A while ago I wrote about the NYPD being re-informed of our rights to take pictures of, well, whatever we want. It seems Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano didn't get…
Photo District News is reporting that US Airways, it’s insurance company AIG and their lawyers have moved to prevent photographer Stephen Mallon from displaying photos of the recovery of Flight 1548, photos which he appears to own the copyright to. Mallon was hired to document the recovery process by Weeks Marine, who had given Mallon (as had the NTSB) their okay for showing the photographs involved. Mallon is asking people to contact US Air and AIG and express their displeasure on the subject. I’ve done that, but in this point, I’d like to talk, maybe even rant a bit, about the problems with the copyright system and the law as it applies to small-shop photographers like myself and Mallon. (more…)
This is the first of several in a series on copyright, as it stands in the US, and how it affects photographers.
Part One – The basics.
Photography is copyrighted intellectual property, just like books, music and software. Like musicians, authors and filmmakers, photographers are paid a fee for creating the work and then residuals or royalties for the subsequent use of those works. An artist’s ability to profit from their creations is a Constitutional right, Article 1, Section 8:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
Not to get too political here, but… The framers realized that a stable and prosperous society is aided by the ability of the innovative and inventive to profit from their innovations and inventions. This may all seem like political mumbo jumbo, but in the face of those who think copyright is a hindrance to free expression (if you liked Napster, this means you) it’s an important rebuttal. Without the profit motive to, well, motivate us, why create.