Boy did I learn a lot in short period of time today. I was watching and interacting with the photography show “The Grid” produced by Scott Kelby of (www.kelbytv.com) . Today’s guests were Ed Greenberg & Jack Reznicki of the website www.thecopyrightzone.com. Jack is a photographer and teacher and Ed a loveable New York attorney. I know “loveable” and “attorney” don’t seem to fit into the same sentence. But Ed is like the loveable guard dog that plays with you and has fun because he’s “your” guard dog. However that burglar that comes in, in the middle of the night is gonna find a whole different side of the dog you know as loveable. That is the best way I know to describe Ed Greenberg. I have taken a few of his classes and read his blog; I also can’t wait for his latest book to arrive. But Ed is the good guy, that is of course if he is working for you. With that said both Ed & Jack are the “real deal” as far as I’m concerned. Jack being an accomplished renowned photographer and Ed has story upon story of cases he has personally worked in the courts, where he has fought for the well-known photographers as well as the everyday shutter bug. When you hear Ed talk about intellectual property & copyrights you instantly realize this guy is going to rip you apart if you are on the wrong side of him. It’s not going to be like a pit-bull ripping you, but more like you fell in a pit with a couple of badgers.
But seriously Mr. Greenberg talks the talk because he can walk the walk; I could listen to his stories all night long, truly fascinating.
So today I presented a question to Ed & Jack via the live chat forum during the show and RC Concepcion pulled the question and it created a lot of buzz. The question I asked was; Are model release forms that are generated via an app from a mobile device legal & binding? So to just stop for a minute and describe what it is I’m talking about. A model release form, all models I shoot with sign one… end of story. You don’t sign a release we don’t shoot. And any photographer who shoots models without a release is 1. Either stupid or ignorant of what he/she should be doing to protect their ass and their bank account. 2. Certainly not acting in the best interest of him/her self or the model when it comes to protecting the images.
So with all that said; late last year going under the advice from someone who is a well-known professional photographer, but… (He is not Ed Greenberg smart), told me about using an app on my mobile device to generate a model releases. The app will store your pre-written releases and when ready, the model and a witness sign and it emails a PDF and a photo to all parties involved. However because PDF’s are digital files they can be altered in Photoshop after the parties sign the release. Ouch! I never thought of this. This whole thing had been weighing on my mind for a few months now. Some time back I got to thinking about it and I didn’t know what it was, but I was getting that funny feeling that something about this “app” thing wasn’t quite right. So I guess I’ll be going back to the paper releases and storing them in a safe as I did before. After all you can’t scan them and save them, because now they become a “digital file” that can be altered.
I will post links to the episode of the Grid once Kelby has it up sometime tomorrow. The show plays live on Wednesday and goes to YouTube in 24 hours.
In my next post I will talk a little about registering your photos because Ed had a lot to say about that too. I have been registering my photos for a long time now and it is not as hard as it sounds. So for more info on copyright laws and photography pick up a copy of Jack & Ed’s book “The Copyright Zone.” Also check out their blog.
Thanks everybody for reading and have a great day.