Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Thought They Were Just Photos

A friend works as a Real Estate Agent, and recently he was representing a property that an owner wanted to rent. When putting together the listing for the property, the agent took some photos of the property because, as he says, the clients often provide terrible pictures. A month or so later - before the property was rented - the owner changed his mind and decided to sell the property. The owner also decided - as was his right - to choose a different agent and agency to sell the property.

Because he works on commission - and the property hadn't been rented - no money was paid to the original rental agent for the work he'd done in listing the property.

A few weeks later, the rental agent happened to notice that the pictures he had taken were being used by the new selling agent in their listing. When he contacted the agent, they said that the owner had provided them...

...and when he contacted the owner to find out why they had provided his pictures to the new real estate agent, he got the response "Oh, I thought they were just photos."

Which got my wondering; what does that mean? That photos have no value? Or that the owner did not value the time and effort used to take the photos? Is this ignorance, or someone with an exaggerated sense of entitlement? Or is it that the internet makes people think that any photo is in the public domain?

Coincidentally, Larry Jordan posted today about an experience he had where someone took videos he'd posted on YouTube and reposted them as their own.
...a reminder to everyone that when you make copyrighted material available for free, or download a program from a source like Pirate Bay without paying for it, you are depriving someone of an income, and possibly someone from having a job.
Fortunately, the person took down the offending videos after Larry sent them a complaint.

Meanwhile, the Social Times just published "The Complete Guide To Fair Use & YouTube" which is mostly taken from a YouTube talk on fair use, "Mashups, Parodies & Lip Dubs: Ask A Legal Expert About Fair Use," by Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project and associate director Julie Ahrens. It covers the various interpretations of Fair Use, though be warned:
Before you read any further it is important to point out that this information should be taken only as general guidance and not legal advice. If you aren’t sure one hundred percent about how fair use law relates to your specific situation then you should consult a lawyer.
See also:
Larry's Blog: Copyright and Communication
Social Times: The Complete Guide To Fair Use & YouTube
YouTube: CIS Fair Use legal experts answer questions about YouTube

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