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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”

March 21st, 2012

Frank Ockenfels 3 Shoots the New Mad Men Campaign

Advertisement for season five of the AMC show Mad Men. Frank Ockenfels 3 photographed the lead characters for the campaign. Courtesy of AMC and Frank Ockenfels 3.

This Sunday, March 25, the Emmy award-winning television show Mad Men returns to Sunday nights. As a build up to the season five premiere, AMC has done a major marketing push with print, online and outdoor ads.

Have you been wondering who is behind the retro-looking images? It’s Los Angeles-based Frank Ockenfels 3, who is represented by Eye Forward. Working with AMC and The Refinery’s Brad Hochberg, Ockenfels photographed all of the show’s leads in character. In a recent interview with The New York Times, show creator Matthew Weiner said the central image of the campaign, which shows Don Draper staring at his own reflection in a store window, is supposed to be “dreamlike.” It’s also meant to build up anticipation of the show’s premiere, since Mad Men had a longer than usual break between season four and season five due to negotiations between Weiner and the network.

To learn about other recent assignments photographers have landed, check out the latest posts in our biweekly column “Who’s Shooting What” (subscribers only).

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March 21st, 2012

Ellen Degeneres Not Amused By Photog’s Billboard Stunt

An artist's rendering of the billboard Madalyn Ruggiero attempted to put up for six weeks in West Hollywood.

Artist's rendering of the billboard Madalyn Ruggiero attempted to put up for six weeks in West Hollywood.

Television personality and talk show host Ellen Degeneres—and her show’s lawyers—were not amused by an Ohio freelance photographer’s recent publicity stunt, and their legal action has cost the photographer thousands of dollars.

Photographer Madalyn Ruggiero created a small business by putting costumes on her dog, Denali, photographing him, then selling greeting cards bearing the images. Buoyed by the success of her cards and Denali’s 27,000+ Facebook fans, Ruggiero bought billboard space in West Hollywood in an attempt to get Ellen Degeneres to put Denali on her TV talk show. “Ellen,” the billboard read, “Denali the dog wants to meet you!”

Just days after the billboard went up on February 13, the show’s lawyers ordered the billboard company to take it down because, they argued, it traded on Degeneres’s name and likeness (Ruggiero dressed Denali up to look like Degeneres for the billboard).

Ruggiero says that the billboard company’s lawyers sought and received approval from Warner Brothers, which owns and produces Degeneres’ show, prior to putting up the billboard. The ad should have been displayed for six weeks but was up for only a few days.

“I was shocked and confused why my harmless billboard was removed,” Ruggiero says. “When I spoke with the billboard company they were very cold and told me nothing.”

The LA Times, Today Show and MSNBC have all published stories about Ruggiero’s run-in with Degeneres’ lawyers.

“I meant no harm with my billboard,” Ruggiero explains. “I am disappointed and confused. Denali is getting old and I thought trying to get Denali on Ellen’s would be fun. I always thought she was a huge dog lover, but I was mistaken.”

Now Ruggiero is out thousands of dollars for a publicity stunt gone awry. Should Ruggiero have known better? Maybe. Should we be surprised that Degeneres responded with legal threats rather than a sense of humor? Probably not.

March 20th, 2012

Israel Bans Use of Underweight Models

Israel has passed a law that bans the use of “underweight” models in advertising, and mandates that ads that are retouched to make models appear thinner must include a disclaimer.

According to reports, a fashion photographer and model agent named Adi Barkan has helped promote the bill, which was introduced by Knesset member Rachel Adato.

“I look (back) 15 to 20 years ago, we shot models (sized) 38. Today it’s 24,” Barkan said. “This is the difference between thin and too thin. This is the difference between death and life.”

The law requires that models appearing at photo shoots for ads that will appear in the Israeli market must show a medical report stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards. The standard used by the WHO is “body mass index,” or BMI.

Under the new law, models must present a bill of health that is no more than three months old. Foreign publications sold in Israel will not be required to abide by the new law.

