Print Writing a letter to the editor or an opinion editorial op-ed can be a useful way to share your knowledge about infant-toddler issues with the local community and policymakers. In addition, letters to the editor and op-eds are a way of reaching a much wider audience with your messages about the healthy development of infants and toddlers and how policy can positively impact babies, toddlers and their families. State legislators and federal lawmakers regularly read the opinion pages of newspapers for clues about issues of concern in their community.
Picscout and Tineye also offer ways to find where a specific image is being published on the internet. But this tool has limited value for photographers unless they are able to claim reasonable levels of damages for the image thefts that it reveals.
Use it or lose it Copyright protection for photographs in the UK has historically been feeble, at least compared to the US where photographers have heavy legal weapons available to them, including eye-watering levels of statutory damages for registered photos.
The US, with the economic importance of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, has always taken IP seriously, while in the UK intellectual property has traditionally been a poor third cousin.
Damages for photographers in the UK for breach of copyright have become so low that photographers often believe that breaches are scarcely worth pursuing often they are rightand copyright abuse has become systematic and rampant. In this situation, photographers should not be ashamed to use whatever rights they do have to protect their property wherever possible.
Publishers may not see any incentive to seek permission in advance. A good IP lawyer will be able to advise about your options, but the great majority of claims will have no professional help and it is therefore very important that the photographer has some idea of what their rights are in order to assess how much to claim for an infringement and whether it is worth going to court or speaking to a lawyer.
UK copyright law is not in fact quite as emasculated as it may seem.
But there is a danger that legal rights become atrophied through lack of use. The courts become unused to awarding substantial damages for breach of copyright, and this becomes the market norm. As a photographer the first contact that you have with an infringer is very important — it sets the expectations for the amount of the claim, and if done badly it can severely limit your options before you have had a chance to get any legal advice.
The second part of this article makes some suggestions about that all-important initial correspondence.
Playing conkers with that old chestnut — the starting point for damages First, turning to that idea that photographers are only entitled to claim what they would have charged if they had been asked to issue a licence in the first place.
There is an element of truth in it, it is indeed the starting point for calculating damages — but it is only a starting point. The first purpose of damages is, so far as possible, to put the photographer as closely as possible in the position as if the breach had not happened.
Of course that is not possible. The breach did happen, so the law instead first of all tries to evaluate the amount of financial loss suffered, and compensates accordingly, putting the photographer financially in the same position as if the breach had not happened.
The usual way to do this is to work out how much you would have charged for such a licence. But the law often goes beyond this purely compensatory approach, and awards additional, or even punitive, damages. But it is essential to have objective evidence that your own pricing is genuine.
The question is how much would you have charged this particular person for the specific use of that particular image. Gather all the information you can; what you have charged in the past, what large stock agencies charge in their pricing calculators, look at NUJ rates and recommended rates of other organisations, evidence of what other photographers have charged in similar cases, what makes this particular image valuable and unique, and so on.
Not all images are equal so none of these sources is likely to be definitive, but the more evidence that you can draw to show that your claimed price is genuine and reasonable, the better.Submit a Letter to the Editor WANT YOUR SAY?
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