Copyright & Legal

States Can Use Your Copyrighted Photos For Free

By Jim Pickerell | 1083 Words | Posted 9/11/2019 | Comments
Did you know that U.S. States can sometimes use your copyrighted photos for free? The case of Allen v Cooper heading to the Supreme Court in November will test this right. Rick Gell, interim Executive Director of the DMLA has interviewed the association’s  Senior Legal Counsel Nancy Wolff of CDAS to try to understand how the state of North Carolina could claim this right and why the case has gotten all the way to the Supreme Court.

House Judiciary Committee Passes CASE Act

By Jim Pickerell | 255 Words | Posted 9/11/2019 | Comments
On September 10th the House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed by voice vote the Manager's Amendment to H.R. 2426, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (CASE Act). This legislation will provide U.S. creators with a viable means for defending their copyrighted works through the creation of a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office.

Protecting Your Copyright

By Jim Pickerell | 1327 Words | Posted 8/13/2019 | Comments
Many U.S. photographers are hoping the CASE Act, a new law working its way through Congress, will help them protect their copyright and make it easier for them to go after infringers. The law will establish a Copyright Claims Board (CCB), a Small Claims court and eliminate the need to use the expensive Federal Court system to pursue infringers. Photography trade associations – ASMP, PPA, DMLA, NPPA, APA, NANPA – and other members of the Copyright Alliance have been seeking this change for over a decade.

Chasing Infringements

By Jim Pickerell | 1217 Words | Posted 8/9/2019 | Comments
Internet search technology has enabled professional photographers to discover more and more uses of their images. As a result, an increasing number of photographers are pursuing the users for compensation. Given how the system works customers who have legitimately licensed rights to use images are often required to do extra work to prove they did the right thing in the first place. This is not making these good stock agency customers happy. Some stock agencies fear that this extra hassle may drive some of their best paying customers to turn to more FREE images rather than bother with paid sources.

Small Claims May Not Save Photographers

By Jim Pickerell | 141 Words | Posted 8/9/2019 | Comments
The CASE Act which will establish a Small Claims system that targets copyright abuse is working its way through Congress. The bill has finally been passed in the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. Photographers interested in understanding some of the downsides of this bill should read this FREE Story.

Risks Of Using Free Images

By Jim Pickerell | 552 Words | Posted 7/26/2019 | Comments
Free Images may not always be FREE. There are not only big legal risks for the users, but also potential time demands on users, creators and lawyers. Most users of Free images don’t recognize the risks they may be taking. One of the big questions for professional photographers is how to help those looking for free images to understand these risks.

Selling Images Via The Internet

By Jim Pickerell | 766 Words | Posted 7/26/2019 | Comments
The Internet is a great place for selling things if the finished product must be delivered by FedEx or UPS. But if you’re trying to sell is a digital version of what you’re showing, then long range your business model doesn’t have much future. It’s too easy to “steal,” “appropriate” or whatever you want to call it.

Photo Infringers Are Mobilizing

By Jim Pickerell | 314 Words | Posted 7/15/2019 | Comments
All the people who love to grab photos they find on the Internet and use them however they please are now mobilizing to stop the U.S. Congress from passing the CASE Act that would establish a small claims court system. These millions of photo users believe they should not be restricted in any way from doing whatever they want with the property of others. Photographers need to ACT NOW.

Logos And Trademarks

By Jim Pickerell | 894 Words | Posted 6/24/2019 | Comments
Robert Kneschke’s story on Unsplash last week got me thinking about trademarks and logos. Professional photographers tell me that the inspectors for the major stock agencies – Getty, Shutterstock, AdobeStock and iStock – are increasingly rejecting photos with any identifying brand marks for fear of legal action by the brands.

Help Push Small Claims Bill Through Congress

By Jim Pickerell | 291 Words | Posted 6/20/2019 | Comments
The Copyright Alliance needs all image creators to help push the CASE Act – the bill to create a copyright small claims court for creators and small business owners – through Congress. On May 1, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) of 2019 (H.R. 2426 and S. 1273) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

Government Organizations Can Grab Photos Without Paying

By Jim Pickerell | 454 Words | Posted 6/19/2019 | Comments
The Texas Appeals court has ruled that the state can infringe upon copyright without risking punishment under the state’s or federal government’s “takings” clause. More than two years ago, photographer Jim Olive discovered that his aerial photo of the Houston skyline (titled “The Cityscape”) was being used by the University of Houston, a public university, on its website to promote its C.T. Bauer College of Business without requesting permission or making payment.

Unauthorized Use Dilemma

By Jim Pickerell | 1006 Words | Posted 6/13/2019 | Comments
A reader asked about un-vetted contributions to microstock sites. She has discovered that her work is widely copied on the Internet and says she was unaware that microstock sites allow people to post images that are not their own. She asked if I could provide a list of microstock sites that don’t follow up to determine if the person submitting images or footage really created what they are submitting. Finally, who should she chase up if there is an infringement?

