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|| News Item: Posted 2002-10-30

Leading Off: Credentials, photo frauds and remembering the past
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today

Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today

It's always a special thrill to see Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and Willie Mays together at the same time like here before Game 3 of the 2002 World Series.
It's a simple thing. We do it every week.

We walk up to a stadium media will call window and pick up our game credentials. We never read the 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper that sometimes is in the envelope with our passes nor do we read that really small fine print on the back of the credentials.

But for some, that fine print and "credential use agreement" are red flags. Huge red flags.

As noted recently in the Message Board there was a controversy involving Notre Dame football credentials however it was solved by the diligent efforts of several people, notably Tim Clark from Athlon Sports and my boss, Richard Curtis, the managing editor for graphics and photography at USA TODAY.

The most offending clause was this:

"By accepting this credential, the individual and the individual's organization hereby agree that all right and title to the copyright in any work created by the individual and / or the individual's organization by recording any portion of the event in any audio, visual, or audiovisual media shall be deemed the sole property of the University of Notre Dame. Upon request of the University, the individual and/ or the individual's organization shall execute all necessary document to effectuate ownership of said copyright in the University of Notre Dame. Any organization wishing to use film, pictures or tape in any manner (including transmission over the Internet) other than as permitted below, must obtain prior written permission for such use from the University of Notre Dame. Furthermore, the permissions granted below shall not be assigned, transferred or otherwise disposed of to any third party.'

Tim and Richard contacted Notre Dame administrators and discovered (surprise!) that grabbing the rights to images shot at Fighting Irish games by the legit media was not the intent of the school.

What Notre Dame was trying to do was stop the unauthorized commercial use of its image. But of course when the document is composed by the attorneys, they throw a net over all of us and we get wording like the clause above.

Thanks Notre Dame for dropping the unreasonable agreement … but I think this situation illustrates a couple of points that would almost eliminate the problem of unauthorized use of photos.

It starts with the credentials … or rather who gets the credentials. If Notre Dame or the NFL or the Indy 500 or for that matter the College of the Sequoias want to keep their image off of unauthorized posters, the Internet and unsavory publications then control it at the root.

I know this may be an unpopular opinion --- OK Ron, call me an elitist --- but if events and teams did its homework and not just blindly hand out credentials to 90 percent of the people who request them there wouldn't be a problem.

The sidelines, baselines and outside first base boxes of the world are so over crowded these days … everyone with a digital camera and a business card that says "press" or upstart "news wire service" is out there. We all have a feeling of entitlement, "we're the press god damn it!"

Notre Dame needs to take a look at who it issues its credentials to … if they have a problem with a particular photographer or "fanzine" doesn't give them a pass. Pretty simple.

We have to be aware when we're out covering games as well. During the 8th inning of Game 7 of the recent World Series a photographer notorious for getting into stadiums with long-glass and no credentials showed up on the 1st base camera platform.

Fortunately an alert legit shooter had security confront this greasy fraud and when he was asked to show his credentials he pretended to search his pockets and replied "can't find it."

He was escorted away from the photo platform.

We cannot tolerate frauds like this taking up positions at games. While our mission is to cover the game … his is for a thrill and the thought he can sell a photo or two and make some $$$.

We need to have these frauds thrown out and most importantly, we need to start a dialog with the media directors, SIDs and PR directors for the teams we cover. The people that control the credentials and access need to be in the loop on our concerns. They also need to be complimented when things run well or they provide us with services that make our jobs easier … like the Anaheim Angels of the FREE high-speed lines in the digital workroom during the World Series.

But most of all we have to be concerned, not just for ourselves but for our profession as well … like Tim and Richard.

* * *

With the World Series and the Sports Shooter Workshop & Luau, you can imagine how busy the staff of Sports Shooter has been the past several weeks. My good friend and mentor Bob Deutsch remarked the other day that he tries to get 10 hours of sleep a night --- necessary I guess when you get "to that age" --- and he asked how much I get a night. I think he was talking and sleep … so I told him that I usually get to sleep around 2 am after responding to all the e-mail that I get during the day. With a 9-year-old daughter, I'm usually up by 7:30.

This week there has been less sleep because of the fabulous weekend the Sports Shooter Family has put together… the Workshop & Luau 2002.

I cannot thank enough great friends like Peter Read Miller, Robert Beck, Robert Seale, Andy Hayt, Rod Mar, Barry Wong, Dan MacMedan, Robbin Goddard, Wally Skalij, Mark Terrill, Trent Nelson, Jack Gruber, Grover Sanschagrin, Dave Black, Bob Larson, Kevin Sullivan, Joe Gosen and Jim McNay. Without the support and help of these people, we would not be able to bring the Workshop & Luau to over 270 people this weekend in Manhattan Beach.

There are several people that had to deal with me on a daily basis with the Workshop & Luau 2002 this week and they are my closest friends, Brad Mangin, Ronal Taniwaki and Bob Deutsch along with my fabulous family Deanna and Emma. These are the guys that had to deal with the late-night calls and panicked e-mails.

The Workshop & Luau has been a dream of mine for almost 10 years. I loved being a member of NPPA, CPPA and PPAGLA … but in the last five years I had the feeling that there was more these organizations could and should give the photojournalism community.

Sometimes I felt that if they could take the best that each of these organizations offered and combined them, maybe we could have (finally) a single entity that photographers could turn to for news, information, enlightenment, education, entertainment, reviews, rants & raves and … good photography.

I was sitting alone in the stands in Pac Bell Park before game 3 of the World Series, thinking of Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Jimmy Ray Hart, Dick Dietz and my dad (a HUGE Giants fan) when a photographer came up to me and introduced himself. He then thanked me for starting this newsletter and organizing the Workshop & Luau and told me a story about attending a no-name college that didn't have a photojournalism program to speak of. He said he continued to take pictures because a local newspaper shooter had turned him on to this newsletter.

He also wanted to know why I wanted to spend my off time doing something like Sports Shooter.

Why indeed.

It made me remember back 26 years, of going to school in Fresno and craving ANY help I could get so I could improve as a photographer. I couldn't get it at the local paper's photographers so my good buddy Barry Wong and I lived and died waiting for the monthly News Photographer magazine and the regional newsletter so we could see the great photos by Tom Kaser and Greg Schneider in San Berdo.

I guess that is why I try to bring you Sports Shooter every month and I rope my friends into putting on the Workshop & Luau.

I hope you have enjoyed these 4 years of my newsletter … and those lucky enough to get a spot in the Workshop & Luau, I hope it's an enriching and fun weekend.

We have a lot of plans for Sports Shooter, so stay tuned!

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