The Copyright Grab- A blog post based on conversations with photographers.
The Copyright Grab
What if I asked you to agree to give me a photograph that you created?
Would you agree to give it to me if I put restrictions on how YOU could use It?
What if part of our agreement was that I could use your photograph to make money but I did not have to give you a penny of any of the money that I made. Would you agree?
How about if I could let anyone use the picture for anything that they wanted. Do we have a deal yet?
Here’s an offer ya’ can’t pass up. What if I could reproduce and charge whatever I wanted for the photograph, effectively undercutting you on price. Could I have it now?
This should cinch the deal! What if by giving me your picture you agreed that your photograph would no longer be yours and you would have to get my written permission to use it for any reason. Are ya’ ready to hand it over?
If you’re a professional photographer, you could clearly see how this is damaging to your ability to generate income with your work. Yet many photographers are agreeing to give away their work under such terms.
How Could This Happen?
A copyright grab happens when the creator (an artist) of a piece of intellectual property (the created piece of work) submits (gives) a piece of intellectual property to someone (usually an organization) and by submitting the work they grant the party taking the piece of work permission to use the work in ways that benefit the taker more than the giver.
If ya don’t understand copyright you’re a perfect target for a rights grab. Probably the general public, which includes amateur photographers, don’t understand copyright and the value of copyright. Subsequently they wind up gettin’ their copyright grabbed. OUCH!!
How To Avoid Rights Grabs
We gotta learn to recognize ’em. Because we gotta learn to recognize ’em, we gotta learn about copyright. Specifically, we gotta learn about our exclusive rights as the creators of intellectual property. Once we learn about copyright and our rights as creators we’ll be able to spot the terms and conditions that are asking us to agree to rights grabs.
If I spot a rights grab I don’t submit my work. When working with a client, if they’re askin’ for a rights grab I make effort to talk ’em out of it. If I can’t talk ’em out of it I don’t work with ’em.
It’s My Copyright
As the owner to the copyright in the work I create I hold onto it. The result is, I can use the copyright to my work as an asset to generate revenue. And finally, copyright is the foundation of my business as a photographer. With this in mind, I register it, keep it and don’t allow a copyright grab when it comes to y work.