Posts Tagged ‘laws’

Beware the Coming War Against Personal Photography and Video

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Are you ready for the imagery war — the war against personal photography and capturing of video? You’d better be.

The title of this piece actually isn’t entirely accurate. In some ways, this war isn’t just coming, it’s already begun. Forces are lining up on both sides, under the radar for most of us so far, but preparing for action. And right now, if I had to place a bet (cash, not bitcoins, please), I’d reluctantly have to predict the anti-imagery folks have the better chance of winning.
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The Legality and Ethics of Pointing a Lens Into a Private Residence for Art

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Award-winning photographer Michael Wolf is raising some eyebrows with a new photo project titled “Window Watching.” The series features photographs of high-rise apartment windows in Hong Kong, offering glimpses into the lives of people living inside the private residences. Basically, Wolf pointed a telephoto lens at open windows to photograph people going about their day-to-day-lives, without their knowledge and consent.
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Snapping Pictures While You Vote Could Get You In Trouble with the Law

As you make your way to polling places today to cast your votes, you might want to look into your state’s laws before pulling out your camera and snapping photographs inside your voting booth. Certain states have pretty strict laws with regard to snapping and sharing photographs of ballots. Earlier this year, Wisconsin election officials specifically warned voters that sharing photos of ballots on Facebook or Twitter is a Class I felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10K fine.
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Why Photogs in Certain States Can’t Enter Nat Geo’s Photo Contest

Yesterday we reported that Nikon Photo Contest is no longer accepting film photos starting this year. Turns out it’s not the only prestigious photo contest with rules that are causing some discussion. Check out what National Geographic Photo Contest 2012 says under the rules section “Who May Enter”:

Contest is open only to individuals who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry and who do NOT reside in Cuba, Iran, New Jersey, North Korea, the Province of Quebec, Sudan, Syria or Vermont. Employees of National Geographic Society, and its subsidiaries and affiliates [...] CONTEST IS VOID IN CUBA, IRAN, NEW JERSEY, NORTH KOREA, THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC, SUDAN, SYRIA, VERMONT AND WHERE PROHIBITED.

Iran and North Korea? Those are understandable… but New Jersey and Vermont? Turns out there’s a pretty simple answer for those states as well: state laws.
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Why Your Digital Camera’s GPS Might Not Work in China

It’s strange to think that cartography laws could somehow affect the functionality of your camera overseas, but a recent article on Ogle Earth points out that just such a thing has been going on with GPS-enabled cameras as far back as 2010. The whole “investigation” into the matter began with the release of the Panasonic TS4 earlier this year. For some reason the press release cautioned that the GPS in the camera “may not work in China or in the border regions of countries neighboring China.”

But after doing some digging they discovered that these restrictions are not limited to the TS4, nor are they even limited to Panasonic. In fact, many major manufacturers go to great lengths to conceal or toss away the location data captured by GPS-enabled cameras when you’re taking photos in the People’s Republic of China. Read more…

You Don’t Own Anything Anymore: Copyright Law in an Internet Age

John Herrman over at BuzzFeed has written up an interesting piece on how and why “grabby” terms of service have become ubiquitous in the online world of social media:

In a world where sharing a photo is strictly a matter of getting another copy made and mailing it, or getting it published, copyrights are pretty easy to keep track of and these laws hold up pretty well. Sending a physical photo to your grandmother goes like this: you either put the picture in an envelope and send it, or you get a copy made yourself and send that.

Sending your grandmother an email photo, though, might involve copying your photo five or six times; first to Google’s servers, then to another server, then to an ISP’s CDN, then to AOL’s servers, then to your grandmother’s computer. As far as you’re concerned, this feels exactly like dropping an envelope in the mail. As far as copyright is concerned, it’s a choreographed legal dance.

And so these sites have to get your permission — a license — to copy and distribute the things you post. Just to function as advertised, they need your permission to “use” and to “host,” to “store” and “reproduce.” What they don’t necessarily need is the right to “modify” and “create derivative works,” or to “publicly perform.” That is, unless they need to make money. Which of course they do.

You Don’t Own Anything Anymore (via APhotoEditor)


Image credit: Large copyright graffiti sign on cream colored wall by Horia Varlan

MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger

MIOPS is a new smartphone-controlled camera trigger that combines all of the features photographers want in a high-speed camera trigger into one convenient device.

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The History of Copyright Law in the US

Ever wonder how and why copyright law came about? This interesting video will bring you up to speed. It’s pretty biased against certain aspects of copyright law, but is interesting nonetheless.

(via Reddit)

Can Monkeys Own Rights to Photos?

When we shared the story of how monkeys hijacked photographer David Slater’s camera and unwittingly snapped some self-portraits, we asked the question “doesn’t the monkey technically own the rights to the images?” Techdirt, a blog that often highlights copyright issues, went one step further and dedicated a whole post to that question.
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Baltimore Officers Make Up Laws and Detain Student for Photography

29-year-old student and avid photographer Christopher Fussell was taking photographs of trains at a Baltimore station back in March when he was confronted by Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) officers. He was able to record the conversation, which shows the officers having a complete lack of understanding of laws and photographers’ rights. Fussell writes,

I have no qualms with MTA Police inquiring what I’m doing, but the fact that they took it to the next level with so many lies, unreasonable detainment, denying my boarding of my train that caused me to be delayed and following me to delay me further; this whole episode of theirs was unprofessional and perhaps unconstitutional. I am posting this video in hopes to further strengthen photographer’s constitutional rights.

The story has since become a pretty big deal after the video went viral online, with the MTA admitting that the officer had incorrectly cited the Patriot Act and other laws. The American Civil Liberties Union has also sided with Fussell and may sue MTA over his detainment.

Photographers Raise Concern Over Polaroids on Sotheby’s Auction Block

We reported last month that the New York auction house, Sotheby’s will be facilitating the sale of more than 1,200 photos from the Polaroid company’s collection this June. The photos include images captured by legendary photographers and artists such as Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol. Sotheby’s estimates that the collection will raise some $7.5 million to $11.5 million, which will go towards paying for Polaroid’s Minnesota bankruptcy court.

Yet while Polaroid regains its financial footing, several featured photographers feel they are at a loss — if the photos change hands, they may lose their contractual rights.

According to the British Journal of Photography, some of the photographers are motioning for a re-hearing, hoping that the courts will reconsider selling the collection.

When the auction was first announced, photographer Chuck Close shared his disapproval in an interview with the New York Times that such a groundbreaking collection should go to the auction block:

“There’s really nothing like it in the history of photography.” But, he added, “to sell it is criminal.”

While the sale of these images is not technically illegal, the copyright laws are muddied in this situation. Typically, when a print is sold, the artist or photographer retains the copyright, along with the ability to reproduce his or her image. However, with these Polaroid images, the original image is unique.

Originally, when the artists gave the images to the Polaroid collection, their contracts granted them perpetual access to their work. But when the auction occurs, the contract will be nullified once the work is sold. Since the one of a kind images shot on instant film cannot be replicated, the artists require direct access to their work in order to license it.

In an interview with the British Journal of Photography, American critic Allan Coleman sums up the problem:

“Since they don’t have access, they can’t license the works. All they have is the copyright, which is meaningless now. I don’t think the court understood the unique nature of the collection.”

(via The British Journal of Photography)


Image Credits: 9-Part Self Portrait by Chuck Close and Farrah Fawcett by Andy Warhol, courtesy of Sotheby’s