Story   Photographer   Editor   Student/Intern   Assistant   Job/Item

SportsShooter.com: The Online Resource for Sports Photography

Contents:
 Front Page
 Member Index
 Latest Headlines
 Special Features
 'Fun Pix'
 Message Board
 Educate Yourself
 Equipment Profiles
 Bookshelf
 my.SportsShooter
 Classified Ads
 Workshop
Contests:
 Monthly Clip Contest
 Annual Contest
 Rules/Info
Newsletter:
 Current Issue
 Back Issues
Members:
 Members Area
 "The Guide"
 Join
About Us:
 About SportsShooter
 Contact Us
 Terms & Conditions


Sign in:
Members log in here with your user name and password to access the your admin page and other special features.

Name:



Password:







||
SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Who Owns The Rights 2 The Images When the Paper Closes??
Manuello Paganelli, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 2:52 PM on 02.27.09
->> Wesley Bush asked this great question and this is what ANY OF YOU in the verge of loosing your newspaper or being fire should do:

1) Search for all the VIP negs/FILES that you want to keep and that you think could bring you money later on. Do this even if you are been fire. Why? in a yr or 5 your paper may be gone and ALL those PHOTOS WILL GET LOST!

2) some of those images, specially strong sports or great portraits of celebs/politicians CAN HAVE HUGE VALUE! Even any lifestyle. Is like money in the bank. And trust me if my lifestyle and celbs stock brings me royalty it will do the same for you.

3) Talk to your DP/PE/ME and be nice and upfront re this. Chances are he/she may say "go ahead and keep it."

Once a paper goes out a cleaning crew may come in and they DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT NEGS OR DIGITAL FILES! OR ALL the computers maybe sold/donate and those images GONE GONE 4 EVER.

4) IF for some reason ANYBODY of authority at the paper makes it hard on you then SCAN/DOWNLOAD ALL THE VIP IMAGES! Scan your negs at 400 dpi instead of 300dpi.

5) If any of you ever had any model release signed then find them and keep it. ONLY IF AN IMAGE WILL BE USE COMMERCIALLY/ADVERTISING!

Good luck to all of you but honestly the writing has been on the wall for many yrs. The problem with many newspapers shooters is that "ok I will do this or that later. I dont need to diversify. No need for changes for life is good I got the best job in the world even if the pay sucks. I do it for LOVE." Or, "I love shooting sports, news and winning the NPPA photo contest. I dont need to learn strobes lighting or to change my shooting style."

AGAIN 4 ALL OF YOU who work in newspapers (freelancers too) be ready and start doing this TODAY. YOu never know if 2morrow you will be out of the door or your paper will be 4 sale.

Folks hang in there and keep the faith. If you got the talent and the motivation you will survive. Just start using your head wisely as a biz person. The hard fact is that those who dont have either need to be doing something else.

More 2 Come

www.ManuelloPagenlli.com
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (9) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (1) |   Definitions

Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 2:58 PM on 02.27.09
->> Are you seriously suggesting that staffers should steal copyrighted material owned by their employers? How would this be any different than deciding you should take your laptop with you?

If the paper is folding, they presumably will liquidate all of their assets....including their intellectual property assets. Even if they don't that doesn't mean their assets are now open to pillage.
 This post is:  Informative (5) | Funny (0) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 3:03 PM on 02.27.09
->> Chances are he/she may say "go ahead and keep it."

...which has absolutely no weight in a court of law.

Just because the paper folds it doesn't mean the paperwork you signed when you started is suddenly null and void.

Exceptionally BAD advice Manuello.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Manuello Paganelli, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 3:08 PM on 02.27.09
->> Mark you missed the point. Dude when did I say steal it or do a Watergate midnight style mission?

If a PE gives you the OK why no??
In the mind of most attorneys, when it comes to liquidation, shooters are not Annie or Ansel so there is a great chance that with the approval of the PE they can keep those negs. IF the paper closes where are the employers?
Eve the images are lost 4 ever it doesnt matter who owns them. So at least better for the photographers, if they are able, to have them.

Years ago when my paper The Chattanooga Times closed down I was able to keep some negs. This is what the PE said to me, "if you want go and check anything on files and take it with you."

Now do you think that if any of those images makes money for me an attorney will be knocking on my door?

More 2 Come

www.ManuelloPaganelli.com
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (3) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rich Cruse, Photographer
Laguna Niguel | CA | USA | Posted: 3:09 PM on 02.27.09
->> The suggestion isn't a bad idea, but you need to follow legal protocol to see if you can have the rights to the images transferred back to you. When you work for a publication, you do not own your images (unless you have arranged otherwise).
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Manuello Paganelli, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 3:15 PM on 02.27.09
->> Mark and folks in here, I am not saying that the photographer owns the rights or should steal the negs.
All I am saying is to have them in files in case the paper goes out of biz and all those negs are lost. Better with the photographer than in the trash can. Now is that hard to understand?

IF your superior does give you the ok it does have teeth in court specially if the negs are heading to the trash.

