There is a great story about an accomplished photojournalist, Yunghi Kim donating $10,000 to set up 10 one-time grants for photographers. You can read about it in this story on the Photoshelter blog, here.
We present it here with a smile. Ms Kim is able to make a wonderful donation because she collected a sum of money by pursuing infringers of her copyrights. We don’t pretend to know the details like how much money was involved, the number and full nature of the infringements and so. Those facts may or may not become public because of the possible existence confidential settlement agreements that are common in these types of settlements.
She stated as her reason for setting up the grants, “I am doing this to emphasize the importance of copyright registration of your work and as a way for me to give back to the profession of photojournalism, an industry that I love and I am proud to be a member of for more than 32 years. “
The two of us at The Copyright Zone have pointed out several cases where photographers who were infringed settled on a “donation” made by he infringer directly to a charity of the photographer’s choice. We point out this gives the infringer a great tax deduction and great PR, while the photographer just has an infringed photo. One of our several blog articles is titled appropriately “Charity Should Start at Home”. You can read it by clicking on the title. There are more articles if you search for “charity donations” on our blog.
As we’ve stated over and over, if you follow through and pursue infringers with your registered, copyrighted work, you can then get a settlement and donate all or part as you see fit. That way you get the benefits of making the gift, rather than the infringers who stole from you. Many photographers over the years have done just what Ms. Kim has done out of the proceeds of settlements or lawsuits they have recovered. Typically confidentiality agreements prevent the disclosure of such contributions as doing so can indicate that payment was made to a creator and/or that the matter was settled for a sum in the amount of the charitable donation or greater.
We applaud and cheer Yunghi Kim for defending her work and the wonderful, charitable act of publicly paying it forward to help her fellow photographers.