Sunday, May 27, 2012

Citizen Journalism Fails Viewers at the BBC

Fact-checking took a holiday at the BBC today, as a credit line of "photo from activist" was used to identify propaganda promoting the activist's cause, on the front page of the BBC's website for an article titled "Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows." The problem? Among the many, is that this photograph, purported to have been taken on or about Friday, May 25th, 2012 in Houla, Syria, and represented in the photo caption as "believed to show the bodies of children...", was actually taken on May 27, 2003, 9 years earlier, in Al Musayyib, Iraq, by photographer Marco Di Lauro, a photojournalist for Reportage by Getty Images.

The front page of the website, below, shows the image in it's mis-credited and mis-represented form:
The image here shows the image on Di Lauro's website, with the proper caption:
"An Iraqi child jumps over a line of hundreds of bodies, in a school where they have been transported from a mass grave, to be identified. They were discovered in the desert in the outskirts of Al Musayyib, 40 km south of Baghdad. It has been estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 Iraqis had been reported missing in the region south of Baghdad. People have been searching for days for identity cards or other clues among the skeletons to try to find the remains of brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters and even children who disappeared when Saddam's government crushed a Shi'ite uprising following the 1991 Gulf War."
Di Lauro, who is a freelance photographer represented by Reportage by Getty Images, also licenses this image on the Getty website here.

As noted above, there are many problems - here are a few of them:
(Continued after the Jump)

Problem? Taking an Activist's image

It should not be the case that someone whom is identified as an "activist" should be given the credence of a journalist, and have their propaganda disseminated under that banner. A statement they make is (and must be) fact-checked, as should any visuals they provide. BBC Director of the World Service and Global News, Richard Sambrook, who wrote in Nieman Reports, from The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, of "Citizen Journalism and the BBC" during his tenure at the BBC, wrote at the time (Winter, 2005) "...From now on, news coverage is a partnership." Sambrook notes, accurately, "How can our journalistic reputation be protected when we are not fully in control of our content?" Indeed, Mr. Sambrook. This "partnership" was violated by an activist with their own agenda.

Problem? Citizen Journalists
It must be said that Sambrook is not now at the helm of any BBC division, but he was a reporter for the BBC and left in 2010. Surely, Sambrook's imprint was left on those who came after his departure. Sambrook defends citizen journalists, with initiatives like the BBC Action Network's iCan, saying "As someone who supports this new direction, I don’t suggest the BBC staff abdicate their responsibility for accuracy, fairness or objectivity. There will always be a central place for editorial judgment to be applied. That judgment is the essential brand value of major news organizations. As we open up to contributions from the public, we must do so in a way that is consistent with our editorial values." At that same time, Sambrook authored another article for Nieman Reports, touting "The BBC’s College of Journalism" writing "The BBC is establishing a College of Journalism to raise and support editorial standards...the Bollege of Journalism will also focus on ethics and values and building knowledge on key themes and issues, such as Europe and the Middle East...So far, 10,000 staffers have completed an online editorial policy course (the biggest BBC interactive training initiative yet), and 8,000 staff members have attended workshops on sources and attribution." It is clear that whomever edited the article must have missed that workshop on sources an attribution.

In that same issue of Nieman Reports, Santiago Lyon, at the time (and still) Director of Photography for the Associated Press and Lou Ferrara, who was an online editor for the Associated Press, wrote in an article "With Citizens’ Visual News Coverage Standards Don’t Change" that "‘In an era in which digital alteration of images is increasingly easy, credibility is everything.’" In fact, as they note of an image they saw on a BBC website, they (the AP) went through the process of locating the citizen photographer, obtained rights, and then distributed the image. Lyon's team, no doubt, also vetted the veracity of the image during that process. Of the veracity of all citizen journalism content "The same journalistic standards that are currently applied to mainstream media sources will need to be applied to all citizen-produced material. Verification is crucial."

