Online Copyright Cases Increasing

By Tom Burton

Digital technology is making it easier to identify photo misuse and photographers are learning more about their rights. As copyright infringement cases are increasing, some are seeing settlements.

In a story by the Los Angeles Business Journal, photographer Michael Grecco talks about recently receiving five-figure settlements from three major media companies for unauthorized use of his photos from 1989 of singer Janet Jackson. The article also quotes an attorney from California firm as saying that the stream of copyright cases in the last 10 years "started as a trickle and has become more of a flood."

Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, is quoted in the story saying that at one time, most copyright issues were filed by corporations for work produced by staff photographers. Now, with staffs shrinking and the pool of freelancers growing, the photographers are taking on the burden of copyright issues themselves.

“As more and more companies are laying off staff … you either, as a photographer, find a new line of work or you freelance,” Osterreicher is quoted in the article.

Osterreicher also points out that by registering your copyright in the beginning or your workflow, it can make the process less complicated if you have to go to court and your settlement could be much higher with a registered copyright.

Read the full story here.