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ASMP: Copyright Law in Need of a Makeover


The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) held a forum in April to discuss the future of copyright law.The forum, called "Copyright and the New Economy," discussed how the rights-managed business model functions in today's world of easily copied media and how to search for creative ways of fairly selling media services.

The original copyright laws were written in the 1960s, when there were only a few parties that were at risk of violating copyright terms. Today, digital storage makes it possible for virtually anyone to violate copyright.

In 2001, the Creative Commons group was established to create a free and more flexible copyright model that replaced "all rights reserved" with "some rights reserved," allowing artists to more easily protect their work.

Opinions about the future of copyright law were varied. Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School, argued that pirating penalties needed to be more strongly enforced in order to protect the "incentive to create." Others, such as photographer Chase Jarvis, who won a lawsuit against K2 Sports in 2007 for copyright infringement, suggested that copyright law needed to be adjusted — to protect artists not from amateurs, but from large companies who might violate fair image use.

For the moment, current overhaul proposals include using a glossary of licensing terms created by the PLUS (Picture Licensing Universal System) Coalition.