Problem? Stealing from someone
This activist saw it fit to steal from a photographer. Di Lauro puts his life on the line to make a living and produce images that reveal to the world what is happening. He should be afforded the ability to continue to do so, and copyright, and rights to his images, gives him the ability to continue to tell the story.

Problem? No fact-checking. 

The caption attempts to offer an out, indicating "This image - which cannot be independently verified - is believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial." According to the BBC, and other news sources, while there were at least 90 people killed, 32 were children under the age of 10. In 30 seconds, I was able to count about to 25 bodies in the row second from the left, and multiply that by 3 for the 3 center rows of the 5 depicted, and that's 75 estimating that there are also 25 on the two outer rows depicted and we're at 125. Clearly, there are way more than 32 bodies in this photograph, and there are even more than 90.

Clearly, more questions needed to be asked of the source.

Problem? No correction listed
An update of the story just before 8am GMT, did not list a correction, or editorial note about the mis-credited and mis-characterized photograph. The BBC simply made it as if it didn't exist and never did anything wrong. Di Lauro, and Getty Images have recourse for the theft of his intellectual property. While they of course have recourse with the activist, they also have recourse with the BBC as well.

Problem? Di Lauro had recourse - but his recourse would be much less, or non-existent, if Orphan Works had existed
There have been many conversations about the "orphaning" of photographs, whereby someone strips the metadata and and other indications of image ownership from an image, and then uses that image for their own purposes and ends, and when the actual creator of the photograph is identified, they are unable to stop the uses of their image - whether in an accurate depiction of something, or, in this case, as propaganda completely disconnected from the reality in the image. While it is reasonable to assume that a news organization, presented with the evidence of falsehood, would remove a mis-representing image, commercial entities, or uses where the users don't care or are otherwise unsavory, may well keep the image up, under the misguided notion that the end justifies the means. While the efforts to make orphaned works legally allowable in the United States (a dubious at best consideration relative to signatories to the Berne Convention, which would likely apply in this UK use) went away a few years back, the effort continues to percolate with people who believe much of intellectual property should not be given any control by it's creators. I would hope that even those orphan works proponents would agree that the theft of intellectual property in this manner should not be allowed in whatever final form they hope for in their legislative efforts.

In the end, it was because Di Lauro became aware of the theft of his image and the mis-characterization of it that the BBC no longer has it on their website. It was not because of the efforts of the editors of the BBC doing their due diligence. According to the screen grab the story was updated at 04:40 GMT, and the screen grab we have is timed at 12:26 GMT, so for at least 9 hours the BBC was profiting off of Di Lauro's image, and that is assuming that the photo was first posted during the 4:40am update, and taken down right after the screen shot was made. A screen shot a few hours later shows a video instead. How many other times has this happened? Whether it's a CNN iReporter, Fox News' uReport, being an MSNBC Citizen Journalist, or a part of the BBC's Action Network's iCan, Citizen Journalist representations must carry at least as high a burden of proof as that of professional journalists, if not higher. Interestingly enough, The BBC closed up their iCan experiment because, according to BBC News editor Peter Horrocks in this article "the level of involvement in it compared to the cost was inappropriate." As such, in April of 2008, just 5 years in, the grassroots effort wasn't working. While the iCan effort isn't exactly comparative to iReporters or uReporters, the notion of laying the responsibility on the public at large for engaging in reporting is fraught with pitfalls and risks. The BBC took a risk while their standards were on holiday, and that risky move failed them miserably.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Getty Images Returning to the Stock Market with an IPO?

According to the NASDAQ website (here) the Financial Times is reporting that Goldman Sachs has been retained to consider an IPO and other options. Photo Business News reported that federal regulators had approved Hellman & Friedman taking Getty private (Getty Images - Moving Forward, 3/19/08) at a rate of $2.1B (according to Forbes) and $2.4B according to the Nasdaq site. They are considering a valuation for the IPO of $4B. Getty at one point saw highs of $90+ a share in their heyday, before plummeting and then going private. With the Shutterstock IPO revealing their average stock sale of $2.05 per image in an SEC filing (as reported by Photo District News, here), how can Getty see a $4B valuation? Dubious, at best.
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Monday, May 14, 2012

USA Today ≠ US Presswire at US Olympic Media Summit (And Beyond)

When you think "olympic" the concept of "top of their game", or "monumental" comes to mind. While "Olympic" refers generally (and usually) to the Olympic Games, it is often used as a verb (no doubt much to the chagrin of Olympic Officials) to characterize the best. This year, when the Olympics arrives in London, it seems that USA Today is sending in the farm team rather than the best, when it comes to their photography staff, for the most part.

