How photographers can pursue copyright infringement claims

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Intellectual Property Litigation |

For some, a photograph may just be an image. But for a professional photographer, it is a visual narrative that reflects their perspective and creativity.

Your photographs are your intellectual property. You have the right to modify, sell, distribute or publicly display your work. Thus, when a company uses them without permission or beyond the agreed license period, it is a violation of your rights. Here are the steps you can take to fight for your copyright and pursue damages.

Step 1: Document the infringement

The first step is to gather evidence. Screenshot the unauthorized use, noting the date, time and the platform where you found it. This will serve as your primary evidence. Additionally, have your contract ready to prove that their use is beyond the agreed timeframe.

Step 2: Seek legal guidance

Dealing with the legal matters surrounding copyright can be challenging. A lawyer experienced in copyright law and license litigation can guide you through the process, help determine potential damages and represent you in court, if necessary.

Step 3: Send a cease-and-desist letter

Request the infringing party to stop using your work through a formal letter. Include details of the copyright violations, your demands regarding the use of your work and a warning for potential legal action.

Step 4: Initiate a Lawsuit

If the infringing party does not comply, you may need to file a lawsuit. However, while your work is automatically copyrighted when created, registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office is necessary before filing a lawsuit. Your lawyer will help you prepare the necessary documents and represent you in court.

You have the right to protect your work

Protecting your copyright is about protecting your work’s value and your rights as a creator. While the legal process can seem daunting, remember that you are not alone. A lawyer experienced in copyright law can be a valuable ally in your fight for justice. With the right support, you can ensure that your photographs continue to serve their artistic purposes rather than unauthorized tools for others’ gain.