Head of US Copyright Office Removed

From Illustrators’ Partnership of America:

Last Friday, October 21, 2016, the head of the US Copyright Office was removed in a surprise action by the newly-appointed Librarian of Congress.

According to the entertainment industry newspaper Variety:

“Maria Pallante is out at [sic] the U.S. Register of Copyrights and is moving to a new post, a Friday announcement that was met with surprise by trade associations and other groups in Washington. The change was made by Carla Hayden…who was only recently confirmed as Librarian of Congress.”

“Pallante was locked out of her computer [Friday] morning,” reports Billboard, citing “two sources who spoke with Library employees.”

“Earlier, Hayden had called several members of Congress to tell them about her decision. Later, she called the heads of several media business trade organizations to give them the news, according to one who received such a call…Hayden, as the librarian of Congress, has the authority to make a new appointment without congressional review.”

The website Trichordist: Artists for an Ethical and Sustainable Internet warns that:

“These are dark days for all creators and copyright holders.  After a two month campaign by Google funded astroturf group Public Knowledge, the newly appointed librarian of congress Carla Hayden [an advocate of “open sourcing”] has fired Maria Pallante the register of copyright. Pallante was the only one standing between Google and what is left of the copyright system.

“This firing is virtually unprecedented in US history. The Librarian of Congress generally leaves the Register of Copyrights to run the affairs of the copyright office. However in the last two months the main Google mouthpiece in Washington DC Public Knowledge has been clamoring for her head.”

More details at Artist Rights Watch.
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Secret Bonus to 5DayDeal Complete Photography Business Bundle

5DayDeal-Business-Launch-Logo_Price_Date-LowRezIn addition to the amazing deal you get on the 5DayDeal Complete Photography Business Bundle, there are a lot more unadvertised and tremendous bonuses available.

You can get access to these undisclosed benefits from this direct link (without purchasing the Business Bundle, but be sure you get the bundle deal, too!)

Another secret? Photo Attorney is offering a discount there never offered before.

Check it out now because the deals will be gone in a few days.


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Photo Attorney® Attorney Revives TinType Photography

Earl Richardson photoThe attorneys with the Law Office of Carolyn E. Wright, LLC (d/b/a Photo Attorney®), are passionate about their clients and photography. Several of us also are serious photographers when we’re not busy fighting for photographers’ rights.

Earl Richardson is the epitome of a lawyer balancing his life with his commercial photography business, including using the wet plate collodion process. He started experimenting with tintype photography about a year ago. Check the articles about his unique work at LJWorld.com and in the Spring 2016 issue of Kansas magazine.

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Photo Attorney Blog Celebrates ELEVEN YEARS!

Bear Charge-Copyright Carolyn E. Wright

Today is the 11th Anniversary

of the Photo Attorney® blog!

Thank you for your continued support! 

This blog is full of helpful information for the photographer’s legal needs. With hundreds of blog entries on a variety of legal subjects that affect photographers, the best way to find information is to use the search tool located at the top right hand corner of the page or check the Posts by Topic at the bottom of the right hand column. Subscribe to the RSS feed to easily get new posts. Also follow Photo Attorney on Twitter for other links and quick updates on the law. Learn even more with the Photographer’s Legal Guide and get photography forms to help your business.

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Last Minute Gifts for Photographers

Looking for some last minute gifts for your favorite photographer (you or someone else)?  Ebooks and forms will be delivered the same day of purchase (including on December 25th)!

Forms for Photographers Photo Attorney Forms-sm

The right contract can make or break your business. While hiring an attorney to create a customized contract for your specific needs is best, it can be expensive. But now you can get customizable contracts and release forms in Microsoft Word® created by the Photo Attorney specifically for photographers. Choose from the following forms:

Adult Model Release
Copyright Infringement Cease & Desist/Demand Letter
Copyright Transfer Form
DMCA Takedown Notice
Independent Assistant Photographer
Liability Release & Arbitration Agreement
Minor Model Release
Portrait Session Contract
Property Release
Stock Photography License with Terms and Conditions
Wedding Photography Contract
Settlement Agreement for Copyright Infringement Claims