USA Today staff photographers with decades of experience covering sports were told last week that, well, their services wouldn't be needed in London. USA Today Sports Media Group Company, which now owns the US Presswire photo wire service, known to some as the "let's all work for photo credit, press-file hot dogs, and a few stock sales" photography operation, decided that they would choose the team going to cover the olympics this year, save for just one well regarded USA Today photographer. If there was any doubt that the staff will be wet behind the ears, you need look no further than the list of those credentialed - Richard Mackson's teenage kid seems to be credentialed as a part of the team of pros going over and she either just (or will soon) graduate from...wait for it... high school.

If you're looking to talk to the USA Today photo booth out at the Olympic Media Summit at the Hilton Anatole, going on today and tomorrow, they won't be there. Well, the booth is there - in Stemmons Ballroom C (on the right as you walk in), but it's not actually staffed by USA Today staffers - instead, it's staffed by US Presswire staff and contractors. So if you see someone wearing a USA Today credential, shirt, or beneath one of their banners, it's really a US Presswire person cloaked in the storied name of USA Today.

For decades, the USA Today photo staff has put forth the best of the best to cover the Olympics. So too has Sports Illustrated, and other storied organizations that see covering the Olympics as the pinnacle of sports photography. I am sure that Getty Images will be quite interested to know that US Presswire is parading around under the cloak of USA Today, seeing as the US Olympic Committee encourages people (here) to contact Getty for rights-manged images, noting "In addition, Getty Images has a vast archive of U.S. Olympic-related images." In fact, according to the Getty website here, they say "...As the official photographic agency of the International Olympic Committee since 1988, we have the imagery you need to set your Olympics coverage apart." While I am sure that USA Today has shared content with their sister organization (Gannett) newspapers in the past, it doesn't take much to consider that Getty's revenues will be affected by US Presswire syndicating their content from the Olympics outside of USA Today and Gannett. Then again, maybe not. Maybe Getty is right - their coverage may well be "...set...apart.." and not even in the same league as USPWs. In this case, Getty is the big leagues, and, yes, coming full circle, the USA Today team, filled with USPW photographers, seems to be the farm team.

I'm guessing that the new President and Publisher of USA Today, who will be reporting to Gannett (NYSE: GCI), Larry Kramer, (announced just today, here) will be wondering why a teenager is on the credentials list along with so many other US Presswire photographers when his thoroughbred sports photographers didn't make the cut. According to the USA Today article, he's in charge of the USA Today Sports Media Group, so this issue falls right under his responsibilities list.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Copyright Small Claims Court - The Discourse of Benefits & Challenges

The US Copyright Office held a roundtable discussion today in Washington DC, at the George Washington University Law School on the subject of how (and if) to propose implementing a form of a Small Claims Court for copyright infringement claims. The roundtable was filled with rights-holders from around the country who came to share their views on the benefits and challenges that a Small Claims Court venue would have on rights-holders. In his opening remarks, David Kappos, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, said that the issue of an Intellectual Property "Small Claims" system is a "burning platform," that must be addressed.
(Continued after the Jump)

The Registrar of Copyrights, Maria Pallante (below right) listened intently throughout the discussions, as did David Carson (below left), counsel to the Copyright Office. Pallante is looking to increase the number of deposits, and to evolve the online registration system in a way that works for copyright owners, as well as make protecting copyrights easier for copyright holders.

