Where to Find Christina:
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/christinascalera
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/creativeatlaw
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/christinascalera
- Website: http://christinascalera.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Periscope: @cscalera
- You can ask Christina questions here: http://www.christinascalera.com/contact1
Christina is an attorney based in Atlanta GA.
If you’ve ever complained that you love what you do but HATE the business side of things, you’re in the right spot. Christina’s mission as a lawyer for creative entrepreneurs is to help them fulfill their life’s work by creating beautiful businesses from the inside out. She provides the creative world with accessible, affordable legal solutions. Whether you need a last-minute contract template that covers your butt, a painless trademark registration or want to learn more to empower yourself to run your business well, legally speaking, Christina has you covered.
Christina has been a show rider for many years.
She loves horses and horse people since she has competed with her arab horse for 19 years.
Disclaimer: This is general information and does not constitute legal advice.
Here is her official disclaimer from her website:
THE CONTENT ON THIS WEBSITE IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT ESTABLISH AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. CHRISTINA IS LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN GEORGIA AND FILE FEDERAL TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT REGISTRATIONS FOR CREATIVES ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES. SHOULD YOU NEED LEGAL ADVICE FOR MATTERS THAT DO NOT CONCERN GEORGIA LAW, PLEASE SEEK OUT A LICENSED ATTORNEY. SOME STATES MAY CONSIDER THIS CONTENT ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.
How do you get legal advice? What does it mean to “retain” an attorney?
What does it mean to “retain” an attorney? How do you get a consultation from an attorney? When calling attorneys look for an attorney that is a “good fit” for you and for your particular needs. For example, a family law attorney may not be helpful to you about setting up your business and registering your images or if you had problems with regard to intellectual property rights.
Contracts – When and why do you need a contract?
Whenever you are forming a relationship with a person or company, it is appropriate to have a contract describing your relationship. Christina explains that many people do not realize that when someone presents you with a contract, that it can be changed. In fact you need to make changes to make the contract agree with what your relationship will be before you sign it. Don’t think of it as something fixed and not changeable. If you don’t feel comfortable with something, you should change it. Then it is something to negotiate with the other person or company so that it correctly describes the relationship your are joining into.
It can also help to define the give-and-take of your relationship with your client. Today contracts are moving toward more common language rather than complicated legalese that is difficult for everyone to understand. You want your agreements and customer education to be easy to understand so that everyone has the same expectation if something should go wrong. If you have it in plain English, then it becomes an effective educational and communication too for you and your client. If you cannot understand something, you should not sign it.
Tort Law, indemnification clauses, waiver of liability, and release from liability clauses in agreements
You cannot make people sign away their rights to take you to court. But, you can negate the risk of being sued for activities that involve “inherent risk”. You and your client need to be cognizant to the fact that a horse can be unpredictable. You should involve everyone present or participating with the horse/s, not just the horse owner. Everyone there should know that there are inherent risks in what they are doing and if something goes wrong, it is not your responsibility as a professional because they knew going in that there was risk involved. However, if you do things that are obviously negligent, you may invite legal action even if an liability clause is signed.
“Statutory language” or quoting of individual state laws can be added to your agreements. This may be different in each state and there are 36 states that have laws about farm animals and professionals regarding the inherent risks associated with being around horses.
You cannot protect yourself from being sued for negligent behavior
At this point we discuss what might be an example of negligent behavior and the importance of having good communication with your clients. As an equine photographer it would be wise to have knowledge of horse behaviors and cues that horses give before going out with horses in order to help prevent dangerous situations. What are the basics of horse behavior? You can be unique and creative with your photography without being dangerous. Around horses, you and your client are at your own risk in many states.
Common language in your contracts and making it easy for your clients
Putting your contracts online can make your paperwork less intimidating. So can the use of common language that is clear and precise.
Clients can sign agreements online, they just scroll through the information so that it does not seem so long. Rather than the tedious process of sending a PDF of your contract and requiring your client to sign it, then scan it and send it back. Christina likes to use online document services to simplify client contract relationships.
She points out that you will need use this type of technology going forward, especially with younger audiences (Millennials) age 30 or younger. They just won’t sign things if it requires too much effort. Streamlining through an online service also makes you look more professional and can be extremely helpful for both you and your client. Here are the two services that she mentions and recommends using.
She mentions separating client education from contracts. She recommends that you have educational materials for your clients, but some of this should not be in your contract. For example you would not want to be able to take someone to court because they brought two changes of clothing instead of three. Choice of clothing is more of an educational point than something that has to be legally binding.
Stealing of images, Copyright law
What to do when someone takes your images without your permission. Photographer credit does not clear you from taking someone’s image without permission.
You can register your copyright for an image AFTER you discover that it was taken and published without your permission. You have 90 days from when you “should have known” it was being used. We have a discussion of registration in batches. If you find a possible infringement that you feel is worth pursuing, it can be helpful to register that specific image again with an individual registration.
You own the copyright to your images at the point at which it is taken by you and fixed into a permanent form such as clicking your shutter button and recording the image on film or onto digital media.
Only the courts can decide if there is an “actual infringement” of your image (this is a legal term that should not be used too loosely. As an attorney, she refers to “alleged infringements” as the judge has to make the final determination).
I explain using a “license to use contract” and why this is correct terminology when people “buy” your images. Clarity is important and there can be many misunderstandings about what is being purchased if you are not clear with your licensing agreements. For example if a client want to buy an 8×10 what does that mean? Actually, they are purchasing the rights to one personal display of that image as an 8×10 print. They have not purchased the copyrights of the image to use however they choose unless you sell those to them. In most cases there should be limitations written into your agreements. One great thing to include for example is,” No license to use this image is granted until payment in full is received for the usage described.”
What to do when someone steals from you
Don’t send an email when you are flaming mad at someone. Christina discusses what you can do. What is the difference between infringement and willful infringement? When might it be worth retaining an attorney regarding stolen or images used without your permission? If you retain an attorney, generally you would want to be able to recapture to attorney costs in your recovery, so typically, if an individual steals your image and places it on their facebook page, it may not be worth involving an attorney. However there are other things that can happen.
The Digital Millennial Copyright Act
We discuss DMCA Take down and what that means. The Digital Millennial Copyright Act notice makes it so your can have your images removed from people’s websites and Facebook pages if the image is stolen from you or used without your permission. They sometimes will take down an entire Facebook account or website, or they may just take down a few images. But, you also want to suggest they make payment for the image because this is your business. Being calm and firm when talking with people is more effective generally speaking than coming down on someone with all your anger. But, even without an attorney, your request to either remove the image or pay for it can have teeth because of the DMCA.
World wide issues – Work for hire – Intellectual Property
This podcast is NOT focusing on international copyright law and this does not constitute legal advice.
When to have a Model Release question is discussed here
Be open and transparent with your clients. You would not want to trick someone into creating images to use in ways they might not want. Nobody should ever be surprised to find their image used somewhere. There are many things to consider with regards to privacy law. You may make some mistakes in your business. Learning from your mistakes is part of the cost of doing business. If you are a photographer, she explains that she does not want you to be afraid of taking pictures.
Christina has something for you:
Get your free “contract check list” by texting 44222 with the message 16legal in the USA
She also has some ready-made turn-key contracts for equine photographers which are available for purchase. You do not need to retain her professional services in order to purchase the contract template for equine photographers.
You will typically contract with an attorney in order to get actual legal advice. Most attorneys will provide for a free legal consultation, but will not or should not give legal advice to someone without being retained by them.
Email questions if you would like. She doesn’t guarantee that she will answer every question, but you are welcome to send them and she will reply.
Photograph by Shelby Rae photographs
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