Photography Cheat Sheet: Privacy and Copyright for Photographers

Today’s photography cheat sheet is all about the rights and responsibilities of photographers when it comes copyright and privacy.

Photographers are among the creatives whose works constantly faces copyright infringement issues. Likewise, many photographers aren’t aware of the responsibilities that come with the job, especially when it comes to street photography. To address this, we’re sharing an infographic that will serve as a handy photography cheat sheet for knowing your rights and responsibilities as a photographer. The infographic below, put together by WhoisHostingThis, is a primer on what you need to know about privacy and copyright issues you may encounter as a photographer. Knowing about copyright law will allow you to protect your work, while familiarity with the privacy law will allow you to avoid legal liabilities. We highly suggest that you keep a copy of this photography cheat sheet for instances when you’re in doubt.

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Why the CASE Act Is So Incredibly Important for Every Photographer

If you’re reading this, at one point or another you felt compelled to pick up a camera, pursue and develop the craft, or appreciate the immense talents of other image-makers.

You found the satisfaction in documentation, capturing a moment, preserving a memory, literally stopping time. You discovered the power of the universe in your hands in that instant, and it inspired and ignited you the way only art and creation can. You felt the creative connection that I hope all of us get to experience as often and fully as possible, that artistic expression of self.

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The American Photographic Artists Calls for Support for the CASE Act

The American Photographic Artists (APA) encourages photographers to add their voice to the CASE Act advocacy for an alternative to filing expensive copyright claims.

Photographers are frequent victims of copyright infringement cases, but we are also no strangers to the fact that pursuing legal action can get complicated and expensive. The American Photographic Artists (APA) seeks to help address this with our support for the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019, better known as the CASE Act. The aim is of this bill is to create a copyright small claims board within the US Copyright Office.

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How Using Unsplash Got This Photographer Into Legal Trouble

We’ve been warning photographers about losing rights to their work when they upload photos on Unsplash. Now, a photographer and business owner tells us about the legal issue he could be facing after using one such photo from the platform. 

If you’ve been considering posting stuff on Unsplash to get traction for your work, we’ve been very vocal about what you stand to lose. This time, we want to share what it’s like when you’re on the other side of the fence, and the legal problem you could find yourself grappling with when you source a photo from Unsplash for use on your blog or website. Simon Palmer, a photographer, cameraman, and business owner, recently shared with us an unsavory experience that unfolded after using a photo from Unsplash for a blog. His marketing team has been instructed to use only copyright-cleared images for this purpose, so they thought it wouldn’t be an issue. However, sometime later, they were contacted by international copyright enforcer Copytrack with a copyright infringement notice, requesting a license fee. He double-checked the image on their blog and was sure they downloaded the photo from Unsplash and credited the photographer as was indicated on the site.

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US Court Slams Esquire’s Claim of Fair Use vs a Photographer

Worried your Instagram posts might get used by magazines without your permission? Here’s a recent case that should settle your mind.

All forms of photography, whether taken for work or for personal use, are now at risk of being stolen or used without permission — even by established publications. Global publisher Hearst recently learned the consequences of that when they published on Esquire’s website the iPhone snap of Jonathan Otto, showing President Donald Trump crashing a wedding on June 11, 2017. The court decision dropped by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on December 10 ruled against the publisher’s claim of fair use and sided with the copyright infringement case filed by Otto.

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COPYTRACK Lets You Track and Get Paid for Your Images Used Without Permission

COPYTRACK promises to help photographers with websites, media outlets, and businesses using their photos without permission.

A good number of creatives now encounter unauthorized or uncredited use of their photos and images. It has become a common problem especially of photographers, regardless of the genre. If you’re a victim of such despicable act, you might want to enlist the services of international copyright enforcer COPYTRACK, especially if you’re determined to collect monetary compensation on top of legal action.

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You May “Regram” Your Favorite Instagram Posts Soon

Could a “Regram” feature be coming soon on Instagram?

Instagram has no doubt been a phenomenal outlet for many photographers to showcase their work and reach a wider audience. Still, it also remains plagued with copyright infringement issues, and countless instances of users reposting their work without permission or proper attribution. That may soon change if the image sharing app does push through with a “regram” feature reportedly being tested out.

