Copyright dispute, the continuing controversy over for-profit art schools, Richard Prince (again), First Amendment protections and the President-elect: We look back on the stories that attracted the most attention in 2016.

1- The President-Elect Objects to a News Photo Showing his Double Chin
Just 59 days before the President-elect will take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” including the First Amendment, he held an off-the-record meeting with several news executives in which he said he wants the press to run “nicer” pictures of him. PDN’s editor had advice for photographers and photo editors contemplating “nicer” photos.


Carol Highsmith, the author of this image, received a demand letter from Getty to pay for using it on her own website. ©Carol M. Highsmith

Photo © Carol M. Highsmith

2- Photog Seeks $1 Billion from Getty for Copyright Infringement
In July, Carol M. Highsmith sued the stock photo agency for violations of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). She accused Getty Images of “unlawfully charging licensing fees” for 18,755 of her photographs of Americana, which she had provided to the Library of Congress. She sought $1 billion in damages. Getty countered that Highsmith had no legal grounds for the suit, since she had released her images to the public domain. Highsmith and Getty settled the state law claims and a U.S. District Court judge closed the case in late October.



3- New Lightroom Mode Turns Any Image into an Ansel Adams Masterpiece
On March 31, technology editor Greg Scoblete gave readers an early April Fools Day treat when he posted a one-minute video from Adobe Lightroom Coffee Break that details a new tool that enables photographers to turn any photo—like a still life of burgers and fries—into a black-and-white Ansel Adams-esque masterpiece.

4- Art Institutes Owner to Forgive Student Loans, Pay $95 Million Settlement
In November 2015, Education Management Corporation, an operator of for-profit colleges that include about 50 Art Institute schools across the U.S. and Canada, announced that it will forgive 80,000 student loans to bring a consumer fraud investigation to a close, and pay $95.5 million to settle a lawsuit over its recruitment practices. While the article was published in November 2015, readers continue to have high interest in the story as two for-profit schools — Brooks Institute and Hallmark Institute for Photography—announce that they are shutting their doors amid declining enrollments, financial stress and management shake-ups.


5- What Happens When You Save a JPEG 500 Times
In April, PDN posted a short video by Jon Sneyers that demonstrates the effect of opening and re-saving an image 500 times across several compression formats, including JPEG, WebP and BPG.


© Jana Romanova. Romanova says VICE used her photo of a married pregnant couple without permission on a very, very different story.

Photo © Jana Romanova

6- Photographer Sues VICE for Unauthorized Use of Expectant Couple
Photographer Jana Romanova has sued VICE Media, claiming willful copyright infringement and violation of the DMCA for publishing a photo from her “Waiting” series, which depicts pregnant women and their partners asleep in bed. VICE published the photo with an article titled “What It’s Like to Be a Millennial in a Sexless Relationship.”
In her suit, filed on November 23, Romanova says VICE used the image without her permission and infringed her copyright.


7- Instagram Now Supports Multiple Accounts from a Single Login
In February, Instagram announced that it would allow users to access up to five different accounts from a single login. Check out the article to learn how to add and switch between various accounts.

8- Study: Instagram Interactions Are Plunging
Interactions on Instagram–the numbers of likes and comments on photos and videos–have taken a massive hit this year, according to a study released in June by research firm Quintly. The survey found the drop affected both photo and video posts.


9- Natalie Brasington’s Breakthrough Portraits of Amy Schumer
In an interview with PDN, New York-based photographer Natalie Brasington explains how she slowly and steadily built a career in celebrity portraiture, and details how she conceived portraits of Amy Schumer and other comedians.

"Rastafarian Smoking a Joint" ©Donald Graham

Photo © Donald Graham

10- Photographer Sues Richard Prince Over Instagram Rip-offs… At Last
Appropriation artist Richard Prince has drawn public complaints and vitriol in the past for unauthorized reproduction of photographers’ work (check out our coverage of the subject here and here). This year, photographer Donald Graham sued Prince and his gallerist, Lawrence Gagosian for copyright infringement of a photo (shown above) that appeared without Graham’s authorization on Instagram and in an exhibition of Prince’s work. Six months later, photographer Dennis Morris also sued.

What a year it has been. Here at PDN, we wish all our readers a happy, peaceful, creatively fruitful 2017.



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