Copyright, Trademark, and Intellectual Property for Photographers

 

Copyright, Trademark, and Intellectual Property for Photographers

 

Lesson Info

Copyright Registration

Now in this session I'm going to walk you through an actual copyright registration so you can see how to do it yourself and that's going to save you a ton of money and just so you know exactly how much money is going to save you I charge one thousand two hundred fifty dollars per copyright registration in my practice to register copyrights for my clients ok, so you know, I think it's a reasonable price maybe it's expensive but you know what's a hell of a lot cheaper doing yourself so I'm going to show you exactly how to do it yourself and this is one of those things that you can do well on your own there are certain legal things that I'm going to tell you listen just spring for a lawyer because it's expensive I'm sorry not expensive because not because it's expensive because it's complicated and it's you're not gonna be able to do a good job of it on your own one trademark registration is one of those things little too complex to try to do on your own as a layman, however, copyright re...

gistration is fairly simple. There are some complexities to it and we're going to talk about all of that but this is something that you can do well on your own so let's pay close attention to this one because you're going to want to follow along as I walk through it how to do a copyright registration and then you'll know how to do it in your business and you can do it for all of your photos yeah and I'll just tell you really quickly that you don't have to do one application per photo right because that would be you know like impossible you have thousands of photos that you've taken what you can do is actually register up to seven hundred fifty cop photos at one time with one application and guess how much the application fee is thirty five bucks okay you can afford this ok you can do this so I'm going to talk you through how to do that but before we get to that let's talk about the benefits of copyright registration and a little bit about intellectual property law so intellectual property law was created for creatives like you it was created for photographers for inventors for artists to protect you and to enable you to generate revenue from your creative works okay that's the whole point of a loss so you should think of I b law as your best buddy okay that's why you need to know it well and know how to apply it in your business but it is your best friend okay you just want to hug it like a cuddly bear okay because the whole purpose of it is is to encourage creativity right to encourage innovation so it allows someone like you who's an artist to make money from your work because it's intangible like we talked about is very easy for people to misappropriate your work take it without giving you credit or steal it right so I p law prevents that from happening, but you've got to take the steps and go through the process to use it to your advantage, and copyright registration is how you do that. Ok, so I want you to think of I p law as a good thing as something that helps you as a photographer and protects you and protects your work and encourages you to generate revenue, right? Because you wouldn't have much incentive teo create right? If you weren't able to make a living doing it, you wouldn't have time you'd be working all day it be hard for you to really hone your creative process, right? And even if you did have an incentive to create just for your own, you know edification, you wouldn't have an incentive to share with the world would you? If people could steal it and use it in any way they want and not give you credit and prevent you from making a living doing it? So that's, why I want you to think about I p law in general and copyright law as your best buddies there to protect you as a photographer and your ability to generate revenue from your artistry okay so that's how we're going to think about it so let's talk about the benefits of copyright registration so copyright registration enables you to to have a certain amount of rights now everybody knows that there's common law copyright right we talked a little bit about this earlier today there's a lot of you know, people who say ok, well why don't have to go through the steps of actually registering my copyright with the government when you know I have automatic copyright you know I have the automatic creative rights to my work as soon as I created well let's talk about the benefits of registering your stuff with the government ok? Because common law copyright is not enough it's not going to deter infringers because you can't do these things which we're going to talk about if you don't have an actual physical registered copyright with with the federal government on dh so let's talk about some of the benefits you get from copyright registration you create an official government record of your creation and ownership of the work okay, so this is like the birth certificate for your photos it proves that you're the mother or the father of that work okay, so that's what copyright registration can do for you that's one one thing you want to be able to prove that it's your work right otherwise if you're challenged on someone says no hey I actually created that photo what proof do you have that you did it? This will provide your proof, okay? And that can benefit you in a lot of ways when you want to sell when you want to include it in, you know a book of you know that's going through a traditional publisher they may ask you for the copyright registration so there are a lot of reasons and circumstances in which you want to prove your ownership. The other benefit too is like if you ever sell your photography business or need to show the value of your photography business let's say to a potential investor or to a bank where you need to get a bank loan so you could get new equipment or something like that. This is a way for you to show the assets that you have in your business you can say I have over fifteen hundred registered copyrights teo you know my various valuable photos and you can put a price on it. Okay, so that's one of the benefits is you create an official government government record essentially a birth certificate for your creation and ownership of the work you also get the privilege of bringing a federal lawsuit now I know it may seem like, oh, I don't need to bring a lawsuit I don't