Relevance of Copyright


Legal Survival Guide


Lesson Info

Relevance of Copyright

To all of my folks that were in the delivery room with me today giving birth to blue steel that we have scored blue skinned steel dot com at go daddy so way do own it I followed all of my own advice um in setting up our business now I am interested in a relationship with an idea web provider out there on the internet so if anybody wants to take the lead on getting blue steel a web presence and we want to want to get a website that we can put up on blue steel dot com for tomorrow you know you can you can get a hold of me at uh what am I what is my email address? It's ah see heidemann and apple dash studios dot com see heidemann apple dance studios dot com and we can have blue steel live on the web tomorrow having a good time with no copyrighted photos shown so uh with that let us have a discussion about the copyright okay, intellectual property you don't have to be intellectual toe own intellectual property uh the u s constitution gives us an article one section eight the right to ah co...

ntrol the reproduction of our artistic works in order to promote the progress of science and the useful arts it grants copyrights toe artist for a limited time limited time, then the right lapses in its left to benefit mankind generally um, or, as thomas jefferson said, I think the commons of mankind, um, so let's talk about it before we get started is copyright relevant anymore, and I'm going to ask the class this question, but I really want to pose this very specific question, uh, to to our folks that we're with us on the internet is copyright, relevant any more, because some would say it's not some would say that the right to control the copies of your image is really just suppressive artistic freedom. So I'll ask you guys here in the class is copyright relevant? Yes, why? And an insta an internet it's not just a yes or no answer it's a yes or no, because so, yes, it is relevant because it is your it is your property, you can I mean it's your idea, your thought, process, your vision, and so that no one can actually go out and copy it, steal it and take it from you. Um, I'm hoping that's the correct answer. You are close, but you said a couple things that we're gonna correct as we go on. But you said it's, your idea, it's your vision copyrights don't protect ideas just because I have an idea that I create a work from I don't prohibit you in any way from going out and using that same concept or idea and creating something completely on your own, even if it looks similar to mine, it won't be a copy, so don't don't lose this. This this idea that a copyright doesn't somehow monopolize ideas, it gives me the right to control a specific thing on how it's distributed. So I like what you said though, bob, what do you think? Yes, it's relevant because I don't want somebody making a profit off of my creation. Your creation. So it's not just your idea, it's. What? You made what you made anybody else? What we get from our friends in the chat room. Beginning. Yes, yes, yes. Tailor made photography says it protects your work, your cash flow, your creativity on dh, then clear of our says yes, but it needs to be updated and there are resounding yeses. All three visionaries song sambo says copyright is relevant because then someone else can make money off my stuff. So yeah, no. Look at me in my good eye. If copyright is relevant, why have you registered any of the work that you've ever created? Is an intellectual property lawyer it frustrates me to no end to hear discussions of copyright uh all across the web people saying you know so and so stole from so and so and so and so did this but how many of them bothered to register their work to get full copyright protection conventionally is generally accepted that of all photographers and all images that air created only about five percent of photographers will ever bother to register any of their work with the copyright office even though it is super simple so I don't want to be cynical but but when I say to the folks that say yes it's relevant my response to them is well then put up or shut up it's time that we start registering our images to protect them if it's relevant I'll offer ah competing point of view uh soup rice was here yesterday and I had an opportunity to talk to her and I asked her if I could share this with you and she said yes and I said sue tell me tell me what you think about copyright and she said you know and I think that there really is very little that's original anymore everybody is taking things and growing off of one another and there's very little originality out there and so I'm not really worried about registering my images to protect them because you know I think there's very little originality and also she echoes the feeling I think of a lot of people which is you know what and even if somebody did steal it I'm just not I just don't feel like it's a good vibe to sue somebody or go to court I'm not one of those people I don't want to have to sue someone I'd be you know more apt to just call him out on it and you know point out that they've stolen from me and then just move on and not get get drawn into it so that's that's another competing and a very respected viewpoint so I mean if you make a choice that you don't want to register because of a personal position like that that's great but there's lots of other competing viewpoints that say I don't really want people coming into my house while I'm gone and stealing my silverware or my jewellery or coming into my garage to steal my car because it's my property now see did point out the laws in the united states and the laws in australia are very different and we do have amore lawsuit friendly culture we have a culture of a lawsuit in the united states and again our culture of lawsuits grow from remember our first slide where does our copyright protection draw from the u s constitution which is kind of an important document kind of an important document if we look back to seventeen seventy eight uh, when the constitution was, um I think it's seventeen seventy eight uh when the constitution was ratified, it wasn't ratified in seventy seventy eight. All right, it's not a history lesson, but you