Copyright Infringement: What Can Photographers Do About it?
As a professional photographer, have you experienced at least one of the following?
- A friend, associate, or client sends you a link to a site where they’ve seen one of your images used in an advertisement?
- You stumble upon one of your images on a blog post or website to which you have no connection?
- Or do you find a slew of photos you took on someone’s social media page?
- You were hired to take pictures, but are they being used in violation of a licensing agreement?
In today’s advanced digital, cyber, and internet age, it is likely that you are all too familiar with these scenarios. Photographers around the globe are dealing with many of the same issues. It is hard to protect your copyright when it is so easy to screenshot, download, and share images.
Image theft is running rampant.
People use pictures without permission all the time. Committing copyright infringement is simple – sometimes, people are not even aware they are using images they are not supposed to use.
It takes (literally) only a few seconds for someone to steal a photo you took and use it to promote a product, brand, event, or website. Enforcing your rights as a photographer and ensuring you receive compensation for your work is sometimes more difficult, but it is necessary.
Photographers, you must protect your legal rights so you can make sure you continue to profit from your work. When someone steals photographs or images get used without proper permission, you may want to file legal action and collect damages from the infringer.
What Are Your Rights?
US Copyright law provides photographers (and any other copyright owner) with the exclusive rights to reproduce, create derivatives of, distribute copies of, and display their work.
These rights are automatic and remain intact unless and until you arrange otherwise. With some exceptions, no one can use your photos without permission.
You do not have to register your copyright with the US Copyright Office for these rights to attach. However, registering is a good idea in case you wish to file a copyright infringement case in the future.
Registering copyright with the copyright is necessary to file an infringement lawsuit. Registering it within a certain time frame is necessary to be eligible for statutory damages.
What Can Photographers Do When Someone Infringes on Your Work?
Let’s assume there is no question about whether or how you authorized someone to use the image. You did not.
The first thing to do is collect evidence of the infringement. For example, you can take screenshots of where, when, and how the images are being used or take detailed notes of the ways in which their use is violating a license. This way, if you decide to proceed with an infringement action, you have the proof you might need.
The next thing to do is determine how you want to respond, if at all. Some things to take into consideration might include:
- What is the best option for your business and the value of your work?
- What will ensure your work is protected in the future?
- What will be the most beneficial to your work/client relationships?
- What is your goal? Photo credit? Damages?
It might be helpful to discuss your legal and other options with an experienced copyright attorney so you have a clearer picture of what the laws say and the recourse they can provide when someone violates your rights.
Options can range from sending a demand letter, a DMCA take down notice, picking up the phone and asking someone to remove a photograph, asking a lawyer to send a formal cease and desist letter, asking for damages, contacting the internet service provider, suing someone for breach of contract or filing a copyright infringement case.
Any time someone uses your images without permission, you might have a variety of legal remedies. If you are a photographer, the best way to protect your legal rights is to understand them. Information is critical to ensuring your images and your work receive the full backing of the law and that your photography career is as lucrative as possible.
Speak to Our Copyright Infringement Lawyers to Receive the Maximum Protection Under Copyright Laws
At Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC, we know copyright infringement, and we know photography. This combination means that we can help you protect your copyright from infringement and enforce it when someone steals your work.
We represent photographers around the globe when people steal their original work and use it for their own profit. We can ensure that every image you take receives the full protection it deserves. If someone commits an infringement, we can ensure you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law.
Call Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC today at 800-778-1660 to schedule a free evaluation of your copyright infringement case. We would like to help you protect and enforce your copyright and can handle claims from start to finish.
Whether you want a cease and desist letter, a takedown notice, a demand letter, a license agreement, or to file a copyright infringement case, using an attorney is something you should want to consider. We can ensure that you receive the maximum amount of damages allowed by law.
Call Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC, today.