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February 25th, 2013

DKNY Atones for Unauthorized Usage by Donating $25K to Photog’s Community YMCA

brandon-stanton-DKNY

Brandon Stanton’s images were used without permission in a window display at a DKNY store in Bangkok.

 

When DKNY used several photographs by Brooklyn, New York-based street photographer Brandon Stanton in a display window without permission, Stanton took to social media to get the word out and ask the clothing company to donate to a local YMCA in his community, the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. The multinational clothing company responded by giving the YMCA a $25,000 donation in Stanton’s name.

“I didn’t want to take on a powerful company in any sort of litigation,” Stanton told PDN via email. “I don’t have time for that right now. I also didn’t want to try to personally enrich myself by drawing attention to the matter. So I decided on the YMCA.”

He added, “I’ve seen firsthand how much they help the community.”

DKNY had originally approached Stanton months ago and had offered him $15,000 for use of 300 images for store windows. When Stanton asked for more money, the clothing brand balked, and the deal fell apart, the photographer claims.

Then Stanton discovered his images were being used anyway in a DKNY store in Bangkok. He took to Facebook to share his story and demand that the company make a charitable donation rather than

compensate him. Stanton wrote: “I don’t want any money. But please SHARE this post if you think that DKNY should donate $100,000 on my behalf to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. That donation would sure help a lot of deserving kids go to summer camp. I’ll let you guys know if it happens.” The post spread, earning more that 60,000 Facebook shares and likes, and several thousand comments.

This afternoon DKNY responded with a statement on their social media sites, saying their Bangkok store “inadvertently… used an internal mock up containing some of Mr. Stanton’s images that was intended to merely show the direction of the spring visual program.”

“DKNY has always supported the arts and we deeply regret this mistake,” the statement said. “Accordingly, we are making a charitable donation of $25,000 to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn in Mr. Stanton’s name.”

After DKNY agreed to make the donation, Stanton published their response on Facebook and thanked everyone who supported him. “$25k will help a lot of kids at the YMCA,” he wrote. “I know a lot of you would like to have seen the full $100k, but we are going to take them at their word that it was a mistake.”

DKNY may have another problem, though. Stanton doesn’t have model releases for his images, he told PDN. “Part of DKNY’s original pitch to me was that I would obtain model releases from 300 of my subjects. Seeing as though no agreement was reached, that was never done.”

Whether that could come back to bit the DKNY and its parent company, LVMH, Inc., remains to be seen.

Amy Wolff contributed reporting to this article.

November 27th, 2012

Texas Photo Roundup (Sponsored Blog Post)

The Texas Photo Roundup is an event and fundraiser geared toward emerging and professional commercial and editorial photographers that will be held February 7 through 9, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Produced by the Austin Center for Photography (ACP) and ASMP’s Austin/San Antonio Chapter, this year’s event features three days of programming with an incredible lineup of photography industry experts. Sign up by December 1, and you’ll receive 10 percent off registration fees at www.texasphotoroundup.com.

Some programming highlights:

  • A BBQ road trip to Lockhart, Texas, with photographer Wyatt McSpadden.
  • Workshop with photographer Chris Buck covering career building, the strategies and pitfalls of executing fascinating portraits with celebrities and regular folks alike, managing time crunches, shy subjects and one’s own fears.
  • Negotiating 2.0 Panel Discussion: Sponsored by PhotoShelter, this panel explores the negotiating challenges facing commercial photographers today, featuring Jess Dudley of Wonderful Machine, Kaia Hemming of JWT, advertising photographer Adam Voorhes and more.
  • Two days of portfolio reviews with industry experts from Pentagram, Dwell, TracyLocke, JWT, Wonderful Machine, Razorfish, Smithsonian, Fortune, GSD&M and many others.
  • Lecture, slide show and book signing with legendary Austin-based photographer Dan Winters.
  • Photographers Monte Isom and Andrew Hetherington’s Covers to Billboards Talk: From their beginnings to where they are now, Isom and Hetherington discuss their journeys in the editorial and advertising world.
  • Slideluck Potshow Closing Party

Visit www.texasphotoroundup.com for more information.

 

October 23rd, 2012

APA and EP Join Forces

Today two professional photography trade organizations‚ American Photographic Artists (APA) and Editorial Photographers (EP)‚ announced that they will merge to create one organization with a membership of approximately 3200 photographers.

The move will see the creation of the first national chapter of APA, which will be known as the APA Editorial Photographers chapter.

EP president Brian Smith told PDN the move would revitalize that organization while also giving APA a presence in smaller cities in the United States and internationally. (EP is an internet-based organization without a chapter structure, and has members throughout the country and the world, Smith notes.)

