Thursday, August 29, 2013

Copyright Cosplay by Jon Cain

Well guys, looks like Syfy  is making news again. No, they have not done another Z-rated shark movie. No they haven't decided to ditch the SYFY logo. “GOD I WISH THEY WOULD” No this time it is for copyright infringement. I will save you you the long and elaborate legal terms and turns of phase. Basically SYFY has used copyrighted  material with out the permission or compensation of the material’s owner.  He has brought this to their attention via a cease and desist letter, to which he was politely told by SYFY that they felt they were in the right because they got the permission of the Cosplayers who claim to be partial owners of the copyrighted material. 
Pictures like this one...which we aren't using for profit. We swear.

Now, once again to to avoid further confusion of the legality of this issue, I will sum it up. When a photographer takes a picture “regardless of who or what “ that images is now his or hers. He or she can do practically what ever they want with it. Within a certain scope of the law, ie other copyrighted material and or protected imaginary, just because the picture is of a person doesn’t mean the person is part owner. Take a painting for example, if I was to paint a picture of the President. Obama has no right to that painting because he isn't the artist. The painter did the work not  Obama. The same rules apply to film  as well. From the moment that picture is taken it is the photographer’s property. He can license it or sell it as he or she sees fit. How do you think celebrity nipple slips or photos of them from a nude beaches are being sold legally/? Any photographer that is reputable will offer a model or subject a release of image form when applicable. They will make sure the model is aware of the full intent of  the use of their image.
Sally could you grab the table of contents of the copyright law? No, not the table of contents to the table of - never mind
The only way a person can retain any or all ownership of that photo is by issuing the photographer a release form of their own. As sad as it is, if this doesn't happen the Cospalyer retains no rights. Thus is why this man is is threatening SYFY with the possibility of legation. From a legal stand point  it seems SYFY/  NBC  Universal go their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar.
However for me I don't see it as a good little guy verses big bully company. 
             I think the morally right question is “who is caring for the Cosplayers?” They work so hard day in and day out on there costumes. Some spend months to years making it absolutely spot on. Just to have some jerk with a camera take their picture, which he or she will copyright and sell without  any more thought of them. I know that to put a law in place that would remedy this is almost impossible. However why do the Cosplayers, who did all work for the most part, not get a slice of the pie that I personally feel is rightfully theirs. I know, realistically, the guy who is potentially suing SYFY will get paid. My only hope is he dishes it out to the Cosplayers that helped him have images to copyright.
Sweet, innocent cosplayers

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