We live in a time when photography becomes more and more commonplace but appreciation of the commercial value of photography is uncommon. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that copyright lawsuits from photographers are increasing.
An Indiana man has been especially vigilant in suing companies who have used one photo of his in particular: an image showing a Riverwalk with the Indianapolis skyline in the background. Indianapolis ex-attorney and photographer Richard Bell has pursued over 200 infringement cases, two of which resulted in $150,000 judgments in Bell’s favor according to the Indy Star publication.
Copyright lawsuits don't always go as planned. A defendant, local vacuum products company Vacuforce had Bell's recent infringement case dismissed by prejudice through a settlement.
While the large number of infringements Bell pursued might seem unusual, such legal wrangling over photography is not that rare. I would urge all photographers (especially commercial shooters) to keep tabs on reverse image searches and consider using a sophisticated photo stamp like Pixsy that will keep tabs on any of your images that might end up being used online. You might be surprised where your images can end up, and who might be profiting off them.
It's also important to keep your images registered with the US Copyright Office. It's true that any image you press the shutter to create is by default copyrighted to you, but that's hardly any help when pursuing infringement. Litigation for unregistered photographs have little recourse for an infringement lawsuit and few lawyers will be interested in taking your case if the image/s aren't officially registered, unless the value of your typical license fees are in the thousands per photograph.
How do you feel about Bell's pursuant of infringement? Are you rooting for his persistence or critical of it? Please leave your comments and thoughts below. Leave your comments and thoughts below.
Lead image provided by Rawpixel.com via Pexels.