It was only a matter of time, many of you may say, as the reposting feature already exists on Facebook’s “Share” and Twitter’s “Retweet.” In an era where it’s easy for people to download images and then upload them on social media as their own, this feature is definitely something that will make reposting easier without encouraging copyright infringement.

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Three Days Grace’s Tour Manager Claims Photographers Should Feel Privileged to Take Bands’ Pictures


Yesterday, we reported about the éclat caused by American alternative band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, after they had used a photograph taken during one of their gigs without the photographer’s permission. Not only wasn’t the photographer properly credited when the band uploaded the picture to its Facebook page, the image was also cropped so as not to show the photographer’s watermark, and it was heavily edited. All of this combines to one grave case of copyright infringement.

However, instead of acknowledging their wrongdoing, the band instead publicly shamed the photographer for asking them to either pay a licensing fee, or take the image down. In the end, their attempt at bullying a photographer out of his legal rights failed miserably, and the band was forced to publicly apologize to the photographer. But instead of realizing what they had done wrong, they went on to state that they believe “most forms of DIGITAL art should be FREE!”

Photographers’ copyrights not being respected, and their work not being valued, is an old story and sadly a recurring theme, and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus weren’t the first to display such an arrogant and neglectful behaviour. Unfortunately, they also weren’t (and won’t be) the last. In what seems to be a direct reaction to the RJA incident, the tour manager of the rock band Three Days Grace, Shawn Hamm, now also weighed in on the matter, again downplaying the role of the photographer in concert photography.

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Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Uses Photographer’s Photo Without Permission


American alternative band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus couldn’t have handled a copyright infringement any worse than if they had defecated on Sydney-based photographer Rohan Anderson’s backyard themselves.

The whole ordeal started with a single square filtered image. Sometime yesterday, RJA posted a photo on their Facebook, which immediately acquired likes in the hundreds. This photo was shot taken by Anderson in Sydney in 2013 during an RJA show.

Anderson admits in his blog post about the drama that it’s not uncommon for bands he’s photographed to use his photos without permission; but he points out that he usually lets those go because they give him credit and thank him for it. Unfortunately this time around, not only did RJA completely forgot to give him credit for the photo in question, they also cropped the original image (and thus removing his watermark) and added some sort of photo filter. To add insult to injury, the photo’s quality was greatly reduced.

This, of course, hit a nerve, as it would any artist whose work has been altered and used without permission. So Anderson emailed the band, informing them of the copyright violation and asking them to either take the image down or pay for its use.

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Getty Fights Copyright Infringement by Making Pictures Free to Share

Getty image embedding dialog

When we first heard about Getty making the majority of its photographs free to share, without watermarks, our initial reaction was, “now they’ve lost it completely.” Without further explanation, this sounds almost as if the stock agency were giving away the work of its contributors for free, essentially generating even less income for working photographers–who already in many cases have a hard time making a living from their chosen craft. However, digging into the story a little deeper, we realized that this move is actually pretty clever.

For years, Getty has seen the copyright of its photographers being infringed on the internet, mainly due to image sharing via social networks such as Twitter or Tumblr, but also by blogs and other websites. In most cases, the persons or websites sharing the images weren’t generating any profit from them. But the pictures were often acquired by means that disregarded copyright, that is by screenshot or by grabbing from other websites that happened to host them–and were often free of Getty’s watermark.

Since Getty’s images were being used in this way already, the agency figured the best solution would be to officially make its stock photos available for anyone to embed, free of charge, and without watermark. The clever trick here is that Getty is providing the embed code itself, which means that the agency has a certain amount of control over the images that are being used–which so far wasn’t the case. This also opens up the possibility to monetize the content, for example via ads, although currently there don’t seem to be any fix plans for doing so.

In essence, what Getty is doing here is comparable to the legalization of cannabis use: it is decriminalizing what is already a common practice. And instead of seeking legal action against those using its images, the agency embraces the fact that its photos are being shared and tries to gain control over how the content is spread. And in addition, this is very helpful for small, non-commercial or non-profit publications without a budget for stock photography, as it will allow them to use Getty’s material without having to pay fees, and most importantly without infringing on the photographers’ copyright.

Via The Verge