Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses your copyrighted materials without your permission. The rise of digital technology, particularly social media, has created a frenzy of copyright infringement, which hurts small photographers and visual artists.
Photographic or visual arts copyright infringement happens in a number of ways:
- Freebooting: Reposting your copyrighted digital media, photographs, or other visual images online without your permission
- Piracy: Illegally downloading or reproducing your copyrighted material
- Plagiarism: Directly copying your information or work and presenting it as the infringer's original photograph or visual artwork
- Marketing: When business uses your intellectual property (your photos or visual art) to promote their products
If you're a a photographer, particularly a stock photographer, copyright infringement takes money directly out of your pocket. Even if the infringing person earns nothing from their illegal infringement of your work, the lost opportunity for sales of your product can damage your product’s position in the market.
Copyright Dispute and Litigation
You may need to take legal action to enforce your copyright from infringement issues. Most cases begin with me sending a cease-and-desist letter, informing the infringer that a problem exists. This can open the door to negotiation (but not always). Ideally, the other party agrees to repair the offense or remove the offending material, and make a reasonable settlement offer to you for your trouble.
Sometimes, a more aggressive strategy is necessary. If your copyright is registered, you, as the copyright owner, have the option to sue the infringing party in federal court and seek damages. You must prove that the copied work is “substantially similar” to your own, and that you have suffered financial harm - either from lost licensing fees, dilution of your product in the marketplace, or other damage.
Southern California Copyright Litigation Attorney
I practice copyright law, helping clients who are photographers and/or visual artists, with a their copyright matters, from registering your work with the Copyright Office, to enforcement of your copyrights in court. I work with photographers and small businesses to protect your photos and visual artworks.