December 23rd, 2014

Amazon Sells iPhone Accessories Infringing Copyrighted News Images of War, Death

Amazon page offering a smartphone case decorated with Daniel Berehulak's image from Liberia.

Amazon page offering a smartphone case decorated with Daniel Berehulak’s image from Liberia.

Dealers of cellphone and iPad cases emblazoned with copyrighted news images by Tomas Van Houtryve, Daniel Berehulak, Tyler Hicks and other photojournalists are using Amazon’s marketplace to sell their wares without permission from the photographers. All the images had been featured by TIME magazine on its “Picks of the Top 10 Photos of 2014.” In addition to the cases featuring news images—such as a photo of a child dying of Ebola and a child killed in an air attack on Gaza—the sellers listed on Amazon also sell cases featuring photos of nature, pets, cars, celebrity actors, major sports teams and other subjects.

A Tyler Hicks image from Gaza on a cellphone case sold by a vendor via Amazon.

A Tyler Hicks image from Gaza on a cellphone case sold by a vendor via Amazon.

One of the infringed photographers, Tomas Van Houtryve, had complained that Amazon removed some of the items infringing his photo, but not all. Van Houtryve tells PDN that after he discovered the unauthorized use of his black-and-white image on cases being sold through Amazon, he contacted the online retailer through the email it provides to report copyright infringement. An automated form asked for more information verifying that he holds the copyright to the image. He says, “I provided that along with a detailed list of links to all of the products infringing on my copyright. I also requested the contact information of the vendors/manufacturers providing the illegal cases,” he says. The following day, some of the products were removed, but many remained. He received another automated email from Amazon saying, “We trust this will bring the matter to a close.” He says, “As you can imagine, I’m not satisfied with this response.” On December 20, he took to Instagram and Facebook, posting images of the pages where the products decorated with his image were sold.

The Massimo Sestini image, cropped on a smartphone case.

The Massimo Sestini image, cropped on a smartphone case.

A search of Amazon for the names of other photographers featured on the TIME list turned up cellphone and iPad cases featuring Tyler Hicks’ image from Gaza of a boy carrying a dead child, Daniel Berehulak’s image of health workers in Liberia carrying a child suffering from Ebola (who later died), and part of Massimo Sestini’s photo of a crowded boat transporting migrants from Africa to Malta, and a tight crop on a portion of Whitney Curtis’s image of police pointing automatic weapons at a protester in Ferguson, Missouri.

Erik Fairleigh, PR spokesperson for Amazon, declined PDN’s request for comment, except to tell PDN “the item is no longer listed for sale,” referring to the product Van Houtryve had complained about. On December 23, however, products made with images by Berehulak, Hicks and Sestini remained on the site.

JP Pappis of Polaris Images, which represents Sestini, says that purusing the makers of the cases would be too costly, since they would be difficult to identify and locate and, if they are overseas, would be beyond the reach of U.S. federal courts. (All the cases “ship from China,” according to the delivery information listed on Amazon.) Sarah Lochting of Getty Images, which represents Daniel Berehulak said the agency is “pursuing the matter. We find it particularly egregious given the content of these images.”

The cases sell for between $12 and $15 through Amazon’s third-party vendor system, which allows any individual or company that fills out an online form to sell their products on Amazon. Amazon’s only requirement is that the seller pay a fee, agree to let Amazon take a cut of sales, and agree to the “Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement,” which includes a clause indemnifying Amazon against “any claim, loss, damage, settlement, cost, expense or other liability” arising from “any actual or alleged infringement of any Intellectual Property Rights.”

Recognize this photo? Let us know.

Recognize this photo? Let us know.

The sellers offering the photo-emblazoned cases use many names, including David Ray Floyd, Sonja B Williams, DODO7899, Janice Lee Curry, NicoleWilliamHarris. 

Take a look. And if you see your photo on one of the cases being sold, let us know.

Recognize the photo? Let us know.

Recognize the photo? Let us know.

April 22nd, 2014

Daniel Berehulak to Receive Getty Images & Chris Hondros Fund Award

© Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

© Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Photojournalist Daniel Berehulak has been chosen the winner of the Getty Images & Chris Hondros Fund Award, the Chris Hondros Fund announced today. Berehulak, a photojournalist based in New Delhi, India, will receive a $20,000 prize to support his documentary work. Preston Gannaway, a US photographer, has been named a finalist for the award, and will receive a $5,000 prize.

The awards will be given on May 7, at a benefit for the Chris Hondros Fund to be held at Aperture Gallery in New York. The Chris Hondros Fund is a non-profit photojournalism organization founded in memory of photojournalist Chris Hondros, who was killed in a mortar attack while covering the conflict in Libya in April 2011. The Fund “advances the work of photojournalists who espouse [Chris Hondros's] legacy and vision, and sponsors fellowships, grant making and education to raise understanding of the issues facing reporters in conflict zones.”

Berehulak, who is represented by Reportage by Getty Images, the same agency that represented Hondros, said in a statement, “I had the pleasure of knowing Chris as a colleague and looked up to him as one would an older brother.”

Earlier this year, Berehulak was named Freelance Photographer of the Year at the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition for a portfolio of work that included his story about malnutrition in Afghanistan, published in The New York Times.

Related articles
Tomas Munita, Bryan Denton to Receive Getty & Chris Hondros Fund Awards

Andrea Bruce Wins Getty Images & Chris Hondros Fund Award

Daniel Berehulak Named 2014 POYi Freelance Photographer of the Year

February 18th, 2014

Daniel Berehulak Named 2014 POYi Freelance Photographer of the Year

©Daniel Berehulak from his project "Maha Kumbh Mela"

©Daniel Berehulak from his project “Maha Kumbh Mela”

Daniel Berehulak has been named Photographer of the Year–Freelance at the 2014 Pictures of the Year International Competition. Berehulak, who is based in New Delhi, India, won the honor for a portfolio that includes stories about malnutrition and drug addiction in Afghanistan, the Hindu pilgrimage Maha Kumbh Mela, and celebrations by South Africans of Nelson Mandela just after his death last December.

The prize, which was decided yesterday and announced today, were part of the Reportage Division of the POYi competition. Yesterday, POYi announced on its web site that Annalisa Natali Murri won the Community Awareness Award her project “Len’s Daughters,” about women still struggling to survive after a massive earthquake in Armenia in 1988. Robin Hammond won the World Understanding Award for his project “Condemned,” about the neglect and abuse of the mentally ill in war-torn African countries.

PDN posted a story yesterday identifying other winners of Reportage Division categories.

Jurors for the Reportage Division included Danny Wilcox Frazier, Renée C. Byer, Richard Cahan, and Lara Solt.

Judging of POYi’s Editing Division entries began today. Multimedia Division judging begins on Saturday.

Related articles:

Robin Hammond Wins 2014 POYi World Understanding Award

Robin Hammond Wins $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Fund Grant (subscription required)

National Geographic Experiments with a New Form of Digital Storytelling
(Nick Nichols’ Serengeti Lions)

Barbara Davidson Names 2014 POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

Patrick Smith Named POYi’s 2014 Sports Photographer of the Year