Joel is the principal of the Law Offices of Joel L. Hecker. The firm's offices are at The Helmsley Building, 230 Park Avenue, Suite 660, New York NY 10169. His phone number is (212) 481-1850 extension 106. Joel's email address is HeckerEsq@aol.com.
Joel received his J.D. from New York University School of Law and is a repeat Super Lawyer. He brings a broad perspective to his practice, which includes the negotiation and drafting of contracts and agreements of all types. He prides himself on being able to successfully resolve disputes by creative means.
Joel regularly counsels clients in all aspects of photography and visual arts law, copyright, licensing, publishing, contracts, privacy rights, digital media, and other intellectual property issues. Joel's practice also includes trademark, real estate, estate planning, wills, and litigation in both Federal and State courts. He has successfully litigated many cases in these areas across the country. Joel has acted as general counsel to hundreds of the professional photographers, stock photo agencies, graphic artists, photography representatives, documentary filmmakers, and other photography and content-related businesses he has represented nationwide and abroad.
Joel has participated on legal panels and Symposia at the New York City Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section, St. John’s University School of Law in New York City, Case Western Reserve School of Law in Cleveland, and The Copyright Society of the U.S.A. He also lectures and writes extensively on issues of concern, including articles in the New York Bar Association Journal, and The New York State Bar Association's Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Journal.
Joel is past Chair and member of the Copyright and Literary Property Committee of the New York City Bar Association, a member of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, and a long time member and past Trustee of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. Specific references to his articles and lectures may be located through internet search engines under the keywords: "Joel L. Hecker."
Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Heavily Criticized Copyright Infringement Fair Use Decision
District Court Decision
In what appeared to be a run of the mill copyright infringement claim brought in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the unforeseeable occurred, when the District Judge found that the infringing acts actually constituted fair use under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 107.
That District Court decision, in Russell Brammer v. Violent Hues Productions, LLC found that all four factors of the fair use test favored the defendants’ use of Brammer’s stock photograph. It was roundly criticized by almost everyone.
The decision was appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The importance of overriding the clearly erroneous analysis and conclusions of the District Court Judge was clear by the appearance on appeal of 12 prominent photography, artists’ rights, and other advocacy rights organizations in support of plaintiff.
The appeal was argued on March 19, 2019. The three judge panel, taking only 38 days from argument to a fully well-reasoned decision, unanimously reversed the District Court in a decision dated April 26, 2019 (the “Circuit Court Opinion”)3 citing to a number of Second Circuit Court of Appeals precedents.
The fact pattern was quite straightforward and largely undisputed. Plaintiff is a professional photographer who on November 19, 2011, created a photograph depicting a busy street during the evening in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington D.C., with the vehicle traffic rendered as red and white trails (the “Photo”).
Brammer published a digital copy of it on his own website. He also uploaded it to the image-sharing website Flickr, which included the phrase “© all rights reserved” beneath the Photo.
Brammer had previously sold physical prints of the Photo for $200 to $300 each, and licensed it for online use twice, once for $1,250 and once for $750.