MISSION STATEMENT - This site is dedicated to professional music photographers. Our mission is to advocate sound business practices, warn against predatory client practices, provide helpful and educational resources, and foster a sense of community. All discussions related to capturing, processing, cataloging and licensing music photographs are welcome.

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Copyright Protection

As a music photographer, you depend on displaying sample photographs on your web site to document events you have photographed and to demonstrate your creative and technical skills. Displaying images on the Internet has its risks, the greatest of them being copyright infringement. This article is a five-part series that guides you through what to do before infringement occurs, how to collect evidence after it occurs, how to document that evidence, who to contact and what actions you can take, and what to expect during the process. At the end is an extensive list of links to other resources on the internet that also may help you, including links to registration tutorials and to copyright legislation in numerous countries around the world.As the author of photographs, you own the "right to copy" your work. That means you alone control how your photographs may be used and by whom. You will at some point in time find that someone has taken one or more of your photographs from your web site and used them without your permission. That is copyright infringement. In addition, it may be a violation of the "right of publicity" of any identifiable person(s) in the photograph depending on how the copyright infringer has used the photographs. The type of people who take your photographs will vary. Some will be fans who simply want artwork for their computer screen or their MySpace page. Some will be fan site owners who want to use your photographs to pay homage to their favorite artist. Others will be commercial entities who want to use your photographs to make money. These include the artist themselves, record labels, publications, instrument manufacturers, advertisers, etc. Some copyright infringers will simply take your work without asking. Others will license your work, then use it in ways not granted in the original license agreement. When you discover your photographs being used without permission, you need to take the appropriate steps to resolve the issue. In this article, I outline the steps you must take before-the-fact to insure you get the maximum protection of the law. I also outline the steps to take after-the-fact to properly document every shred of evidence you can get and enable you to successfully negotiate with, and potentially prosecute, a copyright infringer.

© 2007 Walter Rowe. All rights reserved.