I found my image/illustration/article on a website; can I sue for infringement?
I just got a contract from a client and I don't understand it.
I know I need to register my work, but I don't understand what "published" means.
I just bought a house; can I lose it if someone sues my business?
If it shows the subject's face, do I need a release to use my work on my website?

If these questions sound familiar, you must be a creative professional. Being a creative professional means more than just making great work; it means dealing with all sorts of legal issues you probably never expected. When you have questions about being a sole proprietor or LLC, copyright, contracts, releases, or even the lease on your studio, you need solid, professional, legal advice.

Leslie Burns, Esq. has been a voice for the creative professional even before going to law school. Now, as an attorney, she can help you with your most important business questions. Wise, passionate about creators' rights, and able to speak the creatives' own language, she is on your side in the complex world facing all creative pros.

Latest articles
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You Sure Got a Purdy Building There

There is a lot of confusion about the need for (or lack of need for) property releases to shoot buildings. This likely started when the embodiment of architectural structures became protected by copyright in 1990 with the passage of the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act. Before then, the drawings were protected by copyright, but not the […]

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Published on September 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm | 2 Comments

Oxymoron: Simple Thoughts About Fair Use

I have been following the work of Seth Godin for years. I have many of his books and have found most of his works (particularly older ones) to be extremely helpful and accurate. Recently, however, his posts have been, for lack of a better word, sloppy. Maybe this is a result of his going outside […]

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Published on January 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm | 1 Comment

Speaking in San Diego

I will be speaking in San Diego at an APA-SD event called Lawyer Up! on January 18 NEW DATE 25 (location TBD–check with APA-SD for updates). From copyright to contracts, releases and getting paid, the evening presentation will offer some basic information on legal issues facing all creatives, including photographers. Even if you think you know about […]

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Published on January 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm | 2 Comments

Here is Your Chance

The Copyright Office wants your help. It has been tasked to look at how small copyright infringement claims are handled and what possibilities there are to improve the system. As a part of its process, it want to hear from you. Quoting from their page regarding this first step of the inquiry: The initial notice […]

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Published on October 27, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Comments Off on Here is Your Chance

Standing up for your rights

Sometimes it’s tough to stand up. Sometimes, people try to cut off your voice or ignore you or embarrass you into silence. But if you look around, sometimes you’ll find that others are standing up too. Yesterday, I posted “lightly” about my concerns regarding the upcoming ASMP/CCC webinars on copyright. I think it’s a very […]

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Published on September 27, 2011 at 11:32 am | Comments Off on Standing up for your rights

Doing Your Part

In the very recent past I’ve had more than a couple of photographers contact me about possible infringement situations. That’s great… it’s what I do. My first question, as always, is “Is the image’s copyright registered?” For almost every one of those photographers, the answer has been “no.” Sigh. That is so frustrating. It just kills me […]

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Published on September 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm | 2 Comments

Crowdfunding Concerns

There has been a ton of press lately about crowdfunding for creative projects. PhotoShelter just came out with a pdf about how it works with examples from real artists, Miki Johnson did a twitter-based fotochat on the topic the other day, and it’s been hitting the mainstream media as well. In all of this, however, […]

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Published on August 25, 2011 at 10:33 am | 3 Comments

Infringement Run Amok

It’s bad enough when a business swipes a single photo for use on its site, but this sort of wholesale logo thievery, as reported on rockpaperink.com, is beyond the pale. By the way, thanks to Tim Smith for sharing the link with me (Tim is the brilliant designer of my Burns Auto Parts–Consultants logo and […]

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Published on August 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Comments Off on Infringement Run Amok

More Twitter Ickiness

So Twitter has this new “service” you can use to post your images directly to Twitter. Don’t. If the fact that the ToS are questionable enough because Twitter is using Photobucket to handle the images, and that company’s ToS are vile, how’s this for bad: Twitter is stripping the EXIF data. Now, there are plenty […]

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Published on August 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Comments Off on More Twitter Ickiness

Takedown Notices and Twitter

I just found out that if you submit a takedown notice to Twitter, they may share it with chillingeffects.org for publication. This is really nasty of them because chillingeffects is certainly anti-©. Another offshoot of the attempt to remove © protections by you-know-who and his minions but cloaked in Free Speech rhetoric. Here’s what gets […]

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Published on August 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm | 3 Comments