“It was a case of trying to revitalize everything and offer something more,” Smith said of the decision to merge. “EP was founded as an opportunity to get together and actively seek better editorial contracts. It was formed in a day when the magazines were making money by the bushellful. Times have changed in the editorial market and really the board felt the best thing we could do would be to come up with additional resources for our members.” (more…)

September 28th, 2012

On Sustainable Business Models, and Comparing Apples to Oranges

The American Society of Media Photographers’ program, “Sustainable Business Models: Issues & Trends Facing Visual Artists,” held September 27 in New York City, can be viewed online via ASMP’s video library. Speakers and panelists provided useful context and insights into the current marketplace for photography, as well as thoughts on how professional freelancers might adapt their marketing and licensing in today’s economy. A warning, however: Along with provocative insights, the afternoon panel also included the predictable, banal observation that photojournalists have no role to play now that “everyone has a cellphone,” and statistics on how many images are uploaded to Facebook or Instagram each day or each hour or each minute. If you’re like me, you find these comments irritating. Because the first comment is untrue, and the second is irrelevant to any discussion of the professional photography business.

Yes, news editors trolled Instagram to get images of the aftermath of the Empire State Building shooting, but those image sales had no impact on the market for photos by professional news photographers: If amateur cellphone users hadn’t been on the scene, we simply wouldn’t have had any images of the carnage. Yes, a zillion snapshots of cats, babies and plates of food are shared on social media every day. What bearing does that have on what a professional photographer offers to clients or their audience? (more…)

May 23rd, 2012

Video Pick: William Wegman on Walking Canes and Dogs


Omhu, the design firm that makes stylish canes and other mobility aids, teamed with photographer William Wegman to produce a photo library and video that presents canes—and the mobility they provide—in a fun way.

It features one of Wegman’s classic subjects, a Weimeraner, interacting with one of the canes, which are made using high-performance materials used for skateboards and bikes. Rie Nørregaard, creative director and president of Omhu (Danish for “with great care”), was a leader on the cane design and the new campaign.

Both the cool-looking canes and the dancing, leaping, bounding Weimeraner shown in Wegman’s photo library are intended to encourage people to move more.

The company fills a void in the market, supplying products for an aging population that doesn’t want to sacrifice style for functionality. Maybe Omhu can make a nice looking case for my reading glasses.

You can view the photo library on the Omhu web site, and the video can also be viewed on Vimeo.

April 30th, 2012

Video: How Erik Almås Works with Dinosaurs

© Credit Suisse/photo by Erik Almås

Erik Almås says he prefers “crafting” images to “capturing” them. Working with ad agency Euro RSCG in London, Almås crafted an ad for Credit Suisse that features the eco-friendly Oxygen scooter, a Credit Suisse client. He shot images in multiple locations and in a photo studio, which were then blended with some computer-generated images of dinosaurs. No, the CGI dinosaurs are not a reference to Terence Malick’s Tree of Life, but to the era when fossil fuels were not yet fossils.

This slickly produced behind-the-scenes video shows Almas shooting in Hawaii,  Arizona, and on the set. It also reveals what Euro RSCG and Credit Suisse marketers hoped to communicate and how the finished ad pulls all the photographic elements together.

 

The video can be viewed on Vimeo here.

April 26th, 2012

Jim Marshall’s Estate Sues “Mr. Brainwash” and Google for Copyright Infringement

John Coltrane Jim Marshall Thierry Guetta Mr. Brainwash

The estate of iconic music photographer James “Jim” Marshall filed a copyright infringement claim against Thierry Guetta (aka Mr. Brainwash) and Google for the unauthorized use of his images for advertising purposes. The brief states that copies of Marshall’s photos were used as part of a promotion for Google Music, a new online music service, as well as in derivative works.

According to the brief, for a Google event held at Guetta’s studio, the artist designed a backdrop using blown-up copies of photos Marshall made of musicians John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix, which “constituted unauthorized reproductions and display” of the images. The backdrop was placed to the side of the stage where the announcement for Google Music was made, and therefore Google is also liable for copyright infringement since the images were used to promote its new product, Marshall’s estate claims.

Google Music Event

Additionally, the brief states that Guetta used five of Marshall’s photos to make derivative works, some of which he is currently selling on his Web site. It appears that Marshall’s images of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Stanley Turrentine, as well as his group shots of Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerald Wilson, and Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones, were screen printed on to paper and then altered by either changing the color palette or adding words to the background.

Jimi Hendrix Jim Marshall Thierry Guetta

The brief is asking that all infringing works be turned over to the estate and that all profits derived from the infringing works be awarded to the estate. Additionally, its asking that any damages, attorneys’ fees and costs related to the trial be reimbursed.

This isn’t the first time Guetta has been accused of infringing on a photographer’s copyright. In June 2011, a federal judge ruled in favor of photographer Glen E. Friedman, who claimed that his image of hip-hop group Run-DMC was used as the basis of several works by Guetta. A settlement with Friedman has been reached, but the terms were not disclosed.

