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April 6th, 2016

LA Times Photographer Of Reagan Funeral Motorcade Charged After March Arrest

Longtime Los Angeles Times photographer Ricardo DeAratanha has been charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly refusing to cooperate with police during the funeral motorcade of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, according to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times.

DeAratanha, 65, was charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer, according to the Ventura County district attorney’s office.

The Los Angeles Times reports that DeAratanha was arrested on Wednesday, March 9, less than a mile from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where a public viewing was being held for Nancy Reagan. DeAratanha was at the scene covering the funeral for the Times. When police approached him, he was sitting in his car, transmitting photos from his laptop. Simi Valley Police said at the time that officers were responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle near the viewing, and that DeAratanha was arrested because he refused the officers’ request to identify himself.

DeAratanha’s attorney, Mark Werksman, says the photographer provided multiple press credentials and gave the officers “no reason” to arrest him, according to the Los Angeles Times. DeAratanha has been a staff photographer at the paper since 1989.

January 29th, 2016

Burundi Releases Photojournalist Phil Moore Without Charge

Authorities in Burundi have released photojournalist Phil Moore and Le Monde Africa bureau chief Jean Philippe Remy, French ambassador Gerrit Van Rossum told Agence France-Presse. The journalists were picked up in raids in Bujumbura on January 28 along with 15 other men, some of whom where deemed “armed criminals” by Burundi’s security ministry.

Earlier today the French foreign ministry, AFP, Le Monde and other media organizations demanded the journalists’ release in statements addressed to Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Moore and Remy were in Burundi covering the violence between President Nkurunziza’s government and armed opposition groups. The conflict there continues to escalate, and United Nations and African Union officials have been urging Nkurunziza to allow an AU peacekeeping force into the country to prevent an ethnic conflict.

The ambassador said Moore’s camera equipment and Remy’s notebooks had not yet been returned to them.

Related: Photojournalist Phil Moore Arrested in Burundi

January 28th, 2016

Update: Obama Administration Calls for Copyright Small Claims Courts, Embraces “Vibrant Fair Use”

copyright copy_350An Obama administration task force has come out in support of “a vibrant fair use space” that allows  “the broad range of remixes to thrive.” At the same time, the task force supports “effective licensing structures” and is calling for the “creation of a streamlined procedure for adjudicating small claims of copyright infringement.”

The recommendations are from the US Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force, and  appeared in a publication released today called “White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages.” The purpose of the task force is to ensure that copyright policy continues to provide incentive for creativity as the digital economy changes how people communicate, create, innovate and conduct business.

The task force defines “remixes” as “works created through changing and combining existing works to produce something new and creative” and notes that remixes are part of a trend of user-generated content “that has become a hallmark of the internet.”

The task force asserts that “remixes make valuable contributions to society in providing expressive, political, and entertainment content.” But it says it is not calling calling for amendments to copyright law that would create a specific exception or a compulsory license for remix uses. Instead, the task force offers recommendations “that would make it easier for remixers to understand when a use is fair and to obtain licenses when they wish to do so.” (more…)

January 28th, 2016

Why Muslim Woman’s Suit Against AP for Hijab Photo Will Probably Fail

Fifi Youssef is suing photographer Mark Lennihan and AP for distributing this photograph, shot at a New York City Starbucks,  without her permission. ©Mark Lennihan/AP

Fifi Youssef is suing photographer Mark Lennihan and AP for distributing this photograph of her without her permission. ©Mark Lennihan/AP

A Muslim woman has sued Associated Press (AP) and photographer Mark Lennihan for unspecified damages over the unauthorized use her likeness, claiming violation of her civil rights. The case is a legal long shot, but if she wins, wire services and freelance photojournalists—at least in New York state—would have to get the consent of everyone in the photographs they offer for licensing to publishers.

Fifi Youssef filed suit in a New York State court last week, claiming AP and Lennihan violated her rights of publicity under a state law that prohibits the use of anyone’s name, likeness or voice “for advertising purposes or the purposes of trade.”

According to the claim, Youssef was having coffee in a Starbucks coffee shop on December 16, 2015, wearing a hijab, when she was photographed without her knowledge by Lennihan. The picture shows Youssef staring downward at her cell phone.

Two days later, the image appeared for license on AP’s website, listed “as part of AP’s commerce trade,” according to the suit. Then, on December 21, The Washington Post published the photo as an illustration for an op-ed piece titled “As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the hijab in the name of interfaith solidarity.”

“Clearly, the article attacks [Youssef’s] fundamental beliefs,” Youssef’s lawsuit says.