Unless an image is so iconic I dont think that for most images a photographer will have problem licensing them at all. BUt if they are ALL LOST who will benefit.


More 2 Come

www.ManuelloPaganelli.com
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Dominic Hanna, Photographer, Student/Intern
Bear | DE | United States | Posted: 3:16 PM on 02.27.09
->> Actually, this might have some weight...

A few years ago, Y100 a popular rock station here in Philly went off the air, thier popular morning show was immediatly signed by a competing station.

Radio One (Y100's parent company) tried to enforce a non-compete clause in the DJ's contacts. After a brief court battle, the judge ruled the NC clause was void because the station they were at went out of business.

Some might say this is a case of comparing apple to oranges, but things can go out the window when a business closes.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 3:21 PM on 02.27.09
->> What exactly then is one to take away from your statement that:

"4) IF for some reason ANYBODY of authority at the paper makes it hard on you then SCAN/DOWNLOAD ALL THE VIP IMAGES! Scan your negs at 400 dpi instead of 300dpi"

and

" Do this even if you are been fire." (sic) - Why would they be handing out free copyrights for someone they just fired (as opposed to laid laid off.)


The PE likely does not have the legal authority to transfer the ownership of a corporate asset - particularly one that is in bankruptcy (or approaching bankruptcy).


It's out of fear of activities such as this that many corporations have taken to having guards escort terminated employees out immediately - an incredibly humiliating experience.

If those files have value, they have value to the corporation, their stockholders and creditors. It's the fiduciary duty of the management of that enterprise to protect those assets and to then gain the greatest value for them in liquidation.
 This post is:  Informative (6) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Greg Cooper, Photo Editor
Ventura | CA | USA | Posted: 3:23 PM on 02.27.09
->> According to a story today in the USAT,

"Although the newspaper will cease publication after Friday's edition, Scripps will continue to own and offer for sale the assets of the Rocky Mountain News, including its name, masthead, archives and Web site."
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 3:40 PM on 02.27.09
->> Manuello:
Unless their is a written agreement otherwise stating the photographer has partial or all ownership rights, they do not have the right to remove or possess images they created as employees of the paper. Those rights/assets remain property of the paper/business even if it closes unless those rights are transferred via written agreement. A verbal okay from a PE is not sufficient - nor does the PE have the right to distribute those rights under most corporate structures.

Bad advice, dude.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Manuello Paganelli, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 3:41 PM on 02.27.09
->> 4) IF for some reason ANYBODY of authority at the paper makes it hard on you then SCAN/DOWNLOAD ALL THE VIP IMAGES! Scan your negs at 400 dpi instead of 300dpi"

Again you missunderstood what I wrote or I wasnt clear enough or I am 100 yrs ahead. IF they PHYSICALLY dont, as in negs, give it to you at least have it on your files.
IF the paper does go out of biz and all is literally lost then who is the real LOOSER!
Mark fire or no I would try to keep copies of my work. Once those negs are in the trash it doesnt matter to the executives or attorneys but for sure it will hurt the photographer. IF i worked for a paper were I was fire then I would call the PE and ask "what will happen with all the neg?" Then take it from there. IF he is OK then why no get it. I am not saying that if you get fire you should download the papers property.

YOu can have all your negs and still the © or ownership resides with the paper. But if the paper goes out and all is trashed then you got ZERO!! Is all about protecting your assets and the sooner the better.



" Do this even if you are been fire." (sic) - Why would they be handing out free copyrights for someone they just fired (as opposed to laid laid off.)


"If those files have value, they have value to the corporation, their stockholders and creditors. It's the fiduciary..."

Mark ironically must of those attorneys got not clue of the value of the images. Again, unless is an iconic image. Also I made it clear, in the event that those negs are heading to the trash can after a paper closes for good!! That was the case with my paper in TN and for sure nobody thought of their potential value.

Nuff on this.

More 2 Come

www.ManuelloPaganelli.com
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Manuello Paganelli, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 3:48 PM on 02.27.09
->> "->> Manuello:
Unless their is a written agreement otherwise stating the photographer has partial or all ownership rights, they d.."

Clark I do all my work with a pen and paper. Always keep a paper trail. IF the PE gives you the OK I am hoping is on writing and with the paper letter head.

Again folks, this is ONLY in the event that the images/negs are heading to the trash can after a paper closes down.

You got nothing to loose by finding out and asking those questions to your ME or PE. And a lot to loose if a year or 30 yrs later you find out that ALL THOSE NEGS WERE DESTROY. IF you are not around your wife/husband, children will be around.
Again I am not saying to steal those © images from the paper. All I said is keep copys of them or see if you can get your negs back. With a pen and a paper sign of course.

You decide what works best for you.

www.ManuelloPaganelli.com
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rob Kerr, Photographer
Bend | OR | US | Posted: 4:10 PM on 02.27.09
->> so what is the clean-out process going to be like at the Rocky Mountain News? any insight from reliable sources there?
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 4:19 PM on 02.27.09
->> Manuello,
The one thing I agree with what you have stated so far is "It doesn't hurt to ask." But, to take images from your employer/former employer without permission is stealing. Using the images for portfolio use or licensing in the future without proper transfer of those rights is copyright infringement.

