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Photographers having access trouble on the Gulf Coast

May 27th, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , ,

Newsweek is reporting that BP is working with the government to restrict access by journalists, particularly photographers, reporting on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here are a couple of related stories:

From Media Bistro: CBS Denied Access to Shoot Oil Spill: Coast Guard and Contractors Say, ‘This is BP’s Rules, Not Ours’

From Mother Jones: It’s BP’s Oil

If you are having trouble with access while covering the BP oil spill, or hear about someone else having problems, please contact us at the nppa advocacy committee at [email protected] or [email protected]

If you know of another article that addresses this issue, please post it in the comments.

-Alicia

In the meantime, here is the live feed of the spill (controlled by BP):

http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/homepage/STAGING/local_assets/bp_homepage/html/rov_stream.html

Posted in Access | No Comments »

Licensing “social media” use

May 25th, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , ,

There is an interesting blog post/discussion on APhotoEditor.com about whether or not social media is considered covered by an “internet” usage license. It is a great topic, and really important for photographers to think about. Whenever something is vague in your contract, it might be interpreted differently than you intend, either by a client, or a judge. Neither is a good result. Remember too, that your client is the company, not the person. One quick “downsize” and the person who you have an “understanding” with is no longer there to enforce that understanding.

As interesting as the original post is, be sure to read the comments for some interesting points. The post has responses from photo buyers, whose opinions are likely to be similar to your clients. The comments include solutions from photographers.

In my opinion, one of the most important things to consider in this situation is that if you allow clients to post photos on “social media” websites, the images will be subjected to the terms and conditions of those social media sites. You don’t know what those are, and therefore can’t monitor them or pull your images down if they become too grabby.

Remember just a few weeks ago, we discovered that AFP thinks that any photo posted on Twitter (it was actually TwitPic) is free for the taking (I don’t agree). Does that mean that giving your client the right to post on social media= giving AFP all rights to you picture? Something to think about, and yet another reason why it is important that the Twitter case comes out in favor of the photographer.

There must be a balance. Social media usage is something that will be valuable to clients. I think that you should either clarify that it is a separate charge, or as one commenter suggested, increase your internet usage fee and clarify that it is included. Social media is also a very BROAD term, and applies to many different things out there. Finally, some social media sites allow the person who uploads to select a “creative commons” license, which really does give the farm away. Most social media sites also strip the metadata from your images, creating an instant orphan work.

Some options: 1) Have a internet usage license that excludes social media; 2) increase “internet” price to account for the additional uses that clients will now have; 3) have a “social media” license that specifies the social media sites to be used; 4) request that any images be posted along with specific copyright info; 5) provide a separate set of low resolution files specifically for social media use; 6) stick with the status quo, and let the chips fall where they may (just don’t get mad later).

Either way, be clear about what you intend and what your client expects. That is how you keep your client and stay in business.

Posted in contracts, copyright, Legal, photographers | No Comments »

Is Your Internship Legal?

May 22nd, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With the school year wrapping up, another Internship season is upon us. So I thought it might be worth re-hashing an issue that I posted on my personal blog a couple of months ago about labor laws and free internships. Here it is:

You need an internship. Companies love having interns because it lightens the work load, they get to nurture and identify young talent and it supports the industry to train future photographers.

There is an interesting article in the New York Times about the expanding trend of unpaid internships and the reality that some unpaid internships violate federal wage laws.

I also found a useful evaluation at this link.

One of the big concerns is that unpaid internships are being used to replace paid workers in this economic recession. This is certainly true in the photojournalism world.

Some states require that an intern receive school credit in order to be eligible as an unpaid intern.

The Department of Labor has provided a set of guidelines to determine whether someone is a trainee, entitled to not being paid (this is relevant for Fair Labor Standards Act- i.e., whether or not minimum wage laws are being violated).

There is also a report by the Economic Policy Insitute on the trends and need for reform for internships.

According to the DOL, there are six factors used for determining if someone is an employee or trainee:

1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the
employer, is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic
educational instruction;
2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees;
3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under their close
observation;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the
activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually
be impeded;
5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training
period; and
6. The employer and the trainees understand that the trainees are not entitled to
wages for the time spent in training.

“If all of the factors listed above are met, then the worker is a “trainee”, an employment
relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the worker.”

This does not affect non-profits using volunteers.

You may think this is overkill when you have a student willing to work for free in exchange for valuable experience, but this is extra important for photographers because the consideration of whether someone is an employee is also important for consideration of who owns the copyright. Also, if there is an on-the-job injury or a sexual discrimination case, employment status is extremely important.

Do you want to know if the free internship program at your paper is in compliance with the law? To be sure, better ask your corporate counsel.

Posted in business, contracts, interns, photographers, photojournalism, students | No Comments »

Law and Ethics in Multimedia– panel discussion video available

May 20th, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The legendary Multimedia Immersion Workshop had a great panel on ethics and legal issues a couple of days ago. The best part, for those of us who weren’t able to make it to Syracuse, is that the entire discussion is available online. The panelists were an extraordinary group of experts, including Mickey H. Osterreicher (NPPA general counsel), along with panelists Barbara Fought, Roy Gutterman, Evan Vucci, and Will Sullivan.

The panelists debunked the myth of the 30-second rule regarding the use of music as well as clarifying many other legal issues for photographers. Issues addressed included: using music in multimedia presentation; licensing; using your images in a portfolio; shield law; trespass; commercial use vs. journalism; copyright issues; access; creative commons; and important contemporary cases.

Follow this link, and click on the box below that says “Immersion Ethics Panel, May 18, 2010.” (forgive the commercials, I will see if I can’t get a clean download version).

Posted in copyright, ethics, law, Legal, photographers, photojournalism, students | No Comments »

Welcome to the Advocacy Blog

May 20th, 2010 by Alicia Calzada

Thanks for checking in with the NPPA Advocacy Committee. While important news for photographers will continue to be posted to the main website, we hope that this will be a resource for those interested in learning more about advocacy issues including copyrights, First Amendment issues and other issues affecting the industry.

Yours Truly,

Alicia Wagner Calzada

NPPA Advocacy Chair

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »