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Photography Question 
RJ Baynum

Copyright Infringement on Digital

Here is a question that was brought up by a fellow on my lists at Yahoo groups: He was accused of copyright infringement by a company. Since he took the photo digitally, he has no negs. So how do you prove it?

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5/3/2004 6:53:20 AM

Dave Cross   Hi RJ. This could be interesting. I suggest that the first place to go is the original file from the camera (before any editing was performed). Many mid to high-end digital cameras record all sorts of useful data in the file. My EOS-D60 records my name, date and time and the body serial number (encrypted so it can only be read by the Canon supplied software) in the jpeg metadata. You have to use the original file because most image manipulation software destroys any non-standard metadata. Obviously, any digital data can be faked, so I've no idea how well this would stand up in court (particularly as I'm in the UK, so any legal stuff would be incorrect anyway).

Exactly what is your friend accused of stealing? How likely is it that he took an identical photograph to one taken by the company?? Let us all know how you get on ... copyright is something we (photographers) all have to worry about. Cheers.

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5/3/2004 12:10:00 PM

Scott Pedersen   Unfortunatly without a negetive, your friend cannot prove ownership. Having a negetive is really important, especially for those who do photography for a living. Without it, it goes to court and whoever has the most money to throw at it(the company) will be granted ownership.

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5/4/2004 4:32:38 AM

Jeff Grove   This relates to a question I have asked before. How can you incorporate a copyright icon with your name on your photos (digital or prints) so that your work cannot be used without your knowledge and permission?

Jeff Grove

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5/4/2004 5:59:20 AM

Carol A. Locke has a way to embed that type of data into your digital photo.
Follow the "Products" link and then choose Digimarc MyPictureMarc.

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5/4/2004 11:16:13 AM

Jeff Grove   Thanks, Carol.


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5/4/2004 11:56:44 AM

Thea Menagh
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2001
  Hi, RJ ... I'm assuming the copyright infringement isn't the photograph itself but the photo's content. Such buildings as heritage homes in, say Toronto, have a copyright whereby the images taken of them cannot be used for profit, e.g. I have Use Agreements with greeting card companies, and it would be impossible for me to take a photograph of Casa Loma and send it for use to a greeting card company. The building owners/operators have their own sources to create postcards and other items for sale to benefit the operation and maintenance of the building itself. The Heritage Foundation, Lion's Club, or whomever is responsible for such buildings must sign a Release to permit any photographer to use photos taken there for anything other than personal purposes. However, I was asked to design Casa Loma's business cards, and spent an entire day at the Castle taking photographs for that purposes. It wouldn't be smart of me to use the photos taken there for any purpose other than those business cards, though, since I was given permission to photograph every aspect of the castle for the business cards only - and not for my personal use. Did your friend take a photograph of jewellery in a shop? The designer/producer of that jewellery owns the copyright, and you can't just take a photograph of it and use it. The copyright laws in Ontario and/or Canada are very complex, and it's important to realize that we, as professional photographers, have different rules than say the media ... especially where people are concerned. Carry Releases wherever you go if you intend to publish, sell or otherwise use a photograph taken for any purposes other than putting it into a family album as a holiday memoir! I wish your friend much luck, and trust that the matter can be quickly settled with an explanation 'discontinuation' agreement ... out of court. Kind regards, Thea - B&T Graphic Communications Inc.

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5/4/2004 12:22:15 PM

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