workshop assignment 5 – copyright and licensing
In session five we looked at meta-data and some of the tools we can use to manage it. Before we get into the assignment for this session I want to expand on the issue of copyright and licensing, two of the major uses of meta-data.
Copyright and Licensing
Copyright is your right to determine how your creations are used.
In Canada, under the Canadian Copy Right Act non-commissioned creative works are automatically protected from the time they are created until 50 years after the creator’s death. Further, internationally, the International Berne Convention of 1886 stipulates similar terms; most members of the UN subscribe to this convention.
The issue isn't around copyrighting your creative works – that is as simple as claiming the copyright and marking the creative work in some fashion to indicate that it is protected (ie. © 2010 john bishop images). Rather the issue ends up being about protecting that copyright and the potential costs involved versus the potential value of the asset you want to protect.
For most of us, spending any money to protect our creations is not usually a viable option. If you do find your images being used without your permission, often a cease and desist letter will suffice.
But what if you want to allow you images to be used – you just want credit for them?
Creative Commons and Open Licensing
Enter the Creative Commons, a system of licensing terms and conditions that allow an artist to specify whether he wants credit for the work, how that credit is to be given, whether other works can be created using the original work, including commercial use or not.
An alternative to the Creative Commons is the Open Systems Open License, often referred to as "copyleft". In this licensing framework credit must be given to the creator of a work, and non-commercial derivatives are allowed. The Open Systems Open Licensing framework is not as flexible as the Creative Commons framework.
The Creative Commons and Open Licensing have been the topics of several of my blog posts – there is lots more information and links to the various Open Systems and Creative Commons websites here.
Picture Licensing Universal System - PLUS
At the other end of the spectrum is the PLUS system.
This system is designed primarily for commercial photographers and allows you to specify very precisely how an image may be used, how many times it may be used, where in the world it can be used, in what media (newsprint, online, ...) it can used in, and much much more.
It allows you to reassign licensees, end users, licensors and copyright status to someone else; it also supports embedding model and property releases. The PLUS system offers very fine control at many levels of detail – exceptionally thorough. Timothy Armes of the Photographers Toolbox offers a reasonably priced PLUS meta-data plugin for use in Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom.
The American Society of Media Photographers (a supporter of the PLUS system) has an interesting and quite thorough guide for many of these issues including commissioned or stock images, licensing based on intended use and a method of figuring out what to charge.
Like most topics in photography, copyright and licensing is a matter of making choices that are best suited for your needs. I hope this brief introduction gives you an appreciation of this messy business and can at least get you started.
Briefly, the major styles are ...
|• strong vertical||• strong horizontal|
|• strong diagonal||• perspective|
|• rule of thirds||• golden spiral|
|• s-curves||• point of view|
|• framing||• cropping|
|• field composition|
This assignment brings it all together. Take at least one or two photographs of each style.
Remember that this session's assignment will form the basis for the next two assignments so have some fun and get creative!
That's it for session five. In session six we take a look at Flash Photography.