By Diane Berkenfeld
Books abound that cover photography techniques, as do coffee table tomes showing off pretty pictures. Few books however, are written on one of the most important subjects a photographer needs to learn about—the law as it applies to photography.
Lark Photography Books (www.larkbooks.com), a division of Sterling Publishing, just released Photographer’s Survival Manual, A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age (ISBN 978-1-60059-420-5). The book was written by professional photographer Jack Reznicki, and Ed Greenberg, a lawyer who specializes in copyright law and represents many top pros in the business. Readers of Photoshop User magazine may be familiar with Reznicki and Greenberg writing on the subject. They authored a column entitled “The Copyright Zone” in that magazine.
The authors explain what copyright is, what exactly is copyrightable, how to go about registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office; valuable information on pricing, contracts and invoicing, and much more.
One of the most important features of the book is that the authors dispel some of the myths surrounding copyright and photography, as well as photography and the use/need for model releases.
And, considering the subject matter, you might be inclined to think the book is a dry read, but it offers up information in a readable and easily understandable manner. Case studies are included, as is an entire section devoted to registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office electronically. Did you know that you’re charged almost double for copyright registration if you use snail mail as opposed to using the electronic filing system?
The authors also include model/property releases that can be adapted to your uses, as well as valuable information that should be included in contracts and invoices to protect your work.
Copyrighting your images is not just for commercial and advertising photographers, but wedding and portrait shooters too. In fact, if you make your living (or part of your income) through photography, you should be registering your images with the Copyright Office. Do yourself a favor and buy Photographer’s Survival Manual, A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age. It will be the best $24.95 you spend.