It’s come down to a ferret

In this digital age, it’s even easier for someone to steal your images. This is aggravated by a new generation that grew up copying music and other electronic files without a second thought.

To combat this, the Business Software Alliance is developing programs to promote copyright protection, cyber security, trade and e-commerce. BSA’s members include software industry giants such as Adobe and Microsoft.

BSA apparently recognizes that the best way to fight infringement is to raise people’s awareness at an early age. BSA has created a comic book called “Copyright Crusader to the Rescue.” It was developed to teach children about cyber ethics, including responsible computer and internet use, respect for digital creativity and copyright protection. The program’s mascot is a ferret, and kids selected its name, Garret.

While we wait for people to grow a conscience, you should do what you can to protect your copyrights. Register your images with the U.S. Copyright Office, and sue infringers. Check with an attorney to make sure that you exercise your rights to the fullest.

Take my advice. Get Professional Help.

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Get Professional Help

A quick review of web forums and talking with folks will reveal that a lot of photographers need professional help — professional legal help, that is. While the web is a wonderful tool, it has exacerbated the water-fountain rumor mill so that mis-information is rampant.

There is a reason why lawyers go to school for three full years, and then have to take over 10 hours of continuing legal education a year. The law is a difficult, ever-changing and voluminous subject. A real estate attorney can’t help you with a will, and a divorce lawyer can’t help you with your medical malpractice claim. It takes time and hard study to learn and to keep up with the law.

On top of that, each circumstance is different, so the law will affect your unique circumstance differently. You shouldn’t take the advice of your neighbor’s sister-in-law’s cousin who talked to his uncle about how to prosecute a copyright infringement case. Even when the circumstance on its face looks similar, a lawyer is trained to find those nuances that may make or break your case.

The adage “penny wise; pound short” applies here. Should a photographer risk his business with self help or the advice of some guy who read an article on trademark law?

Even the advice on this blog is purely educational and does not purport to constitute legal advice. But hopefully it will steer you to consult individually with a lawyer who can help photographers like you.

Take my advice. Get professional help.
Carolyn

Check Photo Attorney on Lynda.com, in the Lynda.com Article Center, and on Twitter!
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