want to see anybody you know I'm a creative and I just want to be happy and bring joy to the world I know, I know we all feel like that but you want to have this right in your back pocket? Should you ever need it? Okay, um, your ability to bring a federal lawsuit means that it's a huge deterrent to infringers and infringers are like experts. We talked about how there's a huge industry of people who just steal people's, copy written work for a living that's how they make their money and trust me, they know their business well, and so they know whose photos are registered with the u s copyright office and whose photos aren't and if your if your photos are registered, then they're going to do they're going to shy away and go steal someone else's work was who's in a position to be very vulnerable, right? You're making it so that your business is fortified, you're not vulnerable on dh so that's, what you want to do is register your copyright so you have that ability to bring a federal lawsuit if you don't and you just have common law copyright, then the infringers going to think, well, hey, you know, this person can't sue me. What can they really do except send a scary letter, which doesn't really scare me, so you know I'm not really worried about it, you actually cannot bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement unless you have your registration and you don't want to be in a position where you discover like crystal mula did we talked to earlier that an escort service has stolen her boudoir photos on dh then you know, if she wanted to bring a lawsuit against them, she'd have to wait three months to go through the copyright registration process, get the certificate in hand before she could go to court and sue them that's not going to do it right because then her photo would be sitting on this escort site for three months. So you want to do this ahead of time? You want to be preventative with all things legal. Okay, so you never want to be in a position where you're trying to figure things out or trying to fix things that have gone wrong after the fact that means that you're gonna spend a ton of money, okay? Attorney's fees are very, very expensive after the fact. It's a way cheaper to be preventative and have things like your client service agreement and register your photos on a regular basis so that you've done the work ahead of time. And so if something goes wrong, you have a plan in place, ok? You've got a strategy in place to protect your work so very, very important, all right, so let's talk about the last, you know and honestly it's not really the last there are more benefits than this but these are the biggest one that I want you to know you get to seek statutory damages and attorney's fees in that lawsuit I am owe money s o statutory damages let me tell you what this is this is your best friend okay statutory damages come in the amounts of around I believe it's like twenty or thirty thousand dollars now per instance of copyright infringement so someone steals your photos and put it on a website on their own website that's thirty thousand dollars then they take that photo and added to what are their info products that's another thirty thousand dollars and then they take that photo and do whatever else they want to do with it each instance of copyright infringement gets you thirty thousand dollars auto magically ok this is statutory damages so if you can prove that they've infringed on your copyright you get that money automatically you don't have to prove your damages this is incredibly important okay it's all about the money because what happens is if you have to prove your damages then you have to say all right they took this photo and how did that prevent you from making money with that photo? Who knows? Maybe you would have sold it maybe there's things you would have done with it but it's hard to prove it's hard to prove exactly how you may or may not have made money how that may or may not have damaged your reputation like you have no idea, right it's hard to prove in that's when you need, like a damages expert to come in and help you figure that out and that's when it gets really expensive, right? We don't want that we like statutory damages where it's like automatically I get this money because you stole my stuff, okay, so that's a right you get with copyright registration and it gets better if someone purposefully infringed on your copyright, which is honestly, the case a lot of times this is when it's not an innocent infringer who thinks that they can just grab your photo off of google and use it any way they want. Ok, so there are some people who do that just don't know it any other, and usually if you send them a cease and desist that's enough, they'll say, oh, I'm so sorry and take it down, but then you have these expert infringers that we talked about, right? These are the ones that are going to give you a hard time and they're going to try to make money from your work, so if they purposefully steal from you and you can prove that which a lot of times you can if you have a copyright registration then you're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for instance, so I believe it's around one hundred fifty thousand for instance, of intentional copyright infringement ok, so now we're getting into some really money when people steal your work so this is why it's a huge deterrent from people who would steal your stuff and also that protects you protects your ability to make money from your work okay? I've seen instances of, you know, entrepreneurs just like you who have created photos, videos their brand name and had it stolen by big corporations you know, there are corporations names, you know well, shores thatyou stores that you've probably shopped at who have stolen from artists like yourself individual artists and not paid them, which is ludicrous because they totally have the ability to pay them right? The reason why they do that is because they know you don't have the copyright a frenchman, so don't be vulnerable put yourself in a position where those companies come to you and say, hey, we want to purchase a license to use your photos instead of we're just going to steal it and do whatever we want okay? So we're not going to be woe is me someone stealing my work? No, we're going to be like, I'm not having it ok? So this is what that's going to enable you to do so those are some of the benefits of copyright registration so I want everybody to take out your