US Copyright Reform for Photographers and Artists – Add Your Voice
US Copyright reform for photographers and artists is on the table and the American Society of Media Professionals is leading the charge. I recently added my voice to this debate and you can do the same. It doesn’t matter whether you are a some-time photographer, full-time photographer, or artist of any kind. You can make a difference by adding your voice.
And why should you? Well, take for example the thief who calls himself an artist in the following article by Money magazine, Richard Prince, who grabbed a bunch of Instagram photos, printed large copies of them and put them up for sale at the Frieze Art Fair in New York — as if they were his own. Not only did he steal the images of dozens of Instagram users, but he sold the images for $90,000 per image and all but one of them sold. I can’t find information on how many were offered, but the image above shows five images and I’ve heard there were as many as 30 images.
You can have a say on this sort of blatant rip off. The following is text from ASMP, a great organization I’ve belonged to since the early 80’s.
Call to Action: U.S. Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry
On April 24, 2015 the U.S. Copyright Office issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to review “how certain visual works, particularly photographs, graphic artworks, and illustrations are monetized, enforced and registered under the Copyright Act.” ASMP seeks relevant comments, experiences and stories to consider as we work with coalition members to draft a compr ehensive response. Please review our update on the NOI, then send your thoughts to ASMP Copyright Reform no later than Sunday, July 5, 2015.
The following is an email I sent ASMP to voice my concerns.
Dear ASMP Copyright Reform,
The number one change we desperately need as photographers is a change in the copyright registration process requiring an artists or photographer to list all works as either “Published” or “Unpublished”.
I’ve lost more than one substantial court case where large publishers used my photographs, that were “Registered” but mistakenly registered as “Unpublished”. They were registered as “Unpublished” due to the vague and confusing language the US Copyright office has had since I began registering my work in the mid 90’s.
Quite frankly, I don’t understand why there is ANY distinction between “Published” and “Unpublished” in the first place. If I own the image and I make the effort to Register that image, I should have all powers of the US copyright law on my side to protect my work. As it stands, multinational, textbook and editorial publishers have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars in publishing fees from me due to a technicality in the US copyright law regarding whether an image is “Published” or “Unpublished”.
Please remove all language from the registration process that requires the distinction between “Published” and “Unpublished” materials. Thank you.
Respectfully, Daniel J. Cox
Please! Take a stand for all artists and voice your concerns with ASMP today. My email above describes the most pressing issue with copyright law as it currently stands. Feel free to take my language verbatim. Just make sure you do something and if you need my text, it’s yours to use. Do all the cutting and pasting you want. There is serious chance for major copyright reform, but it will pass us by if we don’t speak out. You can rest assured there are many, like the publishers I mention in my email to ASMP, that will have their high-powered, high-cost lawyers on the job to make sure nothing changes.