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Last week, The Next Web broke the news that CBS, Pepsi, and Entertainment Weekly magazine will join forces to launch the first video advertisement in a paper magazine. A paper-thin screen on the page, activated when a reader open the magazine, will then flicker and load the video. Is this the future or just another fad? Chase Jarvis calls it “pretty damned desperate.”
The Pentagon has commissioned The Rendon Group to run a background profile on any reporter seeking to embed with U.S. forces. And who is doing these checks? Rendon, the firm notorious for furnishing false information to justify the invasion of Iraq during the Bush administration. Stars and Stripes has the full story.
Burning Man, which starts Monday, has spurred controversy this week with its photo rights policy. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said that its policies to “protect attendees’ rights” are infringing on fair use rights. Of course, the Burning Man organizers argue that “our rules about photography are different from the outside world – but isn’t BRC’s unique environment what makes Burning Man transformative in the first place?”
The Federal Trade Commission has decided to jump into the crowded “Where is journalism headed” debate. In December they will run a series of workshops titled “From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?” in December.
The “Obama Joker” photo has stirred up plenty of controversy since Flickr decided to take it down. Flickr says it received a takedown notice from a copyright holder, but PDN did some investigative work and found that neither Time, DC Comics, nor the photographer seem to have sent such a notice. Blogger Thomas Hawk says he saw the name on the takedown notice, and it looks like “a totally bogus made up name.”
Our sources informed us of Vincent Laforet’s new film – “a narrative short filmed exclusively with the Canon 5D Mark II” - a while ago, so we’re glad to be able to share it with you finally. The unofficial website will only tell you that it’s named “Betrayed“, and is directed by Joshua Grossberg with cinematography by Vincent Laforet and photographer Robert Caplin. Stay tuned to RESOLVE for more details.
According to an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, London’s National Portrait Gallery is furious about images of paintings from the museum’s web site showing up on Wikipedia. The core of the argument is whether these photographic images of the masterpieces are considered in the public domain or if they are creative work. The Gallery Hopper has details and links to related stories.
Need more Martin Parr in your life? Don’t we all? iGoogle has released a new Martin Parr theme with images by the Magnum photographer. Click here to see it for yourself.
Some people are still trying to figure out what “free” really means, Rupert Murdoch is just saying no. According to the Guardian, the media mogul “has lost patience with giving away his expensively produced journalism on the internet for nothing.” By June 2010, you’ll have to pay to read any News Corp content.
NPPA publicly objected to a recent comment by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking people to tell the police if they see someone “continually taking photographs of a piece of critical infrastructure that doesn’t seem to make any sense.” “Photography by itself should not be considered suspicious activity, and it is protected by the First Amendment,” the NPPA reiterated.
The Associated Press announced that plans are underway to create a registry that will track online usage of AP content, including text, photos, and videos. The registry is expected to launch early next year, which will cover only AP text content initially, and be extended to AP member content as well as photos and videos eventually. Click on the image on the left to see a diagram explaining how the registry works.
Back in April, we talked about Chris Usher’s lawsuit against Corbis. Turns out Judge Sotomayor was one of three judges who ruled on the case. While most in the photo community are concerned that the case will become a judicial reference, consultant Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua disagrees. Read her well-versed argument here, here and here.
Although there is no final word yet, edvidence suggests that Robert Capa’s iconic “Falling Soldier” photo was likely staged. Interest in the authenticity of the image has been rekindled as a result of a new traveling exhibition in Spain, which was organized by the International Center of Photography. Philip Gefter has a thoughtful essay on NYT’s Lens regarding this and other iconic staged images.
Kudos for Judge Tomar Mason for upholding the rights of photographers and journalists – a photojournalist student at San Francisco State University, whose name was not identified by request of his lawyer, does not have to surrender his photographs of a murder scene to police under the state’s shield law. Wired has the full story.
The arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. this week has not only been the latest topic of racial profiling, but also of citizen journalism. The widely distributed photo taken at the time of the arrest did not come from a news agency, but from the London-based “citizen journalist” site Demotix. PDN has more on the story, as does Fred Ritchin at After Photography.
Infamous downtown artist Dash Snow, only 27 years old, died July 13 of a drug overdose at a hotel in New York City. His controversial art and photography drew comparisons to Nan Goldin and Andy Warhol and was mentioned in Jorge Colberg’s post on Conscientious asking “What makes art?”
Renowned outdoor photographers Art Wolfe, David Doubilet, and Thomas Mangelsen have embraced a new “virtual stock agency” model developed by PhotoShelter. They have teamed up to create an agency called Wild. Art, a RESOLVE contributor, explains the decision in a great piece in Outdoor Photographer Magazine.
The Prix Pictet announced its shortlist of 12 international photographers during a special screening at the 40th Rencontres d’Arles last week. We are excited to see RESOLVE contributor Ed Kashi on the list. Other familiar names include Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson and Portugese-born photographer Edgar Martins, who found himself in the middle of a recent photoshop controversy.
