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May 9th, 2013

UK Paves the Way for Orphan Works Law. Will the Sky Fall?

Photographers have not only been “Royally Robbed,” but the British government has violated their human rights, according to a UK group called stop43.org.uk. Photo trade groups in the US, including NPPA, ASMP, PPA, APA and PACA have predicted “a firestorm of international litigation.”

The cause of all the fuss? Changes in UK law that pave the way for regulations under which publishers and others can use orphan works–ie, photographs and other works for which the copyright owner cannot be identified or located–without violating copyright. The changes to the law also enable the British government to establish a central registry and licensing agency for visual works, analagous to the musical licensing agencies ASCAP and BMI.

The changes are part of the so-called Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, which provides a framework but few details of how the UK’s orphan works law and copyright registry might work.  The British government is expected to issue detailed regulations this fall. Meanwhile, the government says its intent is to make the licensing of intellectual property more efficient in the digital age, and that it will protect the interests of copyright holders at the same time.

Absent the details about how the law will work, however, photographers and other copyright holders are left to speculate on the actual consequences of the new laws. Reactions among photographers (and their trade groups) range from wariness to outrage.

“I’m not terribly worried at all” about the orphan works provision of the new law, says David Hoffman of Editorial Photographers UK. “It’s annoying there’s so much confusion, hysteria and anger about that.

“I’m much more concerned about [the collective licensing provision]. It takes control away” from photographers over who may license their images, for what purposes, and for how much. “But what control do I have anyway?” Hoffman adds, explaining that thousands of his images are used illegally. He estimates he loses tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of licensing fees each year as a result.

Paul Ellis of stop43.org also dismisses the orphan works part of the legislation as a “red herring.” Users of orphan works are likely to have to show that they searched diligently for the copyright owner of the work, and the government will still collect a fee for the use in case the rights holder ever steps forward. Ellis predicts almost nobody will bother licensing orphaned photographs.

“The system will be costly to use,” once licensing, search and administrative costs are added up, he says. “And if the costs of acquiring orphan works licenses are higher than a normal license fee, you’ve built an incentive to infringe.” (Courts in the UK award little more than a normal license fee for infringement, if an image owner bothers to sue and win, he notes.)

Ellis is far more enraged about the proposed registry, called an extended rights collective. The idea behind that is that the government would set prices for lots of small commercial and editorial uses of images, collect fees for those uses, and disburse the payments to copyright holders, provided they register. Ellis points out that anyone who doesn’t register won’t get paid. And although copyright holders may be able to opt out of the system, it might be a difficult to do that.

“The effect of this will be to drive down prices, and drive value out of creators’ pockets,” Ellis predicts. But there’s a bigger principle at stake, he says. “It utterly breaches the conception that the owners of property have the exclusive right to exploit that property. If you punch a hole in that principle, you’re on very shaky ground.

“Extended collective licensing is an arbitrary deprivation of property. The government is confiscating property,” Ellis says, asserting that it amounts to a human rights violation under international law, which he says guarantees “the right to peaceable enjoyment of your property.”

The major photo trade associations in the US, along with the Graphic Artists Guild, sent a letter last fall to UK officials objecting to the new laws on the grounds that images by US copyright holders would be swept up in the UK licensing system–and used in violation of international treaties as a result.

ASMP executive director Eugene Mopsik, who was one of the letter’s signatories, says of the UK’s new orphan works law: “It’s not the end of the world, but there are significant concerns,” although he adds that it is difficult to predict the effects of rules that haven’t been written yet. He agrees that the issues of orphan works and widespread theft of images online are issues that governments have to address. But he says, “The devil is in the details.”

Mopsik says metadata is easily stripped from digital image files, so under orphan works laws, photographers can easily lose control of their intellectual property through no fault of their own. Their work can be used in ways they find objectionable, and unauthorized uses can undercut their markets–and their income, he says.

But he says ASMP is not opposed to orphan works laws provided that photographers are given certain protections, including the exclusion of any commercial uses under orphan works legislation, requirements that users search diligently enough for copyright holders, and requirements that users post notice of their intent to use an image–so photographers have a chance to learn if their images are about to be classified as orphan works.

How good or bad it the orphan works law ends up being for photographers, Mopsik says, depends upon how lawmakers define terms like commercial use and diligent search.

