Important Things Photographers Should Know About Copyright to Protect Their Work
Do you know what copyright law is? Do you know how to protect your work and rights using copyright law? You’re not alone if the answer is no. Many people are unaware of this important legal issue – and it’s hurting their ability to earn a living. In this blog post, we’ll talk about some things that photographers should be aware of when it comes to copyright law and protecting the exclusive rights to their work.
What Is Copyright?
Copyright law deals with legal protections for creative and artistic works. Artistic works can include musical compositions, photographs, sound recordings books, and more. The goals of copyright law are to protect both the artist or photographer’s ability to make money from their work, as well as public access to those works. When you are a copyright owner or copyright holder, you hold the exclusive rights to the work, including the right to decide if they should be on public display.
What is Copyright Infringement?
Copyright protection provides artists, like photographers, the ability to prevent and seek legal remedies related to other people trying to make money off of their creations. Copyright infringement is the act or process of taking someone’s creative work without permission (and usually using it for financial gain).
How Do You Get Copyright?
Copyright is automatic and doesn’t need to be registered. The minute you create something original like a photograph, it’s protected by copyright law.
If you want, you can register your work with the federal Copyright Office. This registration will last for up to 75 years, and it will provide you with a copyright certificate to prove that the work is yours.
Registering your copyright with the US Copyright Office is a good way to protect yourself from potential infringement because your ownership is in a public record. The fact that you hold valid copyright will not be a disputed issue. Registering also allows you to sue someone for copyright infringement and seek statutory damages in court.
What Happens if Someone Violates Your Copyright?
Copyright law is used to prevent copyright infringement and seek damages when it does occur. For example, if someone takes your photograph and uses it on their website or social media without permission from you, it is likely a violation of copyright law.
If your work has been used without permission or license, there are legal steps you can take to stop someone from continuing to use your work or pay you for the infringement. The first thing you should consider doing is registering your copyright if you have not already done so.
Next, consider having a copyright infringement lawyer send a cease and desist letter. This is typically the first step in copyright infringement litigation before going to court. This letter aims to notify the infringer that they are violating your copyright and demand that they stop their violation immediately.
If the cease and desist letter doesn’t work, and even if it does, your next step might be a copyright infringement lawsuit. If you file a copyright infringement case, you can seek damages for lost profits, statutory damages, or punitive damages in some situations.
What Are Some Examples of Copyright Infringement Involving Photographs?
Some common copyright infringement cases involving photographs include:
- someone takes your photograph and posts it on their website or on social media without permission
- a company uses your photo in advertising but doesn’t give you credit or pay for the use of the image
- someone copies your photograph when making a painting or art project
- someone uses your photograph in their book without including you as the photographer in the book’s acknowledgments
- someone copies your photograph in a blog post without including you as the photographer in the byline
This is not an exhaustive list – these are just some of the common copyright infringement cases involving photographers.
When And Why To Seek Help From Copyright Infringement Lawyers
It’s important that photographers understand their rights to protect themselves from copyright infringement. But, photographers should seek the help of experienced copyright infringement lawyers if they think someone is violating their copyright.
Copyright lawyers understand the variety of legal options available to protect photographers and other creative professionals. Copyright infringement lawyers know that artists deserve compensation when someone profits from their hard-earned work by using it without permission, license, or payment.
How can copyright infringement lawyers help?
- copyright infringement attorneys can provide guidance on copyright law and the various options available to photographers
- they may send a cease and desist letter or file an injunction when appropriate
- in some situations, these lawyers will negotiate with offenders for restitution.
- copyright infringement lawyers can help photographers and other creative professionals to seek statutory damages for lost profits, if applicable
- they may also be able to demand punitive or compensatory damages.
Call Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC if You Think Someone Is Violating Your Copyright
Copyright infringement lawyers at Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC help photographers fight copyright infringement and collect the maximum damages allowed by law.
Call us today at 800-779-1660for a free consultation and find out how we can help you protect and enforce your copyright.