3 Legal Lessons Lil Kim is Teaching Creatives


Earlier this week Canadian makeup artist Samantha Ravndahltook to Reddit to ask what she should do since she discovered Lil Kim had not only been using her image to promote her upcoming album but had also placed a copyright notice on the image. (via Gawker)

TMZ soon reported that it had spoken to Ravndahl who sent emails to Lil Kim’s management who first refused payment and then told her they “move slow.”

(Photo via TMZ)

Here are the 3 Legal Lessons Creatives Can Learn From Lil Kim:


(Photo via TMZ)

1. A copyright notice does NOT give you the actual copyright to something you didn’t own in the first place.

This is really idiotic (for lack of a better phrase) on Lil Kim’s part and really shows the state of her business affairs.

A copyright notice like this one —> © <—- only puts people on notice that you have filed for registration of the work with the US Copyright Office. However copyright ownership exists from the time a work is created in a fixed tangible medium whether you formally file it or notthe FIRST to put it out to the public is the owner of the copyright. 

2. File your copyright..then WATERMARK WATERMARK WATERMARK

Just because you don’t necessarily need to file your work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Filing your copyright protects you and your POCKETS in a case where someone moves on to take your work and make a profit or diminishes your profit having filed makes the process of taking someone to court and being awarded damages that much easier. (The right of attribution is an exception to the mandatory registration requirement)

The number one thing you can do to discourage thieves like Lil Kim is to watermark watermark watermark. Check out this great blog on how easy it is to mass watermark your images here on my Pinterest BlogLaw101 board.

3. You NEED a lawyer

This is and is not a shameless plug, however, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a lawyer in your pocket. Even if you can’t afford to have one on retainer, build a working relationship with a lawyer you can call in time like these so you don’t have to go to message boards and ask the internet for legal advice

Don’t know a lawyer? Yes you do! Contact me and let’s chat!