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On Tuesday, October 23, 2012, ASPP NY hosted an informative presentation and panel discussion on the ever-changing topic of copyright at the Scandinavia House. This event was sponsored by ASMP (American Society of Media Professionals) and Reuters, while additional support came from Aurora Photos, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLC, Fundamental Photographs, John Wiley & Sons Inc., and Newscom.

For Shawn, from the photographer’s perspective, the photographs are still the key––it’s a question of the value. New technology equals new terms. The purpose of copyright, he said, is for the image-maker to make money, and for him, the problem lies in the contracts, which is why he has no problem crossing out unacceptable sections (most of it, if need be) of a contract to avoid being unwittingly lured into a work for hire situation. Copyright needs to work for everybody, he said, so people need to be fair and equitable. Nancy finished off the group by saying that in order for Copyright to work, there has to be protection and enforcement. She reminded us that sharing is now part of our social culture, making it too hard to track every single thing online, plus these social networking and sharing sites have very broad terms and conditions.

In her introduction, co-chair of the NY Chapter Jessica Moon succinctly said, “Changes in the evolution of content creation, image licensing and distribution have the potential of crushing the industry, as we understand it today. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll be left behind.” Christopher S. Reed, Senior Advisor for Policy & Special Projects at the Office of the Register of Copyright, U.S. Copyright Office, began with a presentation on the history and responsibility of the Copyright Office. Simply put, the U.S. Copyright Office is a part of the Library of Congress, designated to maintain the records of copyright registration. Once handled by the US district courts, registration of copyright was moved into a centralized location in 1870. Electronic registration was introduced in 2007 and now accounts for more than 80 percent of all registrations. Last year they processed more than 700,000 registrations!

Amongst the audience questions, Eugene Mopsik, Executive Director of ASMP, asked why isn’t there room for us to profit from these newer digital and electronic uses? Lynn was confident that if digital readership increased, then so would the compensation for the photographers, but not everyone agreed, pointing out that it is the image suppliers who are still paying for this experiment. Sam Merrill from the National Board of ASPP asked the panelists what they saw five years from now, and is there hope for all the “little boats” on these ‘big waves?” Jackie encouraged everyone to see the newer technology as opportunity, and Shawn agreed that there is still a need to create custom content and what a photographer may lose from stock, perhaps the new media is replacing it, as far as an income stream, we’ll see…

An ongoing priority is that of “orphan works” and the issues of “attribution” and “remedies.” Senate bill S. 2913 is just a starting point, but what makes a qualifying search “reasonable under the circumstances,” and as Laura Wyss, ASPP NY Board member asked, how do we define the true meaning of “fair use?” Chris responded that these are flexible terms and guidelines so they have to go case by case at this point. Bottom line, technology has changed how we think about or handle copyright—the law now has to catch up with the technology. After a short break, the second half of the morning was a panel discussion moderated by Roy Kaufman, Managing Director of New Ventures at the Copyright Clearance Center. Roy began by showing us a short film from the CCC entitled “The Life Cycle of Content,” and then introduced the diverse panel comprised of Lynn B. Oberlander, General Counsel at the New Yorker, Jackie Lissy Brustein, VP Media Research, Rights & Permissions at Q2A/ Bill Smith, Shawn G. Henry, photographer & National President of ASMP, and Nancy E. Wolff, partner at the law firm of Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, LLP.

Clockwise from top left: A packed room at the Scandinavia House!

Each panelist had prepared their own mini-presentation, during and after which questions were opened up to the floor. Lynn talked about how all of the new digital editions of the magazine for the web, iPad, Nook, Kindle, iPhone etc., have completely changed the way they license their content but they have kept it simple when it comes to their contracts—they only “license across all media” with no technology add-on’s. Jackie told us how Photo Researchers used to be experts in finding content with a focus on the “visual,” more than the licensing. Finding images may be easier now, but the licensing is more complex, and Photo Researchers have become media content providers and data management controllers.

The panel (left to right) Nancy E. Wolff, Shawn G. Henry, Jackie Lissy Brustein, Lynn B. Oberlander and moderator, Roy Kaufman. Eugene Mopsik, Executive Director of ASMP asks some probing questions. Christopher S. Reed from the U.S. Copyright Office covers a lot of ground in his excellent presentation. All images © Debra P. Hershkowitz 51


THE NEW COPYRIGHT ECONOMY Louisa J. Curtis, Chatterbox Enterprises

Issue 4, 2012: ASPP's The Picture Professional Magazine  

The American Society of Picture Professionals is pleased to present the digital version of our quarterly publication, sponsored by Corbis Im...

Issue 4, 2012: ASPP's The Picture Professional Magazine  

The American Society of Picture Professionals is pleased to present the digital version of our quarterly publication, sponsored by Corbis Im...