You wrote: "Mark ironically must (sic) of those attorneys got not clue of the value of the images. "

That might have been the case 10 or 15 years ago, Manuello. I can see a small mom/pop weekly discarding images or flippantly transferring rights, but that is not the case today for any corporate owned publication. Images, like the stories that were published, are a valuable asset and can be liquidated just like furniture and fixtures. There are numerous companies like Getty, AP or private collectors who will happily bid on the collection because the images (and stories) because they have a future value and ability to generate an income stream in the future.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Kevin Seale, Photographer
Crawfordsville | IN | United States | Posted: 4:32 PM on 02.27.09
->> That has got to be some of the worst advice I have seen on this board. What you suggest is at best unethical and at worst illegal.

The people who legally own the rights to the images can do with them whatever the hell they want, including throwing them in the trash. Their bad decisions in no way gives anyone the right to take matters into their own hands and keep content for themselves, create secret files or do anything with it regardless of what their unauthorized superior might say.

How would you react if someone who worked for you told another employee they could scan and keep all your images in case you might go out of business?
 This post is:  Informative (6) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Armando Solares, Photographer
Englewood | FL | USA | Posted: 4:36 PM on 02.27.09
->> I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth, but I think what Manuello is trying to say is, . It is up to you the photographer to keep copies of your work. You can use images shot for employers in your portfolio. I doubt seriously that anyone will come after you for doing so. If on the other hand you are selling or licensing images that do not belong to you then that is another issue entirely.
And always get everything in writing.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 4:36 PM on 02.27.09
->> Asking what will be happening to the copyright and then asking how one could go about acquiring those rights is a prudent thing to do. I would however never take the word of a PE. I would want to buy them, even if for a dollar, so that there is a clear transfer of ownership - and also to avoid any tax consequence, as I would be concerned that the transfer of a valuable good to me in the course of my employment would be viewed as current period compensation - and I would be taxed accordingly.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Sean D. Elliot, Photographer, Photo Editor
Norwich | CT | USA | Posted: 4:44 PM on 02.27.09
->> I would point out that the company that owns the Rocky, Scripps, is not folding. Scripps still legally owns all that intellectual property and I suspect they might be very likely to pursue theft of that property in court because goodness knows, the company could still use every penny they can get.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Manuello Paganelli, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 4:49 PM on 02.27.09
->> Kevin Seale I am not saying steal it or use it without authorization. But if the bulk of your work is going to be incinerated and you have a choice and able to keep it why no?? FInd out where will go and if there is a chance for you to keep it or own the ©.

Is not about going out of biz but destroying your work.

So if you get it with permission and on writing why is that unethical and illegal?

The reason to keep it on file is in case the paper decides that they dont care about those items and then ALL IS LOST 4 EVER and then it will be too late. I am not saying steal it and sell it. BUt if is clear that the attorneys and board members ALL agree with getting rid of the negs then a photographer should be able to ask for them and I hope all photographers would do the same if facing a similar situation.

Obviously if The Sun & Stars is owned by Gannett then the rights will stay with Gannett and they can keep it on their files.

The worse advice Kevin is no telling those photographers to fight for their images specially if for sure is going to be destroy. Man, you gotta stand up and fight for your work specially if you know all is been tossed out. Yes, you are right the owners, even if is their bad decisions, can do as they wish. But if a photographer is able to keep them or even own them, why NO?

www.ManuelloPaganelli.com
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Darren Whitley, Photographer
Maryville | MO | USA | Posted: 5:18 PM on 02.27.09
->> The assumption that is being made is that Scripps comprehends the value of its own archives. I would say it does not. Many papers do not comprehend what their assets are. I'm not suggesting theft, but the befudlement is to sit by and watch assets primed for a dumpster. Unless you know how a paper shuts down, you aren't there, you don't know.

There are legal issues of course, but the problem is there's likely no easy means to resolve them.

If the paper is closed, who's left to blow a whistle on future infringement? I'm not suggesting theft. I'm saying assets of value must have a custodian. Without a custodian, whom do they serve and how can they be preserved?
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 5:55 PM on 02.27.09
->> "The worse advice Kevin is no telling those photographers to fight for their images..."

Manuello, the problem is the images don't belong to the photographers in the first place. As Kevin and others wrote it would be illegal and unethical without permission. If you got permission or the rights transferred have at it.

Armando, unless the rights are conveyed in your employment contract, you don't have the right to display images shot for an employer including in your own portfolio.
 This post is:  Informative (3) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Kevin Seale, Photographer
Crawfordsville | IN | United States | Posted: 5:59 PM on 02.27.09
->> Sorry Manuello, I must have been typing during a couple of your later posts that better clarified what you were saying and the first couple just must have rubbed me the wrong way.

