ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Protecting Art from Infringement

Image: The Chronicle / Michael Noble Jr.

[by Fantastic Negrito]

Look around the world. We need artists more than ever. By our very nature, we create work for public benefit. We challenge conventional wisdom, we call BS when we see it, we introduce new ways of thinking and we help heal. We exist to contribute.

But the reality of the music business — and the reality for most creators and small businesses — is that we are living on the edge, fighting to keep food on the table. There is no career path and no job security or stability. So when people use our music, our art or our photos without approval, they are putting us at risk. And right now there’s no way to fight back. Simply put, our art is our legacy and our livelihood. But in today’s digital world, copyright infringement is rampant — from songs uploaded on social media platforms without permission or compensation, to stores selling T-shirts with someone else’s copyrighted designs, to books being plagiarized. Right now, the only way for any creators to fight for their rights is to take the case to federal court. But who has the money for that? The average federal copyright case costs nearly $400,000 to litigate — not to mention the months it takes to pursue these cases, which take us off the road and out of the studio. The reality with the way things work today is that we have rights but no remedies. So we have to change the system.

Fortunately, there’s a bipartisan effort underway in Washington that will give small and independent creators avenues to protect their works. Known as the CASE Act, it would establish a small-claims copyright tribunal to adjudicate copyright cases.

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