Posts Tagged ‘AFP’

Photographer Joe Klamar Explains His Controversial Olympic Portraits

AFP photographer Joe Klamar’s portraits of US Olympic athletes have caused a firestorm of controversy in the past week, with people calling the images “insulting” due to their lighting, angles, and concepts. Klamar has responded to the controversy over on AFP. Rather than being intentionally “bad” for the purpose of making a point, they were simply the result of being unprepared:

“I was under the impression that I was going to be photographing athletes on a stage or during press conference where I would take their headshots for our archives,” [Klamar] explained. “I really had no idea that there would be a possibility for setting up a studio.” It was the first time AFP had been invited to participate in the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Media Summit, which was held this year, in May, at a Hilton Hotel in Dallas.

Joe had come armed with two cameras and three lenses (17-35, 70-200 and 300), plus one flash and a 12-inch laptop. To his horror, he saw upon arriving that his colleagues from other news agencies and media organizations had set up studio booths with professional lights, backdrops and prop assistants. “It was very embarrassing to find out that I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of a studio,” Joe told us by email.

Pixels and piety: Photographing Olympic icons (via A Photo Editor)


Image credits: Photographs by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Shocking: North Korea Doctored Photo of Kim Jong-il’s Funeral

News photo agencies EPA, AFP, and Reuters have all issued kill orders for a photo of Kim Jong-il’s funeral procession released by the Korean Central News Agency, the state news agency of North Korea. The photo (above at bottom) raised red flags after a comparison with a Kyodo News photo taken just seconds earlier revealed that a number of people had vanished from the scene. The New York Times writes,

A side-by-side comparison of the full images does point to a possibly banal explanation: totalitarian aesthetics. With the men straggling around the sidelines, a certain martial perfection is lost. Without the men, the tight black bands of the crowd on either side look railroad straight.

Perhaps it was a simple matter of one person gilding the lily.

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First Round of Fight Over Iconic Haiti Photo Goes to Photog

Earlier this year photographer Daniel Morel was shocked when a photograph he captured during the devastating earthquake in Haiti and posted to TwitPic was distributed by Agency France Presse (AFP) and published on the front page of newspapers around the world — all without his permission.

To add insult to injury, he was then sued by AFP when he sent cease and desist letters in response to the copyright infringement. The dispute has turned into a legal battle over whether images uploaded to TwitPic and shared on Twitter can be freely republished by third parties. In what might be an indication of things to come, a federal court has denied AFP’s pre-trial request to have the case thrown out.
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News Wire Allegedly Steals Iconic Haiti Photo, Then Sues Photographer

Photojournalist Daniel Morel shot an iconic image of a shocked woman looking out from the rubble moments after last January’s earthquake in Port au Prince, Haiti. Within an hour, Morel jumped on Twitter to share 13 high resolution images he had uploaded on Twitpic. By the next day, the photo of the woman was picked up by Agence France Presse (AFP) and Getty Images, was run on the cover of several publications and websites.

But Morel said he never authorized the news wires to distribute his images. In fact, several of his images were credited to another person, Lisandro Suero of the Dominican Republic, who reportedly has no photographic background. However, Suero tweeted Morel’s images without the photographer’s permission, and claimed copyright as his own:

And so began a legal storm.

Now Morel is being sued by AFP after he sent them cease and desist letters that the agency calls an “antagonistic assertion of rights.”

According to court documents, AFP claims that they did not infringe on Morel’s copyright and is suing Morel for “commercial disparagement,” as well as “demanding exorbitant payment.” AFP says that Twitter’s Terms of Service allowed for them to use, copy and distribute the image, and that Morel did not specify limits on how the photo should be credited.

Morel responded, saying that he was not familiar with Twitter’s TOS, and maintains that the images were stolen from his account without his permission, distributed and sold by the agency, which then “induced” other publications to violate Morel’s copyright. In a counterclaim to the agency’s complaint, Morel’s lawyer, Barbara Hoffman wrote:

To the extent that under the circumstances a specific intent in posting the images on Twitter can be attributed to Mr. Morel given the circumstances, … he posted his images online and advertised them on Twitter in the hopes that his images would span the globe to inform the world of the disaster, and that he would also receive compensation and credit as a professional photographer for breaking news of the earthquake before the news and wire services.

Some publications, including The Wall Street Journal, NBC, and the Associated Press contacted Morel to exchange compensation for his permission to publish. Others did not.

In order to enforce his copyright, Morel sent several cease and desist notices to several publications.

It seems that the case really boils down to the semantics of the Twitter TOS.

What might be worth noting is that the court documents from AFP frequently cite Twitter’s TOS, which mostly regards the text in Tweets, and does not extend to content linked to (otherwise, entire sites’ content might be considered royalty-free). Morel uploaded on TwitPic, which has a separate Terms, and is an entirely separate entity from Twitter.

Media Nation blogger Dan Kennedy posted PDFs of AFP’s complaint against Morel and Morel’s answer.

Whatever the verdict, this suit may change the manner in which photographers and journalists transmit their data via social media, even in difficult emergency situations like post-quake Haiti.

Do you have legal insight, experience with copyright infringement, or any thoughts about social media and the TOS?