Infringing for MSF

posted in: Infringement, Photography, Publication | 0

Several weeks ago I learned that Austrian newspaper Niederösterreichische Nachrichten without permission had printed a portrait I took of painter Christian Bazant-Hegemark – my first real copyright infringement case.

Christian Bazant Hegemark shot by Jan Söhlke – Crop from Niederösterreichische Nachrichten

I pondered and wondered what to do – since I did not yet start a formal business as a photographer, I did not know whether or not I could just bill them – and if so: how much? Also, I feared the conundrum that would possibly result from it regarding my taxes: billing would once again give me a »world income«, additionally complicating matters by being employed as a researcher in Germany plus effectively becoming a self employed photographer in Austria. I figured I needed a lawyer, yet despite soon learning that the Rechtsanwaltskammer is offering free first advice, I did not find (= make) the time going there.

Then I read »Would You Die For The Photo?« by Chase Jarvis (warning: graphic images), it led me to war photographer James Nachtwey’s talk at TED where he mentions working with Médecins Sans Frontières. Their work and courage impress me a lot. I also remembered that whenever a corporation uses a Tom Waits song for advertising, he sues them to then donate all the money he receives.

I thought I should try the same thing (if on a much smaller scale) and posted a registered letter a week ago, requesting a donation of EUR 150,– to MSF in my name. And voilà, today I receive this:

Spendenbeleg »Médecins sans Frontières«

According to MSF, 150 EUR buy food for 15 malnourished children for two weeks or treatment for 300 children with pneumonia or 6 weeks basic medical services for 400 refugees. Donations can be made here.

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