Carolyn Wright, a nationally recognized copyright attorney, will speak at the Carson City Library 6 p.m. Feb. 17.
“Everybody has a camera in their hand everywhere they go,” she explained. “I will let people know where you can take a picture and what you can do with it and when you need permission.”
With the ease of camera phones instantly uploading photos to social media and other sites, Wright said, there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings when it comes to the law.
“The Internet really has changed the spectrum of photography,” she said. “It’s helpful for them to have a pretty good understanding of the laws.”
As a professional photographer, Wrights knows the industry from both sides. She practiced law with King & Spalding, one of the top 50 firms in the nation, and other law firms for more than 15 years. She has represented Fortune 500 clients in multimillion dollar litigation.
Wright wrote the book, the “Photographer’s Legal Guide,” which was first published in 2006 and updated in 2010.
She said it’s common practice for people to copy photos off the Internet, even cropping out the watermark or artist’s signature.
“That’s a violation by itself,” Wright said. “That’s a minimum $2,500 fine in addition to copyright issues.”
She said students who use images from the Web for school projects are usually covered by Fair Use protections. However, if those same students turn that project into part of a portfolio to get a job, they are in violation.
“Asking permission rather than forgiveness is a lot easier, especially when it comes to copyright infringement,” Wright said.
She said the seminar will be helpful for professional and amateur photographers alike.
“There’s just a lot of laws people aren’t aware of,” she said. “And it’s true, ignorance is no excuse.”