Jeff Sedlik, co-founder, president and CEO of the PLUS Coalition, is also opposed to collective licensing systems that are opt-out (like the UK system seems to be) rather than opt-in. But he believes it is incumbent upon copyright holders to register their works, in order to prevent those works from becoming orphans because the metadata is inevitably stripped away. But the registry must be centralized–or consist of registries in different countries that are all connected together and searchable at once–in order to effectively protect copyright, he says.

April 30th, 2013

Paul Salveson Wins 2013 First Book Award

© Paul Salveson, courtesy MACK / www.mackbooks.co.uk

© Paul Salveson, courtesy MACK / www.mackbooks.co.uk

American photographer Paul Salveson has won the 2013 First Book Award for his project “Between the Shell,” a series of color images made through creative observation and arrangement of objects close at hand. The award, announced last week, is co-administered by MACK books and Britain’s National Media Museum. They will publish Salveson’s book later this year.

The judges for the award were Michael Mack (MACK), Polly Fleury (Wilson Centre for Photography London), Liz Jobey (FT Weekend Magazine), Greg Hobson (National Media Museum) and photographer Clare Strand.

Salveson’s work was selected from more than 100 submissions.

The First Book Award, now in its second year, is open to photographers who have not previously released a book project with a publisher. However self-published and print-on-demand projects do not disqualify a photographer.

In order to be considered for the award, photographers must be nominated by one of an international group of nominators. The names of this year’s nominators were not released.

April 12th, 2013

Recap of the PDN’s 30: Strategies for Young Working Photogs Panel at SVA

During this week’s PDN’s 30 panel discussion at the School of Visual Arts Theatre, perseverance, personality and community emerged as common themes in the early careers of 2013 PDN’s 30 photographers Geordie Wood, Lisa Elmaleh and Bon Duke.

PDN editor Holly Stuart Hughes moderated the panel, which also included Readers Digest photo director Rebecca Simpson Steele and Sony Artisan of Imagery Brian Smith.

Wood, an editorial photographer who is also the photo editor at the Fader, said that he chose to assist rather than working an unrelated day job while he was starting out as a way to stay in the photo community. He also emphasized the importance to his career of a group of fellow photographers who share information, introduce one another to clients and exchange ideas in person and online. “Photography,” he said, “is much more fun as a team sport.”

When the bottom dropped out of the economy right after she graduated from SVA and she found herself out of work, Elmaleh, a fine-art photographer and teacher who works with alternative processes, asked friends in the photo community for leads and found work teaching carbon printing at the Center for Alternative Photography. She also assisted photographers Joni Sternbach and Mitch Epstein, before beginning to teach classes at SVA. “We really have to cobble it together,” Elmaleh said of making a living as a fine-art photographer.

Internships with magazines and production companies, and connections to fellow SVA student working in design or cinematography helped Duke, who does editorial and commercial fashion work and films, learn about different aspects of the creative business and make connections. Talking with design students, for instance, helped him understand how his images would work with text in layouts for ads or editorial pages. He also pointed out that students studying other creative disciplines go on to become art directors.

Duke also emphasized that learning how to communicate with creatives in a collaborative way so he could stick up for what he wanted creatively was an important step. Duke says that, on set, he is nice to everyone and “treats everyone as equals.”

Elmaleh’s work has been supported by several grants, and she underlined the importance of perseverance in applying for funding. She said she’s never gotten a grant the first time she applied for it, and suggested several resources for grant-seekers (see the list at the bottom of this post).

On the subject of perseverance, Smith, a veteran celebrity portraitist who began his career shooting news and sports, argued that careers are built not through one big break, but a series of smaller breaks.

And Wood pointed out that working hard to shoot new images, and to promote that work to editors and online audiences, have been important elements of his early career.

Offering a client perspective, Rebecca Simpson Steele spoke about sometimes following the work of photographers for long periods of time before finding a job for which they are a good match. “I pay attention to photographers when they don’t know I’m watching,” Simpson Steele said.

Grant resources: Creative Capital, Foundation Center, Brooklyn Arts Council, New York Foundation For the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Note: The next PDN’s 30 panel takes place the evening of April 25 at Santa Monica College, Humanities & Social Sciences Building, 1900 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA. The panel will include Brian Smith, Jessica Sample, Michael Friberg and Ian Allen.

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.

February 19th, 2013

Olympus Unveils Slim, High-End 12MP Stylus XZ-10 Compact Camera

Olympus-XZ-10_BLK_FRONTOlympus updated its X-Series of compact cameras this morning with the portable and lightweight Olympus STYLUS XZ-10, which incorporates many of the same high-end features of the flagship STYLUS XZ-2 compact in a slimmer body. The new luxury compact camera boasts a bright f/1.8 to 2.7 zoom lens, pro-style manual settings, ISO 6400 capability, a 12-megapixel back-lit CMOS sensor and Olympus’ TruePic VI image processor.

