Saturday, September 23, 2017

Attribute, Attribute, Attribute

And if you cannot attribute...obtain a license and a waiver.

Photographers have moral rights, unless they waive them. They also have copyright, unless they assign it. Do right by everyone, and above all, protect yourself.

There are two photographs of yours truly that are beyond my control on the internet. One is of "Rowena Beaumont Cherry" and was taken by Alex Law, an excellent Canadian photo-journalist. The other is of "Rowena Cherry" and was taken at a Pebble Beach concours d'elegance by the amazingly talented Robert Puffer.  In both cases, the photographers granted me eternal, unlimited, irrevocable written permission to use, publish and distribute the photographs of myself without attribution, and without payment.

I had good legal advice, and the privilege of being acquainted with true gentlemen. When Alex Law and Robert Puffer took their photographs of me, I was unknown and newly under contract to be published, and social media did not exist. Nor did copyright infringing pirate sites that scrape copyrighted photographs and use them to suggest that the author in question endorses their illegal activities.

For readers, this is not necessarily the case. If you desperately want a particular ebook, you would do well to acquire it from a reputable site such as Apple, Kobo, Amazon, Powells, Barnes and Noble,  Chapters-Indigo etc or from your local public library.  Or from the authors' own websites, or the authors' publishers' websites.

For authors, even if the best photographer in your world is your boyfriend, or husband, or girlfriend, or sister... get the rights in writing, and make sure your rights are perpetual and unlimited. You cannot  foresee what will happen to your relationships with your friends and family, and you cannot foresee who will use that photograph of yourself with or without attribution and whatever watermarks you might have tried to put on that photo.

Gigi Hadid, and also one of the Kardashians are an object lesson in what can go wrong if someone posts a photograph of herself --that was taken by someone else-- on a social media site such as Instagram or Pinterest.

Legal bloggers Njeri Chasseau and Jason Gordon for Reed Smith LLP analyse Khloe Kardashian vs Xposure Photos Ltd.

And... legal bloggers Howard Ricklow, Helen Ingram and Chandni Ranfior for Collyer Bristow LLP  discuss Gigi Hadid and her use of a photograph taken by someone else, without giving attribution to the photographer. 

As with the copyright case involving the monkey selfie, the person who takes the photo is the copyright owner, not the being who is the subject of the photo.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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