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Copyright & IP

Taylor Swift Eases Bad Blood With Photographers

Last month Taylor Swift came under fire from the photography community for some claims of outrageous provisions in her concert contracts.   Bottom line: Her contracts were accused of being “rights-grabbing” and putting photographers in poor bargaining positions – while she sat claiming to Apple that musicians, fellow artists, needed to be fed too.  That’s paraphrased …

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Federal vs. State Trademarks: What’s Right for My Photography Business?

As discussed previous articles on the site, you get common law trademark rights by just using a mark in commerce. The first use of your mark establishes your priority date and you can sue people for trademark infringement if they start using the same mark (for the same or similar goods or services) after the priority …

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Reproduction of Photographs: What is legal?

Do you remember in 2nd grade when Susie copied your cool new high top converse all stars and your side pony tail? Remember when your Mom said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Well, that may be true, but don’t forget about this little thing called copyright! Here is the scenario: You take …

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How Thicke and Pharrell Blurred Lines for Photographers

As if running a photography business by marketing and managing clients isn’t hard enough we have to worry about the legal implications of our actions.  Typically this is as easy as understanding how to get set up, what taxes to pay and how to treat clients within the law, however, recently the lines of copyright …

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When should I trademark my photography business name?

Trademarks are source identifiers for goods or services. What does that mean? It means that when you see a trademark, you should think of it coming from only one source/person/group/company. For instance, when you see or hear the trademarked term “iPhone”, you know it’s a product that comes from Apple, rather than from Microsoft or …

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An Open Letter to Richard Prince from Photographers Everywhere

Dear Richard, You sneaky “artist” you. You’ve certainly been getting the Internet in a tizzy this past week, however you’ve been doing this for years, huh? Since the 1970’s you’ve been stealing other people’s work and using it to make money and a name for yourself. Interesting. I just have some food for thought for you: …

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Do student photographs belong to the school or the student?

The explanation of copyright ownership versus print license rights by photographers to clients can leave one feeling like a broken record.   But what happens when this copyright law starts to affect the youth of our nation in their educational capacities?  In 2015, a yearbook student, Anthony Mazur, in Flower Mound, Texas was threatened with suspension …

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Facebook and Paypal are not stealing your photographs

Despite the many status updates, frantic forum postings and articles circling by photography industry blogs, Facebook and Paypal are not trying to steal ownership of your photography at upload.   [Tweet “Facebook and Paypal are not trying to steal ownership of your photography at upload”] We are at a day in the technology world where …

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Is photographing a logo legal?

As photographers, we don’t just have shoots in a studio. We are out and about, constantly scouting fun and unique backgrounds. This might bring us downtown, where we might utilize a unique storefront as a backdrop or having an engagement shoot in a bookstore for two bookworms. In these instances you might purposefully capture a …

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How to send a DMCA to remove photography copyright infringement

In today’s world images are posted, downloaded, pinned, saved, and re-shared from all corners of the globe.  With this ability to find and use content at a mass level, it is no surprise that copyright issues have become prevalent.  In order to keep up with the complexities of growing technology, the law has responded with …

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What is fair use and how does it affect the copyright of my photos?

As photographers we are creators of images – these images can be for fun, self, commercial, or just because.   The idea of what the images are for doesn’t change who owns the rights to the images (unless specifically contracted).   We own the copyright to the images we create – which gives us the right …

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If I own copyright of the image do I still need a permission to post?

“I am a portrait photographer and I have a website where I maintain online galleries.  In my viewpoint this is not an ad, merely an art exhibit; I do not view them as being used in a commercial way. My contract has a clause in it stating that I can use the images from that …

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free photography contracts and legal advice

What do Paypal’s proposed terms changes mean to photographers?

See the 2015 update HERE   Why yes..another proposed changes blog post (You can see the others here – Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook Contest Changes).   You send your questions – I blog answers to help you! As many have seen (as have I) – in forums and on pages people are sharing the new …

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Publication, inspiration and plagiarism: A Guide to online etiquette

There has been great hub-bub the last few months about publications that have leaned on inspiration so much that it borders (or hurdles) the line of plagiarism – or has been outright plagiarism.  On top of that, I receive emails on a regular basis about websites who snag photographs from photography websites and use them …

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Stop messing up my art

Stop messing up my art! That’s violating copyright! | Legal tips for photographers

Stand by our copyright laws. We hear about it happening. A lot. This week alone I found photos of mine on some random site that allowed people to download full-resolution files, forum posts about how big box store employees are being requested to not ask customers for a print release, and clients print-screen copying photographs …

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