USA Today: Doing the Right Thing

From aboard the National Geographic Explorer in the Indian Ocean

A moon jellyfish and snorkeler off Farquhar Atoll, Seychelle Islands
A moon jellyfish and snorkeler off Farquhar Atoll, Seychelle Islands. Photo © Bob Krist

Piracy is everywhere these days….we’ve really been feeling it aboard the NG Explorer in this last week or so as the Somali pirates kept forcing our itinerary to change to avoid them.

But piracy isn’t restricted to the high seas anymore. More and more photo contests are holding your copyright hostage just by entering, and trying to build photo libraries with your work, without any compensation.

Just before I left, the travel editor of USA Today, an old friend, asked if I woud be a judge of their travel photo contest. No money, but a chance to have lunch with my old editor and get a trip to DC where my sons live. So I jumped on the opportunity.

Even though unfair photo contest rules have become a pet peeve of mine lately (see the post A Photo Contest with Fair Rules????), I was heading out the door and didn’t read the USA Today’s contest rules. Fortunately, a sharp-eyed reader of this blog named Marcelo did and pointed out the following paragraph, which is pretty much a pirates’ declaration of war on copyright .

Copyright. By entering the Contest, each contestant
grants to Sponsor an exclusive, royalty-free and irrevocable right
and license to publish, print, edit or otherwise use the
contestant’s submitted entry, in whole or in part, for any purpose
and in any manner or media (including, without limitation, the
Internet) throughout the world in perpetuity, and to license others
to do so, all without limitation or further compensation. Each
contestant further agrees that if his/her entry is selected by
Sponsor as the winning entry, he/she will sign any additional
license or release that Sponsors may require, and will not publicly
display his or her photo submission without the express permission
of Sponsor.

Once tipped off by reader Marcelo, I emailed my objections to the editor, who then took them to the legal department. I said I couldn’t be a judge if the rules stayed pat. A fellow judge took a similar stand.

Was the editor able to get the terms modified? Did we keep the pirates at bay? Did USA Today step up and do the right thing? Hit the jump to find out.

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Don’t let the sun catch you squinting…

With apologies to Gerry and the Pacemakers (Merseysiders whose 1964 release “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” got me through some tough break-ups in middle and high school) comes another confession: I do some commercial work. Yes, it’s not all exotic landscapes and cultural documentary in my biz….sometimes it’s shiny, happy people having fun on behalf of the tourism industry.

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I say this without apology as I enjoy the challenges of commercial work, and I appreciate the patronage of clients like Philadelphia tourism who have helped me pay my mortgage and educate my kids….but I digress. Why does this lovely couple look sparkly and yet are not squinting? There’s bright, harsh, late afternoon sun all around them.

It’s from a shoot at a winery in the Philly area. And I don’t just have this couple to photograph. No, Philly is an inclusive place, so when you do a shoot like this, you’ve got a half dozen couples of all ages, ethnicities, and lifestyle preferences. You shoot one couple, pull ’em out, and then insert the next demographic. It’s a buzz to say the least. So you’ve got to have quick simple setups that solve problems….like harsh sunlight on happy faces.

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Photo © Bob Krist

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Epson’s “secret” killer feature…

Laptop-free travel is a dream of a lot of us who want to lighten our loads. One of the things that a lot of columnists and writers point to as alternatives are the multimedia storage storage devices like the Epson P6000/P7000.

epson-p7000
photo by LetsGoDigital.com

 

These are phenomenal little units, and I carry one along even when I have a laptop as a backup. But carrying one of these units in lieu of a laptop isn’t really going to help you as redundant backup unless you do one of three things:

  1. Don’t re-use your cards during the trip, so you’ve got a copy of your “take” on the Epson and a copy on the cards.
  2. Buy two Epsons (!) so you have your redundant backup. It’s an elegant, if somewhat expensive, solution.

For the third, most reasonable, and totally undercovered solution in almost every review and Epson marketing piece of these multimedia storage units, hit the next page. (more…)

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