C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


What do these two links have in common? Hint - Unintended consequences...

What do these two links have in common? Hint - Unintended consequences...


NY lawyer faces sentence in Dead Sea Scrolls case

Yahoo! News http://yhoo.it/crgdyr


The effects of a stolen photograph



1. People who did not initially believe they did anything seriously wrong.

2. People who appear to have not understood they were impersonating someone else to further a personal goal.

(A) The lawyer appears to have at some point believed it was permissible to use "online aliases to harass people in an academic debate about the Dead Sea Scrolls." The attorney was sentenced "on identity theft and other charges in a rare criminal case centered on Internet impersonation."

(B) The art major appears to have at some point believed it was permissible to deliberately misrepresent herself as the copyright owner of a photograph, stealing the statutory rights and privileges that comes packaged with the creation of it (inclusive of creating derivative works) and fraudulently signing exclusive rights documents as the alleged owner that directly resulted in its commercial publication.

"Are you the owner of this photograph?" is a yes or no question. "Do you own exclusive rights?" is a yes or no question. "User name" and "real name" is a requirement to open e-mail accounts. Neither of these people did this accidentally because they had to make a conscious decision to fill something out to get what they wanted.

My most stolen works happen to be my pictures of Shea Stadium being dismantled and replaced by Citi Field. I have also fought about my children showing up on unauthorized kiddie venues. People think Stephen is a public domain poster child for PDD-NOS and Noah is an Autism model (LOL). Issuing a take down notice can get complicated and emotions do run high. The NYCDOE is the only entity I have ever given a release to in regards to using images of my children. Asking violators to produce the signed model release is always the first offensive move I make. How cranky I get after that depends upon their compliance to my request to cease and take down my work and stop stealing pictures of my kids. 

My new headache is watching my music run amok with the real estate practitioners who create slide shows without asking permission or getting a signed license for its use. It is not just with me. I see a lot of you doing it with your favorite tunes across genres, not realizing that at some point in time an organization like ASCAP, SoundExchange or BMI is going to show up looking for you to write a royalty check and insist you get the proper license.

Paying the fee does not absolve you from the previous unauthorized use. The (a) record label, (b) recording artist, and/or (c) music publisher may use the statutes to make your life miserable for infringing on statutory and/or contractual rights.

Here is a very useful explanation regarding basic copyright issues and the Internet streaming of slideshow music for the Do-It-Yourselfer Realtor who believes it being on YouTube or a blog post makes it fair game or public domain (which it does not - LOL):

Quote #1 "What is copyright? Copyright is a form of legal protection that grants to artists, authors, musicians, and others certain exclusive rights in their original creations. The following types of works are copyrightable: literary works (all written works expressed in words or numbers, such as articles, novels, poems, web pages, blogs, computer programs, etc.); musical works; dramatic works; choreographic works; pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works (including accompanying sounds); sound recordings (recordings of musical, spoken, or other sounds, except sounds accompanying motion pictures or other audiovisual works); architectural works."

Quote #2 "Copyright owners have the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do any of the following with their work: Make Copies. Only the copyright owner may lawfully copy or reproduce a copyrighted work. Prepare Derivative Works. Derivative works are works in which a preexisting copyrighted work is recast, transformed or adapted. Distribute Copies to the Public. Only the copyright owner can distribute the copyrighted work, whether by sale, rental, lending, or otherwise. • Perform Work Publicly. • Display Work Publicly. "

Quote#3 • "In the case of sound recordings, perform the musical work by means of a digital audio transmission. In other words, only the copyright owner can perform the work through digital streaming over the internet. Sound recordings are defined as works that result from the fixation of sounds onto some form of recording medium. The sound recording is the collection of sounds, which is to be distinguished from the object on which the sounds are recorded, such as a CD, cassette, or other recording formats. The sound recording is the recorded music you hear when you play a song from a CD, it is not the CD itself."


If you really want to see how serious swiping a single photograph or sound recording can be go straight to the government's website and download their Copyright Law PDF: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf

The Constitutional Provision Respecting Copyright: "The Congress shall have Power … To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Tımes to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8

Do you understand you have Constitutional Law protecting your rights? That happens to be a very big deal people. One of the best writers on this platform regarding this subject is the incomparable Lenn Harley. Are you a virtual student of Lenn Harley? If not you really do need to subscribe to her blog. It's quite an education... Seriously!!! Go read some of Lenn's prose regarding Copyrights and get ready for your jaw to drop (LOL). ;-)  


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Comment balloon 7 commentsC Tann-Starr • November 18 2010 01:33PM


You know your copyright laws.  One question:  must one actually copyright their photos to protect them or is just knowing that you took them enough?

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Margaret, as soon as you create the work you have a copyright interest in it. It is best to actually fill out the on-line form an upload and/or mail the work in. People frequently save money by making collections. You can turn your blog into a monthly copyright PDF project and submit the pages and photographs how you see fit. Daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annually... it is in your hands. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

C - I am amazed at how many people feel that ithat it is ok to capitalize on someone elses product (ok, I am not surprised at agents). Keep up the reminders.

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) almost 10 years ago

In my previous life as a photographer, I knew a few stock photographers that made a pretty good living from having their photography stolen by agencies.  Now a few of them make pretty good livings off of the stolen pictures they have floating around the internet. 

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) almost 10 years ago

Mike, it's a dangerous game to play because people are getting tired of constantly having to repeat themselves. At some point they start making examples out of violators because some people perceive lack of litigation as a sign that the copyright owners do not care.

Lane, I have a couple of friends that have made more in litigation than they made working 17 hours per day at their craft so I know what you mean (LOL).   

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Seems like it was just lucky the perpetrators in these cases were caught...how many pictures, or identities are never even noticed as stolen.  I mean, how would it be possible to check everywhere?

Posted by Kathleen Frawley, South County Sacramento, 916 730 4404 (Keller Williams 916 730-4404 Elk Grove, Wilton, Folsom, Sacramento) almost 10 years ago

Kathleen, it is a never ending battle. We can only do the best we can. :-) 

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

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