– Photographer’s Legal Guide – Ebook or Softback versionsPhotographers Legal Guide

What’s being said about the Photographer’s Legal Guide:

“Carolyn Wright’s book is an essential tool for any professional (or aspiring professional) who needs to navigate the tricky legal issues in the business of photography. In clear, concise prose, she explains and simplifies the issues of rights and releases, and deciphers the “legal-ese” of contracts and other important legal issues into plain and simple language. Her background in law and her exceptional photographic work make her a unique resource in this business: a great legal mind with a wonderful photographer’s eye.”Bob Krist, columnist, Outdoor Photographer Magazine

“Carolyn Wright’s book is designed to acquaint you with all the basic formalities of running a photography business. This is a book that every photographer who is even considering selling their images should have!” Ellen Anon, freelance photographer and co-author of Aperture Exposed, The Mac Photographers Guide to Taming the Workflow, and Photoshop for Nature Photographers

“Carolyn’s writing style is easy to read and not full of ‘Law-talk.’ There is plenty to learn for a photographer in the business for 10 years (such as myself), and invaluable for someone completely new.” David Beckstead, International Wedding Photographer

“. . . a well done job with ‘Photographer’s Legal Guide.’  It literally answered just about every question I had.”  John L. Dengler, Outdoor Photographer

“Just a quick note to say thank you again for your book.  I’ve finally read it through – a great read and packed with valuable information.”  John T. Fowler

 “. . . thanks for writing the Photographer’s Legal Guide. I purchased it a while back and often go back to it, it’s priceless!”  Elena Sbrana

“Loving your book!  Easy to understand, a must for someone new in business and perfect for those of us who need an update with the changing times.  Will definitely recommend to other photographers.” Trina Jones

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Don’t Get Scammed

Northwestern crow (Corvus caurinus), flying, Ambleside Park, West Vancouver, British Columbia.

Scams are not limited to photographers, but some scams may prey on photographers’ desire to sell prints or license images. Check what happened to one talented photographer, Roberta Olenick.  She reports:

I got an email from someone wanting prints of two of my images. Turns out it was a scam that has been going on for some years now according to stopartscams.blogspot.ca.

The scammers say they want to buy your artwork and ask you to send them the price and your address and phone number so they can send payment to you. They then send way more than the amount owing on some trumped up excuse and ask you to refund them the difference via Western Union. Of course, funds sent that way can never be traced and the check they send you is always fraudulent and from a bank that can take some weeks before that is discovered. If you fall for this scam, they hope you send them the refund before you ever discover the fraudulence of their payment to you.

[In my case] I got an email from Daniel Lachlan danlachh01@gmail.com late September asking for large prints of two of my photos. Something about his poor English (coupled with his very Anglo name) and the mention of him moving to Turkey made me suspicious so I googled his name at that time and nothing came up.

Fortunately for me, two things conspired to save me from his scamming, which I nearly fell for. First was that the images he requested were captured years ago on film and I was not sure they would upsize well to the large dimension he requested. And second was that when he first emailed I was just heading out of town on an extended photoshoot where I had no internet access. So I told him he would have to wait until I got back and that on my return I would make a test print of a small section of each image to see if they would work at the large size he requested. These two things together delayed my confirming any sale to him until after the name Daniel Lachlan came up on stopartscams.blogspot.ca.

He kept insisting repeatedly on getting my address and cell number so he could send payment even though I had not yet determined if the images he wanted would even print OK. That should have been a clue but I just ignored the uneasiness I was starting to feel.

He kept pushing to know the final price so he could send a certified check. I told him numerous times I needed his mailing address where I would be sending the prints so I could determine what shipping cost to add to the print cost; he kept resisting giving me his address yet insisting on me giving him mine. I just brushed that off as misunderstanding based on his poor English.

Eventually he explained there would be no shipping costs as his movers would pick up the prints directly from me. I thought that was strange – why would his movers come all the way to the other side of the country from where he claimed he lived just to pick up two prints? And really I was not at all comfortable with the idea of some strange “mover” coming to my studio just like that. But I still was not pegging him as a scammer. Boy, am I naïve!

