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by scorless on Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:16 am
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When it comes to copyright infringement does an image need to be a copy of the original? Example lets say that someone sees and image that is a composite and it has a maple leave in the center and several lines going out from the leaf. Someone creates a new composite, they have the file with all the layers but it looks just like the first one only this person uses a cottonwood leaf instead of a maple leaf. Is this considered a violation? Is it copy right violation when it is the exact copy of an image?

Does copying a style or technique using similar looking images constitute a violation. It seems like there is a very fine line here in terms of taking someone else's intellectual property.

I recently noticed some of my images had been either slightly altered or completely retaken and changed just  a little. I do not believe this is a violation because I think they are original images by the photographer just made to look like mine, but they are close.

Thank you for insights and comments. 
Sandy Corless
 

by Carolyn E. Wright on Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:35 am
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The general law on what constitutes copyright infringement is here:  http://www.photoattorney.com/copyright-infringement-for-substantially-similar-works/

Check these blog entries, too, for how courts ruled on derivative works:  

http://www.photoattorney.com/photographer-awarded-summary-judgment-for-copyright-infringment/

http://www.photoattorney.com/does-a-derivative-work-violate-your-copyright/

Best,
Carolyn
Carolyn E. Wright, Esq.
Lawyer for Photographers and NSN Moderator
Photo Attorney® at www.photoattorney.com
 

by Jeff Colburn on Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:04 pm
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You're starting to drift into Fair Use. Check this out http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2015/05/25/a-reminder-that-your-instagram-photos-arent-really-yours-someone-else-can-sell-them-for-90000/

Because of this, the copyright office and congress are looking to update the copyright laws for the first time in 40 years.

If someone has stolen your work, let the ASMP know. They want to be sure the changes favor photographs. You can tell them here http://asmp.org/copyrightreform#.VW_m1kZpGAr

Have Fun,
Jeff
Fine Art Prints and Stock Photography of Arizona www.JeffColburn.com See my ebooks in the NatureScapes Store 25 Places To Sell Your Photographs And Photography Skills and The Vanishing Old West - Jerome
 

by scorless on Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:36 am
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This information is very helpful.

Thanks you
Sandy Corless
 

by Len Romanick on Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:19 am
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There is a lot of horrible copyright info out on the web.

As you describe the situation, the variations you are seeing appear to be derivative works from your image(s). That is a copyright violation, provided you haven't transferred or shared the copyright. ALWAYS check the fine print in the terms of use for the sites to post images to, including contests. You will be surprised what you are giving away in most cases.

I hope you registered the original image(s), if not, you still can if the register within 3 months of the violation, but the process is not particularly quick.
Len Romanick
LensAfield
 

by Carolyn E. Wright on Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:44 pm
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To be eligible for statutory damages for copyright infringement (of at least $750 and up to $150,000 for willful infringements, plus costs and attorneys' fees), you must have registered your photograph with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to the infringement or within three months (not 90 days) of first publishing it (NOT from the infringement). See 17 USC Section 412.

Because the statute does not allow for statutory damages when “any infringement of copyright in an unpublished work commenced before the effective date of its registration,” then you don’t have the 3 month window to register your photograph after an infringement if your work was unpublished at the time of the infringement.

Carolyn
Carolyn E. Wright, Esq.
Lawyer for Photographers and NSN Moderator
Photo Attorney® at www.photoattorney.com
 

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