September 9th, 2013

APA Names Juliette Wolf-Robin to Be Executive Director

American Photographic Artists (APA), the not-for-profit trade association and advocacy group, has selected Juliette Wolf-Robin to be its new executive director. She will report to the APA board and work with directors of local APA chapters.

Wolf-Robin was previously business development and marketing director for The Brand Union NY. She has worked at FoundFolios, Creativity’s Spare* and Alternative Pick and has been a frequent speaker at PhotoPlus Expo and APA events. In announcing the selection, APA president Theresa Raffetto said, “Juliette understands the ever-changing playing field the photo world has become and the importance for photographers to not only understand their value but to evolve and stay relevant.” Raffetto also said, “Throughout her career she has put an emphasis on education and knowledge for both the photographer and the user and we are excited to see where we can take APA with Juliette by our side.”

“Her industry experience combined with the fact that she’s married to a photographer [David Robin] has given her a unique understanding of the business end of our industry as well as an emotional investment in its success. She’ll be a potent advocate for not only APA but for all professional photographers,” notes APA Executive Vice President Ric Kasnoff.

April 15th, 2013

APA, NPPA Join Copyright Suit Against Google

American Photographic Artists (APA) and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) announced today that they are joining an ongoing class action lawsuit against Google, alleging that the Google Books Search program is a violation of the copyrights of photographers and other visual artists.

Under the Google Books Search program, Google has been working with several libraries to scan books and periodicals and make the content available through search engine results. But a group of plaintiffs–including photographers and photo trade associations–filed a class action lawsuit in 2010 to stop Google from copying, scanning or displaying copyrighted photos and other visuals in printed publications without permission.

“I feel it is the NPPA’s responsibility to protect that principle of ownership, and not allow companies like Google to infringe upon our rights uncontested,” NPPA president Mike Borland said in a statement issued today by NPPA.

The lawsuit was spearheaded by American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Other lead plaintiffs include the Graphic Artists Guild, Picture Archive Council of America (PACA), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), and a number of individual photographers.

ASMP said when it filed the lawsuit that the goal is to make sure photographers are “fairly and reasonably compensated” when their works are distributed through Google search results.

In joining the lawsuit, APA national president Theresa Raffetto said in a prepared statement: “Holding Google Books responsible for their flagrant copyright infringement is something APA has been working on and we’re pleased to continue this fight in conjunction with the other plaintiffs.”

July 5th, 2012

Getty IPO On Hold as $4 Billion Private Equity Sale Looms

Earlier this year Getty Images, the largest stock photo agency, retained Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to evaluate the possibility of a sale or an initial public offering (IPO). According to reports published yesterday by The Wall Street Journal and Reuters, Hellman & Friedman, the private equity firm that owns Getty, is preparing for the second round of a bidding process that would see the stock agency sold to another private equity firm for between $3.5 and $4 billion. (Hellman & Friedman also owns PDN parent company Nielsen.)

Unnamed sources for the Wall Street Journal said the IPO was on hold while private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. and TPG, among others, evaluated their interest in purchasing Getty. Earlier this year KKR invested $150 million in European microstock agency Fotolia.

Hellman & Friedman was rumored to have paid $2.4 billion for a majority stake in Getty Images in 2008, which was publicly traded at the time.

According to the Reuters report, Getty “has seen little growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) since Hellman bought it but has enjoyed increasing demand for its online imagery products and services.”

Since Getty became private, the agency has made several moves that may have been geared to making the company look more attractive to potential buyers in the lead up to a sale or IPO. The cost-cutting measures have affected its contributing photographers, and the agency has also gone through rounds of layoffs. For instance in November of last year, Getty introduced tough new contracts, cutting back royalties it pays to photographers, telling contributors that rights-managed images that have not sold well will be moved to royalty-free collections while the royalty-free images would be sold as part of subscription packages. The move drew the ire of photographers’ trade associations ASMP and APA, as well as a lengthy string of comments on our blog.

April 27th, 2012

The Copyright Office Proposes to Raise Registration Fees; Care to Comment?

