Cases of Intellectual Property (IP) infringement are part of the risks associated with being a producer of creative work. Fortunately, major cases of infringement are few and far between, but it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with Tandem's policies, below.
Does Tandem have legal representation?
Yes, we keep a top-notch Los Angeles firm to handle serious IP infringement cases.
Who gets to pursue a case?
While we inform affected photographers and offer them the right to make the first move, we prefer to communicate with the client ourselves prior to any legal action as there is a chance that there was a simple misunderstanding and a gentler approach can better preserve the relationship, to the benefit of all parties.
When does Tandem pursue a case?
We pursue claims when it's an issue directly related to a license or sale we originated or if it infringes on an existing license we originated. If we chose not to pursue a case, the photographer can still take steps on their own. It is not our role to restrict a photographer's right to defend their IP.
In instances where the case is mild and the party responsible is a small business, we contact them to see if they were aware that they infringed on copyright. Oftentimes it was a simple mistake, and this approach helps us grow the relationship and preserve the possibility of future sales.
In serious cases, we contact the photographer to see how they would like to proceed before we take any action. There are a lot of reasons why we do this, including ensuring we aren't pursuing a claim that may not be a violation.
Who should contact the infringing party?
Should you discover a case on your own, we ask that you inform us first before contacting them in case they are a Tandem client. Often the discovery that your work is being used without your knowledge is upsetting and these emotions can bleed into your communication with the client, to the detriment of Tandem's relationship with them and potential sales. Furthermore, sometimes the image has in fact been licensed (and may not yet appear on your royalty report), so it is better to check with us first.
Has Tandem considered pursuing copyright Infringement cases as a revenue stream?
Yes, and we have decided against making this a fixture in our financial strategy.