Opposition figures, including Adi Neumman, one of Israel’s top models, argue that the use of BMI is arbitrary and doesn’t allow for different body types. Neumman said she wouldn’t pass the requirement even though she eats well, exercises and is healthy.

“Force actual tests. Make girls go to a doctor. Get a system to follow girls who are found to be puking,” she said, according to an AP report.

March 1st, 2012

PDN Video Pick: Jonathan Chapman on Mountain Biking

Can a photographer promote video work by showing still images? In PDN‘s feature story about Jonathan Chapman’s direct mail promos, “All the New Work that’s Fit to Print,” the Minneapolis-based photographer and director explains that his new large-format newsprint mailer shows multiple images from assignments and personal projects, whether he shot them as stills or video. For example, he shows stills of bikers, created as part of a video assignment for Specialized, the bike manufacturer. His “Jonathan Chapman Photography/Motion” logo appears on the sun-kissed images, while the URL points readers to find his motion reel on his Web site. His videos like this one for Specialized can also be found on Vimeo.

February 24th, 2012

Penelope Tree, Muse to Avedon, Models Again

© Mario Sorrenti for Barney's

Penelope Tree, who first modeled for Richard Avedon in 1966, is back, appearing in a new fashion campaign for Barney’s shot by Mario Sorrenti. This week’s installment of Who’s Shooting What has details on the campaign, the creative director behind it, and the other fashion personalities being featured. PDN Pulse would just add that at age 62, Tree looks great.

Vogue editor Diana Vreeland spotted Tree at Truman Capote’s famous Black and White ball in 1966, and asked her to model for Richard Avedon and later for David Bailey, who soon after ditched wife Catherine Deneuve and became Tree’s companion for eight years.

(Wow, there were a lot of Sixties icons packed into that sentence.)

Tree’s look ushered in a new, waifish look in models. Bailey told PDN in a Legends Online interview, “I think she changed a generation of young American girls.” Funny, now we look at photos of Tree from the Sixties or today, and she looks quite healthy compared to the anorexic models we’re now used to seeing. Tree has other assets besides her unusual looks. A student of Buddhism, she has been a patron of a charity which supports women’s groups in Cambodia. She was also, as Bailey told PDN, “Bright, bright, bright, bright.”

Related article:

Who’s Shooting What

February 23rd, 2012

Arizona Considers Anti-Photoshop Law

An Arizona legislator has introduced a bill to make it illegal to run print ads in the state that have been Photoshopped, unless viewers are notified that the image has been altered.

The bill’s sponsor, state representative Katie Hobbs of Phoenix, told the Arizona Republic that she introduced the bill at the urging of the Maricopa County YWCA. The YWCA pushed for the bill out of its concern over the influence of media images on young women. The bill is reportedly modeled after similar laws in Britain.

Arizona House Bill 2739 specifies that “an advertiser shall not use postproduction techniques to alter or enhance printed media advertisements” that are displayed in the state, unless they carry a disclaimer.

The disclaimer proposed by the bill would have to say: “Postproduction techniques were made to alter the appearance in this advertisement.  When using this product, similar results may not be achieved.” Under the current language of the bill, the disclaimer would have to be “clearly and legibly stated in the advertisement.”

The bill, which is one of the first of its kind in the country, has little chance of passing. And Hobbs is on the defensive, because some of her constituents have suggested she focus on more important issues.

In a letter published by the Arizona Republic, she defended the bill by explaining:

“Girls see an average of 400 images a day of what it means to be beautiful in our culture. Many of these images are unattainable because they are not real.

“Depression among women and girls has doubled in the past 10 years, and 65 percent of American women and girls have an eating disorder.

“There are links between these serious health issues and advertising’s attempts to sell women and girls the myth that they can and should achieve physical perfection to have value in our culture.

I know my bill won’t solve this problem, but I’m glad that it helped start the discussion.”

February 16th, 2012

More Ads Banned in Britain! This Time, Due to Sexism

© Ryannair

What would we do without our busy friends at the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)?  Every few months, this regulatory body bans an ad it deems unacceptable. In the past year, ASA has banned fashion and cosmetics ads for being overly Photoshopped and misleading, for fostering anorexia, and for encouraging young girls to sit on railroad tracks. Each ban generates lots of chatter across the Web, and provides PDN Pulse some handy blog fodder.

