Better Call Jackson

Local photographer has trouble getting compensated for photo use

If you take a picture and a company uses that picture for commercial purposes, should you be compensated?

Mike Gonnella contacted Better Call Jackson after a photo he took was used without pay or courtesy credit to him. He doesn't consider himself a professional but rather a hobby and felt he had reached an agreement with a local venue.

"Our agreement was I provide photos as long as you get me access and provide me with a little bit of credit when you use them," says Gonnella.

But when his pictures were used without a watermark or courtesy credit, he contacted the organization.

"They said, it was a mistake and everything kind of held there for a while until another photo was used and it seems like it really wasn't a mistake and they weren't doing anything to fix the problem," said Gonnella.

Michael Smith practices business law and securities law at Carile Patchen & Murphy. He says even amateurs have rights.

"It doesn't make a difference from the standpoint of the person using your video or your photograph you should have the same rights as a professional," says Smith.

To avoid a similar situation, Smith suggests spending a few dollars to register your copyright.

"You can go online, you can do it yourself the online registration is $35 if you do it on paper, $65. So not much cost to it, most people can do it themselves they don't need counsel to handle that for them," says Smith.


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