Gourmet: Going, going….Gone:-(

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November will be the last issue of this grand old foodie mag published by the good folks at Conde Nasty. In the 90’s (that is, last century), Gourmet was one of my best clients. Their jobs were like a rich dessert: you stayed at the best hotels, ate at the best restaurants, and were treated like a king by everyone from chefs to PR folks.

Irwin Glusker was the AD and he always made you look good in the spreads with big pictures and pages and pages per story.  Ah the good old days.

Then came the internet, and with it, the corporate lawyers who decided that locking up “content” was the way to go to preserve Gourmet and Conde Nasty. So, overnight, the contract went from what was then the normal “one time use” to the following, now famous, bit of legalese:

“For these considerations, you hereby grant Conde Nast the copyright to these photographs in this or any other medium, now in existence, or hereinafter developed, throughout the universe…..”

The galaxy wasn’t enough for these guys, noooooo, they had to lock up your work throughout the universe.  So just in case Gourmet launched an edition on say, the planet Rigel VII, they still wouldn’t have to pay you, the “content provider,” another nickel over the old “one-time use” Earth dayrate.

Set your phasers on stun, and hit the jump to find out how we handled those odious snippets of legalese. (more…)

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Don’t wing it, know the rules

NewportAngel copy
Photo © Bob Krist

Travel photographers work on the street a lot, shooting buildings, people, events, views, you name it. That makes us very public targets for officials who somehow feel that what we do is a threat. Truth be told, this was the case even before 9/11 and the Brit’s 7/7, but since those attacks, it’s gotten even more cranked up.

Before 9/11, I was shooting a city story on Newport, Rhode Island, for National Geographic Traveler and I saw this fun situation of a young officer giving directions to a man in an angel costume during a street fair. By the time I rushed over to make the shot, the encounter was all but over, but the officer saw me take the picture and went absolutely ballistic (I’m still not sure why, it was a cute public relations moment), at first demanding my film, and then threatening me with arrest when I wouldn’t give it to him.

Even though I knew I had blown the shot, I didn’t take kindly to being bullied. You have to be careful in these situations when you confront authority, because you want to inform and explain, but be firm and not provoke. Getting arrested can really eat into your assignment time, and editors just hate wiring bail money to their people in the field….it looks so bad on the expense reports. The young officer eventually backed down, but not without a parting promise to “find you” if the picture was published.

Since 9/11 and 7/7, the police in the two great cities of New York and London have been, understandably, on high alert and photographers have often drawn their scrutiny, often for no good reason. It got to the point where the top brass of both cities’ constabularies had to issue guidelines for officers interacting with photographers, outlining just what was and wasn’t permitted.

Turns out, you can shoot a lot more than they thought. In fact, you can shoot just about anything you want, including photos of officers at work.

So, if you plan on doing shooting in either of these two wonderful cities, hit the jump and you can grab the jpegs of these memos,read them, and maybe even print them out to carry in your camera bag should you have a problem. Remember, always be polite, never be confrontational, and know da rules! (more…)

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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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