The recent kerfuffle between Mike Sorrentino, (aka "The Situation" on the Jersey Shore) and Abercrombie and Fitch, whereby the company offered New Jersey's second-most-famous Guido (sorry, Mike, but Tony Soprano…
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ay Carumba! As if photographers didn't already have enough problems with overzealous police officers and security guards drunk with power harassing us in public places? Now we've got the…
When Seattle-based photographer Mike Hipple took this stock picture, at left, of a 1979-vintage, public-arts-financed, sidewalk piece called “Dance Steps on Broadway” by artist Jack Mackie, he had no idea that he had just stepped in the worst s—-t the sidewalk can dish up.
Because Mackie is suing Hipple to the tune of $60,000 for copyright infringement.
Now, we all know the economy sucks. And I usually reserve my outrage for predatory corporate entities bent on the economic pillaging of the individual content producer.
But now, things are apparently so bad, that it’s content-producer eating content-producer…a veritable Lord of the Flies scenario for image-makers.
In the words of the ill-fated Simi Valley motorist Rodney King, “can we all just get along?”
Hipple’s stock agency, upon receiving notice from the “artist” and his legal team, took the picture down from their site. But that wasn’t good enough. Mackie, who had wisely registered his piece, is now seeking punitive damages to the tune of the aforementioned $60 grand.
For more information on how this case is playing out, and how you can help (this affects each and every one of us who shoots travel pictures in public places), hit the jump.
Well, the foxes have been put in charge of the photo contest henhouse again, this time by Popular Photography. Their “Travelographer of the Year” photo competition is another thinly-disguised rights grab similar to Frommers’ notorious contest.
Yes, the good folks at Popular Photography who depend on you, the photo enthusiast, for their bread-and-butter subscriptions have no compunction about ripping off your work. Where, you might ask, is the love? I suspect it’s left on the conference table in the Legal Department, in the folder marked “F__k ’em if They Can’t Take a Joke,” or “Their Ignorance is Our Bliss.”
Truth be told, Pop Photo has been sliding down this path for a while under their new ownership and without the guidance of the late, great Burt Keppler, and the host of real photographer friends on staff like Monica Cipnic, Mason Resnick, and the crew from that era.
Fortunately, an organization called www.pro-imaging.org is helping to call out these rights grab contests. They offer the all-type jpeg seen above that you can use as a contest-entry, calling out the organizers of these rip-off contests and offering to educate them on issues of rights and rates.
Their Bill of Rights for photography competitions is worth a read, since these contests are springing up like weeds from all quarters, and many of them have this boilerplate ripoff rights language.
This kind of pro image-creator rights activism used to be the mainstay of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) before that organization got bogged down in a lot of internecine squabbles about dues increases, director payments to one another, and gadfly censuring.
I’ve been an ASMP member since 1982, but am reconsidering renewing in 2011 because of this bureaucratic nonsense and the erosion of member benefits that seem to move in lockstep with ever-increasing dues demands.
Pro-Imaging.Org looks to be a UK-based entity and is totally non-profit and run by volunteers. The membership is £30, which is about US$50 (as opposed to ASMP’s current $335 per year). And all the money goes to the programs (photo contests are just one aspect…they deal with all types of rights-grabbing organizations), not the leadership.
It’s too soon to tell how effective Pro-Imaging.org will be in the long run, but so far, I like the cut of their jib and it’s worth my $50 to help their cause.
Hit the jump for a read of the Travelographer of the Year contest rules.
We're in Kazakhstan, which is proving to be a great destination (Borat blew it, I'm tellin' ya). While I'm working on that post, I had a few leftover thoughts on…