Copyright Infringement Rules

One of the most time-consuming tasks for artists with digital media is to keep their work protected. It’s a burden to many of us (myself, included!), and Curtis Newbold, PhD of the website, Visual Communication Guy, is trying to help us and redistributors to understand the usage laws. While the Internet is sometimes a wonderful way to promote artists and their work, it also opens the door to unlawful use. If a violation hasn’t happened to you yet, it just might!

It can get a little ambiguous for the non-seasoned, but obtaining permission to use the image(s) is always the best practice. Dr. Newbold suggests understanding these four ideas: copyright, fair use, creative commons, and public domain. The fair use clause is what gets most redistributors into hot water and opens them up to lawsuits.

Another concept that one should familiarize themselves with is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DCMA. There is an actual process to have images removed from a website, and while the work needs to be copyrighted, it does not need to be registered. This is the act that I reference in my DCMA Take Down Notices to websites unlawfully using my images.

And, for those professional photographers out there, you might be interested to know that the PPA is actively trying to reform the landscape for small claims copyright legislation as we speak!   See more below.