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Excellent Summary of Photo Copyright
Old 12-02-2006, 02:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ran into an excellent summary of particular interest to photographers who use the internet. It's called "The 7 Deadly Myths of Internet Copyright." Copies are around the web on various photo sites, including:

The lawyer's fax and Email on the article are incorrect. However, I checked and the mailing address is still correct.

The article gives a pretty good -- and accurate -- summary of the most important points, including the importance of formal "registration" of the copyright, and why most claims of "fair use" have no validity.

As to the recent discussion of Google's Uh... "usage" without permission, let us say to avoid further threads, that the issues are still being resolved by federal civil courts, federal criminal courts, and various European courts.
Re: Excellent Summary of Photo Copyright
Old 12-02-2006, 03:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's not bad, but it ignores the fact that copyright law varies across the world. The comments about the "Copyright Office" are exclusive to the USA, I believe.

Still, it's mostly applicable in most countries.
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Old 12-02-2006, 03:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First, there are a number of pieces of advice here that are good advice (such as registration of copyright). There are also some areas that can be called into question in light of court decisions that have been rendered since 2000 when the article was first published. Also keep in mind that copyright law still has not caught up with the changes that the Internet has brought to the publishing world.

Second, there are pending changes to the copyright law that could be passed (which I hope don't pass) such as the "orphan clause" that would invalidate whole portions of his discussion. In other words, copyright law continues to be a "moving target". And keep in mind as already stated, that copyright law varies from nation to nation with some nations not observing it at all.

As an aside to this article, you might inspect this lawyer's history such as the FTC proceedings against him some years ago ( and the final resolution here ( ).

Also read his own warning paragraph at the top of the article as that is the most important statement he makes in the article.

I would also note that it is not only Google that is involved in this controversy but virtually every major search engine as they all index photographs that appear on the Internet and they all seem to make a claim to the "fair use" clause and their interpretation of it. It is my opinion, that they will probably prevail. If they do lose the right to index photographs, then it may be a blow to all photographers because it will make it much more difficult for the public to find our work. With that said, I'm currently working on a future article about how to properly put photos on your own site to gain the maximum advantage from the way Google, Yahoo and MSN currently index photos.


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