Copyright, copywrong, copyleft

I’ve been trolling the Wall Street Journal these days. Not so much because I’m a masochist about my financial portfolio (but, wow, these are great days for masochists!), but because the august Journal interviewed me about travel photography for a feature they’re publishing next month (April 19th, they say. I’ll keep you posted). And I figured, any journal that has such good taste in travel photographers is worth a look:-).

Well, this article caught my attention.  It’s about the famous Manny/Fairey case. You know the one where the “artist” appropriated the Obama picture from the AP’s Manny Garcia, colorized it, called it his own, and proceeded to make tens of thousands of dollars selling it.  That’s Manny’s shot on the left on the next page… (more…)

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A photo contest with fair rules????

If you’ve been reading the fine print of the plethora of photo contests that have arisen lately, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that Somalia isn’t the only place experiencing modern day piracy. No, the rights grabs sunk deep in the fine print of most photo contest rules these days make the Somali pirates look like pikers and the bonus babies at AIG look like paragons of conscience. I’m amazed at what some contests ask for, just for entering (never mind winning), and also stunned that some of these contests are sponsored by allegedly photo-friendly organizations and publications (who really do know better, but don’t seem to care). I’ve got a whole column on the subject in an upcoming issue of Outdoor Photographer.

So it was with the usual world weary trepidation that I went to the website of Weibetech, makers of excellent harddrives that I use for backup, when they sent me a marketing email announcing a photo contest. I was expecting the usual “you grant us the rights to your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, as well as the copyright to this picture…” jargon, and instead read this:

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