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 24th, 2014

Tyler Hicks Wins Robert Capa Gold Medal Award

A Westgate mall visitor shelters children during an attack by Somali gunmen last September. ©Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

A Westgate mall visitor shelters children during an attack by Somali gunmen last September. ©Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Tyler Hicks of The New York Times has won the 2013 Robert Capa Gold Medal Award for his coverage of the attack last September on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, the Overseas Press Club (OPC) has announced.

Continue reading at PDNonline.com.

Related:
Josh Haner, Tyler Hicks Win 2014 Pulitzer Prizes for Photography

January 13th, 2014

Danny Lyon Criticizes Media; Says How He Would Edit National Geographic Magazine

Photojournalist Danny Lyon delivered a sharp critique of the media, explained the main goal of his career, and reminisced about his work on the civil rights movement, motorcycle gangs and Texas prisoners at a rare public appearance last week.

Lyon was the headliner at the 2014 National Geographic Photography Seminar, a day-long event held January 9 before a standing-room-only crowd at the National Geographic offices in Washington, DC.

“I took it for granted that all the magazines lied, and since I chose the media as my field I was determined to create an American media that was truthful,” Lyon said during his talk.

He also imagined himself as editor of National Geographic, and suggested story ideas that would probably rile the magazine’s audience (read on for details).

In addition to Lyon, photographers Tyler Hicks, Wayne Lawrence, David Maisel, Newsha Tavakolian, and Vince Musi lectured about their careers and past projects. Media artist Hasan Elahi also gave a talk about his surveillance project.

Following is an edited transcript of Lyon’s talk.

(more…)

March 18th, 2011

Libya Says It Will Release Times Journalists Today

Four New York Times journalists held since Tuesday by pro-Qaddafi forces in Libya will be released today, Libyan government officials have told the US State Department. The Libyan government says that the four journalists, who include photographers Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hicks, were arrested in Ajdabiya when the Libyan army swept into the rebel-controlled city.

The Times reported on Wednesday that Addario, Hicks, the Times Beirut bureau chief, Anthony Shadid, and reporter and videographer Stephen Farrell were missing, having last made contact with editors on Tuesday. The Times reports today that the four entered the rebel-controlled eastern region without visas via the Egypt-Libya border.

In an interview with CNN, Seif Islam el-Qaddafi, son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, said via a translator, “They entered the country illegally and when the army, when they liberated the city of Ajdabiya from the terrorists and they found her, they arrest her because you know, foreigners in this place.” He added, “But then they were happy because they found out she is American, not European. And thanks to that, she will be free tomorrow.”  Qaddafi was probably referring to photographer Addario, but according to the Times, Libyan officials informed the State Department on Thursday evening that all four would be released on Friday.

(Seif Islam el-Qaddafi has previously met Addario. In 2004, Addario photographed him and his father on assignment for Time magazine.)

When the Times reported the journalists were missing, Times editor Bill Keller said in a statement, “We have talked with officials of the Libyan government in Tripoli, and they tell us they are attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of our journalists.”

Related Story:
Lynsey Addario, Tyler Hicks Missing in Libya