Photo Attorney

Aug 30, 2006

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* 204 beautiful photographs of North America public lands
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* A certificate for one year's FREE membership for one new member to! ($10.00 Value, membership valid from September 1, 2006 through July 31, 2007)

Scan down the home page of to grab this great deal.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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Aug 21, 2006

Action on Orphan Works Bill

The Stock Artists Alliance ("SAA") is again requesting help to fight the Orphan Works bill. Now known as House Bill 5439, the Subcommittee has sent it to the House Judiciary Committee for action.

The SAA believes that the bill does not adequately protect photographers' rights by making it too easy for users to publish images whose owners cannot be located with little or no payment to the copyright owner.

Please contact your Representative in Congress to express opposition to this bill. The American Society of Media Photographers ("ASMP") has posted a detailed status report with information on the letter-writing campaign that includes a sample letter.

For additional updates, you can follow SAA's blog on the the bill.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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Aug 17, 2006

10 Common Misconceptions of the Law for Photographers

True or False:

1. You do not need permission to photograph a work of art that is in a public area.
2. A news publication may use your photograph without your permission because it is fair use.
3. You need a model release to use a photograph of a person on a book cover.
4. If you make money from a print, it is a commercial use.
5. You need a property release to use a photograph of a house for a commercial use.
6. You have no copyright protection for your photos until you register them.
7. Statues and other works of art on federal or state property are in the public domain.
8. Photographs of works in the public domain also are in the public domain.
9. If a stock agency requires a model or property release, then it must be legally required.
10. If you take a photograph while working, the copyright to the photograph always belongs to the employer.

If you believe that any of the above are true, then you can learn more about how to protect your photographic rights and your work.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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Aug 12, 2006

Easy Tip for Adding a Copyright Notice to Your Photographs

Tim Grey is a writer, lecturer, and teacher on digital imaging. He offers a "Digital Darkroom Questions" email service and recently provided this great tip on an easy way to add a copyright text line to your photographs using Photoshop. Tim graciously agreed to let me share this tip with you here. For more information on Tim's work, go to

This is a method for creating a custom brush that has the shape of some text you type, so that you can then apply that text anywhere simply by clicking with the brush using that brush preset.

To get started, you'll need to define the text. With an image open (or new empty image created by selecting File > New), select the Type tool from the Tools palette (or press the "T" shortcut key). Type the text, changing the font and formatting as you want it to appear for the final brush. You'll get the best results later if you keep the brush set to the size of the actual text, so try to have it sized to about the size you think you'll want it to appear later. Then select the Rectangular Marquee tool ("M" key) from the Tools menu, and draw a selection around the text that completely encompasses it. Turn off the visibility of all layers other than the text layer on the Layers palette (by clicking the eye icon to the left of the layer thumbnail), and then select Edit > Define Brush Preset from the menu. In the Brush Name dialog box enter a meaningful name for this new brush and click OK. Your brush is now created.

To put this brush to use, select the Brush tool ("B" key) from the Tools palette. From the Options bar, click the Brush dropdown and scroll down to the bottom to find your newly created brush. Adjust the color and brush size as you normally would, and when you're ready to apply your "rubber stamp" just put your mouse where you want the text to appear and click the button.

The advantage of this method is that you can put text anywhere you want with a variety of different effects based on the Brush options. However, unlike adding a text layer manually you can't modify the text itself later. I do recommend applying this text-via-brush on a separate layer from your image, which you can do by first clicking the "Create new layer" button at the bottom of the Layers palette.

It's always a good idea to do what you can to protect your work. This helpful tip makes it a bit easier to do so.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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Aug 2, 2006

General Release Stands Test of Time and Money

While some famous people come to hate the paparazzi, they certainly seem to like to have their picture taken early in their career. At that time, photographers often can get a "general" model release for those photographs (without restrictions as to their use) easily and for no or little charge. Will that general model release be valid years later when the star is making millions or the if the photographer makes a lot of money from the pictures? The likely answer is yes.

In the recent case of Marder v. Lopez, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the validity of a general release relating to the movie "Flashdance." The movie purportedly was based on Maureen Marder's life. Marder sued Jennifer Lopez, Sony Music and Paramount Pictures for using "well-known scenes from Flashdance" in one of Lopez's music videos. Marder made claims of copyright infringement and for violating her rights of publicity, among other things.

Marder had signed a general release in 1982 giving Paramount the right to use her life story. The Court found that, "though in hindsight the agreement appears to be unfair to Marder -- she only received $2300 in exchange for release of all claims relating to a movie that grossed over $150 million -- there is simply no evidence that her consent was obtained by fraud, deception, misrepresentation, duress, or undue influence."

A general model release is a good thing to get from the people you photograph, even when you don't expect that you'll need it later.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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