The Official Kunvay Blog

Learn how to navigate copyright and intellectual property ownership smartly so you own your work, and own your future.

3 Selfie Copyright Photo Basics You Need to Know

Photo Credit: Selfie by Ginevra Bariosco used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo Credit: Selfie by Ginevra Bariosco used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The selfie era has long been upon us.

Only a few can resist the urge to express the “exuberance of the moment,” as experts put it: social media and clever smartphone technology in particular have made it ever so easy to throw up a peace sign, strike a pose and voilá – selfie heaven for well-knowns and unknowns alike.

In fact, according to psychologists, the advent of the selfie era has to do with achieving a level of ‘intimacy-at-a-distance’ with those larger than life people and places we admire.

It’s a technological way to zero-in on the moment and place oneself right at the center of attention. This is all somewhat of a good thing from an intellectual property standpoint. The selfie raises a number of interesting issues – particularly in the realm of copyright. Continue reading

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Photos & Copyright

Photo Credit: Golden Gate Bridge - Photographing World's Most Photographed Place by Anirudh Koul used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo Credit: Golden Gate Bridge – Photographing World’s Most Photographed Place by Anirudh Koul used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Photography and copyright can be tricky subject matter.

For most of us, copyright violations rather than copyright facts bring issues to light, so we learn by the mistakes of others.

This path, however, leaves room for the spread of rampant misconceptions about the proper application of the law.

The risks are high, too. These days copyright violations can lead to hefty fines and even criminal charges in some instances. At least, infringers can expect a pushy take down email with a lawyer’s threat of court time. Clearly, it’s essential to know key facts.

Even though photographic copyrights can get complicated, the facts can bring clarity and clear up confusion.

Granted, it’s not always pleasant to discover all the sharing you’ve been doing on your Tumblr feed is probably actionable in court should the photographer choose to pursue it, or to realize that the fellow you verbally abused via email for copying your Instagram photo might actually have a good claim under the fair use doctrine.

Still, when it comes to photos and copyrights, it’s always good to get the facts first.

Fact 1: The minute someone snaps the shutter, that person owns the copyright.

This seems straightforward. Copyright is a right of ownership in original works fixed in a tangible form. A photo fits easily in this category. Unless there is a contractual agreement declares otherwise, the person taking a photo owns its copyright. Some have raised the idea that a photo is a mechanical representation of fact. Even with this description, a photo is definitely the original expression of the photographer, in tangible form.

Things get tricky when Continue reading

Why You Don’t Own Your Wedding Photos: How to Own Your Wedding Day & Copyrights to Your Wedding Day Photos

Wedding Photos Copyright - Photo Credit: iStock PhotoPsssst.

Did you know that few people really own their own wedding photos?

It’s a little known fact that most people are shocked to discover.

However, after reading this post you’ll understand why wedding photos are the most expensive photos of a lifetime that most people don’t own and more importantly, how you can avoid this common wedding-day fail and own your wedding day AND your wedding photos.

A wedding is such a personal matter. Many automatically assume full ownership of wedding photos belongs to the happy, new couple.

They figure the wedding photographer is merely someone paid to render a service, and never imagine that, in actuality, ownership belongs solely to the photographer.

It’s a matter of copyright right law, and a finicky one at that.

Owning Your Wedding Day, Doesn’t Mean You Own Your Wedding Day Photos

Here’s the scenario: With the wedding only weeks away, the future Mr. and Mrs. Nuptial are planning their wedding photos.

They’ve hired the magnificent Mr. Flash, a very popular wedding photographer whose reputation precedes him.

The Nuptials, having seen his work, are thrilled to have him on board. In a brief meeting, Mr. Flash describes the details of the pre-wedding photo shoot as well as the arrangements for wedding day pics.

Trusting his experience and reputation the Nuptials agree. Everything is set.

After the wedding, the Nuptials are back from their honeymoon and excited to see the lovely photos of their beautiful day. More importantly they want copies to share with friends and family.

They dial up Mr. Flash and speak with his assistant. She quickly informs the couple, to their utter dismay, in order to take any photos home, they’ll have to pay a whopping expense for each extra print.

Doesn’t seem fair, right? Or, does it? Continue reading

Copyright Theft vs Fair Use: How to Determine if Your Work Has Been Stolen or Adopted for Fair Use with a 4-Part Test

One of the misunderstood characters in the world of copyright and intellectual property is the concept of fair use.

For some, it’s used as a proverbial get out of jail free card – for others, it’s an important part of effective teaching, reporting and expression.

But what exactly is “fair use”, who decides what’s fair and why does it matter to you as a photographer, writer or designer looking to sell your wares in the ever-expanding online marketplace?

Comment, Criticism and Parody

Fair use is what keeps the wheels of praise, criticism and review freely spinning. Without the ability to quote a portion of a play, reproduce an element of a gallery display or passage from a novel, artists would be in an awkward position.

On the one hand, able to stave off harsh or uninvited criticism; but on the other, those good reviews that encourage people to visit unheard of attractions and commentary included in local color segments on the evening news would likely be close to nonexistent.

The other key component to the concept of fair use is parody.

While it is often said that mockery is the highest form of flattery, it can be hard for a creative to swallow seeing their photograph, painting or song aped in any media.

Again, we’re faced with the difference between generating buzz for our product and tolerating someone else making a living off of our own hard graft.

Unfortunately, the notion of fair use isn’t determined by dollar signs – if it was, the creative world would be a very different place.

The Four Factors

So what’s a photographer, writer, singer, artist or other creative supposed to do when they find their work has been effectively hijacked by someone else? First, you’ll want to Continue reading