Business of Burlesque - Copyright - Khandie Khisses - Burlesque, Fire Breather, Underwater Mermaid and more...

Business of Burlesque – Copyright

Business of Burlesque – Copyright

So we have all heard about the word copyright and pretty much understand its a big thing in the world of creative works. Right?! Well you would think so given the amount of copyright infringement that goes on.


Basically if someone created it, it is highly likely it is ‘copyrighted’. Now I am not going into act copyrighting as that is a WHOLE different ballgame. For now I am going to focus on photography.

We have all had our picture put up at some point in line with show right? Great. But how many of us have sold prints? Or seen our image used on a poster or site we have no link to or affiliation with? Dita Von Teese is probably the easiest to see having her image misused. Any muppet wanting to create a poster seems to use her images when they know jack shit about burlesque.

Now you may automatically think that as the subject is Dita, that she is the one to tell the promoter using the image to poke off…well hold those horses ladies and gents. Its actually the copyright holder who officially holds the authority to do so.

Wait Khandie, isnt that Dita as the photo is of her?

NO! Well it could be if she has been given or bought the copyright from the photographer. Thats right folks, for the most part, the copyright is in sole ownership of the photographer. It was them that snapped that moment in time. It does not even matter if she paid for the photos to be taken. Unless it states specifically that the copyright has been handed to her, then that image is owned by the photographer.

Now dont get me wrong, some photographers will sign over copyright free of charge and some will ask for payment for it. It is their work dont forget. You are simply within that work. Harsh I know but that image would not exist without them though you can be replaced with another model…harsh again, but it is the best way to explain it.

Now sometimes you are given what is promotional rights. This is basically the right to use the image to promote you and your work. That doesnt mean you can ‘loan’ it to a show to use for something you are not in or affiliated with. It means you can not alter that image in ANY WAY. I mean it people. IN ANY WAY. So no cropping, adding a filter or editing it yourself. Nope.

Now a photographer who you shoot promotional images will normally allow for some cropping for use on posters etc but you need to check that. It also means you can sell copies of that image and where ever it is displayed, the photographer should be credited, even if that is out of curtsey. Also did you know it is a copyright infringement if someone recreates the image, say as a painting or drawing. Eeek.

If you want to sell that image you need to approach the photographer and discuss terms and conditions. They may just let you have it. I often do that. Or ask for a split on the profit. Or they may say no and demand you dont or pay for the copyright.

If you are given the images digitally dont assume you have the copyright. You slip up and infringe, its a costly mistake and a silly one. A photographer (or copyright owner) can simply send you a cease and desist letter…and a wacking invoice for any amount near enough. You will be obligated to pay it too.

Ignorance is not an excuse.

Another quick heads up is check that model release that photographer gets you to sign (they should really) as it can detail where they can use the images. Mine states I will not use on sites that are linked to porn and such like. Its worth checking. I talk a little about this all in my Business of Burlesque workshop.

Dont get caught out. Know your copyright.

Khandie Khisses 2017 Up
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