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  • 412-401-8100
    CHESWICK, PA 15024

  • July 13, 2013

    Copy and Copyright

    For years I’ve been hearing from other artists about the guy who ripped off one of my most popular images. About 30 years ago while doing the Virginia beach Boardwalk Art Show, my wife and I set up a picture on the beach. We drew a heart in the sand and add the words “I Love You”. As a finishing touch we added a starfish which we had purchased at one of the local souvenir shops. Using a motor drive Nikon, the image was captured as a series of three sequential images. The other guy took my idea and created a similar but not nearly as good sequence. Kind of tacky if you ask me. You can see a comparison here.

    I Love You comparison image

    I also sell the images individually matted and as a nine picture sequence titled Tic-Tac-Toe.

    Individual images from I Love You sequence


    You can’t copyright an idea, but it’s sure embarrassing to keep hearing about how you copied someone else’s idea within our small art show world.

    Now for the copyright infringement part. In the mid 1970’s I was staff photographer for the New York Nets ABA basketball team, the same three years that Julius Erving (Dr. J) played for the nets.. Remember the red, white and blue basketball?  My Berman Sports web site has about 300 photos of Julius Erving for purchase as fine art prints or for commercial licensing. I get ripped off all the time. For example, people copy my images and they show up on eBay on different merchandise. There’s even a one dollar bill floating around with my picture of Dr. J instead of George Washington. Fortunately eBay has what’s called the VERO program. It’s verified owners rights. You register with the program and when an auction turns up with something of your’s used illegally, you contact them and they remove the auction. Fortunately I have a few people who collect my photographs and notify me whenever something illegal turns up for auction.

    Here are a few examples of the illegal use of my images.

    The guy who copied my image had the gall to put do not copy on his copied image
    counterfeit money
    A really bad painting from my photograph

    A similar article
    Last year I had written about a jeweler that had stolen other jewelers jury images and was using them to apply to shows.

    © Larry Berman