Youssef says in her claim that AP’s “sale” [ie, licensing for fees] of images—including the image of her—amounts to commercial use, in violation of the state law. But she faces an uphill battle.

The focus of New York’s right of publicity law “on advertising and trade means that a use designed to solicit sales of products or services is forbidden,” says Harvard University’s Digital Media Law Project on its website. “But this category of advertising uses is somewhat narrow [and] contains a long list of exceptions, which include protections for professional photographers against suits by their subjects.”

Nancy Wolff, an intellectual property attorney in New York, says the ruling in the case of Foster v. Svenson established “that the First Amendment trumps privacy and that a license or sale does not make a use commercial.” In that case, New York courts rejected arguments that art photographer Arne Svenson was violating New York’s right of publicity law by offering unauthorized photographs of the plaintiffs for sale in an art gallery.

“I have argued many times that the aggregation, display and offering for sale of images is a right under copyright [law] and outside any state right of publicity law,” says Wolff, who is not involved with the Youssef case, though she has done work for AP in the past. “You only look at the end use to determine if the right of publicity is invoked. Any other position would interfere with the distribution and licensing of images [and] with first amendment uses…No book , magazine or art print could ever be sold without the subjects’ consent.”

Such a result, she notes, “would be absurd.”

Significantly, Youssef did not name the end user–The Washington Post–as a defendant in her lawsuit, because a mountain of case law has given news organizations wide berth to publish images of individuals without permission under a “newsworthiness” exception to New York’s right of publicity law.

Related:
Arne Svenson Exonerated on Appeal in Privacy Invasion Case (subscription required)

What Photographers Need to Know about Model Releases

January 4th, 2016

Photographer Sues Richard Prince Over Instagram Rip-offs… At Last

"Rastafarian Smoking a Joint" ©Donald Graham

“Rastafarian Smoking a Joint” ©Donald Graham

Photographer Donald Graham has sued appropriation artist Richard Prince and his gallerist Lawrence Gagosian for copyright infringement of a photo that appeared without Graham’s authorization on Instagram, and then in a gallery exhibition of Prince’s appropriation work.

Prince drew public complaints and vitriol last year for unauthorized reproduction, display and sale of a series of 67 x 55-inch inkjet prints of Instagram “screen saves” of images by other artists and photographers. But Graham is the first to sue.

The Los Angeles-based photographer filed suit in federal court in New York on December 30, alleging unauthorized use of a 1996 photograph (shown here) of a Rastafarian man lighting a joint. Graham alleges in his claim that a third party posted his photograph on Instagram without permission, and that Prince copied and enlarged that unauthorized photo and displayed it as part of his 2014 “New Portraits” exhibition.

Graham’s complaint calls Prince out for “his blatant disregard for copyright law” and goes on to say that “Mr. Prince consistently and repeatedly has incorporated others’ works” into his own works, without permission, credit or compensation. (more…)

December 14th, 2015

Own a Drone? You’ll Have to Register It with the FAA

Yuneec_Drone

The Federal Aviation Administration announced today that anyone who owns a drone weighing between .55 and 55 pounds will have to register their aircraft with the government—provided they’re not using it for business purposes.

According to the FAA, registrants will need to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. When they’ve registered, they’ll receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAV owner—an ID which must be marked on the aircraft.

The registration is valid for three years.

The FAA will charge drone owners $5 to register but will waive the fee during the first 30 days of registration (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016) to encourage people to sign up. Online drone registration is available here.

If you own a UAV for business purposes, sit tight. The FAA says the online registration system is only for hobbyists. A registration system targeting the business use of drones is expected to go live in the Spring of 2016.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement announcing the new rules. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely.”

Read More:

New Service Is the “Uber for Drones”

Will New DJI Tech Make Drones Unsuitable for Journalism?

Here’s the First Footage from GoPro’s Drone

The Best Drone Movies of the Year

 

December 3rd, 2015

Time Inc Responds to PDN Article on Resistance to Time Inc’s Contract

After we published our story “Photographers, Reps, Push Back on Time Inc Contract’s Rights Grab,”
Jill Davison, vice president, corporate communications at Time Inc., contacted PDN. She sent a statement on Time Inc’s behalf.

Here’s the statement:

“We have standardized our photography rights and rates across our brands. Our new contract is fair and equitable. Many photographers have already signed the new agreement.”

 

December 3rd, 2015

Photographers, Reps Push Back on Time Inc Contract’s Rights Grab (Update)

TimeInc.com and its "over 90 iconic brands."

TimeInc.com and its “over 90 iconic brands.”