So I went ahead and made the test prints. Very fortunately and as I had suspected, the image quality was not up to my preferred standard. But non-photographers are not as picky as I am, so I asked him to give me his mailing address so I could send him the small test proofs (at no charge) so he could judge for himself if he wanted me to proceed with making the final large prints.

When he responded that his mover would come by and examine the test prints to determine if they were good enough, then I really started to smell a rat. Who sends a “mover” to do that?! So I googled his name and email address again just now and thankfully came up with posts on stopartscams.blogspot.ca.

I was just about to pull the plug on any transaction with him anyway because all the annoying emailing back and forth and his general evasiveness were wearing me down and taking too much of my time to make it worth the income from the sale. But it never occurred to me that he was planning to scam me out of money until I read the posts on this site. So thank you thank you thank you.

Had he selected different images that would have printed well at the size he wanted, I would have made the prints and proceeded with “the sale”, though I would have insisted on waiting for the check to clear before handing over the prints to his “movers.”

Yup, paypal is the way to go!

The older posts on stopartscams.blogspot.ca go way back. I stopped reading after I got to Oct, 2011. But still worth going through a lot of the older posts for hints and interesting nuggets of information. Often the thing about the scammer sending their movers or agents to get the item directly from you comes up much sooner that it did with me. Generally the scammer has some story that they are moving and want your work to make their new place look great. They often claim they overpaid you by mistake or they sent you a check to cover both the cost of your images and their movers’ fees. If the latter, they ask you to send the refund to their movers via Western Union or similar that is not traceable. They generally send the payment check to you via Fedex or similar because if they sent it via USPS that would automatically be a crime (mail fraud) whereas the same does not apply to sending via Fedex. Much more useful stuff like this on the link above if you dig around.

One interesting and subtle clue to these scams is that when the scammer signs their (made up) name at the end of an email to you, there is very often a period right after their name. This may be related to something about the batch way they target people, according to the link above. But no one real ever puts a period after their name like that.

Also it might be helpful to check the IP address of where they sent the email from compared to where they say they are located (though there are ways for them to disguise that). I didn’t know you could even do that til I read the link above but by then I had already deleted all of Daniel’s irritating emails.

I want to spread the word to help reduce the chances these scummy scammers get away with it. Also check Kathleen McMahon’s post on “Known Scammer Names used in Art-Related Email Scams.”

Roberta Olenick. (See, doesn’t that look strange with a period after my name?)

Thanks, Roberta and Kathleen, for working to protect artists!

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Copyright Registration Systems Are Back Online

Systems of the United States Copyright Office are back online as of 8:00 am, Sunday, September 6, 2015 and customers may resume submitting registration applications electronically.

As previously reported, on Friday, August 28th, the Library of Congress shut down a data center that hosts a number of agency technology systems, including the Copyright Office’s electronic registration program.  This was done to accommodate a two-day annual power outage scheduled by the Architect of the Capitol, which owns and maintains Library buildings.  On Sunday, August 30th, the Library attempted to reopen the data center, but was unable to bring copyright systems and other agency functions online as planned.  Both Library and Copyright Office staff have since worked around the clock to assess problems and solutions and ensure the ongoing integrity of Copyright Office data.

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eCO Registration System Down


Over the weekend, as part of routine maintenance, the Library of Congress shut down a data center that hosts a number of U.S. Copyright Office systems, including the online copyright registration system, eCO. The Library of Congress attempted to reopen the data center on Sunday evening, but has been unable to restore access to Copyright Office systems. As result, eCO remains offline, and Copyright Office staff are unable to access internal shared network resources. Until service is restored, you will be unable to use the eCO system to file a copyright registration, and Office staff may be unable to access Office records.

Please note that during this outage, you can still file a copyright registration for your work(s) using a paper registration form. Fillable PDF registration forms are available at http://copyright.gov/forms/. For further information, please contact 202-707-3000 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll free).

The Library of Congress is working to resolve the problems as expeditiously as possible, but does not have an estimated time for service resumption. A notification will be sent when service is restored.

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