The Copyright Office is proposing to raise fees to register new works, and is currently seeking public comments on the proposed hike. The fee to file copyright registrations electronically would go up from $35 to $65. The fee to submit a paper registration would rise from $64 to $100. (These fees cover the cost of bulk registration of unpublished images.)

The Copyright Office is accepting comments from the public through May 14.  Concerned that the increased fees will discourage photographers from protecting their copyrighted works, the Advertising Photographers of America (APA) is encouraging photographers and other artists to voice their opinions now.

The Copyright Office’s proposed new fees and rules are spelled out in the Federal Register, which can be downloaded here in a PDF.

The Copyright Office claims it needs the fee increase to cover costs: “In fiscal year 2011, the Office recovered only 64 percent of its cost to process an online claim and only 58 percent of its cost to process paper applications.” And given that copyright registration service “benefits both copyright owners and the public,” the Office figures copyright holders will cough up the extra money.  Registering copyright before a work is infringed, for example, makes you eligible to collect statutory damages if you win an infringement claim in court. That’s useful clout when dealing with infringers.

The problem is, of course, that many creators fail to register copyrights until after they’ve seen their works copied, and want to take legal action. A higher fee isn’t going to encourage photographers to make registering and protecting their works part of their routine workflow, but how many photographers will it deter?

Comments on the proposed fee hike can be submitted using a form available here:
www.copyright.gov/docs/newfees/comments/

March 19th, 2012

John Midgley’s Altered Image: Reasonable Caution, or Outrageous Censorship?

©John Midgley

Have the morality police chilled artistic expression, or does this image by John Midgley–which appears on an APA promo for a talk by the fashion and celebrity photographer–violate the standards of public decency without the alteration?

Midgley is scheduled to give a talk called “Memory: Journey’s of Fiction and Fantasy” at the Apple Store at 7 p.m. today. The talk is part of the Image Maker Lecture Series sponsored by APA New York, and Midgley provided the image, undoctored, so APA could promote his talk via e-mail blasts.

According to Midgley, APA New York regional director Jocelyn Zucker told him the image wasn’t acceptable because of the boy’s nudity. “We might shock someone with a naked little boy’s penis, or do some other greater damage,” says Midgley, apologizing for his cynicism. He adds, “The puritanism drives me a little crazy sometimes.”

Zucker says, “As per our agreement with Apple, all lectures and the images presented must be ‘family friendly’ – no nudity or swearing, etc. This is not a concern on APA’s behalf; we would enjoy being able to present more controversial content, however, the Apple lectures are not the proper venue. John made the decision to use that image and censor it, rather than select a different image for the promo.”

Midgley ended up not only covering the boy’s penis, but defacing his own image.

“It wasn’t really meant to be a form of protest, it was ‘Well, if I censor the offending bits could that work?’” he explains. “So I did it quickly and in hindsight, badly. Next thing I know it’s up there [in an APA promotion.] And in a way I think subconsciously I was so pissed that it is a form of protest. It [the objection to nudity] is ridiculous and so is the censorship I imposed.”

Information about Midgley’s talk this evening is posted here (without the image) on APA’s web site.

October 4th, 2011

APA Launches $5,000 Grant For Established Photographers

American Photographic Artists (APA) is launching a scholarship of $5,000 to be awarded to “a deserving established professional photographer for a specific project.”  The grant will be administered by the Lucie Foundation.

“As a photographic educator I see the need for new ways to help photographers along their individual path,” says Tony Gale, APA National Board Member & APA New York Chapter Representative.

The selection committee will be made up of three jurors: Lucie Foundation founder Hossein Farmani, Lucie Foundation executive director Cat Jimenez, and one representative of APA, as yet unnamed. The scholarship is, according to APA, “open to all professional photographers.” There are no guidelines or restrictions on what the project’s topic, scope, genre or date of completion can be.

Starting November 1, interested photographers can apply for the grant by uploading a project proposal, a biography or CV, a selection of digital images, and additional information to the scholarship Web site, www.luciefoundation.org/education/scholarship-APA_2011_2012.php. The application fee is $25.

The deadline is April 30, 2012. The application can be found on the Lucie Foundation’s scholarship page.