Posted by: bpcweb | March 12, 2009

Copyright: A Primer for Photographers

At last night’s March meeting, attorney George Comeau delivered a lively and informative presentation covering the basics of copyright and related legal concerns of special interest to photographers.

Beginning with a brief overview of the foundations and history of copyright in the US and ending with commentary on the Shepard Fairey infringement case, George’s two hours with us sped by. In between he talked about copyright registration; the intricacies of licensing; the Creative Commons licenses; why and when model releases are necessary; and the hard realities of infringement situations (lawsuits are expensive, it may not always be worth it to bring suit). He also spent time discussing the MBTA’s photography policy as well as general issues around photographing on public vs. private property (the main take-aways being, security guards and other employees often don’t know these policies themselves; and you can’t assume you’re on public property even if you’re on the sidewalk!).

In preparing his talk, George worked in answers to the many questions members had submitted with their RSVPs, and there were additional questions from those in attendance as well. It was a great evening, and we’re grateful to George for taking the time to share his knowledge (and packets of model releases!) with us.

Here are links to some of the resources George talked about:
ASMP (American Association of Media Photographers)
Creative Commons
US Copyright Office (online registration of copyright)


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