4RANDOM THOUGHTS 119
May 5, 2006
ASMP Seeks Dynamic Solutions To Orphan Works Dilemma
Faced with the potential of very damaging "Orphan Works" legislation, and while remaining committed to seeking legislative solutions, ASMP's board of directors is also seeking to lead the way in trying to find technology and business solutions that might be utilized by visual artists.
An obvious minimal first step would be to develop an online searchable database of all names and contact information of professional creatives. ASMP has its member list. Every other trade association has its member list. Every stock agency has a list of its suppliers.
One central list could easily be developed if all the various organizations that currently have lists would agree to cooperate. There will be many objections, but the danger of doing nothing and losing most of the opportunity to collect against unauthorized use seems much worse.
Among the objections:
- "We can give out the names of our photographers without their permission." Send a letter to every photographer telling them you are going to add their contact information to the list unless they tell you not to in 60 days.
- Agencies will say, "Photographers will make the sale directly if we let the buyer contact the photographer." Ethically, that should not happen, but is it better that no one gets paid and stealing is made legal than for the agency to make a sale?
- Agencies will say, "We don't want our competitors to know who our photographer's are." The database does not need to contain agency affiliation so competitors would not know which photographers are represented by whom.
- "What happens when someone moves or changes contact information?"
There would need to be a central manager of the database with the authorization to change data when requested, but ASMP or some other organization would probably be willing to take on that responsibility, particularly if a small fee was charged for any correction.
ASMP president Clem Spalding said, "Our members need new tools and services to deal with Orphan Works and the expanding digital marketplace. We must make it easier for rights holders to be located." This is not just true for ASMP member, but for all photographers.
This won't solve the problem for those pictures used without a credit line, but it is a lot better than nothing.
The ASMP board and staff are exploring options and possible partners for the creation of registries or other databases of owner information.
Every photographer and stock agency, whether ASMP members or not, should support ASMP in this endeavor.
Orphan Works In The UK
Charles Swan of Swan Turton, a London based media law firm, told Visuell, the German magazine for image sellers and buyers, that there is an orphan work provision in UK copyright law, but it is a narrow one. He said it only covers, "revived copyright works which, in the case of photographs, means photographs taken before 1945. No one bothered much about that when it was introduced. The dangerous thing about the direction the Americans are heading is that it opens the doors to the wholesale infringement of any number of photographs that aren't genuine orphans - including photographs owned by European photographers and libraries."
Jupiterimages Acquires IFA Bilderteam
Jupitermedia Corporation has announced acquisition all of the shares of IFA Bilderteam GmbH (www.ifa-bilderteam.com). IFA Bilderteam is headquartered in Munich, Germany and has an office in Dusseldorf, Germany, and is a leading resource for rights-managed images. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
"IFA Bilderteam distributes over 1.2 million rights-managed and royalty-free images. We will integrate IFA Bilderteam with our existing Jupiterimages' sales operation in Germany," stated Alan M. Meckler, Chairman and CEO of Jupitermedia Corporation. "Combining our strong royalty-free presence in Germany with IFA's strong rights-managed presence creates a terrific base of operations to grow all of our Jupiterimages' brands in Germany, Austria and German speaking Switzerland. This plan is based on what we have successfully been implementing in France over the previous year," added Meckler.
Video on Google
Getty Images Archive Films collection has had just over 1,500 historic and retro film clips in the Google database since it went live in January.
JupiterImages has recently placed 8,000 clips from its Creatas, Animation Factory, Thinkstock and Footage brands on the site. In his blog Alan Meckler, CEO of Jupitermedia said, "I certainly do not want to make too much noise about this other than to say that it is the 'beginning of the beginning' for this arrangement."
Much of this footage is digitally shot with small digital video cameras, not shot on expensive film and later converted to digital. Will Google help popularize this format and make it possible for more photographers to justify shooting digital video? We'll see.
PhotoIndia.com Launches RF Collection
PhotoIndia.com with offices in the U.S. and India has launched an RF collection called "Uniquely India" that currently has 5,000 high-res digital images in the collection. They expect to be adding 2,500 images to the collection on a bi-monthly basis and are providing contemporary Indian content for the global marketplace.
The URL for viewing the material is www.photosindia.com. They are also looking for global distribution partners. For more information Email: email@example.com.
Sales Going Down - Attitude Changes
One photographer recently commented that he is hearing from many photographers that their sales are going down and the price discounts for usages seem to be getting more extreme.
He said, "I do not produce enough quantity to ever be a profitable stock photographer" and suggested that individual photographers must be as productive as Tom Grill in order to survive. He continued, "Time to move into a different career." He indicated that it was not only my commentary recently that confirmed his feelings, but through observation he sees that "for a fraction of the effort people in other careers are often in a much better position financially. I will keep an interested eye on the Stock photography market and dabble in a niche market (he described) while slowly moving toward an easier and more profitable business."