Conference planners also hire photographers for their conferences. Since thephotographer owns the rights to the picture, planners should ensure that the contract with thephotographer transfers ownership to the organization. This transfer of ownership is known as an“assignment”. By owning the pictures, the organization can freely reproduce them, display themon their web site, etc.Another copyright issue which planners face is music licensing. The copyright to aparticular piece of music is owned by the composer. Performing rights societies such as BMIand ASCAP were formed to represent the interests of music composers. If an organization wantsto play music at its meetings, it must secure a license from the performing rights society whichrepresents the composer of such music. Performing rights societies offer organizations a“blanket” license agreement in which the group can pay one fee per year for all music playedduring the year at the organization’s conferences and events. Note that music played during areligious service is exempt from the license requirement.Planners should also be aware that when they hire contractors (non-employees), theymust obtain either ownership of the work (via assignment) or permission to use the work (vialicense) from the contractor. For example, if the organization retains the services of a graphicartist to design its conference brochure, the agreement with the graphic artist should state that thebrochure is a “work made for hire” and that the graphic artist is transferring their rights in thebrochure to the organization. Note also that if volunteers, such as church members, create workssuch as songs, articles, or photographs, the organization must obtain a copyright assignment fromthe volunteer or a license from the volunteer to use the work.Copyright InfringementIt is important for copyright owners to monitor their work to ensure that no one isinfringing on their rights – that is using their work without their permission. If a copyright ownerbecomes aware that someone is infringing on their copyright, the copyright owner may seek acopyright infringement claim against the unauthorized user. If the work is registered with theUnited States Copyright Office, the owner may seek damages in federal court.SummaryAs you can see, copyright issues frequently arise when planning conferences. Plannersshould ensure that the proper measures are in place to protect copyrighted works owned by theirorganization and to seek proper permission to use the copyrighted works of others.Barbara Dunn is an attorney and partner with Howe & Hutton, Ltd, a law firm which specializesin the representation of groups in the meetings, travel and hospitality industry. She can becontacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.