Episode 013 – A Copyright Thief in the Night

In Episode by nnps5 Comments

It’s a good thing that Episode 13 isn’t airing on a Friday, eh? Get it? Because of Friday the… yeah. You get it. All jokes aside, we’re genuinely stupefied over our first story. A guy who uses someone’s copyright protected photo without licensing actually takes umbrage with the photographer for suing him—and winning. How do these things still happen in 2017? Oh well. Hopefully, lessons have been learned and we can grow from here. Our second topic covers the ethics of photographing vulnerable people. It’s a topic that Brian and Sharky were excited to discuss because it truly is an interesting conversation to have and worth pondering for yourselves.

Show Notes

  • Instead of adding our own colorful commentary to introduce this story, we’re just going to paste the title of the actual article because it does the job perfectly: “INTERNET “ENTREPRENEUR” SHOCKED THAT COPYRIGHT OWNER SUED HIM FOR STEALING THEIR WORK” [via DIYPhotography]
  • Brian and Sharky bring up the importance of US-based photographers registering their photos [via US Copyright Office]
  • Sharky mentions photographer Jack Reznicki, who is the co-author of The Copyright Zone: A Legal Guide For Photographers and Artists In The Digital Age [via Amazon]
  • The hosts then segue to their second topic inspired by a recent PetaPixel article about photographing vulnerable people. No matter where you stand, this is something worth thinking about. [via PetaPixel]
  • Brian brings up his experiences leading a workshop in Nicaragua with The Giving Lens [via Matiash.com]
  • Post cover photo [Patrick Tomasso via Unsplash]

What’s On Your Gear Shelf?

Sharky: La Crosse Technology BC1000 Alpha Power Battery Charger [via Amazon]


Brian: Peak Design Capture Pro Clip [via Amazon]



  1. Pingback: Are you ready for a fresh episode of the No Name Photo Show?

  2. Listening to the topic of photographing vulnerable people, I wouldn’t without asking permission first. However when the opportunity presented itself I couldn’t bear to ask. Without a means of using the photo to raise awareness it would probably result in me getting a few likes on social media and go no further.

    One account on Instagram that I follow is Lee_Jefferies, who almost exclusively photographs the homeless. He uses those photos to bring awareness and donations, I believe even art auctions, to benefit the homeless in different areas. And he brings a personal intimacy to the photos. You see the effects of hard lives and hard times. Instead of a problem you see people, who are struggling.

  3. You guys should have Edward C. Greenberg ,‎ Jack Reznicki who wrote The Copyright Zone: A Legal Guide For Photographers and Artists In The Digital Age as guests on the show. They are very entertaining, as is the book, which you should read.

  4. I would love to see a video of your workflow batch registering your photos for copyright. I was always under the impression that this was tedious, and the cost was for each photo. Not worth paying $30 for one photo when I probably will never even sell it for that much. But if we can upload dozens of photos for that price, it would be well worth the cost, not to mention the time saved.
    And for those of us making YouTube content, is there a similar process for video?

  5. +100 regarding The Copyright Zone book. Reznicki and Greenberg point out in that book that published vs. unpublished matters when it comes to how you register. I took my registration process from recommendations in the book about 4 years ago, so I won’t attempt to cross-reference page numbers, but here is how I do it…

    I had just created my website, so I had a number of photos already published. I took a chance that nobody had infringed upon me just yet and registered all of my *published* photos as a batch.

    For all of my *unpublished* photos I created a batch for each year (up to the current year at the time). I can’t recall but I believe I even reached out to Jack Reznicki regarding this and the suggestion was that the courts frown upon a gazillion photos per batch across multiple years (my summary, not Jack’s quote!). For the current year (up to present) I try to register a batch of unpublished each quarter though I sometimes flex that based on how much I’ve been shooting or trips I’ve taken. The book points out that the registration covers all derivatives of your photos, so if you register photos and then work on them to a final product, the final product is still covered. I typically register between 3K – 10K unpublished photos in a batch.

    I am not–yet–a full-time pro and sell a small number of photos each year, so my timing of registration might not work for a pro. I say build in the cost of registration for each job, and register before doing anything to/with the photos.

    BTW, the cost per registration (batch of photos) is no longer $35. It is now $55. But considering the ability to assess punitive damages it is a small price to pay.

    Get the book. It walks you through the entire process.

    Regarding a LR plugin: I’m guessing one doesn’t exist because of how I imagine the process of working with the Federal government in order to allow official registration (and payment) would go–slowly and ineffectively. If you actually register on the Copyright.gov site you’ll understand. The page(s) appear to have been created back in the 90s and never refreshed. Who knows what web technologies that currently exist would fail to integrate into their ancient framework.

    @Josh Wardell: There are all kinds of media that you are able to register. You pick the type of content when you register. You may need to separate photos and videos as two different registrations but I’m unsure.

    *Not a complete expert, I just pretend to be on the internet. YMMV. Consult your doctor or lawyer before consuming these comments.

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