One Big Annoying Problem

It’s hard enough for photographers to get decent payment for what they do. But when journalists and magazine editors – those who should be sympathetic to copyright owners – advocate infringement, they’ve gone too far.

Here’s the disturbing story: Stacey Bradford who holds a masters degree in journalism from NYU published an article on suggesting that parents save money by scanning and printing school photographs to send to relatives instead of buying additional prints. The article also was posted on AOL’s news page.

Many photographers saw the article and sent protesting emails to Bradford and the online magazines. (I sent one volunteering to be a consultant for an article on copyright law.) The Professional Photographers of America (PPA) led a formal charge and first contacted the author, the editorial staff, and finally SmartMoney’s corporate attorneys.

AOL responded quickly by removing the article from its website. Unfortunately, while it may be difficult to find the post on, it’s still there.

This highlights our big annoying problem – people either don’t understand or don’t respect photographers’ copyrights. The record and movie industries have been more successful in teaching users to not copy music or movies. School systems teach students to not plagiarize. But there is a gaping hole when it comes to the copyright respect for photographers.

What can you do? Teach your clients to understand what they can do with your images using explicit licenses. Join professional photography organizations to synergize efforts to protect your work. And protest loudly when you hear someone advocate infringement of photographs.

Take my advice; get professional help.

Technorati Tags: copyright law, photography business

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