The Olympus XZ-10 comes in black, brown, or white and will sell for $399.99, starting in late March 2013.

More details in the press release below.

PRESS RELEASE

The Olympus STYLUS XZ-10 iHS Proves Less Is More with Lightweight High Performance

New Ultra-Portable, Ultra-Bright High-End Compact Puts Power in Your Pocket at an Affordable Price

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., February 19, 2013 – Olympus refines its X-Series with the extremely compact and lightweight Olympus STYLUS XZ-10, which incorporates many of the same high-performance features of the flagship STYLUS XZ-2 in a stealthier body. The new high-end compact is an ideal combination of optical brilliance and usability in a pocket-sized design that blends a super-bright f1.8 to 2.7 zoom lens, pro-style manual settings, ISO 6400, 12-Megapixel backlit CMOS sensor and powerful TruePic VI image processor.

Its flexible 26-130mm* wide-angle iZuiko Digital 5x optical zoom lens with excellent brightness, even at its maximum zoom, fits into a body that is about 40 percent smaller by volume** than its predecessor. Olympus’s advanced iHS image processing technology, and a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor combine with the large-aperture lens to deliver high-sensitivity, low noise and blazing auto-focus performance that translates to excellent image quality from a compact camera. Even at high ISO settings, iHS technologies deliver low noise and radiant colors with crisp details and rich gradation in both dark and light parts of the frame.

XZ-10 upgrades include 120fps high-speed HD movie recording and Photo Story, which shoots a group of still photos straight into attractive, pre-prepared layouts that are ready for sharing via FlashAir without the need for more work on a computer. Modes like the popular Handheld Starlight Mode with Flash make blur-free shooting without a tripod possible even in difficult lighting, and HDR Backlight Adjustment for ideal exposure when shooting against the light.

Just like the STYLUS flagship XZ-2, the XZ-10 has a customizable control ring around the lens so users can adjust key settings such as aperture and exposure time manually without having to take their eye off the subject. Alternatively, users can assign ISO or metering to the Fn button on the back of the camera to ensure quick, easy handling on the go.

Olympus-XZ-10_BLK_BACKBasic operations and settings of the Olympus STYLUS XZ-10, starting with touch controls and Live Guide, as well as a graphic user interface, will be familiar to Olympus PEN and OM-D shooters. Instantly activate the Touch AF Shutter function to select the subject you want to focus on and activate the shutter simply by touching (no swivel), 920,000 dot LCD screen. With a tap of the finger, it can focus on fast-moving subjects and trigger the shot.

In addition to superior still image quality, the 1080p Full HD Movie capability with stereo sound captures movies in the best quality currently available in compact cameras. Multi-Motion Movie IS image stabilization corrects for the common gradual camera shake that occurs when shooting on the move, delivering more stable, higher-quality movies. Beautiful movies can be shot even longer with a 1920 x 1080 High-Definition size and MOV/H.264 movie compression that has an excellent compatibility with computers.

Users can easily share their images on a big-screen HDTV in high definition using an optional HDMI cable or on their social networks using the Olympus Image Share smartphone application (via optional Toshiba FlashAir SDHC card or optional Eye-Fi Card).

*35mm equivalent.
**Based on external dimensions.

U.S. Pricing and Availability
The Olympus STYLUS XZ-10 will be available in late March 2013, and ships with a USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack, Li-Ion Battery Charger, Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS ib software CD-ROM, Manuals and Registration card.

Estimated Street Price: $399.99 (Available in black)

For a complete list of specifications, visit the Olympus website: http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/digitalcameras/xz-10.html

February 5th, 2013

Liz Hingley Wins $15,000 PhotoPhilanthropy Prize

©Liz Hingley

©Liz Hingley

Photographer Liz Hingley has won the 2012 PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Award in the professional category, organizers of the competition announced last week. She will receive $15,000 for a story she shot for Save The Children about a UK family living in their first house after residing for three generations in caravans.

“This series of photographs was taken during two years of close collaboration” with the family of two parents and seven children, Hingley explained on her entry form. “I formed a trusting relationship….in order to develop a more subtle visual language, which provides new ways of representing the stories of both struggle and resilience.” The photographer noted that it was the first time Save the Children “was able to use real peoples’ stories to communicate the meaning and experience of genuine deprivation in a wealthy country.”

The PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Awards is an annual competition to recognize bodies of work by photographers who collaborate with non-profit organizations to affect social change. Runners up in the professional category this year were Gwenn  Dubourthoumieuon, who shot a story about copper mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo for The Carter Center; and Sara Anjargolian, who shot a story about poverty in Armenia on behalf  of Tufenkian Foundations.

Other 2012 Activist Award winners included Kai Löffelbein, who won in the student category for work he shot for Society for Community Organization; and Natasha Kharlamova in the amateur category for work she completed for Our Sunny World. Löffelbein and Kharlamova will receive $2,000 each.

The judges for the competition included documentary photographers Phil Borges and John Isaac; Denise Wolff, photo book editor for Aperture; Alexa Dilworth, publishing director and senior editor at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; and Margaret Aguirre, global communications director for International Medical Corps.

See more information about the 2012 contest and winners. See a slideshow of Hingley’s entry here.

October 23rd, 2012

FotoDC Presents the 5th Anniversary FotoWeekDC Festival – November 9-18, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

What began in 2008 as a week-long local photography festival has grown into a year-long, international commitment to the medium. While the venues, categories, and events offerings have evolved with each year, dedication to the FotoDC/FotoWeekDC missionremains constant: to provide exposure for photographers and make diverse, high-quality photography accessible through exhibitions and collaborations.

Now in its fifth year, the 2012 FotoWeek DC Festival features a new platform of events, exhibits, partnerships, and learning opportunities all over the city. FotoWeek Central, homebase for all things FotoWeek DC, comprises 40,000 square-feet of exhibit space in our nation’s capital and will host the Benefit Launch Party, the FotoWeek Central Lecture Series, the FotoBooks exhibit, and more than ten full-scale exhibits by the 2012 International Awards Competition finalists, Uncover/Discover 2012 winners, Photo Philanthropy, Flak Photo, and Reporters Without Borders/Magnum Photo Agency, just to name a few. Festival passes cost just $5 and offer unlimited entry to FotoWeek Central (tickets at the door will cost $7).

The Goethe-Institut will be the home to the Portfolio Reviews, a festival mainstay, FotoWeek EDU, a new series of seminars, and the winners of the FotoBook competition.  Portfolio reviews offer the opportunity for photographers of all levels to receive critical feedback and insight on their best work from experienced professionals during a 25-minute session. Registration costs $75/session and is now open – take a look at the reviewer bios and select the best match for your own style and photographic goals.FotoWeek EDU Seminars bring industry experts and photography leaders to share their knowledge, techniques, and unique approaches in the areas of photojournalism, storytelling, presentation, self-publishing, marketing, and more. Tickets for each session cost $165 and include access to evening meet-and-greet cocktail receptions that follow each seminar. Then, it’s a wrap! Review and unwind at the Closing Party on Saturday, November 17, held at the former Spanish Ambassador’s Residence, and toast the close of another successful festival.

Want to come to FotoWeekDC from out of town? No problem! FotoDC’s new partnership with Destination DC, the official tourism corporation for Washington, DC, includes hotel packages starting at $94.99 per night for the duration of FotoWeekDC (November 9-18, 2012). The ten participating hotels gift each room occupant with an extra incentive to explore the city: a $10 Metro SmarTrip card. Participating hotels include: Comfort Inn and Suites near Union Station, Helix, a Kimpton Hotel, The Dupont Circle Hotel, and The St. Regis Washington, D.C., and more. Please visit FotoWeekDC.org for more information.

Stay tuned for more information on FotoWeek By Night and even more events and programs as they are finalized and added to the new-and-improved festival calendar.

 (Sponsored Post)

October 3rd, 2012

Brazilian Artist and Two New Yorkers Transform New York City

(Sponsored Post)

Bel Borba Aqui New York (BBANY) is a multi-facetted visual art project by Bel Borba, Burt Sun and André Costantini. It was conceived after André and Burt completed a feature length documentary entitled “Bel Borba Aqui”, on Brazilian artist Bel Borba (which opens at the Film Forum in NYC on October 3rd.) BBANY overlaps the theatrical release of the film in addition to creating live street art and a new short film posted every day for 30 days. Where “Bel Borba Aqui”, the feature film, was filmed entirely in his hometown, Salvador, Bahia, BBANY seeks to bring Bel’s transformative artistic interventions to New York City.