get the point. Uh, the, uh it grows from our core document this right to control our intellectual property for the good of the artistic community. So it is property and it can be stolen just like you can steal the silverware, the car, the money from your bank account or your purse. And so with that there's there's, this idea that copyright is relevant because it's protected property. Okay, so we're gonna come back to this industry discussion after we learn a little bit more about it, and we'll see if anybody's viewpoint changes again already asked this question. What kind of computer does adobe make? None none they make none. The only thing they sell is their intellectual property. Look, a company like microsoft, they don't make computers. They make software, uh, into it who were going to talk about quickened and how to use it. And they don't make, um anything that you can touch other than that disk that computer code. So there's an entire industry that makes ba jillian's that's an official word looking up but jillions of dollars a year doing nothing but selling their intellectual property and we have photographers, people say, I mean, I can't tell you in a given year what I'm pitching photography yeah, that package that comes with the copyright, doesn't it? Who hasn't heard that said that comes with the copyright, doesn't it? No, it doesn't. It comes with the license well, what's a license? Well, I'll give you everything but the copyright. You understand what I mean? I'll give you a license to use it, I'll give you a right to duplicate it under terms that I said, but no, I won't give you the copyright. There are a lot of photographers that have gotten some web based legal advice and they've been using some forms in for years they have been transferring their actual copyrights to their clients using a copyright transfer form. Once you transfer the copyright to your client it's as if you never ever pressed the shutter button, you have no right to use it on your website you have no right to use it in your advertising. You have no right to enter it into ah competition because you don't own the copyright what's the copyright give you the right to dio it's a right that's given to artists to control their original work. Now this is important guys, the work that is protected has to be original, it has to be original it gives the right to artists to control their original work for a period of time. It's an exclusive right? It means on ly I get to decide if anybody on the face of the earth gets to use it. Do you remember the picture that the young woman took from the airplane with her iphone of the last space shuttle mission going through the clouds? Does anybody remember that? She took it and she tweeted it to somebody got picked up by the news media in in a day or two going viral in every news media organization in the country and published this fantastic iphone picture that this young woman took and she had given no one the the permission to reproduce it. I believe she called the media lawyer, and I believe they did an expedited copyright registration on it, and I believe she settled her claims with a number of news media outlets because she had the exclusive right to reproduce copies, to display it, to make derivative or follow on works from it to distributed or license it to cellar to transfer it or to pass it to her heirs upon her death. And no one that published it had a permission to do anything so that's what the copyright iss understanding what it is and what it isn't. Is an important part of deciding what we're going to do with it and how we're going to protect it and why it's important to register it? So does everybody here locally understand what the copyright is? And then we'll ask the folks online if they have any questions about what it is before we start to talk about it. We have a question from sophie um from canada craig, you say this is kind of going back to the exporting process but they're curious about what metadata is it imperative to include in your image? Don't worry about it don't worry about it if you can put copyright er two thousand thirteen by sophie in the metadata that would be great if you can't don't worry about it who hasn't heard something about copyright let's take a look at this and want to sit down but also really quicker if we did have a few questions about explaining the difference between trademark and copyright sure trade watermark in copyright trademarks control a mark it controls the mark that defines your business coca cola xerox uh under armour nike reebok can you you know what their trademark iss what's nike straight mark um what is under armors trademark there you a looks like an ex what is puma's trademark cat that's on the side of the issue and the little swishy upside down swishy thing? What is adidas his trademark two three stripes everybody get that that's what a trademark is now trademark can also be like for apple studios remember I said I couldn't register apple studios and claim original rights to use apple on original raissi studios but if I take I might like my fun that I use in the line spacing that I use in my name I could trademark apple studios as a graphic because it defines my brand but I can't claim any original right to only use those words everybody knows what coca coca cola's perhaps one of the most famous trademark brands in the world I think but that's copyright is artistic or literary or visual work a poem website, a sculpture painting of photograph a choreographed dance performance something that we can write down and describe that becomes fixed um on paper or in a medium that we put in but that's that's what? Uh the differences between copyright but what we heard on the web I mean and open your minds to license music, music and songs are more copyrighted more than anything in the united states uh if I don't charge for it and I steal it from someone it's not a violation um what if I don't copy it? I'll just re create it myself meaning make another work kind of like it it's not like it's crime or anything like that one you know, it's a federal felony um uh yeah, you can use that music if it's just for your slide show montage that is that this this is the one that I love the most yeah we could take that coldplay