The National Press Photographer's Association Advocacy Chair, Alicia Wagner Calzada, a highly regarded photographer, and also an attorney for the NPPA, make a number of points - among them the challenge that if the issue of fair use could 'eject' a claim from the Small Claims Court, that, for many photojournalists (and members of the NPPA) whose work is of a highly newsworthy nature, this is a common defense of infringements that NPPA members face, and would be problematic.

Calzada (above) said of the meeting "One thing appears clear--this is not a simple fix. The event was very productive in terms of shining a light on the challenges to crafting a small claims solution for copyright infringement. It is clear that there are genuine obstacles, including some constitutional issues. What I took away from the discussion is that the challenges are not insurmountable. It is, however, important to create a system that will uphold constitutional scrutiny or it will be a wasted effort."

Also on hand was counsel for the American Society of Media Photographers (below right rear), Victor Perlman, and Executive Director Eugene Mopsik (below center). The ASMP has maintained an ongoing relationship with the Copyright Office and Congress in many issues facing photographers today, and has done much to further photographers' interests and protect their rights. Mopsik said of the meeting "The GW Roundtable brought together some of the best IP experts from industry and education along with representatives from a broad spectrum of trade associations and interest groups. The day was spent in a combination of informational presentations followed by discussion of specific proposals for "Small Claims" solutions. It think that it was very valuable for Maria Pallante and the other Copyright Office and PTO representatives. It gave all of the attendees much to think about and was very useful in unveiling issues previously not considered."

On hand for the American Photographic Artists, Michael Grecco (below left), and the author of APA's proposal and highly respected copyright attorney David Nimmer (below right) spoke about the challenges of implementing a Small Claims Court and offered a solution to make it work. Grecco commented "The session was a think tank with some of the greatest minds in Copyright sussing out the possibilities of a Fast Track, or Small Claims system for Copyright issue." Interestingly, one of APA's comments that were a part of their proposal offerred that "The best protection for low-economic-value claims would arise from making automatic the recovery of attorney’s fees and statutory damages by prevailing plaintiffs. By contrast, current law affords those remedies only for the benefit of copyright proprietors who, prior to the commencement of infringement, have registered their work in the records of the United States Copyright Office. Accordingly, under existing law, infringement of then-unregistered works remains beyond practical redress." The proposal calls for a Small Claims Court to be "applicable to simple copyright infringement cases that seek to recover no more than $80,000. Consenting parties can have their positions quickly evaluated by a Magistrate Judge sitting in the appropriate United States District Court in which the case is pending."

ASMP's Mopsik said of the idea of Small Claims "ASMP supports an ADR solution to small claims and believes that it should be as easy and simple for a photographer to navigate as possible." and the NPPA's Calzada said "virtually any solution is years away, though I know that for photographers who deal in daily deadlines and constant infringements, it cannot happen soon enough. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait." APA's Grecco said "I was very proud that APA's proposal, written by attorney David Nimmer, with Special Counsel Edward C. Greenberg, it played a major role in todays discussions. It was the one proposal that could be enacted relatively quickly and easily in the existing Federal Court system and had a good chance of sustaining a Constitutional challenge."

Related - Comments & Proposals Submitted:

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Getty Images: (Not) Looking for Cash in All The Wrong (Right) Places

Getty Images seems to be talking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to intellectual property. And the person doing the talking is their CEO, Jonathan Klein, who ventured down to to SXSW recently and was interviewed by TechCrunch TV.

There are two videos of Klein, For Pinterest, Revenue Will Turn Copyright Questions Into Real Problems, as well as Getty Images CEO On Building A Company That Lasts:

Klein, in the first video, has essentially given a free pass to students, educators, and any other use that can be defined as "non-commercial" for all of Getty's images to be used, because, as he said, they won't come after them. Let's take a look at what he said, and offer commentary on it:

On Pinterest and Facebook Klein said:
"Ok let's take a step back because you've raised a very big issue let's talk about intellectual property more generally."
Ok, so we're talking about not just Pinterest and Facebook, but ALSO, all other IP on these types of websites.

