White House Copyright Crackdown: No Help To Still Photographers

Posted on 3/17/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The White House has proposed sweeping revisions to the U.S. copyright law, but the changes discussed in the 20-page white paper (PDF) do very little, if anything, to help still photographers.
The Obama administration is focused on counterfeit drugs and “illegal streaming of content", both important issues, but unlikely to benefit photographers in any way.
The White House wants in increase U.S. Sentencing Guidelines for “theft of trade secrets”… “trademark and copyright offenses when infringing products are knowingly sold for use in national defense”…”intellectual property offenses committed by organized criminal enterprises” and “intellectual property offenses that risk death or serious bodily injury.”

All these are good reasons for strengthening the laws. But, even if Congress acts it would do little to help photographers when someone uses an image on a personal web site, or a small business owner uses an image in a brochure, or even when a book publisher prints hundreds of thousands more copies of a book than the license authorized.

There is still hope that once legislation is introduced in Congress amendments might be included that would benefit still photographers, but the White House won’t be fighting for such changes.

The report was prepared by Victoria Espinel, the first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, who received Senate confirmation in December 2009. The usual copyright hawks, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, applauded the paper, which grew out of a joint strategic plan that Vice President Biden and Espinel announced in June 2010.

Copyright © 2011 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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