Results from a recent Professional Photographers of America (PPA) survey likely won’t surprise many photographers.
In short, two thirds (67 percent) of the 2,000 photographers questioned by PPA reported having their images used without their permission. Of those who had their images ripped off, more than half had multiple instances of unauthorized image use.
“These victims of infringement are mom and pop businesses,” said PPA CEO David Trust in a statement announcing the findings. “The income they lose from just one infringement can determine whether or not a hard-working photographer gets to take her first family vacation in five years, sign her child up for little league or piano lessons, or pay the mortgage. These may not be huge amounts of money to some, but they make a big difference to a small business owner.”
According to PPA, over 96 percent of pro photographers surveyed don’t regularly register their copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office despite nearly unanimous (99 percent) agreement with the statement that copyright protection is an important aspect of their careers.
For photographers looking for tips on how to prevent authorized use of images, the PPA suggested the following:
- Have a conversation with clients to educate them on photographic copyright and what they can and cannot do with your photos.
- Mark all work with a copyright notice (i.e. ©YEAR. Studio Name) where it will be displayed publicly, especially online.
- Register all work with the U.S. Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov).
- Stay up-to-date on copyright law and potential changes.
- For more information on how to protect images, download PPA’s free Copyright Kit.
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