I agree it does not hurt to ask and if it appears scrap is their intended path, all the more reason to at least ask.

My concern was that just because a superior might say it is OK there is a very good chance they are not authorized to make that call. If the approval comes from an owner or someone with documented authorization to make such a decision then my comments about ethics and legality are inappropriate.

Again, I fully agree it can't hurt to ask and reminding people of this option is a good suggestion.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 6:43 PM on 02.27.09
->> I worked for a small paper back in the 80s. When I returned to retrieve a particular neg, I discovered that all of the back negs had simply been thrown away.

--Mark
 This post is:  Informative (3) | Funny (0) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rob Kerr, Photographer
Bend | OR | US | Posted: 6:55 PM on 02.27.09
->> I worked for a city magazine that closed its doors. everything was thrown away, and I regret it.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Davis, Photographer
Decatur | AL | USA | Posted: 7:12 PM on 02.27.09
->> I think many are misunderstanding Manuello's post.

He is not saying to steal anything, but be assured those images will be destroyed if the publication goes out of business and he is pointing that out.

Simply, most newspaper editors DO NOT place an importance and value on photographs as photographers do.

The paper I worked on staff had a policy to throw out negatives after 10 years. I kept some of my best images in a separate filing system because I was well aware they would go in the trash. I quit the paper in 1994 and carried the file with me.

Manuello you are offering great advice to keep others from having regrets later.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 12:28 AM on 02.28.09
->> If the negatives are thrown away by the people who own them, it may be a tragedy...but they are well within their rights to do so.

What do you propose to do with them after you have them? If you have no legal rights to the images, you can't do anything with them.

I understand Manuello's spirit, but it's still really bad advice to tell employees on their way out to pillage an archive.

But bigger picture...there will undoubtedly be more papers folding in the not too distant future. What is needed is a non-profit foundation whose sole mission is to safe keep the intellectual property of newspapers that go out of business. A pool of experts who can extract the archives from newsroom computers and film archives and put them somewhere in a documented, trackable fashion for historical purposes.

If you set it up as a feel-good operation, the foundation could probably get the archives donated from the liquidators if they have no buyers for the property. They'd probably fall all over themselves to donate if it could be done in a tax-favorable manner.

Something more organized and structured would be a far better solution than a random pillage on the way out the door.
 This post is:  Informative (3) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

David Seelig, Photographer
Hailey | ID | USA | Posted: 12:53 AM on 02.28.09
->> If they owe you money default on any pension you would probably win in court, I did a long time ago.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Jon L Hendricks, Photographer
Hobart | IN | USA | Posted: 1:08 AM on 02.28.09
->> I seem to recall someone telling me the Chicago Sun Times threw out thousands of their negs in the trash a while ago and some of the photogs were retrieving them from the dumpsters....? And this is while they were a healthy company. I could be remembering wrong though...Anyone know about this?

I personally keep copies of everything I shoot even if I do not own the copyright. It makes it real easy to transfer any rights later if the owner does not care.

Also, how would the out-of-business paper register copyright without the image if someone did infringe (assuming they never registered before). And who would be the one to sue if there is no company left? I'm assuming the creditors would be the only ones with rights to the assets.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Allen Hubbard, Photographer
Spokane | WA | USA | Posted: 1:45 AM on 02.28.09
->> From Manuello's original post:
"4) IF for some reason ANYBODY of authority at the paper makes it hard on you then SCAN/DOWNLOAD ALL THE VIP IMAGES! Scan your negs at 400 dpi instead of 300dpi."

Here you ARE suggesting stealing the images when they have said no, ("make it hard on you").

If I was in this kind of a situation I would want my images too, but this is theft if you do it without written permission from an authorized person.

As I have not ever worked for a newpaper as an employee I do have a question, DO newspapers make a habit of registering images for copyright? If so then those copyrights would get passed along to someone (or some company, attorney or...) in the final settlement. This would make it very easy to prove ownership even if the originals got thrown in the dumpster, or the hard drives destroyed.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Aaron Rhoads, Photographer
McComb | MS | USA | Posted: 3:37 AM on 02.28.09
->> this is a tough one. I would go about it differently. I've been here 12-years.

I would say, if you throws these away your throwing away 12-years of pictorial history of this community.

Forget about trying to make money from them.

Give them to the public library, maybe.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
Live HVN : Work SFO-NYC | | | Posted: 4:12 AM on 02.28.09
->> Manuello,

When I took my job, at the last newspaper I worked for, one requirement I had was that I be able to relicense all the images that I shot for the paper to non-competing entities. The owner of this previous employer is a huge media company, owning the remaining paper in Denver, however I got my permission in writing from the Publisher (who actually left the paper days before I started my job).

Having this agreement in place, prior to my start, allowed me to make secondary sales, improve my income while shooting for the paper, and was an incentive to me to go out and really produce some different stories for the paper.

When I left the paper I was confronted by senior management from corporate regarding my 'illegal income from company property.' The company was seeking thousands of dollars for 'illegally licensed images' that had appeared in various magazines (Time, Life, Newsweek, Businessweek, etc etc).

