PPA and Copyright – Trust a Champion

For many a professional photographer, the Professional Photographers of America is a trusted resource for education, support, and representation on all matters that matter to photographers. There are several trade associations, among them the NPPA, ASMP, and APA, and the PP of A stands shoulder to shoulder with them in working hard to affect change around the country and within the industry. Each tends to focus on one area where photographers need help, but all are working hard when it comes to protecting copyright for professional photographers.

A few weeks ago, the CEO Continue reading "PPA and Copyright – Trust a Champion"

Binded – Unwanted S&M For Artists & Creatives

There are plenty of ways to gag and bind your time, creativity, and intellectual property. The latest one, Binded (a rebranding of a company called Blockai) is a startup offering up worthless "certificates" - selling snake oil to the creative masses.

On their website they proffer "we give you a copyright certificate as proof which can help protect you against copyright infringement." Unfortunately, they should be saying "might" or "may", and even then, that's not true. In a March 14, 2016 TechCrunch interview (here), when the CEO is asked if there is any legal benefit to their Continue reading "Binded – Unwanted S&M For Artists & Creatives"

$1.2M Copyright Claim Awarded for Infringement of Photos

A common refrain by photographers who make excuses for not registering their work with the copyright office is that they’re not that valuable, or that no one would want to steal them.

On May 11th, in Baltimore Maryland, a jury awarded the copyright owner $900,000 in actual damages and $300,000 in statutory damages for 133 total infringements of 24 different images, of plants, in Under A Food Plant Company v. Exterior Design Inc.  The case is BPG-15-871, before the US District Court for the District of Maryland.

At issue was a a series of photographs of a product line that Continue reading "$1.2M Copyright Claim Awarded for Infringement of Photos"

Letting Freelancers Screw Themselves: CONDÉ NAST(Y) Edition


Conde Nast has taken a page out of the Time Magazine playbook and their new contract outlines that you can pay a fee to be paid faster, according to the Fashionista blog here, who reports they have a copy of the latest contract.

In 2009, Photo Business News reported here about how Time Warner was doing the same thing.  What is not clear, is what the Conde Nast payment schedule is like.

It is a common accounting concept whereby you bill, say, $1,000 for an assignment, and offer the following terms: "2/10 Net 30", which means that the party Continue reading "Letting Freelancers Screw Themselves: CONDÉ NAST(Y) Edition"

"One Shot" – Behind The Scenes at the Olympics

In 10 minutes, you get a remarkable insight into all the hard work that goes into covering the Olympics as a professional photographer. Produced by the International Olympic Committee, this video reveals just what goes into covering the Olympics - all the advance work, multiple cameras both hand-held and remotes, and logistics. The video is very matter-of-fact, not really glamorizing the still photographers' job, but also not revealing the back-breaking efforts, long hours, access changes, and commutes to and from the venues.
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got Continue reading ""One Shot" – Behind The Scenes at the Olympics"

Nikon KeyMission 360 – Teardown For Door Removal

The Nikon KeyMission 360 holds great promise as a tool to create immersive visual experiences. In putting the camera through its' paces, I found that the limitation of the battery, at 1 hour and 10 minutes, created limitations when I needed to place the camera in a remote location where I could not trigger it from afar, or when I wanted to capture longer than the internal battery would allow. In order to capture a longer video, an external battery connected to the camera was needed.

The challenge occurs, when the door of the KeyMission 360 is opened, as it
Continue reading "Nikon KeyMission 360 – Teardown For Door Removal"

The Failure of Visual China Group

VCG (blue line) 11/15/16 through 12/14/16, compared to the market composite index (orange line). Source: Bloomberg: VCG
Visual China Group (SHE:VCG), has seen a significant loss in the last month losing far more market value then the general malaise of the Shenzhen overall composite index.  This is important because, as VCG goes, so goes Getty Images. The highly regarded Selling Stock report on the turnaround potential of Getty Images concludes "There is almost no chance that Getty will regain any market share in the Midstock or Premium space. I expect revenue overall will continue to decline. The only question is how much, how fast." (link here, 3/26/15.)

"How fast" is becoming more clear now. Visual China Group's opening price on the Chinese stock market at ¥9.00 ($1.30USD) on February 3rd 2013 was met with a one-third loss by the close Continue reading "The Failure of Visual China Group"

The Farce of Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a well intentioned idea gone bad, and finally their existence will be put to the test, in a lawsuit brought that challenges the notion of what is "commercial" versus "noncommercial" use of an image.

Ars Technica reports, in "Creative Commons licenses under scrutiny—what does “noncommercial” mean?" (here, 9/18/16) that an educational company, Great Minds, is suing FedEx because their company (in the form of the former Kinkos that makes photo copies) is charging money for photocopies of this material. The basics are that "print shops, like FedEx, negotiate a license and pay a royalty to Great Minds if they wish to reproduce the Materials for commercial purposes—i.e., their own profit—at the request of their customers."

Now, it would be one thing if FedEx had binders of the material in one corner of their stores and that if a customer took the Continue reading "The Farce of Creative Commons"

Getty Images v. Walter A. Kowalczuk

Getty Images today notified contributors that on June 8th, 2016 it filed a lawsuit against Walter A. Kowalczuk because they allege he "downloaded thousands of images without authorization from Getty Images and profited from those downloads.  In addition, Getty Images believes that Mr. Kowalczuk was not acting alone, and the company is actively pursuing other possible infringers."

