On Memorial Day 2011, Narces Benoit witnessed and filmed a group of Miami police officers shooting and killing a suspect in a car chase and armed robbery. He was then confronted by officers who handcuffed him and smashed his cell phone, but Benoit was able to sneakily preserve the video with some quick thinking. The Miami Herald writes,
Benoit said the officers eventually uncuffed him after gunshots rang out elsewhere and he discreetly removed the [memory] card and placed it in his mouth.
Officers again took his phone, demanding his video. He said they took him to a nearby mobile command center, snapped a picture of him, then took him to police headquarters and conducted a recorded interview while he kept the [memory] card in his mouth. He insisted his phone was broken.
Apple recently filed a patent having to do with baking infrared communication capabilities into the iPhone. Although there are certainly useful applications for the technology (e.g. a museum beaming information to the phone at different exhibitions), what’s troubling is that the feature may also allow the camera to be remotely disabled by those who wish to prevent photography.
[...] the transmitter could be located in an area where photography is prohibited and the infrared signal could include encoded data that represents a command to disable recording functions.
This example could easily apply to movie theatres trying to stop customers from filming a movie for illegal distribution or any kind of music concert to protect an artist’s image from being photographed or videoed illegally, as shown below. [#]
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a camera that could be disabled remotely by a third party…
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.
Libertarian magazine Reason created this video about the erosion of photographers’ rights in the United States. One of the cases highlighted is the one involving Antonio Musumeci, who was arrested for filming a government building and came out victorious in a lawsuit with the help of the NYCLU.
In November 2010, Talking Points Memo published an article that included a wire photo taken on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. Yesterday they received a cease and desist letter from the NYSE claiming that photos of the trading floor cannot be displayed without the NYSE’s permission, and that it owns trademark rights to images of the floor:
NYSE has common law and Federal trademark rights in and to NYSE’s name and images of the Trading Floor [...] NYSE owns Federal tradmark rights in one depiction of the Trading Floor and common law rights in the Trading Floor viewed from virtually any angle [...] Accordingly, NYSE has the right to prevent unauthorized use of its Trademarks and reference to NYSE by others. [#]
You can read the two page C&D letter here. What are your thoughts on this?
After Space Shuttle Endeavour launched on its final mission, a woman named Stefanie Gordon snapped a photograph of it from her Delta airlines seat using her iPhone, sharing it with friends and family through TwitPic. Though it quickly went viral, and was shared all over the media, Gordon was only paid by five media organizations for licensing rights to the photo. The Red Tape blog over on MSNBC wrote a great post a couple days ago bringing the issue of copyright infringement to the public’s attention:
In a world where social media users, bloggers and even some professional journalists are increasingly comfortable simply copying the work of others and republishing it, can intellectual property rights survive? Can original content survive? And what should the world do when an amateur photographer takes a newsworthy photo and shares it on a social network?
We didn’t share Gordon’s photo here on PetaPixel because we never got her permission to do so (she never responded to our requests). Luckily for us, NASA just published this awesome (non-copyrighted) photograph of the launch that you can freely share and republish.
Since launching in 2008, TwitPic has been at the center of quite a few copyright controversies and legal battles, especially when disasters strike and Twitter users are able to publish photos of things that are happening well before major news outlets. Back in early 2010 photographer Daniel Morel had an iconic photograph taken during the Haiti earthquake widely republished in newspapers across the world without his permission after he uploaded the photos to TwitPic, then later that year Twitter’s decision to display TwitPic photos directly on their website caused a brouhaha. TwitPic has finally decided to update their Terms of Service to make it clear that users of the service retain the copyright of everything they upload. Read more…
New Jersey is considering a new law that would make it a third-degree crime to photograph children without parental consent. More specifically, bill A3297 would prevent people from shooting photos or videos of children when “a reasonable parent or guardian would not expect his child to be the subject of such reproduction”. Apparently the bill was proposed after a 63-year-old pedophile was caught recording young children at a swimming pool last summer, but was released because he hadn’t committed any serious crime. In New Jersey, third-degree crimes carry potential punishments of 3-5 years in jail and a $15,000 fine.
It’s too bad bad a few bad apples always seem to ruin things for legitimate photographers.
DreamWorks won’t be making a movie about the death of Kodachrome film after all — Fox will. Turns out the director of the movie, Shawn Levy, had a first look deal with Fox that gives the film studio first dibs on Levy’s projects.
It was the result of an honest error [...] producers initially brought the pitch to Fox 2000, which passed. Believing that represented due diligence under Levy’s Fox pact, producers next went to DreamWorks, which went for it (though sources say no money changed hands).
But 20th Century Fox caught wind of the deal, decided it ultimately liked the project and, citing its deal with Levy, yanked it back onto its development slate, where it stands today. [#]
The film is rumored to be about a father and son who take a road trip to process their final Kodachrome rolls before development ends.