song and we'll stick it in there because it's just for your slide show with the wedding cool place eh you could steal it from him no uh you don't need to register your copyright in order to sue for infringement some industry leaders that I've spoken with that's that's the the most common miss smith and misconception among everybody and if you want to have some fun okay at home if I'm boring you go to copyright dot gov copyright duck of open a new window go to copyright search and you can put in any photographer you want put their last name and then in their first name at the beginning let's start with one of my favorite copyright register registry towards registrar let's see here we weaken let's pull us up good okay so we go teo copyright search search records last red bar on the right I don't want to do any surveys to you I don't want to give any feedback and let's do ah just a simple search in the catalogue who has ever seen a lovely, vibrant fantastic peter lik painting or a photograph? Anybody who has not seen peter lik e l I ke peter and let's search by um name enter let's see oh my goodness five hundred and seventy six registrations eagles I enchanted forest fire on the mountain cupola morning star you see that? How about we go back and start over one of my other favorite ones who is good about registration? Aleem eyes nice spell right? I'm so gonna be spilling its l I e l I there's she registers also under another name it's ellie I just googled it b v I t z alright let's begin our search thank you mallory ah look at that one hundred twenty six and look how she's look what she's registering um bob dylan obama for vogue let's see what else she's registered obama sammy hagar women photos born in the usa does she must have shot did she said okay now would this be images that she had published or stuff that you know she may have let's find out let's find out for instance I think there's some vogue ones in here let me see if I could find a boat uh here's vanity fair so let's click on the registration for the full title for vanity fair it's a cd rahm containing photos um it's got shyla, boof, harrison ford, george lucas and so forth and so on if you pulled the actual record it'll say whether it was published or not I this is probably these air all of the photos that she shot for that year uh, it's from the ok, here it is publication dates from two one oh eight to twelve one away so it's got various publication date, so these air published there's two types of photographs that we can copyright published photos are unpublished photos so your unpublished works you need to register them you know, maybe once a year, a couple times a year if they're unpublished every ninety days if you're publishing them on the web or other places but, um feel free on this copyright search page, put some famous photographers in there, put their last name in there and see what they're registering and it's kind of interesting, I found it interesting. Could we have a few questions going around about usage on facebook and people are kind of going back and forth about whether when you post them online, you're surrendering your rights to have exclusive rights? You know anything about their policies? A little. When she put it on facebook, you grant them alight a licensed to use it on facebook pretty much indefinitely they can't they can reproduce it on facebook, I think their license agreement says now they won't sell it to other people, but it gives them the right to allow other people to tag it and use it and move it around etcetera it doesn't give anybody the ability to click on it and save as and steal it just because it's on facebook doesn't mean it's fair game for anybody to come to take but if within the confines of the facebook computer code um it's pretty much there forever you know you can take it down and I believe that when you take it down it changes the character of the license but there are some depending on your privacy settings when you put the photos out there um I believe there are circumstances where you're deleting the photo does not delete it from all of the pages that it has populated too you know what I mean? So it will live on in perpetuity so whatever you put on facebook and look facebook secret groups closed groups that's doesn't mean it's private just because you post something teo closed group doesn't give you any assurances that it's not going to be pop it up somewhere else that you don't want it to be cool craig it we have a question from uh s fan saying how long do you have to submit your images for copyright? I'm going to tell you oh let's pop back to our presentation first of all you need to submit it before you did um you got it you're a slow group but eventually it clicks it's good for the life of the author plus seventy years so technically your estate could register it after you died so it's not exactly true it's good for ninety five years for corporations. Now why is it that it's good for the life of the author or ninety or ninety five years for corporations? There's this little guy called mickey mouse and he had a friend called sonny bono. Sonny bono before he died, was a u s senator in addition to being shares husband and there was ah um mickey mouse, the copyright on mickey mouse was walt disney's copyright was due to run out under the existing law. So back in the eighties ish, I think it was in the eighties, maybe eighty eight. They passed the copyright life extension act or something like that which changed it to life of the author plus, uh, seventy years and the ninety five years for corporations. And so mickey mouse's still the, uh, copyrighted property of walt disney. Thanks to sonny bono, who sponsored that act, I believe in congress. So what happens to these images after the author's dead for seventy years or ah, the it's been registered to a corporation for ninety five years, it lapses into the public domain. Be public domain is not a web address that you will find on the internet. The public domain is this concept of its available to the public, so you can actually go to the library of congress and you can search the registrations from oh theo early nineteen hundreds which mean everybody pretty much that registered back then the copyrights will have