Notice: A couple of tornado videos on the market now allegedly are using video from authors where permission of such usage was not granted. The SCH takes this official position on the matter of video piracy, and it is quite simple: It is illegal, unethical, immoral, and quite simply, WRONG. People should avoid buying any storm-related videos from businesses found guilty of such practices. Furthermore, non storm-chasers who buy storm-related videos should be made aware of those companies who are selling redisributed material without the written consent of the author. Not only does buying unauthorized videos hurt the author of the video who has not been given financial and on-air or written credit, it also severely damages or destroys the reputations of businesses involved in such practices. Storm Chaser and movie producer Martin Lisius, whose friends have been victimized by this alleged activity, wrote the following. It is great advice to all.

Gilbert Sebenste, SCH Webmaster, 10/31/96, Last Updated 1/23/99

The pirating continues...

Storm Video Piracy ALERT!

I am very unhappy, but not surprised, by the recent string of storm video piracy

Video shot by several respected storm photographer/chasers have shown up in some
new retail videos.  One video is for sale through Blockbuster Entertainment,
while the other is available at Best Buy stores.

I suspect that there are others out on the market that include pirated material.

I urge all storm photographer/chasers to check these and other "tornado" or
"storm" videos out.  If your video appears on these tapes without your
knowledge, you have the legal right, and obligation, to seek much-deserved

When you see other storm photographer/chaser's material on either retail videos
or on television, that you recognize, you should call or e-mail that person and
alert them.  If it turns out to be a ligitimate usage, then you can always use
the contact as an opportunity to just visit and talk storms!

It's not possible for all storm phtographer/chasers to see all videos and
television pertaining to this subject.  So, look out for your associates and
friends. Unfortunately, there are many others who seem to think they can
get away with using copyrighted material without permission.

Federal law provides for, "severe civil and criminal penalties for the
unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of copyrighted motion
pictures or tapes (Title 17, United States Code, Sections 501 and 506).

If you shot it, and it's not "work for hire," it is YOURS and it is COPYRIGHTED
the instant it is created!

Don't stand for it!  

If you need professional advice, contact me.  I can also point you in the
direction of attorneys specializing in intellectual property law.  Some of them
do litigation.

Martin Lisius
Prairie Pictures

You may email Martin directly at 73124.1052@CompuServe.COM.

More Reports Of Piracy

From Warren Faidley:

In light of the recent pirating of storm chasers footage, it appears that
yet another copyright infringement may have taken place.

Someone e-mailed me the other day and advised me that they saw a
magazine advertisement for a "chili" pepper sauce (?) using my
photograph from the cover of my book Storm Chaser and the Twister poster.

Instead of "Twister", the word "Blister" was used as the headline and a
giant red chili was painted over the tornado.

Unfortunately, the e-mailer could not provide me with the exact source
of this possible infringement. He thinks it was published in a
Christmas-type specialty mailing for a food company.

I would be most grateful if anyone out there comes across the ad. In fact, I'm
offering a 10% reward from the final settlement/fee (less any legal fees)
to the first person who finds this ad and forwards it to me. This could
involve a substantial fee, since this image was legally copyrighted.



Here's an update:

Dear Storm Photogs:

Don't think just because you didn't copyright your storm footage before it was
ripped off that you have no leverage (aka "rights").

Once you create that image (unless "for hire") it is YOURS!!!

But, just in case you want to go ahead and register it, here's how.

Call the US Copyright Office Forms Hotline (24 hours a day) at 202-707-9100.
Ask for Form PA.  You can also call 202-707-3000 to hear recorded info. on
copyright topics.  To speak with a copyright rep., call 202-707-3000 between
8:30-5 Eastern time.

I think they also might have a web site.  Try  That's just a

After you order the form, prepare a copy of the video you want to submit with
the form when it arrives.  Slip in $20 and you're done.  It's painless and easy.

In a few weeks you will get a certificate.

Good luck.

Call me if you have any questions.


Hi-Lo To All: I wanted to let everyone know that there is a detailed article in the DEC. 1996 issue of VIDEOMAKER magazine that takes you step by step through the process of registering your Copyrighted Work with the Copyright Office in Washington, DC. You will also see a photocopy of the form used along with the address and phone # to reach the Copyright Office. Turn to page 96 to find this article which was written by Mark Levy who is a senior partner in an intellectual property law firm. Dean L. Cosgrove

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