Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age Paperback – Jun 1 2010
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About the Author
Jack Reznicki is the current President of the Board of Directors of Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Jack has conducted workshops on copyright and legal issues and currently co-authors a Photoshop User magazine column on legal and copyright issues. Ed Greenberg is a member of the New York bar who has tried intellectual property and copyright cases. His clients have included photographers Richard Avedon and Macduff Everton; famed illustrator Anita Kunz; and entertainers Betty Buckley and Robert Vaughn. He was the legal columnist for American Photographer magazine.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book has just four chapters. The first deals with the general rules of copyright; the second explains the process of registering one's copyright with the federal government; the third deals with model releases; and the fourth covers invoices and contracts.
Throughout the book the authors have a bright, breezy and easily understandable style. The chapter on registering one's works for copyright was the most accessible and least intimidating explanation of the process I have ever read and should dispel any fears of the registration process that a photographer might have felt. The other chapters are equally readable. However I do have a few nits to pick.
(Let me stop here for my disclaimer. Although I have practiced law, I have not done any independent research to verify the accuracy of either author's statements and you may not rely on my opinion to create any liability on my part. I do note that for many years I did act as a corporate officer responsible for intellectual property.)
The authors state that one must register one's work to gain access to a court system, and that state courts will not consider a copyright claim. Even if one believed this a misstatement registration is so simple, as demonstrated by the authors, that it is foolish not to register an image unless one wants to release it into the world without a care for what happens to it.
Another nit was the implication by the authors that the terms and conditions of sale can be included only on the back of an invoice. Since an invoice is only submitted for payment, delaying the announcement of terms and conditions until invoice submission is likely to be without effect. The terms and conditions of an agreement should be submitted before any work is done. (However, the terms and conditions provided by the authors are an excellent starting point for any agreement with a client.)
My major complaint is not with what the authors provide, but rather with what they fail to provide. There are many other types of legal situations that photographers will encounter, from entering into a lease of property for a studio to signing an agreement with a gallery to selecting a form of business, that will have serious implications. While I would advise consulting a lawyer in such cases, having a book that provides the photographer with information about what to look for and ask for certainly would be useful in a legal guide.
Not withstanding this comment the issues that are covered in this book are so clearly explained in easy-to-understand terms that most photographers who care about their images will benefit from a reading.
This book ranks up there as being a favorite. It covers a lot of topics but I purchased it for the copyright information and how to file a copyright application. Talk about idiot proof! This book holds your hand and walks you through the process with online screen captures and such. The price alone is worth it for the protection it will provide you as a photographer in copyrighting your images. The other information it provides is a BONUS.
I actually have recommended this book to all my photographer friends. It's truly excellent.
I do have a question for the authors regarding registrations. I will register all of the images that I expose to copyright infringement via the Internet. I will also register the websites on which the images appear. My understanding is that you should not register a work that is already registered. How should one go about registering a website that contains previously registered images?
1) "Everything" is NOT covered in this book, despite the claim. Yes, really important stuff like copyright registration, model releases, and invoices are covered (though I'm still left with questions), but photographers have other legal issues as well. For example: When and where can the police confiscate your memory card or other equipment? What and who are you prohibited from photographing at all? Can you take photographs in a hospital if it has no locked doors preventing the public from visiting patients? -1 1/2 stars that wouldn't be lost if they didn't claim "Everything"
2) Most books including legal forms either have a CD or let you download the forms online. Considering the small size of this section, it seems like it would make sense for them to publish these on a web site and then say "for more info, buy the book!" or something. (No need to even password protect anything, etc.) -1/2 star since the reader is stuck typing by hand or using OCR
So this book is probably almost all that most studio, portrait, etc, photographers who shoot under controlled conditions will need, but someone out in public taking photos of random goings-on (like a photojournalist or wanna-be) really needs quite a bit of additional information on what's legal to even photograph in the first place, regardless of publishing or copyright. While it book is good for what it does cover, it doesn't cover "Everything".