What saved me...a piece of paper from the publisher who hired me saying I could relicense my images, on a 24-hour embargo, with the exception of the AP. The AP was an exception as my paper was an AP member paper, and I had been brought in , in part, to bring up the paper's contributions to the AP's daily state photo report.

If any photog plans on taking images from a company like Scipps, MediaNews, Hearst, etc etc, without having an agreement in writing, they run the risk of significant financial penalties. Don't ask a PE/DOP, get it in writing from someone who has the authority to authorize the licensing of the images.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Steve Ueckert, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 7:20 AM on 02.28.09
->> David--

You wrote:

"What is needed is a non-profit foundation whose sole mission is to safe keep the intellectual property of newspapers that go out of business. A pool of experts who can extract the archives from newsroom computers and film archives and put them somewhere in a documented, trackable fashion for historical purposes. "

It already exists in most communities, it's called the public library. And if not a public library, then some private version such as at a local university.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Sutton, Photographer
Herndon | VA | USA | Posted: 7:35 AM on 02.28.09
->> I’ve never worked at a newspaper, so please excuse my ignorance on this subject. I just want to know what kind of contract does one sign when they join a paper? How long does the paper get to keep the rights to images you shoot or is that not an option when you join a newspaper company? Can you even have a clause like that in your contract that stipulates that any image shot is the sole right to this paper for “X” amount of years and then that right is returned to you? Thanks in advance…..

http://www.msuttonphoto.com
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 7:59 AM on 02.28.09
->> Seems to me that there is a slippery slope to this argument. At the core we are talking about the possibility of these papers creating a situation where finding the owner of copyright may be extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible, for those wanting to license those images.........or in short hand - creating Orphan Works.

I would be interested to hear the rationale why it would not be hypocritical for those that oppose the Orphan Works legislation to support not only copying/removing negatives/files but actually licensing them, without first obtaining a legally binding, written agreement transferring ownership. The supporters of Orphan Works have claimed it is necessary to keep these images available for use - otherwise they are effectively lost. Isn't that the situation here?

FInally, the copyright office's flier on copyright basics states "Copyright is a personal property right, and it is subject to the various state laws and regulations that govern the ownership,inheritance, or transfer of personal property as well asterms of contracts or conduct of business. For information about relevant state laws, consult an attorney." Accordingly, the transfer of ownership arising from thre cessation of operations, is seemingly a matter of State Law. I wonder if this would be considered abandoned property - and thus become the property of the State itself.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 9:57 AM on 02.28.09
->> It already exists in most communities, it's called the public library. And if not a public library, then some private version such as at a local university.

True. I was thinking about smaller papers where such a resource might not exist, but you could probably find a state university that would take the archives.

But it's a good point: Instead of stealing images on the way out the door, how about in a professional manner brokering a deal to transfer the images and stories to the local library or University in a LEGAL way? That way the company won't see you as a pissed off employee trying to set up a stock photo business with their images after being let go.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Samuel Lewis, Photographer
Miami | FL | USA | Posted: 10:27 AM on 02.28.09
->> Respectfully, the discussion is overlooking the reality that when a news organization ceases to exist, one of the major remaining assets is the copyrights to the materials that the organization published/distributed. These rights are generally sold off to help satisfy the claims of the organization's creditors.

Mark,

The fact that the ownership of an organization's images may change, and may be difficult to determine, does not create an "orphan work."

Moreover, the rationale you seem to be seeking improperly links a person's position vis-a-vis a change in the law with the person's willingness to break the law as it currently exists. One can be opposed to the orphan works legislation, but that doesn't justify the same person copying materials that he or she does not own in contravention of the copyright law.

To address your last question, I am not aware of a single instance where copyrights were considered abandoned property inuring to the benefit of the state. In the case of news organizations, the rights will likely be used to satisfy creditors.

David,

Respectfully, you are misapprehending the basic bargain that serves as the foundation for copyrights with the notion of rights passing upon the death of a copyright owner.

The fundamental bargain in copyright is a dedication to the public of the copyrightable material in exchange for certain exclusive rights. If the owner of the rights dies, or transfer the exclusive rights to another, it does not change the underlying bargain or the public's eventual (and in certain cases, such as fair use, immediate) right to the material.

Finally, while your closing suggestion is a good one, it is nonetheless problematic. Transfer that take place shortly before a company closes its doors or ceases operations may be seen as a fraudulent transfer--a transfer done for the purpose of defrauding creditors--or a preference (this is a bankruptcy term of art). Generally, these sorts of transfers can be set aside, particularly in bankruptcy. Thus, the company may not be in a position to negotiate any disposition of the rights to its images at the point where it becomes clear that the company is going to close its doors.