Klein goes on:
"We are entrusted by our partners, photographers and filmmakers and contributors of whom we have 125,000 to make sure that when their imagery is being used for commercial purposes they are paid."
No, actually, they entrust you to ensure they are paid for *any* use.

And then:
" the largest imagery business in the world by a significant margin it's in our interests for people to be visually literate. So we don't stop consumers playing with our images, we don't stop kids downloading our images to use in school projects or for educational purposes, we don't stop the proliferation of imagery still or moving."
You may be teaching them to be "visually literate", however, you're also teaching them that it's okay to use intellectual property for free. Further, you said you don't stop uses for "educational purposes", so that would seem to also include uses in textbooks for schools?

Then he says:
" Where we do draw the line, is where somebody is generating revenue, commercial revenue, on the back of our image."
Ok, so, as long as an organization is losing money, they have a free pass? How do you define "commercial revenue"? What about non-profits? Are they commercial, or not? Just so we're clear - the attraction to, say, Facebook, by the sharing of Getty images, which creates a snow-ball effect and more and more users and people come to it, so much so that the critical mass of people there on the site causes it to be valued in the billions of dollars, neither Getty, nor the content creators, have any share in the valuation of that company.

He then says:
"... we sort of, um, differentiate between the use of the image and to what extent we want to be paid or we're fine with it to be just out there for the public."
Ok, so theft is okay, but at some point, you draw the line? How do you think the photographers whose work is on your website will feel about this?
(Continued after the Jump)

Klein goes on - regarding their plans when a Getty image is found on Facebook or Pinterest:
"Well, it's actually, we're comfortable with people using our images to build traffic and at the point in time where they have a business model..."
Anyone who has investors has a business model, you just may not be aware of the details. But, again, you're pretty clear here that you've given a free pass to individuals and non-commercial uses.

Klein then says:
"I think the difference between us and a lot of other intellectual property businesses or talent based businesses is that the cost of working with us is relatively modest. "
Modest for whom? Investing in the production of images isn't cheap. Serving as the conduit by buying some hard drives and paying commissions to sales reps is cheap. Taking a 70% commission on all sales - not cheap. You seem to be suggesting that the production of images that appear on the Getty website is done by people who don't use talent to produce their images? Really?!? Are you actually saying that? Because, frankly, I know a number of Getty contributors and photographers, and they are among the most talented photographers I know, so, for you to seemingly differentiate your business from those that are talent-based is just off the mark by a mile.

Klein said, on right-clicking:
"We've kept that open [right-clicking] for one simple reason, we want everybody to be extremely visually literate."
Again - yes, become visually literate at the expense of legally literate. There was a huge tide of problems with legal illiteracy when it came to the sharing of music that Apple was successful at pushing back. Getty won't be able to stem that tide with this concept.

Klein then says:
"...So everybody's become more visually literate and the success of sites which are very picture heavy like Facebook or Pinterest and the amount of traffic that they're sites have proves that there's a huge attraction in imagery."
Yes, and again, where are those people who's IP that appears on these sites getting a piece of the Facebook IPO, or shares in Pinterest? What about the T&C on these sites that say that worldwide exclusive rights to the images uploaded/pinned is given to the company, and how about images appearing in ads out of users accounts on Facebook?

TechCrunch, in this article - here - said Klein's attitude was "surprising", and TechCrunch accurately surmises "The second that Pinterest starts making money of its own, intellectual property owners such as Getty Images will have the right to ask that Pinterest pay up — or start deleting pinboards." They will continue to face DMCA's while the notion that they are exempt from prosecution fades. As TechCrunch accurately notes " It took YouTube years to even come close to making self-sustaining revenue — and that is in the arms of a ridiculously profitable parent company, Google."

According to one commenter on the first video. John Bedford, Pinterest "strip[s] metadata from images that are uploaded to the site... and perhaps most importantly, Pinterest makes a huge rights grab for any content uploaded to their site, including rights to sell or do whatever they want with the images forever - even after you delete them from the site."