Photo agents, trade groups and individual photographers are raising alarms over the new photography contract issued last month by Time Inc., as they push the publisher to negotiate better terms.

The new contract, as written, eliminates space rates, grants Time Inc. broad rights to reuse assignment photos in affiliate brands and books, and reduces fees for reuse in related publications, books and foreign editions.

“Our position to the photographers we represent and syndicate is: Do not sign it,” says Geoff Katz, CEO of Creative Photographers Inc. (CPi), an agency that syndicates over 50 celebrity photographers and represents five photographers. “We’ve advised them that we’re in discussion and hope to strike a balance with Time that is fairer to photographers.”

“I would not recommend to any photographer we work with to sign the Time contract as it is written,” says Bill Hannigan, co-founder of the agencies AUGUST, VAUGHAN HANNIGAN and OTTO. Those agencies represent roughly 90 photographers.

Another syndication agency told PDN it had informed its roughly 50 photographers that it has sent Time Inc. comments about the contract’s terms and conditions, signaling to the photographers to put off signing the contract.

Syndication agencies, which license images shot on assignment, are pushing for revisions because the contract, in its current form, would undercut their business. Specifically, the contract would authorize Time Inc. to license assignment images “to and by third parties, each and all throughout the world, in perpetuity, in any and all media.” According to Katz, that clause would cut into photographers’ revenue from stock and syndication licensing “because it reduces the ability to offer other clients exclusivity.” In addition, photographers would no longer have the right to license any image that appears on a Time Inc. magazine cover. Katz says agents hope to negotiate with Time Inc.: “That’s the ultimate goal, to find a solution.” So far, Time has not responded.

Individual photographers have additional objections. Under the new contract, photographers would receive a day rate “up to $650” or “up to $1000” for covers, but no space rate. In other words, photographers would be paid a flat rate without regard to how many images the assigning publication uses.

“While the ‘up to $650’ day rate proposed may be sufficient for a routine assignment that is used only once and sparingly in a smaller publication, it is not enough for a more significant story used extensively [ie, with many images] in a larger publication,” says photographer Brooks Kraft, a long-time contributor to TIME. “If TIME Magazine publishes double page spreads from an important story, the photographer should make more then $650.”

Letter from NPPA, ASMP to Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.

Letter from NPPA, ASMP to Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.

The contract also contains a work-for-hire agreement that would grant Time Inc. the copyright to all video shot on assignment and to works produced in Time studios. Photographer Brendan Hoffman, a member of the Prime Collective, says he and other members are discussing how to respond to the contract demands. “In particular, we’re concerned about the lack of reuse fees, limits on space rates, and the rights grab on cover photos and video projects. The modest bump in the day rate does not compensate for the other losses.”

The new contract terms take effect January 1, 2016. In a letter dated November 2, Norm Pearlstine, executive vice president and chief content officer of Time Inc., told photographers, “The new policy means that all Time Inc brands will seek specified rights from photographers to re-use, at pre-agreed rates, photography that has been commissioned by any Time Inc brand in the US, with any additional permissions cleared by Time Inc.” The contract covers Time Inc.’s 90 magazines and brands including TIME, PEOPLE, InStyle, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Real Simple and Food & Wine, and affiliated titles like TIME for Kids and TIME-branded books.

Photographer John Harrington analyzed the contract’s terms point by point in a blog post titled “Time’s Failed Attempt at Fairness and Equity.” About the new day rate, he noted that if the editorial day rate paid in 1980 had been adjusted to keep pace with inflation, it would now be over $1000.

On November 24, Mickey Osterreicher of National Press Photographers Association and Thomas Kennedy of American Society of Media Photographers sent an open letter to Pearlstine objecting to “draconian terms and conditions you impose on contractors.” On behalf of their organizations as well as American Photographic Artists, Professional Photographers of America and Digital Media Licensing Association, Osterreicher and Kennedy asked Pearlstine to “enter into meaningful discussion with the photographic community to revise and create a fair agreement.”

Update: After we published an earlier version of this story, we were contacted by Time Inc’s vice president, corporate communications, who sent us a statement. We have published it. See “Time Inc Responds to PDN Article on Resistance to Time Inc’s Contract.”

Photographers who have not returned a signed contract have continued to receive automated emails with the contract; one photographer has received it twice, another five times. But so far, many are ignoring it, or waiting to see if Time is wiling to negotiate fairer terms. “I believe that any photographer who would consider accepting these terms must have little understanding of this industry and will surely regret it later on in their career,” says photographer Henry Leutwyler. “Hopefully, photographers will stick together and not only think for themselves but for each other and most importantly for the budding photographers of tomorrow. If the contract does indeed go through, it might be a good time to consider ditching the party and going fishing.”

