I dropped by my neighborhood FedEx Office today to pickup materials for a client meeting. As I’m reviewing the printed materials, two [older] gentlemen came in and approached the counter. I wasn’t looking at them, I was just listening. Here’s how the conversation went:
Them: We wanna make copies of these.
Clerk: If these are professional photos, I cannot copy them. If you took them, then I can make copies.
Them: *silence* What?
Clerk: If you didn’t take these photos yourself, then they are protected by copyright and I can’t make copies of them.
Me: *turns around and looks at what the gentlemen have in their hand* *turns out to be old professional photos taken in the early 1930s or 1940s*
Them: These aren’t protected by copyright. Weren’t no copyright laws then that could help them now.
Clerk: Actually sir, copyright protection lasts quite a while. If these are professional photos, I can’t copy them. Would you like to speak to my supervisor?
Them: We’ll just find someone else to do it then.
What’s the moral of the story?
1. I will continue to give my business to FedEx for having a policy that protects the the rights of photographers everywhere.
2. Copyright infringement occurs for a number of reasons, one of which is: People don’t have a clear understanding of how copyright protection is secured, when it attaches to something, how long those rights last, and what constitutes a violation of someone else’s rights.
3. There are people out there who don’t care about copyrights and will gladly violate those rights to make a buck.
If you’re a photographer or someone who makes money from their creativity, how are you protecting your work? What is your strategy to prevent blatant copyright violations? Do you know how long your copyright protections last on your works? If you’re not sure of the answers to any one of these questions, click here. tma