Dreamstime’s Case Against Google Continues

By Jim Pickerell | 539 Words | Posted 6/10/2019 | Comments
In an opinion issued June 5th federal Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted only one part of Google’s motion for partial final judgment on the pleadings regarding the breach of contract and breach of implied covenant claims by Dreamstime.com that relate to a Google Play agreement.

PicRights Adds Partner In South Africa

By Jim Pickerell | 305 Words | Posted 6/4/2019 | Comments
PicRights, a global leader in copyright enforcement, has added a new partner in Johannesburg, South Africa to monetize copyright infringements for the world’s leading news agencies, stock image agencies and independent photographers. No other copyright compliance service offers its clients as much geographical coverage of key markets around the world.

MAXPPP Pursues Unauthorized Uses

By Jim Pickerell | 298 Words | Posted 6/4/2019 | Comments
The photo news agency MAXPPP has selected two partner companies to monitor, recover and prosecute the use of its content on the internet, the newspapers and the magazines. The goal of the partnership: to increase by at least 50% its revenues related to fraudulent uses.

Microstock – The Dark Side Of Image Licensing

By Martin Lisius | 744 Words | Posted 6/3/2019 | Comments
There are often two sides to an industry. The side the customer sees, and the "inside" that industry people see. This article is about the inside of the stock image industry and how Microstock has changed. It also offers photographers and videographers some ideas how to deal with the issues.

Small Claims Bill Moves Forward In Congress

By Jim Pickerell | 845 Words | Posted 5/8/2019 | Comments
The CASE Act (Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement) was first introduced in 2017, but the bill expired without being passed at the end of the last Congress, as is the normal process for all bills not passed. On May 1, 2019 the bill was re-introduced in both the House and the Senate.

The VCG Story Takes Another Turn

By Jim Pickerell | 1105 Words | Posted 5/8/2019 | Comments
Selling-Stock has managed to gather more information about what has been happening at VCG. According to sources sometime after the Corbis acquisition VCG decided to copy Getty’s Premium Access strategy and launch a PA plan of its own. In addition to all the Getty and Corbis creative and editorial images, the iStock images are also available to the customers who purchase a PA plan.

Fair Use Claim Rejected

By Jim Pickerell | 215 Words | Posted 5/6/2019 | Comments
On April 26, 2019, the Fourth Circuit Court overturned a Northern Virginia District Court decision that allowed Violent Hues Productions, LLC’s to use a cropped version of a photo to promote a Film and Music Festival without compensation to the creator. Violent Hues had made no effort to request permission or compensate photographer Russell Brammer for the use and claimed “Fair Use” in court. (See July 2018 story.)

Future Of Copyright In The US

By Jim Pickerell | 88 Words | Posted 4/23/2019 | Comments
On April 8, 2019 there was a roundtable discussion at the Copyright Office’s with regard to the immunity Internet Service Providers are entitled to under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act if they comply with various provisions. The content creator community has been hoping that the U.S. might follow the lead of the European Parliament and provide some additional protections for creators.

European Parliament Approves New Copyright Rules

By Jim Pickerell | 361 Words | Posted 4/2/2019 | Comments
With its “Copyright in the Digital Single Market” directive the European Parliament took a giant step last week toward empowering creatives and news publisher to negotiate with the Internet giants for a share of the revenue received as a result of their distribution of creative content they do not own. The new copyright rules also contain safeguards on freedom of expression.

Winning Copyright Infringement Cases Gets Harder

By Jim Pickerell | 161 Words | Posted 3/15/2019 | Comments
Two unanimous opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, March 4, make winning a copyright infringement case more difficult. See a full report on the Digital Media Licensing Association website here.

CEPIC Disappointed With Aspects Of EU Copyright Directive

By Jim Pickerell | 278 Words | Posted 2/25/2019 | Comments
CEPIC expresses its extreme disappointment at the EU copyright Directive as we see that last minute compromises were reached that will directly hurt CEPIC members specialized in fine art, history and vintage photography. Some of these libraries are attached to cultural institutions and contribute to their financing – this not only by “selling postcards” as the agreed compromise text implies.

EU To Modernize Copyright Rules

By Jim Pickerell | 389 Words | Posted 2/15/2019 | Comments
The European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission have come to a political agreement to make the copyright rules fit for digital era in Europe. This will bring tangible benefits to all creative sectors including the press, researchers, educators, cultural heritage institutions, and citizens.

Dreamstime vs Google

By Jim Pickerell | 431 Words | Posted 2/8/2019 | Comments
U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California recently granted Google's motion to dismiss the antitrust claim filed by Dreamstime.com LLC but allowed claims of breach of contract and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing to move forward.