It seems that sometimes the lines between art and life become blurred. What started as a journey documenting art became the art itself. So it was appropriate that the 30 days of street art is presented with support of the Crossing the Line Art Festival part of the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF).

Bel Borba Aqui New York can be broken down into the following components. ”Diario Baiano” (The Diary of a man from Bahia region of Brazil) is a challenge to create art for 30 days on the streets of the 5 boroughs of NYC from September 14th to October 13th. While Bel creates installations and ephemeral art using mostly recycled materials, Burt and André document his actions using D-SLR’s taking advantage of both still and video capabilities. Because the art is temporary, the short films ultimately become the tangible art piece. Every day after shooting, André edits the film which is uploaded and viewable at http://diariobaiano.wordpress.com/ Then on Sunday October 14 many of the sculptural artworks created from recycled water barriers will be installed in Times Square by Father Duffy Square for a public showing for a 24 hour period.

Also in Times Square, for the entire month of October, as part of the “Times Square Moment: A Digital Gallery” will be the first film ever created specifically for the Times Square Art Alliance by Bel, Burt and André and is entitled “Universal Pulse.” The collaboration depicts visual transformations on the NYC landscape evoking at once a sense of present and nostalgia. It will simultaneously occupy 16 Jumbotron screens around the square and can be viewed once a day from 11:57pm to midnight.

August 27th, 2012

Studio Lighting Made in Germany – For Almost 65 Years Multiblitz® Creates Studio Lighting Equipment for Professional Photography.

Sponsored Post

Multiblitz®, the German manufacturer with the longest tradition in developing studio lighting for professional photographers around the world, brings German-engineered state-of-the-art lighting equipment to the US.

Named after Harold G. Edgerton’s famous multi-flash exposures in 1949, Multiblitz pioneered the development of the first electronic flash unit in continental Europe in the late 1940s. At Photokina 1976, Multiblitz forever changed the photography world, by introducing the industry’s first compact monolight, the Ministudio 202. It was the first compact studio flash that could be easily stored in a case, including tripods and umbrellas – the first studio lighting kit was born. Since then, Multiblitz was accountable for many innovative products that were well ahead of their time, culminating in the TIPA Award winning flash system Profilux Plus in 2010.

The Multiblitz Profilux monolights are designed for the ambitious amateur/emerging professional. Available in 250 & 500 Ws versions, both models feature 5 f-stops – adjustable in 1/10th increments. The battery operable Profilux Plus monolight targets the professional photographer with more energy output and shorter flash durations. It is available in 200, 400, and 800 Ws versions with 7 and 8 f-stops respectively (800 Ws model), also adjustable in 1/10th increments. The multi-voltage Profilux Plus units can be powered with Multiblitz Propac battery packs, delivering up to 3200 on-location flashes at maximum output. All flash units are fan-cooled, automatically dissipate flash energy, and covered under a 3-year manufacturer warranty.

Propac Battery Pack w/Trolley

Multiblitz manufactures at the company’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany. Here, a 55,000 sq ft facility houses the entire production cycle. From conceiving an idea, designing and engineering the product, to finally manufacturing studio lighting equipment. With over 60 years of experience in developing premium studio lighting, Multiblitz is the most experienced manufacturer for photographic lighting equipment.

“Our products are an alternative to over-priced brands or cheap imports from Asia.” said Veit Wulms, president of Multiblitz USA. “We give amateurs and professionals the opportunity to experience German-made, premium quality studio lighting at a reasonable price. Here in America, Multiblitz products are sold directly at our online store. With this strategy we can guarantee competitive prices and excellent customer service.”

Starting in August 2012, Demo Events will familiarize photographers with Multiblitz equipment. Photographers will have the chance to get hands-on experience with Multiblitz studio lighting equipment in a real-life situation.

For more information about Multiblitz Studio Lighting, products and demo events, contact Multiblitz USA, P.O. Box 36118, 
Baltimore, MD 21286-6118, info@multiblitzusa.com, http://www.multiblitzusa.com.

July 17th, 2012

Nielsen Photo Group Issues Statement on PIX Digital Magazine

On July 10 The Nielsen Photo Group, parent company of Photo District News, Rangefinder, and other publications and photography events, introduced a new, free digital magazine called PIX. A statement from The Nielsen Photo Group regarding the launch of PIX was sent out in PDNewswire, PDN‘s weekly newsletter, on July 12. Click here to read the full statement: http://tinyurl.com/pixmagazine