copyright registration for photographers this is a little bonus that we've included here this is from my product legal nunchucks for photographers um let me advance the slide so I can show you where you can check that out so this is one of the cheat sheets that we include in that product legal none trucks for photographers and it will take you step by step through the cup the registration copyright registration process we've got some other templates and they're like a client service agreement so we talked earlier about how important client service agreement is and some of you may be thinking ok, where do I get a reliable one? One way is to work with an attorney and there's nothing wrong with that you know it's worth it because you have them create it once and then you can use that you know for a long time in your business so on dh you know tio purchase the client service agreement from an attorney probably running about a thousand dollars so it's not totally out of reach but another alternative is is to grab a product like this legal nunchucks for photographers it's one ninety seven and includes a client service agreement so that's an option too but this is a bonus that I'm giving away it's the checklist for copyright registration for photogs first, though, we're going to actually walk through ah, copyright registration so that you can see what it actually looks like. Um, so before we dive into that, let me just tell you a couple more things about copyright registration. This is actually a chart from another product that I have called small business bodyguard, where we tell you what can be protected by copyright and what cannot be protected by copyright, because as an entrepreneur, like I said, you have intellectual property in your business. It's not just your photos, there's, other I p that's in your business, and if you're curious about that, definitely check out my one o one chorus protecting profit from your intellectual property, because that will help you identify the other intellectual property that's sitting in your business besides photos, but so this just gives you an example of the types of things that you can register. You can register literary works such as a book and e book computer programs, you can register songs you've written plays, choreography, scripts. You can register your photographs, prints, technical drawings, a graphic designs you can protect audiovisual work so film than video. I know a lot of photographers do. Video is, well, you can do sound recordings, so some of those are some of the things you can protect with copyright and let's talk about what you can't protect with copyright you cannot protect ideas and thoughts, okay? Ideas and thoughts are just sort of like these it's sort of like it the early stage of intellectual property that's before it becomes intellectual property so it's in your mind but you have to put it in some form of tangible form in order for it to become actual intellectual property ok in order for it to be copyrightable, so if you've got a great idea for, you know, a gorgeous you know photo and you're going to do this elaborate set in this crazy thing and you've got it in your head and you're planning on doing it at some point, but you don't do it guess what, you can't protect it, you can only protect it if you actually do the work. Okay, so business names and slogans and titles this is not this is also something that you can't protect me a copyright so that's something that you would actually protect with trademark. So you know your business name? If you've got a clever little name for your photography business or if you've got special names for your packages or if you write an e book and you want to protect sort of a brand that you've created around this book, then you would do that with trademark that's not copyright so also works not fixed in some sport of tangible form so like I said, you know, ideas and thoughts can't protect that you've gotto actually put it in some sort of format where you can actually protect it systems processes, methods and devices this is also something that you don't protect the a copyright the way you protect systems and processes and methods is through actually trade secrets or patents so that's how you would protect systems, processes, methods and devices all right um so not copyright common knowledge can't be copy written you know, like you can't copyright the yellow pages you can't copyright that the sky's blue you know you know things that are really obvious, it has to be a creation of the mind right can't be something super obvious to everyone and also you can't copyright your mother so I just thought we would about in there so those are the things you can't copyright but let's talk about what you actually want to copyright, which is your photos and let me show you this one more time. This is the five rights of copyright we talked about this earlier, but I want to show it to you against you understand these air the rights that you're preserving for yourself when you register your copyright so the right to reproduce your photos the right to prepare derivative works from your photos, which is incredibly valuable the right to distribute copies. The right to perform your work, the right to display the work. These are all things that you're protecting when you sorry, that you're gaining when you register the copyright. Okay? And these air also writes, like we talked about earlier, where you can unbundle them and selling license, you know, maybe the right to distribute copies, but not the right to prepare derivative works it's up to you. Okay, you've got that option. So it's important for you to understand here's all the things that are included in a copyright, and you can sell and license them as you wish.

Class Description

Whether you photograph weddings, capture senior portraits, or shoot high-fashion images, understanding key concepts like intellectual property, copyright, and trademarks is an essential part of succeeding a working photographer.

Join Rachel Rodgers to explore the core concepts of intellectual property that every photographer should know. You’ll learn when and why you need model releases. You’ll also learn how to create client service agreements that protect your best interests. Rachel will also guide you through common infringement issues many photographers face.

The skills you learn in this course will enable to you to be your own best advocate, and both defend and profit from your images.