YES : this article is about how some photographers, specifically wedding photographers seem to just ignore or are ignorant about the fact that they are infringing on someone else’s copyright.
How would wedding photographers infringe on someone else’s copyright and misuse their intellectual property, you ask? The answer is simple, slideshows or more specifically, the background music on slideshows and on websites.
This practice is so widespread (when this post was written) in Malaysian Wedding Photographers that it can be considered appalling. Just perform a search on the ‘net for works of Malaysian Wedding Photographers and you can find such infringements in one form or another on their websites or their blogs.
If anyone is in doubt that using copyrighted music this way is really against the law, please check HERE for a pretty comprehensive explanation. Paying particular attention to the section regarding the 1997 amendment to the Copyright Act of 1987.
If Malaysian law doesn’t apply to you, I am sure Google will be of help to find if its legal in your country to use copyrighted music without permission.
I think most would agree with me that music is an integral of the photo slideshows experience as well as used in most photographer’s websites…
Music is a tool to bring about the right “image” or “mood” for the viewers to our websites and our slideshows… both which ultimately attract clients to us and is part of our image or even advertising.
It is easier (and cheaper) to just rip the music off some CD or download an MP3 with the coolest or latest tunes; place them on websites or slideshows. In fact, these familiar tunes who belong to famous artistes would even provide more “empathy” of the viewers to our work and is more likely to make them desire our services.
Easy as it may seem, using copyrighted music (which practically covers every song you have ever heard on radio or on tv or in the movies) without permission on a website is an act of piracy and can be considered “stealing” from the record company, the artistes, the composers and everyone who had anything to do with the production of the music.
Some justify piracy by saying, “It will be too expensive for me to license a song just for my personal website”… some might justify it be saying, “Everyone else is doing it, why not me?” or “The copyright owners won’t even notice it, let alone sue me over it.”.
If one considers oneself as a professional photographer and values one’s integrity; none of those excuses should be used or accepted.
Remember the outcry when a photographer discovers his/her work was used without permission in some billboard or publication? Remember when the photographer was screaming, “He stole my work!”?
Imagine that when you decide to use copyrighted music without permission again; only this time imagine the musician saying that you stole his/her work instead.