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It seems that Annie Leibovitz’s legal and financial woes won’t be coming to an end any time soon. While a New York judge granted her an extra month to respond to a $24-million lawsuit from Art Capital Group, Italian photographer Paolo Pizzetti is suing her for $300,000 for using two of his photos in the infamous Lavazza coffee ad campaign without his permission.

In RESOLVE news, editor Miki Johnson was interviewed Thursday by Cheri Amour, the ambitious young photographer who runs Young Photopreneur, an online resource for aspiring photographers and photo students. The podcast includes advice about leveraging your website and using social media to expand your photo business.

The iPhone and Canon XTi have been competing for the most popular camera on Flickr for a while. With the launch of Flickr’s new iPhone App, the Apple phone might soon regain its throne. Check out TechCrunch‘s rave review for details on the app.

The Associated Press’s auto-feed slideshow function is causing some trouble. A controversial photo of a U.S. Marine’s last moments appeared on some news sites without their knowledge, even after they decided not to run the image. AP explains that a lot of newspapers use an AP-run feed that automatically updates content and images, which included the photo on Friday, September 4. The photo has since been removed.

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.”

Mannie Garcia, the photographer who made the the image of Barack Obama that Shepard Fairey based his HOPE poster on, filed a court motion to join the lawsuit between Fairey and the Associated Press.

  • What would you do if you find out your family picture ended up in a billboard in the Czech Republic – without your permission? The story of Missouri mom Danielle Smith trying to figure out why her family photo appeared in an advertisement for a Czech grocer was getting a lot of interest on the web. This week, the story even got into mainstream news coverage. While it’s definitely a copyright infringement, no one knows for sure how the photo landed on the streets of the Czech Republic. PDN proposed a possible theory to the mystery.
  • Yesterday started the Look3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, where thousands of photographers gathered to celebrate photography. The festival grew out of backyard photography parties at National Geographic Magazine editor-at-large Nick Nichols‘ home which he hosted for the last twenty years. Martin Parr, Gilles Peress, Sylvia Plachy are the featured photographers this year. Our editor Miki Johnson is there to support the event. Stay tuned for more about the festival here at RESOLVE.
  • The new iPhone 3GS is here! Well, almost. Available on June 19, the iPhone 3GS has 2 times the speed compared to the iPhone 3G, a 3 megapixel built-in camera with auto focus, and video recording and editing capabilities. Plus, it starts at $199. What’s not to love? Maybe the $200 AT&T plan upgrade fee? Apparently, existing iPhone AT&T customers will need to pay an extra $200 “upgrade fee” in order to get the iPhone 3 GS and a new AT&T service plan. That might have some iPhone users thinking twice about snatching the new make.
  • A Photo Editor posted an excellent video by photographer Alexx Henry, explaining how he uses the RedOne to turn his regular still shoot into a video shoot. We’re especially impressed by the quality of the video itself – we wonder if Alexx made it with his RedOne? Be sure to check out Alexx’s blog with the final results.

  • The New York Times launched its photography blog, Lens, this week. Not surprisingly, it aims to highlight the paper’s own top photography from the present, as well as its archive dating back to the early 20th century, but Lens also gives props to great photos from other newspapers, magazines, and agencies. With its beautiful full-screen interface and insider interviews with photo legends, like this with David Burnett about his images of Bob Marley, it’s no surprise the photo blogosphere is buzzing.
  • Todd Walker of Gallery Hopper blog pointed us to a scanned copy of a NYPD internal memo which tells its officers that street photography is indeed legal. In the memo, it says, “photography and/or videotaping is rarely unlawful.” Given the recent outpouring of complaints regarding street photography, we’re glad the NYPD is taking steps to rectify the situation.
  • American Photography 25 announced its winners earlier this week. A slideshow of the selected images is available online for a limited time. The 351 photographs selected from over 10,000 submissions will be included in a hardcover book to be released in November this year.
  • American Apparel settled a year-long lawsuit with Woody Allen on Monday, agreeing to pay the director $5 million for using an image of him from Annie Hall, without his consent, for one of their billboards. Dov Charney, CEO of American Apparel, posted a thousand-word statement on the company blog in response to the settlement, explaining that it was the insurance company’s idea to make the settlement, not his.

When Randy Taylor, the founder of The Copyright Registry and StockPhotoFinder, contacted me last week and asked for the opportunity to demonstrate how C-Registry works, I was happy to oblige. C-Registry has taken a beating in the blogosphere (which they just rebutted with an open letter), and since we had added to it by reporting on the uproar, it seemed only fair to hear the other side of the story. I made a couple things clear to Randy at the time, and I’d like to reiterate them here. First, we aren’t interested in pointing fingers, blaming one side, or absolving another. I get frustrated when I see thoughtful discussions of complex topics turn to destructive name-calling in the blogosphere, and I thought this was an opportunity to take a second look at the main points that people reacted to so strongly in the first place. Second, I knew I didn’t know enough about copyright law and orphan works to even ask the right questions, so I asked Lou Lesko, our contributor and an experienced, outspoken commentator on those topics, to be part of the C-Registry demonstration and to draw his own conclusions for this piece.

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.

  • The Unlikely Weapon, a documentary film about the late photographer Eddie Adams, opens in New York’s Quad Theatre today (April 10) and will be screened across the country in coming months. Adams is most remembered for his iconic image of Saigon police chief General Loan shooting a Vietcong guerrilla at point blank, which won him the Pulitzer Prize and World Press Photo, and for starting one of the best PJ workshops in the country. Check out this article and slideshow of Eddie’s work on NPR and this New Yorker story about his recent retrospective.
  • Just as we thought the Fairey poster saga was dying down, we read about some new development at Conscientious. Apparently Fairey posted a long comment a few days ago explaining his views on the use of Mannie Garcia’s photo in the HOPE and PROGRESS posters, in an effort “to protect the rights of all artists, especially those with a desire to make art with social commentary.” New York gallerist James Danziger wrote an open letter in response to this, essentially saying how disappointed he was with Fairey’s denial of the source of the image.
  • According to Reuters, Iranian-American photojournalist Roxana Saberi, who has been detained in Iran’s infamous Evin prison since January, has been charged with espionage and her trial will begin next week. In Iran, espionage can carry the death penalty. U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton expressed her concerns to the news and demanded Saberi’s immediate release.

  • While claiming it is the antidote to copyright infringement, C-Registry, part of New York-based, might be the poison itself. Our friend John Harrington did an in-depth investigative piece this week that raised red flags about the service. APA is also concerned about the misleading information on the C-Registry website, even issuing an official alert. C-Registry has edited the information on its website since.
  • Bookmark this: ASMP just launched a new blog called Strictly Business, promising “to bring you business tips, thought provoking ideas, useful resources, videos and podcasts all focused on professional photography.” Contributors to the blog are all ASMP educators. Be sure to check out the video on copyright issues.
  • White House photographer Pete Souza has named Alice Gabriner, former chief photography editor for Time magazine, the White House photography editor and deputy director of the White House Photography Office. Veteran photo editor Jennifer Poggi and Washington photojournalist Rick McKay will be joining Gabriner as White House deputy photo editors. For more details, see NPPA.
  • Pixazza‘s innovative service that turns static images into income-generating content may be the future trend of advertising. It has already gotten a blessing (and investment) from Google and other Silicon Valley big shots, as reported by Photo Archive News. The “Product in the Picture” service enables consumers to mouse over images on websites to learn more and see related products.


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