Additionally, Guetta has another copyright claim pending from photographer Dennis Morris. While Guetta admitted he did use Morris’s photo of Sex Pistol’s bassist Sid Vicious in derivative works of art, he claimed he did not know it was a copyrighted image. The two parties are currently working on a settlement agreement.

Neither Guetta nor Google responded immediately to a request for comment.

Update 4/27/12: Jim Prosser, manager global communications and public affairs for Google, responded to our request for comment by stating that Google has not received a copy of the complaint yet and therefore he cannot comment on it.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Sid Vicious was the drummer for the Sex Pistols. The text has been corrected.

Related Articles:

Judge Rules for Photog In Copyright Suit Over RUN DMC Photo

April 9th, 2012

Quincy Jones Denies Copyright Infringement Claim

Music producer Quincy Jones has filed court papers denying that he infringed photographer Michael D. Jones’s copyrights when he used a portrait (shown at right) the photographer had shot in 1995.

The music producer says the photographer shot the disputed image on a work-for-hire basis, and therefore doesn’t own the copyright. Quincy Jones also says that even if Michael Jones does own the copyright, the photographer transferred rights to the image for use by Quincy Jones and other defendants.

The photograph, showing Quincy Jones at a recording session, appeared in ads for a line of audio headphones. Michael Jones says he provided an 8×10 print to Quincy Jones, who allegedly provided it to Harman International, the headphone manufacturer, without the photographer’s permission. The image also appeared in a music book.

Harman International, which is a co-defendant in the case, has also denied Michael Jones’s copyright infringement allegations on the grounds that the images were works for hire.

The defendants have yet to produce a work-for-hire agreement signed by the photographer. Without that, they may have to prove that the photographer’s working conditions amounted to a work-for-hire arrangement. Quincy Jones has hinted that he will try to do that by asserting that Michael Jones was “paid in full” for his services, and that he did the work with photographic equipment supplied by the Los Angeles recording studio that allegedly hired him.

The studio, Qwest Records, was a joint venture between Quincy Jones and Warner Brothers Records.

Michael Jones has alleged that he was not paid in full for the 1995 shoot because he refused at the time to sign away his rights to the images. He has also alleged that representatives for Qwest tried to “strong-arm” him in 2010 to accept $6,500 for all rights to the disputed image. The photographer says he refused, but Quincy Jones–and Harman–say that Michael Jones accepted the offer. Quincy Jones also denies that Qwest representatives “attempted to strongarm” the photographer.

A court date has not been set.

Related:
Quincy Jones Co-Defendant Denies Copyright Infringement Claim
Photog Sues Quincy Jones for Infringement, Says He Was “Strong-Armed”

April 5th, 2012

Quincy Jones Co-Defendant Denies Copyright Infringement Charges

©Michael D. Jones. The photographer says this portrait of Quincy Jones, shot in 1995, was recently used without permission in ads for audio headphones and other applications.

A co-defendant in the copyright infringement case against celebrity music producer Quincy Jones has denied the infringement claims, which were filed in February by Los Angeles photographer Michael D. Jones.

Harman International, which allegedly used a portrait of Quincy Jones without the photographer’s permission to promote a line of its audio headphones, says that Michael Jones shot the portrait under work-for-hire terms. Therefore, the photographer doesn’t own the copyright to the images and can’t claim infringement, Harman says. (The company has yet to produce evidence of a work-for-hire agreement, however.)

Harman adds that even if Michael Jones does own the copyrights to the image, he transferred those rights to Harman. As evidence of that, Harman points to a rights transfer contract drafted by its attorneys, but Michael Jones’ signature is conspicuously absent from that contract.  For good measure, Harman says its use of the portrait was “fair use,” so Michael Jones’s permission wasn’t required.

“Any and all uses that it made of any such photographic images were authorized, lawful and not infringing of any alleged rights,” Harman asserts repeatedly.

Harman says it is responding to the claims only for itself, not Quincy Jones or the other defendants, including music publisher Hal Leonard Corporation, which also used the portrait.

But Harman’s response presages those of the other defendants, and the dispute is likely to boil down to two questions: whether Michael Jones photographed Quincy Jones under a work-for-hire arrangement, and if not, whether Michael Jones subsequently transferred usage rights to the defendants.

Michael Jones says he shot the images in 1995 during several sessions at Qwest Records. He provided Quincy Jones with some 8×10 prints, but alleges he was not paid for shooting the last two studio sessions because he refused at the time to sign over his rights to the images.

Years later, in 2010, a Qwest Records executive allegedly offered Michael Jones $5,000 for what amounted to a copyright transfer of one of the images so Harman could use it to promote a line of audio headphones endorsed by Quincy Jones. The photographer says he demanded $10,000 for a license, and that he subsequently refused a counter-offer of $6,500. Allegedly without any license agreement, Harman ended up using the images anyway.

A court date has not been set.

Related:
Photog Sues Quincy Jones for Infringement, Says He Was “Strong-Armed”