If I had a dollar for every time there’s a copyright infringement issue in photo news, I’d be doing the Scrooge McDuck right about now. As industries and tech change, so the business models need to change also. Evolve or die, or something Darwinian or other seems appropriate here. Piracy in music led to a massive evolution of that business that’s still underway, and the business of imagery, so much more easily shareable, and less traceable, needs the same.
At the moment, it’s a work in progress at best, and most of us are viewing the rules through a fogged up lens. The whole arena, even in the courts, is still bathed in ambiguity, so it’s fair to say we, the creators, the sellers, the storytellers, are likely not up to date. Keep in mind for those in the US, we are living in a federal superstate which has a level of both coherency and lack thereof between national and state laws, further adding to the confusion. There is, however, some help.
Photographer Jack Reznicki and lawyer Ed Greenberg, otherwise known as The Copyright Zone Guys, together with B&H, have put out a video that covers a trailer-load of copyright and legal issues pertaining to photography; answers to questions to whom you may not have known to ask, or even to ask about in the first place. Furthermore, they clarify and set right things you may think you know, but are solidly mistaken about. Case in point for all you savvy Wedding photographers out there who generally feel you’ve got your stuff together, many of you may not be aware that the bride and groom cannot sign off for everyone at the wedding. Each adult must sign off for themselves – spare a few exceptions.
Now, the video is lengthy. At about an hour and fifteen minutes, you may think, given the subject matter, that sounds about as appealing as Ben Stein reciting a class roster, à la Ferris Bueller. If you’re like me, to get through something like this, well, I need a little sugar to help the medicine go down, and the two deliver that via personality, and vocal range. Really, it’s worth a watch, even in pieces.