Getty Images has been the subject of many criticisms online for their aggressive handling of copyright infringement claims, and just two days ago Geekwire published "Getty Images rights claim against Seattle startup raises ‘phishing scam’ concerns", however, the article notes that the infringer (Aaron Bird) in this case "...will end up paying the settlement fee..."because, well, he infringed. Bird's concern centered around the question of a phishing scam and not whether or not he actually infringed on the work.

It is obvious that, with a reported 80,000,000 images Continue reading "Getty Images v. Walter A. Kowalczuk"

500px, ImageBrief – The Crowdsourcing Scoundrels of The Internet

What camera slinging aspiring pro photographer wouldn't want to be a part of a "Photo Quest" these days? A "quest" conjures up Indiana Jones-esque expeditions for the perfect picture - explorers searching for just the right photo to satisfy the "photo gods of exposure." Who could be so ignorant or desperate? Apparently quite a few, like the natives worshipping a false sun god because of a solar eclipse. Some 840 clueless photographers submitted 6,000 images for the chance at winning the "great honor" of having their creative work product commercially exploited along with 50 others whose work was selected for a FOR PROFIT Lonely Planet book, according to MobileMarketingDaily - "500px Launches Photo Quests, Allows Brands To Crowdsource Original Content" (5/23/16).

 We've written extensively here at Photo Business News about the seriously flawed "SPEC" business model, yet, these models continue to proliferate,  counting on photographers (pro and Continue reading "500px, ImageBrief – The Crowdsourcing Scoundrels of The Internet"

Getty Images Gets Infusion of Cash from China



Getty images is getting "up to $100 million" according to Reuters (here) from Visual China Group, which might seem like a lot, but, in review, is really not. In 2015, Bloomberg Business reported on Getty's cash situation, in "Getty Images is Running Tight on Cash" (2/25/15).

What was reported was that, in the last quarter of 2014, Getty "depleted a third of its cash during the last three months of 2014, leaving it with $27 million...". That meant that Getty had $41M, or is burning through about $4.5Million a month. This may well not
Continue reading "Getty Images Gets Infusion of Cash from China"

Corbis Details VCG Migration Plans to Getty Images


Corbis wasted no time detailing to photographers how the transition from being a Corbis photographer to a Getty Images photographer will take place, in an email sent out with a FAQ. While the FAQ went into great detail. What was abundantly clear was that Corbis will no longer exist in short order.

Yesterday, Photo Business News detailed the sale of Corbis to Visual China Group (SHENZEN: 000681) subsidiary Unity Glory as well as the same-day announcement of what clearly looks like an end-run around anti-trust laws by Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) when they announced the worldwide exclusive arrangement with Getty Images.

A message yesterday was sent from Jeff Enlow (LinkedIn: Jeff Enlow) to contributors which makes it clear  that Getty is getting all (or, to be more specific, everything they want and think is of value) from Corbis. In it, Enlow wrote:

Hey All,

I wanted to send Continue reading "Corbis Details VCG Migration Plans to Getty Images"

Sports Illustrated Layoffs – Smith, 2 others, OUT

News out of New York is not good today. While the Time, Inc (NYSE: TIME) photo editors are scrambling with today's extended deadline for photographic contributors to sign, this morning SI Director of Photography Brad Smith (LinkedIn: Brad Smith), along with Photo Editor Claire Bourgeois (LinkedIn: Claire Bourgeois) and John Blackmar (LinkedIn: John Blackmar) are among those that have been laid off, according to sources familiar with personnel changes at this Time Inc property.

 Their actual date of departure is not currently known, but with the Superbowl coming up fast, their departure before that would no Continue reading "Sports Illustrated Layoffs – Smith, 2 others, OUT"

Why You Should Not Be A Freelance Photographer

As a professional photographer, one of the worst things you can do is be a freelancer.  That is, just as you should banish the phrase "day rate" from your lexicon, so too should you banish the word "freelance" from the word set you use to describe yourself.

Words not only have meanings, they insinuate something about whomever they describe. An entire chapter on language was included in the book MORE Best Business Practices for Photographers, titled "A Linguistically Accurate Lexicon", for that very reason.

Consider the characterization of a person of the female gender. The word "girl", "woman", "lady", "chick, "madam", and "doll", all carry similar sentiments to "boy", "man", "gentleman", "dude", "sir", and "guy" for a person of the male gender. The disparity between saying "that boy over there" versus "that young man over there" is not lost on the recipient of that characterization, nor is "please Continue reading "Why You Should Not Be A Freelance Photographer"

ASMP Issues An Alert regarding Their Position on Time Inc. Contract

ASMP issued the following alert to exercise "extreme caution", which we are posting here, in it's entirety on the Time Inc (NYSE: TWX) contract:

Open letter to Time Inc. regarding one-sided independent photographer contract


ASMP has joined with the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), the Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA)American Photographic Artists (APA), and the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) in a letter to Time Inc. regarding our collective objections to the terms and conditions under which professional photographers are being required to operate come January 1st, 2016. Under the terms of the new contract, first detailed by Photo Business News ( here ), many of the fees and rights demands are unfair to professional photographers and will severely limit the ability of ASMP members to earn a sustainable living. The letter which ASMP co-authored with theNPPA and others can be viewed here.