Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 270. In today’s Episode I want to talk about Copyright and “Fair Use” as it pertains to photography. Now let me start by saying I am NOT an attorney, nor do I play one on TV, but this is a topic that should be important to EVERY photographer pro or otherwise. The information for today’s episode comes from several stories from Peta Pixel and I wanted to share them with my audience as I have been following these stories for some time and they are extremely important to photographers.
First of all what is a copyright when it comes to photography? Well from the website Wordnik and based on the definition in the dictionary a copyright is “The legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work.” So, as the photographer, you are considered an artist and you hold the copyright to any photographs you take unless you give those rights to a client as part of a contract for services or you shoot as some sort of “staff” photographer.
Ok, so what constitutes “Fair Use” of your photography? Well, “Fair Use” as explained from the University Libraries is as follows:
Fair use allows certain uses of copyrighted works without obtaining permission from the copyright owner. Fair use allows copying of copyrighted material in an educational setting, such as a teacher or a student using images in the classroom. Fair use is flexible concept and can be open to interpretation in certain cases. A digital copy is considered on the same footing as a print copy for purposes of fair use.
In some cases, fair use rights can be subject to restrictions (license agreement or donor agreement).
There are 4 factors to consider in fair use. These are only guidelines.
1. The purpose and character of your use
It is fair use to use an image for teaching in person and online and for research, scholarship, and study. It is fair use to display images to convey a scholarly argument or to convey information.
The transformative factor: if you use images and create a new work by creating new aesthetics, new insights, and understandings, the law has considered it fair use. However, determining what is transformative–and the degree of transformation—can be challenging.
2. The nature of the copyrighted work
Many images are creative in nature but it is still fair use to use them in an educational setting.
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion taken
Users typically need to use entire images to make their point but it is still fair use to use them in an educational setting.
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market
Users displaying images usually do not decrease the value of the images.
Now let’s look at the stories from Peta Pixel that pertain to these kinds of legal cases.
As you can see from these stories and court cases, the whole issue of Copyright and “Fair Use” can be tricky to navigate and your best bet is to get an attorney who specializes in Copyright and “Fair Use” law. As my listeners are aware, I have already had a couple of battles against company’s that violated my copyright on one of my photographs. The Russian website that used my lion image without permission did take it down, luckily for me as they would have been hard to fight being they are a Russian website. The second violation of the same image turned out to not be a violation as NatGeo had purchased the same lion photo from 500px.com and 500px.com had not informed me who the buyer was. In this case, once NatGeo sent me proof of their purchase I apologize to them and enjoy knowing that I have been published by the world’s largest Wildlife publication!
So, what are your thoughts on Copyright and “Fair Use”? Do you still have more questions on this topic, if so leave a comment in the Facebook Group. I am also trying to get an actual Copyright and “Fair Use” attorney to come on the show and talk about this in more detail.
Also be sure to join the Liam Photography Podcast Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/liamphotographypodcast/ You can reach the show by call or text @ 470-294-8191 to leave a comment or request a topic or guest for the show. Additionally you can email the show @ firstname.lastname@example.org and find the show notes at http://www.liamphotographypodcast.com.
You can find my work @ https://www.liamphotography.net on and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @liamphotoatl. If you like abandoned buildings and history, you can find my project @ http://www.forgottenpiecesofgeorgia.com. and http://www.forgottenpiecesofpennsylvania.com.
Please also stop by my Youtube channels Liam Photography