After the French government allowed priceless Henri Cartier-Bresson images to be damaged and then promised to destroy them, the images have reemerged in the art market, in an incident that The Online Photographer has cheekily dubbed “oeuf on face.”
The online tussle surrounding The Copyright Registry a few weeks ago grew out of a bit of hyperbole on both sides: C-Registry overused “orphan works” to stress the advantage of their service, and the blogosphere overreacted — as it sometimes does — by jumping to some unfair conclusions. The blogs that misconstrued the facts are as responsible as the company that proffered the facts. Most disappointing in this chaos was the email alert sent out by the APA. The fact that the ASMP endorsed C-Registry should have been a signal to the APA that they needed to do some additional fact checking before sending out their alert. This would have gone a long way to preventing the blog mob that rose to crucify C-Registry.
The orphan works bill that sits in Congress like an unstable nuclear device has the potential to radically shift the way photographers will have to manage their work that exists online. Understandably, the photo industry is jumpy about anyone or anything that mentions it, which has resulted in an overly suspicious atmosphere. When companies like C-Registry come along with an entrepreneurial solution to offer photographers a method of registering images, they need to be aware of this volatile atmosphere and word their references to orphan works carefully.
There were three other details that also served as flashpoints in this debate, and which deserve some clarification:
EULA (end user license agreement): C-Registry had an EULA that asked subscribers to their service to grant some of the rights of the work to C-Registry. This is very similar to the facebook fiasco that I wrote about a few months ago. Simply put, to display your work online, web services need your permission.
DOT US: Any American website that utilizes a domain suffix other than “.com,” “.net” or “.org” immediately falls under scrutiny because many nefarious internet companies have adopted these obscure suffixes for their endeavors. C-Registry was accused of trying to look like the government — “.gov” — by utilizing a “.us” domain suffix. My gut reaction was they were going to distinguish their services by country. It turns out I was correct.
Seeding a stock agency: Probably the most inflammatory detail that surfaced against C-Registry was the fact that the people who started C-Registry also own a stock photo service called StockPhotoFinder. Because of the first point above, assumptions were made that C-Registry was going to be a content supply service for StockPhotoFinder. That’s a broad and bold accusation, especially without verifiable evidence. C-registry would have been wise to anticipate that assumption and to indicate to the contrary on their website. But then again, obvious notions like that are often lost in the avalanche of details an entrepreneur has to contend with in getting a business started.
If you’d like a blow-by-blow point and counterpoint of this situation, you can read the blog posts and the emails from the APA and ASMP (PDN has a comprehensive and pretty fair rundown of the situation here). From my estimation, both sides had very valid arguments — as usual, it just depends on your perspective. If you’re a suspicious photographer, you could easily spin the rhetoric on the C-Registry site in a negative way. If you are not, then C-Registry could seem like an intriguing idea. I asked for an opinion from an independent individual who is a heavyweight in the business of online rights management and very close to the orphan works issue. His response? Many people assumed C-Registry was a scam when, in fact, it looked pretty legit from the outside. He did see some room for improvements, but he felt that the idea was sound.
So what’s the larger lesson here? The climate in our industry is tense at this point in our history. As such, we tend to assume the worst before collecting all the facts. Photographers are wise to keep a weather eye on the horizon. But let us not forget who we are. All of us know that due diligence and fact checking are cornerstones of our industry. If we as photographers weren’t under such a barrage of assaults from different fronts, the C-Registry issue probably wouldn’t have exploded as it did. Let’s give C-Registry the fair shake that any new business deserves before we start lighting the torches.
For the last year and a half I’ve been enthusiastically pushing photographers to let their images get swiped for non-advertising online use as long as there is an attribution link back to their site. I anticipate blogs rapidly becoming the main sources for news online, so the more exposure blogs swiping your images get, the more exposure your work will get via attribution. What I didn’t consider initially is the potential guilt-by-association factor if your image is used with a bogus or inflammatory blog post.
There has been a rise in criticism of high profile blogs posting stories that violate expected ethical considerations in the past few months. Popular blogs that have risen to the top through marketing and hiring good writers who are assumed to adhere to a journalistic code of ethics. However, unless stated specifically, there may be no ethics involved at all. And to be fair, even blogs that do subscribe to an ethics code can get it wrong. Blogging is still a young medium — these issues will eventually be resolved but right now they’re still being worked out.
My concern is that a swipe of one of my images could result in my name being associated with a blog post with which I have moral or ethical conflict. I know I can’t have have it both ways. I can’t pray for link exposure and then get pissy when I get it because I don’t like the blog that gave it to me. That’s like lobbying National Geographic for a foreign photo assignment in Russia, then pouting because they send you in the dead of winter.
What are your thoughts? If a blog whose content you disagree with ran an image of yours with a highly contentious story, but you got a lot of exposure, would you be upset, maybe even contact them to have your image removed? Or would you be thrilled to have your online presence elevated because of the huge click-through rate to your site?