Related Articles
Time Inc. UK Issues Rights-Grabbing Contracts (2014)

PhotoPlus 2015: The State of Editorial Photography

7 Tips for Getting Clients To Pay What You’re Worth

December 2nd, 2015

Police Intimidation Watch: Chicago to Pay $100,000 to Photographer Beaten by Cops

A photographer who says he was beaten by Chicago police officers after photographing those same officers beating another man will receive a $100,000 settlement from the city, WBEZ has reported.

The Chicago-based public radio station says Chicago freelance photographer Joshua Lott was covering the May 2012 NATO summit meeting for Getty Images when he came across two police officers beating a young man with batons on a Chicago street. The man was identified in court papers as a protester.

“The officers that were beating him just weren’t happy that I was taking pictures and told me I needed to leave,” Lott told WBEZ.

Lott says he showed the officers his press credentials, and continued to take pictures as the officers kept beating the protester. The officers then approached Lott a second time, threw him to the ground, and began beating him with batons and stomping on him “the same way they were beating the kid I was photographing,” he told WBEZ.

According to court papers, police also destroyed Lott’s cameras by throwing them on the ground, and one officer took Lott’s prescription eyeglasses and stomped on them.

The police then charged Lott with reckless conduct–a misdemeanor charge that was dismissed six weeks later when the officers failed to appear in court, according to the WBEZ report.

In May 2013, Lott filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago against the city and several officers, including those who beat him and participated in his arrest. Lott claimed use of excessive force, unlawful detention, unreasonable search and seizure, and retaliation, in violation of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. He also claimed assault and battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, which are violations under Illinois state law.

He was seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the rights violations, as well as for bodily injury and medical expenses.

Lott reached a settlement agreement with the city in mid-November. The city and one of the defendants, Commander Glenn Evans, denied any wrongdoing or liability in the settlement agreement, according to WBEZ.

Evans has been the subject of several other excessive force claims, for which the city has so far paid a total of $324,999 to settle, WBEZ reports. The radio station also says Evans is scheduled for trial next week on criminal charged “for putting the barrel of his gun in a suspects mouth and a Taser in his groin while threading his life during a 2014 incident.”

The Chicago police have had a history of excessive force and police misconduct, and yesterday, the mayor of Chicago fired Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in the wake of public outrage over the death of a black teen who was shot 16 times by a white officer. The officer has been charged with first-degree murder.

Related:
Police Intimidation Watch: Photographer Wins $1.1 Million for Malicious Prosecution
Police Intimidation Watch: University of California to Pay $162,500 for Wrongful Arrest
Police Intimidation Watch: Boston to Pay $170K for Wrongful Arrest of Videographer
Baltimore to Pay $250K for Videos Deleted by Police
PDN Video: A Photographer’s Guide to the First Amendment

November 19th, 2015

You’re Being Ripped Off: PPA Survey Finds Widespread Copyright Infringement

Mike Seyfang | Flickr

Mike Seyfang | Flickr

Results from a recent Professional Photographers of America (PPA) survey likely won’t surprise many photographers.

In short, two thirds (67 percent) of the 2,000 photographers questioned by PPA reported having their images used without their permission. Of those who had their images ripped off, more than half had multiple instances of unauthorized image use.

“These victims of infringement are mom and pop businesses,” said PPA CEO David Trust in a statement announcing the findings. “The income they lose from just one infringement can determine whether or not a hard-working photographer gets to take her first family vacation in five years, sign her child up for little league or piano lessons, or pay the mortgage. These may not be huge amounts of money to some, but they make a big difference to a small business owner.”

According to PPA, over 96 percent of pro photographers surveyed don’t regularly register their copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office despite nearly unanimous (99 percent) agreement with the statement that copyright protection is an important aspect of their careers.

For photographers looking for tips on how to prevent authorized use of images, the PPA suggested the following:

  • Have a conversation with clients to educate them on photographic copyright and what they can and cannot do with your photos.
  • Mark all work with a copyright notice (i.e. ©YEAR. Studio Name) where it will be displayed publicly, especially online.
  • Register all work with the U.S. Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov).
  • Stay up-to-date on copyright law and potential changes.
  • For more information on how to protect images, download PPA’s free Copyright Kit.

More on Copyright Protection:

New Plugin Brings Copyright Registration to Lightroom

How and Why to Make Copyright Registration Part of Your Workflow

5 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Sue a Copycat