Andrew is a wedding, portrait and event photographer based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is the perfect example of the small-business creator. He provides for his family by operating a small photography business through which he provides families in his community a product that will be cherished for generations to come. Andrew photographed an event for a local restaurateur and licensed images to the restaurant for specific marketing purposes.
The restaurant’s PR firm distributed one of Andrew’s images to a culinary magazine. The magazine then used the photo as the cover image of a monthly issue without Andrew’s permission and without mention of either Andrew or his client. Andrew contacted the publisher and sent an invoice for an appropriate licensing fee. He was ignored. Andrew then had a cease and desist letter sent to the publisher on his behalf from his photographic association. Still, he received no response.
Andrew is now facing an impossible decision. He can hire an attorney and pursue this further or choose to let it go altogether. Due to principle, Andrew does not want to let it go, but at this point he’s afraid he would actually have to sue the infringer to get any response or payment. Andrew estimates the value of this infringement at $2,500 which he feels is far too low to justify a lawsuit in federal court.
“It’s a shame they will probably just get away with this,” Andrew said, “Not facing any consequences just reinforces the behavior.” Andrew believes the lack of copyright enforcement options available to small creators like him is the reason businesses and publications choose infringement over licensing.
This blog tells the story of countless U.S. creators, who currently have rights but no remedies when it comes to protecting their works. With federal court being both complex and expensive, most creators don’t have the means to defend their creations from a legal perspective. That’s why they need the CASE Act, legislation that calls for the establishment of a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office. Learn more here about the CASE Act, and how it would benefit creators across the country!
We urge you to contact your congressman/woman, and tell them why this bill is so important. Your support will give small creators the tools to protect their work.
Photo Credit: Erstudiostok/iStock/thinkstock