Photo Attorney

Aug 29, 2007

Alert: More License Grabs!

License grabs are rampant! Please read the fine print before you submit your photos to others!

1. As a vendor, you agree to this:
By submitting and/or posting Content to the website, you automatically grant to a royalty-free, perpetual, unrestricted, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sub-licensable right and license to use, reproduce, display, modify, adapt, publish, edit, translate, distribute, transmit, perform, create derivative work of and display such Content alone, or as a part of other works in any form, media, or technology, whether now known or hereafter developed. Any Content you transmit or post may be used by or licensed to others by for any purpose, including but not limited to reproduction, disclosure, transmission, publication, broadcast and posting. You also agree that is free to use any ideas, concepts, know-how or techniques that you send us for any purpose.

2. Google: According to Matt Asay with news, "By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services . . .
[Y]ou grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, modify, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services. Google reserves the right to syndicate Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services and use that Content in connection with any service offered by Google.

3. National Geographic: By submitting a photo in NGS's "Your Shot" contest, you agree that:
You grant to National Geographic Society and its subsidiaries and licensees (the "NGS") a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual license to display, distribute and reproduce the Photograph, in whole or in part, in any medium now existing or subsequently developed for editorial purposes without further review or participation from you. This license includes the right to post your Photograph on, and to solicit comments and voting from the public.
At least NGS doesn't assume the right to sublicense your photo or to use it for promotion.

Thanks to Richard Ritari for submitting the Our Wedding Day alert and Lindy Dugger for submitting the NGS alert.

Do What I Say . . .

The Cognitive Daily blog has reported on a research group opposed to sharing its study results on copyright grounds despite being funded by taxpayer funds. (Works of the government usually are in the public domain.) It appears, however, that the group did not think that photographers' copyrights deserve the same protection.

Thanks to Walter Rowe for submitting this topic.

Aug 26, 2007

Alert: MSNBC Takes Unlimited License of Your Photo and More

The Today Show is soliciting photos or video for their "10 most beautiful places in the United States" series. Unfortunately, by just submitting your photo, MSNBC gets an:
. . . an irrevocable royalty-free, worldwide right, in all media (now known or later developed) to use, publish, alter or otherwise exploit your Submission and to sublicense such rights to a licensee at MSNBC's discretion.
Note that MSNBC can even license your photo to others. But while you can't sue MSNBC . . . :
You hereby forever release MSNBC and any of its licensees from any and all claims you might have in connection with its use and exhibit of your Submission as set forth above. . . . You waive any claim of infringement (including without limitation copyright, trademark, patent, trade name, trade secret, etc.) against MSNBC or its licensees based upon access to or use of your Submission.
MSNBC can sue you or get you to indemnify MSNBC:
. . . by submitting your Submission, you represent and warrant that: it is your sole original work; and you have obtained any and all consents, approvals or licenses required for you to submit your Submission (including obtaining the written consent of all 3rd parties, where applicable). . . . You agree to indemnify and hold harmless MSNBC from and against any and all claims, losses, costs, damages, liabilities, losses, costs and expenses (including, without limitation, attorneys; fees) which arise out of any breach of this agreement or any of these covenants, agreements, obligations, rights, representations or warranties set forth herein.
That's enough to make America a little less "beautiful."

Thanks to Joe Becker for submitting this alert topic.

Aug 25, 2007

New Revised CA Sales Tax Publication

Figuring out what photographers owe for sales taxes can be difficult, especially since state agents give conflicting advice. Thanks to the APA, the California State Board of Equalization, the state entity in charge of sales tax regulation, has released a new Publication 68, "Tax Tips for Photographers, Photo Finishers, and Film Processing Laboratories." You also may order copies by calling the SBOE Information Center at 800-400-7115.

It would be good to get such clarity from the other states!

Aug 22, 2007

Photography Not Allowed - 3

Scott Knowles of WSR Photography reports on his blog how he was checked out by the Washington State Patrol after taking photographs on the Washington State Ferry. His conclusion? Take only "typical tourist photos." I hope he was being sarcastic!

Aug 20, 2007

Adding Your Copyright Notice in the Camera!

Derrick Story over at the Digital Story blog explains how to set your camera so that your copyright notice is added in the camera. He shares how to do it for Canon, but one commentor notes that you can do it in some Nikon cameras, too!

While the copyright notice is no longer needed to protect your photos, it's a good idea since it can lead to additional damages pursuant to the DMCA. Note that the official form of the copyright notice is "Copyright 2007 Carolyn E. Wright." You can use "Copyr." or "©" instead of the full word "copyright" (but not the "(c)").

Be careful - using the "save for web" function in some photo editing programs such as Photoshop will strip the camera's metadata from the digital file, removing the copyright notice you added.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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Aug 16, 2007

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

PhotoShelter City Tour
Monday, Sept. 17, 2007
103 West
Atlanta, GA

APA Atlanta
Wed., Sept. 19, 2007
7-9 pm
Location TBA

Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar
Fri., Nov. 30, 2007
Details to be announced.

Looking forward to meeting you in person!