The only solution is to negotiate some sort of arrangement up front where the rights will revert to the photographer if the paper closes, etc. Unfortunately, this sort of approach is likely to be inconsistent with the ownership that most organizations want, as it may preclude the organization from using those rights to leverage additional credit, etc. (it is common for companies to give an interest in all sorts of property rights, including intangible property, when securing loans); if the company is not the absolute owner of the copyrights, that would give a potential creditor less of an incentive to accept the rights as collateral for a loan.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 10:43 AM on 02.28.09
->> Be VERY careful of doing ANYTHING like removing assets (photos/files/negs) from any employer. Whether or not the entity is closing, in some state theft by an employee or former employee (within a statutory time frame) is considered embezzlement.

If the person giving you permission isn't authorized to liquidate those assets you are still in hot water and they could be too. PAG I know that you heart was in the right place but even a small mis-step in a matter like this can have HUGE financial and legal consequences. Most of the papers shuttering the operation are held by larger corporations and in some cases publicly help corporations. THEY aren't going out of business and THEY are the rightful owners of those negs/files. Unless you have an agreement to the contrary.

"4) IF for some reason ANYBODY of authority at the paper makes it hard on you then SCAN/DOWNLOAD ALL THE VIP IMAGES! Scan your negs at 400 dpi instead of 300dpi. "

Sorry PAG but if somebody of authority says NO then the advise you are giving is straight out theft. 5 10 or 15 years later when that image is relicensed and someone notices that it originally ran in the Peoria Gazette there'll be hell to pay.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Manuello Paganelli, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 12:01 PM on 02.28.09
->> "4) IF for some reason ANYBODY of authority at the paper makes it hard on you then SCAN/DOWNLOAD ALL THE VIP IMAGES! Scan your negs at 400 dpi instead of 300dpi. "

Folks you are still missing the point. I am not saying to steal anything at all specially if you dont have it on writing. I had written this in here how many times now? I also say dont do it in a clandestine way.

Also by taking your negs/files I am not saying to go out and license those images. That would be crazy. First find out if the negs will be tossed out and if you are able to get them the lawful way and then if you can actually used them any way you are able to. IF those negs are going to be destroyed there is a great chance that you can keep your ©. FOlks ALL I AM SAYING IS ASK AND FIGHT FOR YOUR WORK SPECIALLY IF THERE IS A GREAT CHANCE THAT ALL OF IT WILL BE TOSSED DOWN THE TOILET!! Why stand there with your arms crossed during your last seconds.


What the top line means is in case they say NO TO YOU KEEPING THE © At that moment when the paper is about to gone under and even if you leave the paper, is better for you to have save copies of all your files or your better images. That is what I am referring to. The reference as to you been fire is also in case your paper years later does go under for ever and those negs do get destroy as well... It would be shameful if RIGHT NOW all of you are not keeping files of all your negs at home specially with the technology. Before it was tougher for all you only had film and lots of scanning but still possible if you care enough for your negs and if you had the vision. Sadly MOST newspapers photographers didnt have either and still dont. You were more concern about making it to the front page and winning those silly photo contests than learning the biz of photography and the meaning of licensing, learning how to shoot for magazine or commercial work, the meaning of ©, and what would I do if I lose my job or my paper goes under.

ONe of the problems here is that for you folks to understand things clearly it has to be done by steps. Is clear that if one of Gannet papers goes under then those rights will stay with the GAnnett Corp. But again, who is to say that 10 or 20 yrs from now, FOR MANY IS HAPPENING TODAY, those company do go under and at the end they care so little about the photographers negs that all is tossed into an oven? All Corp. may not have the same set of rules so find out from them from the folks who matter the most. And YES by that I mean get it all in writing and do the next 10 other steps.

IF ever goes to court, and you have all in writing, any judged will understand the meaning of creativity and to know that if an artist work is going to be tossed out for good by an employer then the artist should have the right to those negs. But all doesnt matter once you do have it on writing. Even if you dont have it on writing make sure that you do have copies of all your work, AGAIN DONT GO OUT SELLING YOUR WORK, then get a good attorney or you do all the walk/paper work and find a way to own your negs.
The worse that can happen too, is for a smarter person to find out that all those negs are been destroy and he/she legally keeps them and then she ends up owning all of that work. FOlks strange things do happen all the time.

Folks NOBODY, besides us, protects those negatives better or at least that is what I thought and hope for until I started this thread. I amTOTALLY DISAPPOINTED BY the LACK of caring for your own work. For some these are the company that for many yrs didnt pay you well enough, didnt treat you well enough and now you are acting like the lead attorney for all the stock holders?

IN any event that your negs are going to be destroy is better for YOU to have copies or all the originals, if possible and with all the paper work, instead of having your lifetime of work destroyed for ever.

More 2 Come

www.ManuelloPaganelli.com
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 12:15 PM on 02.28.09
->> Finally, while your closing suggestion is a good one, it is nonetheless problematic.

Samuel, what you say is definitely true: If decades ago paperwork had been created which transferred assets to a non-profit, it would be far easier and much more straightforward legally. But that's not really relevant in most cases now. The paperwork doesn't exist, so another solution must be attempted.

Any solution in the waning hours of a paper's life is problematic. My only point in offering up a more organized solution was to provide an alternative to a highly questionable, if not downright illegal, pillage by individual employees on the way out the door.

