Local Photographers Discuss Copyright in the Age of Social Media and Photo Sharing

By Jordan Stewart

What began as a group of roughly a dozen Bedford residents passionate about photography has grown, and now draws around 80 members. The photo group is a part of the Bedford Center for the Arts and is a supportive, close-knit community which meets twice a month. They meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (except July and August, when the group breaks for the summer), and host events such as photo sharing days and discussions surrounding the more technical aspects of photography.

Their May 28 meeting was one such example, as members Diane Bennett and Helena Long led discussions on copyright and social media for photo sharing, respectively. Bennett’s talk proved how complicated the issue of copyright is for works of photography. “With copywriting, you have to think of it as a balance,” she explained to the crowd. Photos can be used by others in many cases — if they’ve changed the initial picture to give it a new meaning, or if the photo is from a private event vs. a photo of a famous landmark.

Bennett left her audience with a list of 10 tips to copyright-protect photographs. Highlighting the list were ways to add a digital copyright to pictures online and how to register images with the US Copyright Office. Registering, she explained, is more or less essential to winning a copyright case in court.

Long discussed the pros and cons of numerous photo sharing platforms, from Instagram to Dropbox, followed by a question and answer session.

For more information, the group’s site is available at https://bcaphoto.org/

This program was supported in part through a grant from the Bedford Cultural Council.

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