Random Thoughts 4

Posted on 2/24/1999 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



February 24, 1999

Stock Photographer Randy Taylor Becomes VP At Liaison

Randy Taylor has joined Liaison Agency as Vice President of the Press Division.

Liaison represents photojournalists worldwide and distributes their coverage of

news and feature stories to magazines and newspapers around the world. Liaison is

part of Getty Images.

In addition to overseeing the overall production of the agency, Taylor's duties

will include the development of a digital platform to facilitate submission and

distribution of Liaison's production worldwide.

"Randy Taylor's experience as a photogjournalist, his management expertise and

vision for the future of digital technology make him an ideal candidate for this

very key position," says Michel Bernard, CEO of Liaison.

Taylor has been an editorial and stock photographer for 25 years. Between 1974

and 1986 he workded as a contract photographer for Associated Press, Sygma and

Black Star. Traveling to over 50 countries, he photographed thousands of major

events and celebrities, learning French, Spanish and Portugese along the way.

Prior to joining Liaison he managed and co-founded two photo agencies -

International Color Stock, Inc. and International News Service, Inc.

Trend Watch Survey

A global survey by Trend Watch has identified 488,000+ seats in the global

creative market.

North America   




Asia and Pacific   


Central and Latin   




Middle East   


This group includes: ad agencies, designers and illustrators, commercial

photographers, corporate designers, catalog publishers, magazine publishers and

book publishers.

"The country background and market dynamics data was developed to help

internationally-focused marketers build market entry or expansion strategies for

new world markets," notes Jim Whittington, TrendWatch partner.

Coast Clear For Unofficial Diana Memorabilia

An official free-for-all has been declared for tacky Diana products. This story is

good news for any photographer who licenses photographs in the UK of any celebrity.

by: Charles Swan

The UK Patent Office has rejected an application by the Memorial Fund to trademark

the face of Princess Diana.

The application, filed in October 1997, consisted of 26 photographs of the

princess by photographer Tim Graham. The application covered a wide range of

goods, from porcelain to playing cards to chronometric instruments.

The Patent Office rejected the trade mark because it is not distinctive. The face

of the princess as reproduced on goods such as tea cups is decoration, not a

"badge of origin" distinguishing those products from other manufacturers' goods.

Many manufacturers have been holding back from producing Diana

merchandise pending the trade mark application. The fund has taken an aggressive

approach towards unauthorised merchandisers and few have so far been prepared to

challenge them.

One company which did was the Illinois-based souvenir company Bradford Exchange,

which produced a musical plate which played the original melody of Candle in the

Wind alongside the slogan "Keep her light alive". Bradford Exchange sued the fund

last year in Delaware seeking to establish its legal right to produce Diana

memorabilia without a licence.

Public response to the fund's trade mark activities has been mixed.

Princess Diana was "the people's princess" and the people have been

distinctly uneasy about the fund's attempts to control the use of her image. In

contrast with most other European countries, and the United States, UK law gives

little protection to celebrities over the use of their image, beyond libel laws

and passing off (where unofficial merchandise is portrayed as official). A trade

mark consisting of the word "Elvis" has been held not to be distinctive and the

Spice Girls failed to stop unauthorized merchandise last year which did not carry

an "unofficial" tag. Unauthorized use of celebrity images in press and poster

advertising is commonplace.

Celebrity photographers and photo libraries with celebrity collections enjoy a

healthily unregulated market in the UK. The Princess Diana trade mark decision

will be welcome confirmation of the inalienable right of the public to make free

with the images of those celebrities who, at the end of the day, owe their star

status (and wealth) to that public.

Copyright And All That BULL

Many would consider the London Times one of the world's premier newspapers, and

probably one of the more ethical publication in the UK. When it comes to

copyright infringement, think again.

Tim Bryce does a lot of cattle "portrait" photography for breed societies. He

sells prints to the societies and individual farmers who promote the breed and

their individual animals. Some of these farmers also have web sites.

Tim sell prints on the basis that any further use is only allowed after contacting

him. A comprehensive all-rights-reserved notice is stuck to the back of each

print. In addition there is a notice printed (photographically) onto the front of

each print, usually in the bottom right corner (this is common practice).