Just a few days ago, Getty sent a threatening "final notice" bill for $780 to, a well-known website which is a forum and gathering place for photographers, after an image by a well-known photographer (who is a member of that website) was used to announce an upcoming speaking event featuring that photographer. The photographer was essentially using his own image for reasons of self promotion by showing an example of his work. So, now, it seems, Getty is billing for the images it's photographers/contributors post online as portfolio examples and self promotion? I am not sure how this squares with Clause 1.12, in Getty's Getty Images Contributor Agreement v.4.2, as of October 1, 2011, which says:
Use of Accepted Content by you. On a non-exclusive basis, you may use Accepted Content and any Similars for promoting or documenting you and your work, provided that these uses do not compete with or limit the rights granted to Getty Images under the Agreement.
In Klein's second video appearance - Getty Images CEO On Building A Company That Lasts, he says a few choice things. Klein was on hand to give a keynote address, and celebrate Getty's 17th year in business. He talks about how they are now licensing music - does his mindset apply to music and video/multimedia as well when it comes to "free-as-long-as-its-non-commercial"?

He says:
"We're in the business of licensing content to folks who'll pay for it."
So, the folks who won't pay for it - because, say, they don't have the money, you're not interested in ensuring the integrity of your images? What if someone had an image and uses it for free and jeopardizes an exclusive deal you have with someone else?

And then, he seems to contradict himself when he (rightly) says:
"...we may be old fashioned around here, but we actually think that people have to pay for content. We think that content creators also need to make a living."
Indeed. So, which is it? Free to the startups with no revenue and/or non-profits, or, paying so the content creators can make a living?

Then he says:
"And the second thing is that the customer is not always right, but the customer is almost always ahead of you."
Correct. So, when the customer says "I shouldn't have to pay for using a photo, how hard is it to take a photo anyway..." they're wrong.

And then he says:
"...So if you can provide something to the customer which is compelling, which is exciting, which is ease to use, hassle free, interesting, and affordable they'll pay for it."
So, then, what's the problem - why not offer a personal use license for a few dollars? Oh, wait, you already do. So, now you're not enforcing it?

And then, astonishingly he says:
"I think you have to be open to cannibalization of your business."
Now, that's just ridiculous and so far from reality.

And then contradictory to his previous comments:
"But really, the technology and the customer they're kind of right all the time, but that doesn't mean that you give them stuff for free. Because that's what they really want. Yea. I absolutely draw the line at that."
So, it's free, or it's not? Not free, but with a wink-and-a-nod you won't come after them?

As Getty Images now owns PicScout, a well known "image fingerprinter", it would be very easy for Getty to identify their images on Pinterest, and bill according to known traffic to each page. So too on Facebook. Further, this mindset will come back to harm Getty when they head to court, as the courts look to past actions when it comes to dealing with a current situation. Another solution could well be that Getty, a founding member of the PLUS Coalition, which has an image registry, very well may be the key. By linking images to creators, copyright owners and rights information, the PLUS Registry will solve many of the issues facing image users and rights holders alike. For example, Pinterest could easily and automatically use the registry API to identify the rights holder for any image, check for permissions, and then separately compensate rights holders who opt in to pinning. PLUS is the only organization of its kind -- a worldwide collaboration between trade associations representing photographers, illustrators, ad agencies, graphic designers, publishers, museums, libraries and universities. Without any formal public announcement, the PLUS Registry already includes thousands of image rights holders in more than 80 countries. PLUS will soon be introducing image registration and image recognition search for rights info, which is powered by Getty's PicScout (that long-term deal was struck before Getty bought them). For now, you can register for a free PLUS membership and free PLUS Registry listing at

I know that there is a lot of discourse on the internet about "getty extortion letters" , whereby Getty finds someone who they have no record of having obtained a Getty image legally, stealing an image, and, for a nominal fee of $750, Getty offers to give these infringers essentially a retroactive license.

