies used for commercial reasons without their permission
      • People are protected in locations they would expect to be private, such as:
        • Private home
        • Public restroom
    • Releases are contracts between the model and the photographer
      • They release the photographer from lawsuit liability for claims such as:
        • Defamation of character
        • Invasion of privacy
      • They explain how photos may be used
    • You need a release for:
      • Commercial uses such as:
        • Advertising
        • Websites
        • Promotions and posters
        • Greeting cards
        • Catalogs
      • People
        • If subjects are recognizable
          • Faces
          • Tattoos
          • Involvement in distinctive activities
    • Releases can be short and should be simple to understand
      • Depending on your needs, you may want to consult with an attorney
  • Copyright Issues
    • Objects you might photograph can be copyrighted:
      • Paintings
      • Sculpture
      • Other photographs
    • You will need to get a release to publish photos of such objects
    • Similarly, the objects’ owners would have to get your permission to use your photos of their objects
  • Exceptions
    • Editorial uses, such as newspaper or magazine articles, do not require a model release
      • Editorial uses educate and inform, and are protected by the First Amendment
      • Editorial uses can include:
        • Newspaper stories
        • Magazine articles
        • Editorial blogs
        • If in doubt, get a release

Registering Your Copyright

  • Since a copyright is automatically applied to any photo, registration is only required:
    • Before you may sue someone for copyright infringement
    • If you want greater penalties available
      • Like payment of legal fees
  • There are various ways to register your photos with the Copyright Office
    • Register online with eCO (electronic copyright office) at www.copyright.gov/eco
      • Single application: $35
        • Single author, same claimant, one work, not for hire
      • Standard application: $55
    • Or download and print Form VA (Visual Arts) at copyright.gov/forms/formva.pdf
      • Registration on paper: $85
    • Collections
      • If published, they must be a single unit
        • Calendar
        • Book
        • So on
      • Unpublished collections need to be organized and titled
      • One party must claim copyright for all photos on the application
      • One person must have produced or contributed to every photo

How to Protect Your Work

  • Nothing will completely protect your work, but these techniques will deter others:
    • Watermarks
      • Standard way for photographers to “sign” their work
      • The copyright symbol © and the first year of publication is a formal notice of your copyright
      • A clear watermark makes it easier to prove the intent of the infringer
      • It is illegal to remove a watermark or crop it out of an image
    • Metadata
      • Metadata is text information embedded in a photo file
        • Programs like Photoshop and Illustrator can add metadata to your image automatically using templates
      • It is useful to all parties to add:
        • Copyright notice
        • Photographer’s name
        • Contact information
    • Online Protection
      • Sharing only low resolution versions of your images makes copying, sharing, and printing your images less useful
      • You can change the mechanisms for online sharing, although many people frown on them:
        • Place a transparent image over the top of your copyrighted image using CSS
          • The copy+paste function will only capture the transparent image
        • JavaScript can disable the right-click function, which will make it more difficult for users to copy or download your photo
        • Software like ArtistScope, DigiMarc, and CopySafe keep control of images by disabling copy+paste, printing, and other forms of sharing and misuse
  • Make sure you own the copyright!
    • In 2011, David Slater was in Indonesia photographing macaque monkeys
    • One of them used the remote trigger and took a selfie
    • The US Copyright Office determined that the photograph could not be copyrighted since no human took the photo
      • Apparently, macaques cannot hold copyrights under US law

Other Tools and Resources

  • Use tools like Google and TinEye to do a reverse image search
    • You can find sites that are using your photos, and take appropriate action
    • You can search using an image file from your computer or an image URL
  • Creative Commons
    • Nonprofit organization that offers free copyright licenses
    • Photographers choose the conditions and allow the public to access and share their images
    • Creative Commons works alongside copyright but does not replace it
    • It allows photographers to easily change copyright terms based on their needs

What to Do When Your Copyright is Ignored

  • If you find a case of infringement, there are several steps you might want to follow:
    • Document it using
      • Screen captures and printouts
      • Archived versions of the webpage from the Wayback Machine (archive.org)
    • Contact the infringer
      • People are often unaware that they are infringing others’ copyrights
      • A simple email request is usually all that is required to get materials removed
        • Sometimes, a cease-and-desist letter from an attorney and the threat of legal action may be necessary
    • Legal action
      • Legal action can include many approaches:
      • Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) went into effect in 1998.
        • This U.S. law protects the rights of copyright holders whose work is infringed online
        • The DMCA allows you to send a DMCA takedown notice to the web host unlawfully using your copyrighted images
          • It requires them to disable access to the materials
        • You must provide full and accurate information that
          • You are the copyright owner
          • Offending site has no legal right to use the image
        • The service provider then contacts the site owner for a chance to remove the infringing image before disabling the site
        • DMCA provides for restitution of up to $25,000 for damages caused by the infringement
      • Court*
        • For an unregistered image, the copyright owner can pursue:
          • Injunctions — a court order to remove the infringing material
          • Monetary reimbursement for actual damage and lost profits
          • Impounding or disposition of the infringing articles
        • A registered image can also be awarded legal fees and statutory damages
  • International infringement
    • Copyright infringement lawsuits are dealt with in the country where the infringement took place
    • Track down the location and local copyright laws to file any claims

* This is not legal advice; the law varies by location; consult an attorney if you have questions As a photographer, you want to protect your interests as best you can. But just as important is to respect the privacy rights and copyrights of others. With a little care, all these legal details can be managed, freeing you up to pursue your art. Sources: improvephotography.com, ppa.com, creativecommons.org, photofocus.com, shutterbug.com, copyright.gov, popphoto.com, imageraider.com, technicalillustrators.org, computerhope.com, photonaturalist.net, aclu.org, apanational.com, kenkaminesky.com, danheller.com, digital-photography-school.com

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