November 23, 2009

Registering the Copyright of Stock Photographs, Net Neutrality and Letters to Obama

These images will soon be posted with Photolibrary, one of my stock agencies.

The shots were part of a big batch of images I just registered online with the Electronic Copyright Office. Since I registered them before they were published, the process was relatively swift and painless. Registering published material takes more doing.

As soon as you click the shutter, you own the copyright to your image. However, if the image is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, you can go after legal fees and statutory damages if someone infringes your work.

In this wired world, it has become far easier for scoundrels to swipe your work. Best to embed your contact and copyright in the metadata of your photos. However, a recent American Society of Media Photographers report notes that sites such as MySpace and Facebook remove such metadata. I place a copyright watermark overlay on each image I post on Facebook and TwitPic.

The plots thickens in terms of fingering infringers. I have been in touch with the Copyright Alliance. Current issues include "net neutrality." As they explained it to me: "Net neutrality is over who monitors and controls internet space. So, if your work is infringed upon through the internet, who is held responsible? The internet service provider? The web application? The creator?"

The Copyright Alliance has a letter for creators to send to President Obama that affirms the importance of artists to the economy and copyright protection to the economy of artists. Last week, 11,ooo signed letters were delivered to the White House. Send yours now.

About these photographs? As most were taken when I was on my way somewhere to do something, they are about paying attention.

©John Nordell 2009


Sabrina said...

"net neutrality" referred to the right/ability of net users to access any web content they chose, without filtering or restrictions imposed by service providers. it also had to do with paying providers for speed and access; companies that could pay for better/faster delivery would theoretically surpass smaller companies that couldn't.

if telecoms are allowed to operate that way, they're no longer simply conduits/providers; they're selecting and transmitting certain content, which becomes a difficult copyright issue.

an extension of that is everyday users deciding, since ownership is difficult to determine sometimes (and really, a lot of people just don't care), to simply steal whatever content they like. we see people in important positions model exactly that behavior all the time (teachers and photographers are some of the worst offenders, in my experience). it comes down to the question of whether or not we're going to value ideas. it's disappointing that there's even still a debate.