I am sure that the lawyers behind this, trolling for their own clients to object to Getty, may also be trying to create some form of class action situation down the line. However, companies should be ecstatic that they can get out from under a Federal lawsuit for copyright infringement for that small of an amount. The retainer for a copyright lawyer to defend themselves will be $5k-$10k, if not more - to start. I would find it interesting if there were contributors who took Getty to court for failing to file suit, or, by photographers who had been precluded from filing their own lawsuit by Getty's contract, due to Getty's acceptance of the $750.

For example, pursuant to Clause 1.11, in Getty's Getty Images Contributor Agreement v.4.2, as of October 1, 2011, it says:
"Right to Control Claims. Getty Images shall have the right to determine, using its best commercial judgment, whether and to what extent to proceed against any third party for any unauthorized use of Accepted Content. You authorize Getty Images and Distributors at their expense the exclusive right to make, control, settle and defend any claims related to infringement of copyright in the Accepted Content and any associated intellectual property rights (“Claims”). You agree to provide reasonable cooperation to Getty Images and Distributors and not to unreasonably withhold or delay your cooperation in these Claims. Getty Images will not enter into any settlement that will compromise your ownership of the copyright in Accepted Content or that prohibits your future conduct with respect to Accepted Content without your prior written consent. Getty Images will pay you Royalties on any settlements it receives from Blaims. If Getty Images elects not to pursue a Claim, you will have the right to pursue it."
Problematically, there is nothing within the contract that obligates Getty to pursue a claim. In fact, if you find and infringement you are contractually obligated to bring it to Getty's attention, and must await their decision, without any timeframe, before they release you from their right to pursue the claim first. In point-of-fact, Getty could exhaust the statute of limitations on the claim and then release you - something they would be well within their rights to do, and might strategically opt to do, if the infringement were against a big client of Getty's. Further, where the contract reads, in section 2.3:
"Getty Images shall not be liable for any punitive, indirect, consequential, special or incidental damages arising out of or in connection with the Agreement, even if it has been advised of the possibility of such. In addition, Getty Images shall not be liable to you under any circumstances arising out of the misuse of Content by any third party."
As such, even if you tell Getty you are losing money because they are not pursuing a claim, they will owe you nothing even after you have advised them that someone is using (or misusing) your images.

Then Klein goes on:
"We're not venture capitalists, we're not angel or start-up investors, we're just not good at that...And a lot, of these companies can benefit by partnering with us. That's what we're after, so we're talking to all these folks about partnering. If they're interested in driving, um, monetization to their user base they can use us as a distribution engine."
Well, you may not be investing actual dollars, however, the intellectual property you "invest" by not charging for it surely has value that these companies should be paying for. These are called "in-kind" investments. You have essentially given Pinterest/Facebook/et al a free pass by way of their user base.

Sometimes, his words speak for themselves, and leave those who create content that they license give away for free. speechless.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nikon D4 - 5 Years in the Making

As someone who has been a long time Nikon user, I have spent the last 5 years blissful in my use of the Nikon D3, and then, when I needed video, the D3s. I too have had (and still do) a line of Canon lenses and cameras for some time - which was my answer to the failings of the D2X until the D3 came out. I know that there have been some folks who felt a demand and desire for the larger D3x files, however, for my applications, the extra size wasn't critical for me.

I encourage you to take a read of Joe McNally's blog here, for his take on the amazement of the camera - I think he and I are on the same wavelength in that we both saw the D3 as the answer to our needs. The D4, seems to be the answer to our dreams. Rob Galbraith has an exhaustive review of the specs, and comparisons to the previous D3 line, which is well worth a read, here. And a head-to-head on the D3 v. EOS 1D X (interesting - the " " (space) otherwise defines the EOS 1D X against the old old Nikon 1DX. You'd have thought Canon would have thought about that) appears here. Nikon Rumors has a comparative spec sheet here.

Corey Rich put together a really exceptional video here:

Because of Vimeo compression has some purists asking questions, all of which are answered by the fact that Vimeo has compression limitations. Rich promises a behind-the-scenes video next month, and at some point the uncompressed version will be available that will put to rest the questions being asked.