The idea is to preserve images and content for historical record, not to make a bunch of money. The copyright holders have a right to make money off of the images, and if that is the goal of the liquidators, creditors, etc. they obviously have every right to do so. The solution I'm talking about is to protect the images if the copyright holder decides to "throw them away". In other words a method by which employees - who know where the images are and are best educated on how to preserve this information - can talk to whoever the legal owner might be with the goal of saving the images. That might be the current newspaper owner, or the creditors that take possession of the assets later on.

If you go into court as representing a non-profit entity trying to protect a historic record, you have a far better chance of succeeding than a lone individual who grabbed a bunch of images on the way out the door after being let go.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rich Cruse, Photographer
Laguna Niguel | CA | USA | Posted: 12:41 PM on 02.28.09
->> Perhaps this is a good discussion to bring up at NPPA? If I worked for a newspaper, I would be very concerned about this. No one wants to see years of work destroyed forever.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

John Harrington, Photographer
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 1:58 PM on 02.28.09
->> Let me take a stab at this:

The paper owns the copyright, and that includes the right to publish, as well as the right to preclude the publication. That includes the right to the physical material (i.e. film, CF cards, hard drives, and so on). If the paper wishes to place into the trash can, any or all of those assets, that is their absolute right. However, their doing so is the relinquishing of only the physical material, and not the intellectual property that is on them. This can, of course, be litigated in a court, but generally speaking the above statements hold true.

That said, you need to look at the status of the DOP. If the DOP is empowered to sign contracts engaging freelancers, then that person is also likely empowered to license material, or to sell it, in so far as they can legally authorize the dissolution of assets.

Thus, asking the DOP - "hey, can I take with me a copy of the images I made here at the paper", and getting a verbal "yes", while a binding contract, may be subject to misinterpretation, or a lack of recollection, at a later date.

If you are a photographer looking to get your images out, you need this in writing. The document should read something like this:

---------
This is an Agreement between John Doe, a staff photographer for the Rocky Mountain News, and the Rocky Mountain News, dated February 28, 2009.

John Doe is hereby granted permission to take a copy of any and/or all images made by him during his term of employment, for the following purposes:

___ For personal and portfolio use

___ For personal and portfolio use, as well as the non-exclusive licensing of such works

By signing below I grant this permission, and also stipulate that I am authorized to enter into this agreement.
---------

Then you both sign at the bottom, and they keep one, and you keep one. On the date that you depart, I would be sure to hand over to the personnel department a copy of that document for your personnel file.

You can write a much more lengthy document, and you can argue that the licensing language is vague and should say things like "for an unlimited period of time in perpetuity" and so on, and those are certainly things that could be added. Also, some states may require the sentence "for good and valuable consideration herein acknowledged as received..." near the beginning, and that consideration could be $1, or it could be many other things.

It is also quite accurate that it was suggested that once the business goes out of business, even if the assets were acquired, and those assets included the photo library, that the likelihood that you would get caught licensing an image a year (or 5) from now is very minimal, you would if it was a major image that garnered a lot of publicity (like the Clinton/Lewinsky hug), but, on principle, you should do what's right even if you can get away with doing what is wrong.

Note - I am not a lawyer, and this should not be construed as legal advice, but as a starting off point to have a discussion with a lawyer in your home town that knows the laws of your state and locality.
 This post is:  Informative (5) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 2:38 PM on 02.28.09
->> "ONe of the problems here is that for you folks to understand things clearly it has to be done by steps."

Respectfully, Pag it would have been nice for you to have clearly listed those steps instead of alluding to photographers taking work/art/assets that do not belong to them without permission or purchase the rights as you did in your original post.

A staff photographer, unless their contract specifies otherwise, should have no expectation of ownership of any image created under the duration of their employment. If an employee covets an image or the collection they should attempt to obtain the images via gift, lease, or outright purchase.

As an industry, we try hard to protect our rights of ownership, but it seems that a few think it is okay to apply situational morals and ignore those rights just because a business/photographer/content provider decides, well within their rights, to destroy the collection or images.

Yes, I understand the value and significance of maintaining images or collection for the historical value. That value has a price tag and as a society or individual we have to be willing to pay it or watch it go into oblivion. We also have a duty to protect the foundation of our business and that is copyright protection.

If a photographer or staff from a paper want to see the images perserved then they should lobby their employer to donate the images to a local library system or nearby university archive. Contact them to work with you in the effort. Our local daily and campus paper both turn over their archives after a period of time to the University of Illinois archives who then catalog the images in their catalog. The U of I archive system has many other photo collections from publications throughout history stored in their location.

Looting images from an employer WITHOUT permission is theft ~ no ands if or buts about it. Unless anyone can explain a reason to the contrary, there is simply no reason to take an image(s) except to use for personal gain, which would violate one of the principles we fight for on a regular basis for the protection of our rights to the work we created.

