Photographers have a new ally in their fight to protect copyright. The Copyright Alliance is a recently-launched lobby made up of artists’ groups, trade associations, companies and others in the creative professions.
“Our primary focus is to foster a better understanding not just of copyright law but of the societal benefits of copyright,” the Alliance’s Executive Director, Patrick Ross told us by email. “We believe when an artist has the rights he or she needs to choose how to distribute a work, earn money on it and be encouraged to create again, that we all win from the creation of new works we can enjoy lawfully.”
Although the Alliance will attempt to influence policy, Patrick said that the law itself is pretty sound — when understood and enforced. Much of the Alliance’s work then will be educational, promoting the idea that copyright is good for creators and good for the country.
“[T]here’s widespread confusion about terms such as ‘fair use’ in the general population, where people often think that if an action is convenient, then it must be ‘fair,’” Patrick explained. “We have to inform them of the harm that comes to artists and how that will impact the future of creativity.”
“Often, when people rationalize infringement, they do so by targeting wealthy musical performers and Hollywood stars,” Patrick said. “But few photographers get paid Annie Liebovitz money. The Copyright Alliance is showing America a face of copyright they don’t normally see or think about… it also helps remind them that photographers take copyrighted works and those works should be respected as much as a song or movie.”
Of course, telling the public that swiping copyrighted works actually causes harm doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t take them. But talking about the importance of educating college students about copyright, Patrick did make an interesting observation. “It helps when some of them are creating copyrighted works themselves,” he said. Maybe the camera phone sitting in every student’s pocket will turn out to the best tool for keeping copyrighted works safe.
[tags] copyright alliance [/tags]