We look forward to getting our hands on a D4 once there are more than 10 of them in the world (an interesting insight gleaned from Rich's comments on his video) and it can be used outside of a conference room (as indicated by the PDN blog post here).

(Continued after the Jump)

Here are a collection of videos we like that give you more insights into the camera. And, if you want to pre-order one online, you can sign up to be notified of it's availablity on Amazon here.

Nikon D4 Product Tour here:

Wireless shooting with iPad here:

Nikon Movie - I AM PUSHING THE LIMITS here:

Nikon D4 Menu Walk-Through here:

David Hobby, Mr. Strobist himself, has decided he is Bailing on the Nikon D4. He's gone, instead, going for a used medium format camera. He's spent $10k to make the leap, and for what it seems like from what he's described, it works for him.

One point that David made in his post was " If I were still shooting daily sports, I'd probably be lining up to preorder this camera just like everyone else." Frankly, there isn't so much of a market for this now, to be honest. Ask any sports photographer and they will tell you that there's no money in sports photography, thanks to the likes of US Presswire, Cal Sport Media, Icon, and so on. Unless, of course, you're staff somewhere, or just so happen to have a sweet contract with a major sports magazine. A freelancer who shoots sports will have to be selling internal organs to be able to afford this camera - not because the camera's too expensive - it's not - but because they just don't have the money. However, if you're staff, you'll just put in for your next camera to be a D4, and hope you have a friendly editor who will let it through - or orders you a D3 now while you can still get them.

For anyone who is in Nikon, the notion of switching to Canon is really now a non-starter, if they were thinking that. If you own a D3, you will eventually own the D4 if for no other reason than you'll need to upgrade your camera in a few years, and with a 5 year cycle for new bodies, the D5 won't be out when you need the D4. The multimedia, for so many reasons, does trump the Canon, and I am interested to try out all my Nikon primes on the D4.

Lastly, consider the cost-justification. If the life-cycle of the D4 is 5 years, that's 60 months. At $100 a month ($200 a month if you have a backup camera, which you should) if you can't justify a $100 a month expenditure for the primary tool you use to create your images, then are you really a professional? It's a tool, and if you need it, then buy it. If, however, you are considering it as just the latest and greatest toy, then don't. Thankfully, if you're a member of Nikon Professional Services, they were kind enough to send out an email to facilitate working professionals getting the camera before all the non-professionals.

* Note - We have, in the past, been a sponsored speaker by Nikon through professional organizations.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

LicenseStream - Evaporating Into Thin Air?

For several days recently, the LicenseStream website has been down. ImageSpan (Which changed it's name to LicenseStream in January of 2011), was the company behind LicenseStream, and billed the site as "the market-leading licensing and royalty payment automation platform for all media types and businesses." Yet, we have never really seen a functioning business model that we thought would work.

More than one LicenseStream employee was on-site at PhotoPlus Expo back in October in New York City looking for a new place of employment, stating that the company only had enough money to last through the end of December, as they spoke to prospective employers. Oddly, as Digital Railroad ( the formal online portal for image archiving, marketing, and sales, as well as a client delivery platform) went down in flames several years ago, they shopped their company around and then, with no buyers, shuttered operations with little warning to clients. LicenseStream has, according to sources, not been doing so - at least not amongst prospective buyers that would make sense to take over operations that we checked with. Whispers of friendly staff telling image owners they had relationships with to backup their images & data have not been substantiated, however, with enough chatter on the subject, and the risks if the data isn't redundant, we strongly encourage you to have all your LicenseStream content archived, either way.

LicenseStream secured Series A funding back in February 2007 (here) and another $11,000,000 in June of 2008 as a part of a second round of funding (here). In April of 2010, a new CEO was brought in, and another round of financing, billed as "growth financing", with an unreported amount of additional funds (here).

In preparing for this posting, we checked one last time and found that the website, at least as of this publishing, was back up. Perhaps it was just a multi-day site crash over the holidays, or perhaps it was a harbinger of things to come.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.