Serving in a staff position a decade ago I made images that I would love to have in my collection. It was some of my best art covering spot news, presidential candidates, military ceremonies, sports and concerts. The publications and departments have all closed. I know I have no legal right to use those images in any manner under the terms of my employment and didn't retain copies of the work because they were not mine to keep.

Again, if the historical value is that important then lobby to have the images turned over to a library or university archive, but don't think it is okay to loot images you have no rights to in the first place.

E'nuf said no more 2 come .....
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 2:40 PM on 02.28.09
->> Very, very good advice, John.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Allen Hubbard, Photographer
Spokane | WA | USA | Posted: 6:21 AM on 03.01.09
->> Pag:
No photographer ever wants to see the images that they have shot lost or destroyed.
But you are still condoning theft by saying that people should make copies (scans) of their images and keep them.
Even if you never do anything with them, the simple act of burning those files to a disk and walking out the door of the office and taking them home (unless you have reason and permission to do so) could legally be considered theft.
In addition you are stating that:
"any judged will understand the meaning of creativity and to know that if an artist work is going to be tossed out for good by an employer then the artist should have the right to those negs. But all doesnt matter once you do have it"
No matter what a judge understands or believes he still has to follow the letter of the law.
Nobody here has a "Lack of caring for their own work"
We just understand that no matter what we want there are legal issues to deal with and the law must be followed or we are liable.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Powell | TN | USA | Posted: 3:44 PM on 03.01.09
->> A few weeks after the Knoxville Jorunal closed it's doors in the early 90's, there was a huge 40' dumpster brought in under the building. Since we were in a JOA with the Journal, we were using that building every day. Anyways, one day I saw the entire files of mostly b&w negatives dumped in on top of all the darkroom stuff. it was just pitched in there. All that history from the oldest paper in East Tennessee. I called the Knoxville Historical Society after finding out when it would be hauled off to the landfill. I let them know that they were welcome to come by and retrieve whatever they wished. They never came by and all of those thousands of assignments went to the landfill. Very sad indeed. I wish that I had just taken some time to dig through there...
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Wally Nell, Photographer
CAIRO | EG | EGYPT | Posted: 7:28 AM on 03.02.09
->> I think what Pag is saying is to keep copies of your images, NOT in order to use them, but in order to have access to them if you are able to come to an agreement with whoever claims ownership of the images. If the images are chucked out, you have nothing to gain from it. If you have copies of it, you are able to go to the legal owners, whether it be the holding company, or whoever the creditors are, or whoever claimed the images; and request/negotiate usage rights for them. Nothing illegal or even remotely borderline about it. It is simply saving them IN ORDER for you to be able to use them later on after you have been able to gain usage rights.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Kevin Seale, Photographer
Crawfordsville | IN | United States | Posted: 7:44 AM on 03.02.09
->> Wally,

So if you don't have permission up front to make the dupes of everything for your stash file and your boss stops by your desk one day and digs through your drawers looking for a post-it note and finds them, what are you going to? What is your boss going to do?
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 8:31 AM on 03.02.09
->> Wally making UNAUTHORIZED dupes is by its nature illegal. I REALLY can't believe that this conversation has gone this far. I know that PAG's heart was in the right place, I have no doubt about that, but the advise is flawed.

What do any of you envision the conversation is going to be 10 years down the line when you have the need to get that permission to license the images that you have been illegally copping?

[ Dear Mr Money Bags with poor business practices,

In 20xx I was employed by your paper The XXXXXXXX. Prior to its closing I had been making copies of the photographs that I had taken as a staff photographer, which the paper owned and still owns the rights to. At the time that the paper closed I copied all of your files and negs that I had taken and took them home. I now have the opportunity to license one of YOUR images taken by me and would like to negotiate a fair fee for the use of YOUR assets that I have stolen and safeguarded all these years.
]

How silly does that sound. Ten years from now your going to approach a company and ADMIT to theft and try to license an image to relicense for a profit. I just don't see how this works, Ummmm Mr. Canha I stole your car 3 years ago because it was just sitting there and ummmmm now I'd like to sell it would you mind signing the title?

From the contract that all my shooters sign:

2. ..... Contractor also agrees that it shall not retain any film, digital media, photographic prints or electronic files related to the performance of this contract unless it obtains written .............

If I were to catch one of my shooters dumping cards to a pocket HD all hell would break loose.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Matt Barton, Photographer
Lexington | KY | USA | Posted: 9:47 AM on 03.02.09
->> I know it used to be pretty common for closing papers and agencies to throw out old negatives but I find that very unlikely these days. Not in this eBay/Antiques Roadshow culture where every attic contains a mint Horace Wagner card or original copy of the US constitution. There will be no leftovers.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 12:28 PM on 03.02.09
->> Matt -

Minor point. Horace Wagner never played baseball. It was his cousin Honus Wagner.

dp
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (1) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

This thread has reached the maximum number of posts
If you would like to continue it, please create a new thread.
[ Create new thread? ]



Return to --> Message Board Main Index
No ticket for the World Series? World without a ticket ::..