Lance Broad on Copyright Protection

Lance Broad has written about his experiences of dealing with copyright infrigment and some steps you can take to better protect yourself. Thanks to Lance for taking the time to share his experiences.

What does copyright mean to you?

To me, it's the ability to take credit for work that I have put alot of time, energy, and money into. Work which I want to be recognized for, every time an image of mine is used in print or communication.

I have had several companies breach my copyright and use my photos without my permission.

This is not something that I am willing to accept, nor should anyone else.

When challenged about the theft of the image, they will try to pitch it as a good thing for you. They will imply that you are lucky that they selected your image over all others and that the good publicity (of which you receive no credit, in most cases) is the best reward.

It's not choosing an image, it's theft.

There is no way of justifying the incompetence and laziness shown, when the photographer is not contacted for permission to use the image.

So how do I protect myself and what steps can I implement to safe guard my work you ask?

Here are a few tips:

  • Most modern dSLRs and high end consumer cameras allow the ability to embed the authors details into each photo. I always have my name, email, and phone number in each image.
  • Always save your images with the EXIF (camera data) still attached. The file size will be bigger, but it's an insurance policy.
  • Use a watermark and anchor it at a point in the photo that is critical and even with a crop, the watermark remains. You can always use a low opacity so you photo isn't dominated by the watermark.
  • Follow news agencies and anyone who would use your photo on social media. I have found photos of mine this way twice.

But my biggest tip:

- Always save your work in a resolution that shows off how great your image is and your skills as a photographer. If it's low res and someone wants it, they will still take it. My preference is 2048x1366. (depending on aspect ratio)

If you find your images being used without your permission, your first port of action should be to log the details of the offence. Get screenshots, photos, and anything else that can help you down the track if the material is removed. I would then contact the offending party and be upfront with what action you plan on taking and if you are seeking reimbursement or credit for the photo. Remember to also log all communications between you and the offending party. Text conversations, note down what's said in phone calls and remember to record the time and date of the phone calls.

Intellectual Property lawyers are also a great point of contact. They will offer advice on what rights you have and where you can proceed.

Don't be scared to ask for help!

I hope these tips can help you down the track, of you ever get in this situation.

Happy shooting and enjoy the jets!


Lance Broad photographing departin Jetstar at OOL Lance in his element photographing departing JQ A320 at OOL

Photo Copyright: Beau Chenery