The 2012 London Olympics is pretty strict about how the Games’ branding is used, prohibiting the unauthorized use of everything from the Olympic symbol to the word “Olympic”. Enforcing the rules is another story, as businesses both near and far use Olympic branding extensively to promote their own interests. Photographer Craig Atkinson recently decided to start a project documenting illegal uses in London through a photo project titled Illegal Olympics. Read more…
Nikon caused a stir this past weekend after it was revealed that a promo video shown during the D800′s launch in Bangkok actually contained footage that was both used without permission and that wasn’t even captured with a Nikon D800. After a recording of the promo was uploaded to YouTube in mid-February, people began coming forward with reports that Nikon had used their videos without permission. Read more…
In mid-January, Nikon sent an letter out to independent camera repair technicians across the US, informing them that “it will no longer make repair parts available for purchase by repair facilities that have not been authorized by Nikon Inc. to perform camera repairs.” After July 13th, 2012, unauthorized repair shops will no longer be able to repair Nikon cameras — a huge part of their business — with official manufacturer-approved parts. iFixit writes,
Scott Jarvie, a full-time photographer, outlined his concerns with the policy in a detailed Google+ post. He demonstrates how silly the new policy seems by comparing cameras to cars. What if your car broke, and you went to your favorite mechanic, but he told you that you’re out of luck? Though he could fix your car by tomorrow, your car’s manufacturer will no longer allow him to buy the necessary parts. Instead, you have to send your car to your car manufacturer’s own repair shop (which, if we’re taking this analogy all the way, has a much poorer BBB rating than your own local shop) or one of two dozen manufacturer-authorized repair shops—oh, you don’t live near one of those? There’s not even one in your state? Too bad. Forget driving to work this week; you’re going to have to ship in your car.
After discovering his photograph used without permission on The Telegraph’s website, photographer Jonathan Kent contacted the newspaper asking to be compensated for the unauthorized use. He then received an email from deputy picture editor Matthew Fearn, who defended the newspaper’s actions, stating,
[Due to the] ever-shifting nature of news – in particular with the advent of online publishing – [...] it is not always possible to secure copyright clearance before pictures are published.
Our industry therefore adopts the stance that if a picture has no overwhelming artistic value and if there is no issue of exclusivity (ie it is already being published online or elsewhere) then no reasonable copyright owner will object to its being republished in exchange for a reasonable licence fee. The only alternative to such a stance is not to publish pictures at all unless they come from a commercial library, the available range of which will inevitably be inadequate.
[...] In this instance, and in light of what you have told us, we have no reason to doubt that you are the copyright owner for this picture. However the blog from which it was taken gave no indication as to the copyright owner and no contact details. We therefore used it (in fact we inadvertently used it again for some four hours this morning) in the normal way, which is to say that we were always prepared to pay the industry standard rate.
Fearn has reportedly offered Kent £400 to settle the case, arguing that it is a higher amount than Kent would be awarded by the court.
American NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II is suing British singer Dido over the photo used for the album cover of “Safe Trip Home”. The photo shows McCandless “free-flying” hundreds of feet from the Orbiter using a Manned Manuevering Unit (MMU). McCandless was the first person to do an untethered spacewalk.
Since McCandless does not own the rights to the image (it’s in the public domain), the lawsuit is over his “persona” being used. Having licensed his persona for advertising campaigns, his claim is that the unauthorized use of his image hurts his endorsement value for future clients.
The fact that the photo itself isn’t under copyright and the fact that McCandless appears only as a tiny spacesuit in the image make this a pretty interesting case. What’s your opinion?