Aug 14, 2007

Announcing - Vivid Wildlife Workshops

An experienced wildlife photography workshop leader, Carolyn proudly announces her own wildlife photography workshop company: Vivid Wildlife Workshops ["VWW"]. Specializing in wildlife photography, VWW will take you to beautiful places to help you capture superb images of magnificent animals.

VWW's inaugural workshop is a trip to photograph Coastal Brown Bears at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clark, Alaska, from August 4-10, 2008. The photos shown here are by Carolyn from her workshop there last year.

Get the details of next year's trip and see photos by Carolyn's students from last year's workshop at Spaces are limited and are selling fast! Sign up today!!!

Triple Threat - Copyright Infringement, Misappropriation, and Removal of Copyright Management Information

As reported by the BBC and the photographer's Flickr site, a self-portrait of an underaged girl was used for a porn video cover after the photographer's name/watermark was removed. On top of that, the alleged infringer was rude to the photographer. The suit has been filed in Florida. It's going to be a fun case!

Thanks to Brian Garson for submitting this topic.

Kids Will Never Learn (Especially When Parents Do It)

Yahoo News has reported on a new survey of children in the 27 European Union member countries showing that they know that downloading items from the Internet is illegal. But that doesn't stop them.

Aug 11, 2007

Does Display of Photos for License or Sale Require A Model Release?

Many photographers and stock agencies display photos of people that are available for licensing or print sales. While the end user clearly has the responsibility to have permission, as evidenced through a model release, of a person in the photo to use it in a commercial manner, the photographer or stock agency has never been liable for failure to have that permission. Unfortunately, that may change.

The singer, James Brown (now deceased but his estate is continuing the action) filed suit against Corbis in Illinois claiming that Corbis has violated his right of publicity for "commercial use of his image on the Internet" by selling/licensing photos of him. Corbis advises licensees that it does not have a model release from Mr. Brown, so the users would need either to obtain one or use the photo editorially.

Rights of publicity are state-based rights. While similar, they differ slightly in each state. Illinois' statute defines commercial use of a person's name or likeness to be:

Commercial purpose means the public use or holding out of an individual's identity (i) on or in connection with the offering for sale or sale of a product, merchandise, goods or services; (ii) for purposes of advertising or promoting products, merchandise, goods, or services . . . .
765 ILCS 1075/5 (West 2002).

To summarize the case thus far: Corbis filed a motion to dismiss claiming that Mr. Brown had no valid claims as a matter of law. The trial court ultimately denied Corbis' motion so Corbis filed an interlocutory appeal (asking the state appellate court to review the decision before the case went further). The appellate court held:
In light of the vast difference of opinion regarding the interpretation of the definition of what Corbis sells and the legal effect of such sales, we cannot say that the facts are undisputed that Corbis's display of the photos of James Brown on its Web site did not in some way constitute an improper commercial use under either the Illinois common law or the Publicity Act. We therefore cannot conclude that the trial court erred in denying Corbis's motion to dismiss.
Emphasis added. (Read the full opinion here).

The affirmation of the trial court's denial of the motion to dismiss does not mean Corbis has lost. It will have to fight this battle at the trial court. If it loses there, Corbis likely will appeal the judgment all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court since First Amendment rights are at risk. While the final result won't be known for a while, the possibility that photographers and stock agencies will need a model release to display their photos to be licensed or to sell prints is a major concern.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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Aug 9, 2007

Photography Not Allowed - 2

A videographer recorded his confrontation with a deputy county sheriff. Click the link that says "Click here to watch Movie" below the red box to "Report Broken Media." Caveat: the source of the video is unknown and has nothing to do with the other videos advertised on the page.

Thanks to Tim Atherton for submitting this link.

Aug 8, 2007

Photography Not Allowed - 1

Starting now, this blog will keep a running list of reports of photographers being told they can't shoot. The Chicago Tribune has the first honors.

Aug 5, 2007

NYC Photo Permit - Diverted (for now)!

New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB) has announced that it will:

. . . redraft proposed Charter-mandated rules for issuing permits to film or photograph on public property. The revision of the rules will take into account feedback MOFTB has received over the past two months. Public comment, which is scheduled to end today, will be re-opened for another 30-day period after the redrafted rules are published.

(Emphasis added.)

Congrats to the photography community for making your voice be heard!

Aug 3, 2007

Last Day to Comment and Other Thoughts on NYC Photo Permit

Today is the last day to submit comments on the proposed photo permit in NYC. You can sign the petition or email Julianne Cho, Associate Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, at gov.

The proposed permit has sparked interesting debate on various web photo forums. Some believe that the permit is a small price to pay to protect us from terrorism. Some have commented that all photographers (even hobbyists?) should have a million dollars in insurance.

Others have shared their stories of being harassed for innocently photographing buildings, bridges, and the like. In addition to the Popular Photography story, the Washington Post recently reported on another incident of a photographer being hassled. You can read more on the photographer's experience.

The NYC proposed petition is poorly written and targets photographers unnecessarily. It does not accomplish the goal of providing security and it definitely won't stop terrorism. The fact that someone has a camera in their hands should not be a reason to make them get a permit. If the behavior of a group standing in one place for a specific time is a concern to NYC, then it shouldn't matter that they are taking pictures.

Thanks to Ed Selby for submitting the Washington Post article.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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