The latest campaign to get the ax from ASA is a grotesquely tacky campaign for discount Ryannair that shows female flight attendants in lingerie, in poses worthy of the old Snap-on Tool calendars. And thanks to ASA, the ads are now getting loads of free publicity.

ASA calls the ads “sexist” and “demeaning.” Salon.com notes that the ads are old fashioned. We agree. We’d also note that the campaign features Photoshopping so ham-handed, it hurts our eyes. Maybe the retoucher was hoping the ASA would take notice?

Ryannair, the low-fare airline that has made weekends in Corfu, Palma, Dusseldorf and Ibiza affordable for drunken bachelors all over Europe, has responded to the ban by calling the ASA a “bunch of unelected self-appointed dimwits.”

Oh c’mon, Ryannair. Don’t you want to thank those dimwits for the free media they handed you?

Related articles

“Irresponsible” Miu Miu Ads Shot By Bruce Weber Banned in Britain
Ad Banned in UK for Super Skinny Model
Photoshopped Ads Banned in Britain!

February 16th, 2012

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

Photographer Michael D. Jones alleges that after he refused to sign away his copyrights to this 1995 image for $6,500, Quincy Jones and AKG used it anyway without permission.

Los Angeles photographer Michael D. Jones has filed a lawsuit against Quincy Jones, claiming that the legendary music producer provided one of the photographer’s portraits without permission for use in ads, packaging and other materials to promote a line of audio headphones. The photographer, who does not claim any relation to Quincy Jones, is seeking statutory damages and an injunction for willful copyright infringement.

Operating under the name Mike Jones Photography, the photographer has also named the headphone manufacturer, AKG Harman, the music book publisher Hal Leonard Corporation, and Quincy Jones Productions as defendants.

Mike Jones alleges that he photographed Quincy Jones and other celebrated musicians at several recording sessions in 1995 at Qwest Records in West Hollywood. Besides Quincy Jones, others in attendance included Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Nancy Wilson, Herbie Hancock And Ronald Isley.

Mike Jones says he photographed the sessions at the invitation of Qwest’s president, JoAnn Tominaga, and ended up shooting about 100 rolls of film. He alleges that he was never asked to sign a contract or release stating that his photographs from those sessions were works made for hire. He also says that there were no restrictions on what he could photograph. (more…)

January 31st, 2012

In Bankruptcy, Photo Archive Cuts Deal with Marilyn Monroe Estate

Sinking under legal bills, the Shaw Family Archives [SFA] has tentatively agreed to a 5-year, $3 million licensing deal with its arch-enemy–the estate of Marilyn Monroe–to pull itself out of bankruptcy. The deal would give the Monroe estate control over commercial licensing of hundreds of Monroe images shot by the late photographer Sam Shaw, and finally end protracted litigation between the two companies.

Under the terms of the proposal, the SFA would grant the Estate of Marilyn Monroe LLC “the sole and exclusive right and license” to exploit photographer Sam Shaw’s many images of Marilyn Monroe for commercial uses. The SFA would continue to license the Monroe photographs–including Shaw’s iconic “blowing skirt image of Monroe–for editorial, fine art and exhibition purposes.

Because the SFA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last summer, the agreement with the Monroe estate is subject to approval by a federal bankruptcy judge. A ruling is expected later this month.

In court papers seeking that approval, the SFA says, “the Agreement is critical to the [SFA’s] effective reorganization as it ensures the longevity of the [SFA]  as a business by providing the [SFA] with tangible benefits, including: a minimum income that is more than the [SFA] has made in the last three (3) years…and ending most, if not all, of the litigation” between SFA and Monroe’s estate.

Melissa Stevens, operations manager for SFA, characterizes the deal as “a business arrangement that both parties feel will be mutually beneficial to the continued preservation and promotion of both Marilyn Monroe and Sam Shaw’s legacy.” (more…)