lapsed on those and those pictures are available to you me and the world to use for commercial purposes however we see fit so you can use them for graphic design you can use them for background you can use him for compilations you can use them to create new copyrighted compilations I think um but all of those that have lapsed into the public domain are available uh what can be copyrighted remember it's got to be original uh it has to be an original expression ask yourself is it original? Uh what if I took a picture of this carpeting click and I register it the u s copyright office we'll accept my money they will let me register my picture of it and then being a troublemaker lee's going to come up here and she's going to click a picture of the carpeting it's gonna look almost identical to mine and she's going to use it now when I sue lee saying lee here is my registration form you stealer you photo stealer you stole it it was copyright and it was registered night did everything hide him and said I registered that you're a thief but I'm going to get one hundred fifty thousand plus my attorney's fees you're going to hire a fancy lawyer who's going to say you know what? Craig you're a fool because you pay the copyright office for thirty five dollars, but a picture of carpeting is in no way an original expression it's generic it's not unique it's it's there's nothing special about it it's a picture of carpeting and I would lose and she would win makes sense so just because it's registered at the copyright office doesn't mean you have some magic right to sue everybody that takes a picture of the carpeting in the room what if you take a photo of like, say, a waterfall that fifteen thousand people have taken a photo the same waterfall so it's the same type of composition? No now now you're on the right track there's this famous landscape photographer called ansel adams and he made a living traveling all around yosemite and the pacific northwest. He was an architecture photographer and using his skill in his lighting and his composition, he made pictures of things like waterfalls unique using his camera position, etcetera, etcetera. So yeah, you copyright that waterfall picture all day long because you're using special skills, you know what I mean? This picture the carpet maybe if I get down here with the macro lens and I bring in some special lighting and I'm trying to tell a story about the pathos of man by looking at the loops of the carpeting and really and then I'm going to take I'm going to use my graphic designer to one of those pictures that man be in su judged on day one the lady with the horns coming out of her head sitting on the tree and I'm gonna super impose that on a loop of the carpeting now make it something kind of creepy and unique right? And I am copyright that all day long it was a beautiful picture by the way of the girl on the tree I didn't know why she had the things coming out her hand but it was nice uh so it has to be original who owns it who's the one that caused the work to become fixed now we're going back in time I prime john this the only exceptions that work for hire agreement okay it's going to be owned by the person who caused it to become causes it to become fixed win does a picture become fixed? When does a graphic design become fixed? Save when does a painting become fixed dry when does a sculpture become fixed? Done when does ah computer website code become fixed when it's finished when does ah book become fixed when it's done when is a song become fixed after it's recorded makes sense that's when the copyright comes into play who caused it to become fixed in case of a musical group would be the band etcetera quick mention on orphan works there are a lot of images float around the internet that we have no idea who took him just because they're orphan, and we don't know who made them, doesn't give us the right to steal them. There is some legislation that's been proposed to congress that would deal with orphan works that if you made certain enquiries as to who the original owner, wass, I couldn't figure out who it wass than it would become part of the public domain, and it could be used. I don't necessarily think that's a horrible idea. I think that it's, the latest greatest trend and copyright law it's handsome, trouble gaining traction in congress. But then again, common sense has had some trouble gaining traction in congress lately. So don't count on the orphan works bill getting passed any time soon.

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Ready to turn your creative side project into a thriving business? Join Craig Heidemann for an introduction to the business and accounting principles every creative professional needs to know. 

In this class, Craig will take you step-by-step through the process of setting up, running, and growing a small business. You’ll learn how to use QuickBooks to manage your finances, including managing client contracts and invoices. Craig will also help you navigate the potentially-confusing tax, legal, and copyright issues surrounding small businesses. You’ll also learn how to contract and/or hire people to do the tasks you can’t do yourself. 

Whether you’re just starting out as a business owner or you’re a longtime entrepreneur ready for a refresher course, this course will give you a roadmap to business success.


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I'm literally fresh off the boat, as the saying goes, having moved back to the US after decades of living abroad. I have the photography down (in some measure due to the instructors and courses here at CL), but being new to the business of photography in this environment I was rudderless. This course helped answer all my initial questions and put me on the way to getting established in my region... and beyond! Craig makes legal issues almost fun with his jocular, engaging style. Thanks so much to Chase and the people at CL for knowing what courses real working photographers need.

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This class is amazing (as is the Instructor). Funny, real, and to the point, Craig has a great way of making these aspects of business MUCH less intimidating. Still very applicable even in 2016. Loved it!