First Infringement

The Times first infringement occurred on August 30, 1997 when the Sunday Times

used one of Tim's photos on the front page of its "Weekend" section. This photo

appeared half page with an article called "Freaks of the Farmyard." This use was

not only unauthorized, but was defamatory against the farming industry which is a

major source of Tim's livelihood. The breeder of the bull was very upset that her

Belgian Blue bull, a fine example of the particular breed, was called a "freak".

If Tim had known how the image was to have been used he would have

refused publication. Of course, the Sunday Times did not bother to ask


The print was supplied to a Times bureau by a local breed society. It was scanned

by a bureau and wired to the Times. The Times digitally removed the copyright

notice from the front of the image before publication. Despite a copyright notice

on the front and back of the print, at no time did any party ask Tim for


The Times argued that the breed society said there was no problem with copyright.

There may have been a "misunderstanding" by the breed society, but eventually the

Times admitted liability. Tim left the matter in the hands of a solicitor who

negotiated a fee of 750 (sterling) out of court.

Second Abuse

The next abuse occurred in the News section of the 7 February 1999 Sunday Times.

The article was entitled, "Farmers Hunt For Brides On The Internet." The farmer

interviewed for the article has a website .

Several of Tim's images are on that site. The farmer has permission for this web

use and the images are marked with Tim's copyright.

This image (again of a Bull) was downloaded off the web and published - this time

with the copyright notice intact on the image. The file sizes of images on this

site range from 17K to 34K - not very large, but the Times got satisfactory

reproduction for their purposes. Tim was not consulted at any time.


If the maximum penalty for using an image without permission is to pay the normal

usage fee, there is no incentive for a paper to negotiate rights up front. It is

not surprising that it is common practice at British newspapers to steal first and

pay, only if you get caught.

Lawyer Charles Swan says, "It has always been my impression that they (UK

newspapers) regard themselves as being above the law with respect to copyright.

It's as though the newspapers were burglars, but instead of going to jail if

they're caught all they have to do is give the goods back."

It is my understanding that UK photographers regularly buy all the local

newspapers to hunt for their images. Finding their image after it has been

published is the only way they have any hopes of getting paid for their work. Of

course, such a system is of little help to foreign photographers who can't daily

peruse the British press. And since small internet files seem to be perfectly

adequate for publication in UK newspapers, anyone with images on the internet can

expect to have their work stolen by the British press.

Newspapers make a big deal about not having time to "check" on rights because

they have to get the information into print while it is still news. Their

may be some slight justification in that position for real hard news stories,

but the stories in question are features. They would have been as valid a

week later as they were on the day they were published. There was no

compelling public interest to publish these stories without first clearing

the rights to the material.

Nevertheless, there is little photographers can do legally. Additional damages

are available if

you can prove that an infringement was "flagrant". But, the costs of

bringing such an action are so great, that it is seldom worth the effort.

Suppose a photographer bits the bullet; hires a lawyer; and gets a major

settlement. Does that set a useful precedent? Probably not, because

the legal teams at the newspapers know they can make it so costly for anyone

to pursue a similar action that most photographers will settle.

Charles Swan says it is his impression that the newspaper industry in the UK

is "exceptionally naughty" when it comes to observing copyright. "Most other

industries here pay more respect to copyright. I do a lot of work for

advertising agencies, for example. It may not appear so sometimes, but most

advertising agencies are pretty careful to avoid infringing copyright. If

they get caught the penalties can be severe, because not only are the damages

potentially much greater, but legal claims on advertising campaigns can be

very bad news for agencies' relationships with their client advertisers.

There is every incentive not to infringe. I would not want your US

subscribers to gain the impression that the UK is a copyright free zone in

areas outside the newspaper publishing industry."

Credit At Corbis

Traditionally, when a credit line is listed under an image the photographer's name

has come first and the agency second like: Jim Pickerell/Stock Connection. Now,

Corbis has reversed that order on their Corbis Images site. The credit reads:

Corbis/photographers name. A little thing, but it has some Corbis photographers


Copyright © 1999 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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