association of photographers

AoP Awards Ceremony and Exposure 2011


Busy next week? Well, Wednesday and Thursday to be precise? Wednesday night is the Association of Photographers’ Awards ceremony, from 17.00-18.00 at Ambika P3 at the University of Westminster, swiftly followed by the awards party at the same venue, from 19:00 onwards. Tickets are £10 for members, £20 for non-members in advance. Wait until the day, though, and those prices go up £5.

Exposure 2011 follows the next day, at the same venue. From 11:30 to 20:00 you can feast your eyes and ears on a series of talks, demonstrations, seminars, and exhibitions. There’s a Blurb book-making workshop; a lighting for fashion and beauty photography demonstration; a discussion of our rights when we take photos in public, as well as lots more. That’ll cost £10 for members or £15 for non-members, too.

If you’re interested, take a look at the Exposure website or Awards Ceremony website for more details.

The AoP Awards Ceremony and Exposure 2011 will be held at Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 September 2011.

Responding to the Government's response to the Hargreaves Review

White rose

It’s a bit of a convoluted title, I know. But after Ian Hargreaves published his review of what should be done about intellectual property, copyright, and encouraging innovation, the Government penned a response, saying what it agreed with, what it didn’t, and what it was planning to do about it. Now of course, any interested parties are responding to what the Government has said. There are a lot of replies flying about here. From the photographers’ perspective, the Association of Photographers has issued a response to the Government. Here’s what they had to say:

Broadly speaking, the Government has agreed with pretty much all of the recommendations set out by Hargreaves. This embraces some positives but disturbingly, a great many areas which concern us are not addressed.

We have the opportunity to be involved, and are already, at a level of policy-making which can direct the change in the structure of the IP framework over the next few years. We have the opportunity to make our voice heard. Our perspective is set out below;

Firstly, we welcome the Government’s commitment to providing a fast track small claims route for copyright infringement through the County Court system. However, we are concerned to see that the caveat of ‘value for money’ has been attached to this. This crucial reform of the court system must be implemented as soon as possible and the current proposed ceiling of £5000 for claims should be raised to £10,000.

We agree that the proposed limited private copying exception makes sense and would de-criminalise a huge sector of the population without affecting the revenues of those creators. We feel that a carefully drafted exception for parody may be appropriate too but in both cases this must be done in such a way as to not prejudice creators. We note that the Government has said it will consult widely on this (and other points) and insist that creators are involved in that process.

We approve of the proposal that any Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE) would work as an independent marketplace where rights holders can set their own rates and that participation should be free to both creators and users with open standards so that access to such a database can be automated through software solutions. We agree that participation should be voluntary and therefore not in contravention of the Berne Convention. We have a great many concerns regarding any DCE, but as no firm proposals for such a body exist yet, we will wait to hear what the Government has to say by the end of this year as they have stated.

We agree with and welcome the statement that any proposals for the use of orphan works should be subject to satisfactory safeguards to prevent unfair competition from any licensing of such orphans. We agree that any proposals for Extended Collective Licensing (ECL) should be adoptive rather than enforced on any sectors in the industry.

We are very concerned by the proposal that licensing of orphan works could extend to commercial uses, something we, and others, have been against from the start as it undermines the creators’ marketplace and makes a mockery of existing licensing arrangements. We are also alarmed that the Government has made no mention of Moral Rights, which although outside the remit of Hargreaves’ review, are vital to the development of better IP legislation. It is nonsense to talk about licensing orphan works when we still do not have unwaivable Moral Rights, in particular, the right to be identified.

We note that the Government proposes to move forward on the basis of “open and transparent” evidence and are alarmed that whilst they acknowledge that SMEs find it very difficult to provide empirical evidence, there is little suggestion that other ways of engaging with those businesses will be sought.

We are dismayed to see that the Government has not taken the opportunity to provide appropriate education and protection for consumers regarding enforcement, but has placed the burden of such activity on rights-holders and creators. We have little enough time and money as it is to engage in such action.

In conclusion, we accept that there seem to be some areas that the Government wishes to address for the benefit of creators and welcome the opportunity to be involved in discussions around this but we are dismayed that the Government has seemingly missed an opportunity to really strengthen the creative industries in the UK and ensure their survival and future growth.

The Association of Photographers

8th August 2011

A week of copyright, and copywrong

Taken with the compact camera in my handbag. Far from top of the range and runs on rechargeable AA batteries.

Copyright infringement is galling at the best of times (that’s if there really is a ‘best of times’ for someone stealing your work) but when people who really should know better screw up, it’s a complete kick in the guts. You’d like to think that people who are creative themselves, who teach creative pursuits, or promote creative endeavours would stand up for other people’s copyright, not trample over it roughshod, wouldn’t you? We should be so lucky.

This week started with the Lady Gaga fiasco, when the bizarrely-dressed music mega-star who also happens to be the Creative Director of Polaroid, demanded that photographers on her Monsters Ball tour surrender the copyright of any pictures taken at the shows. Sheesh, woman! Who owns the copyright of the music that you make? How do you make (some of) your money? So who owns the copyright of a photo? How do photographers make their money? Think about it and get back to me.

Then Haje finds out that a school in Canada has been reproducing his work wholesale as part of its photography course. Yes dear students, some of you might wish to go on and make money by taking photos or writing books or producing music, but don’t expect to ever be able to make a living from it because people like your teachers can just rip it off without giving you any due.

Finally an open letter from the Association of Photographers to the Photographers’ Gallery dropped into my inbox last night. Here, you can read what it says for yourself:

8 March 2011

Brett Rogers
The Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street
London W1F 7LW

Dear Ms Rogers

It is with very great concern that we note the unauthorised use of a photograph made by John Goldsmith titled ‘Porcelain’ which resides on his Flickr Photostream and which has been used as part of a computer-generated impression to promote and publicise the new Photographers’ Gallery building.

As a trade body representing professional photographers, working to promote best practice and securing and protecting the rights of photographers everywhere, we are sure that you would not condone such a breach of a creator’s rights and would join with us in condemning what amounts to theft of someone else’s intellectual property.

We trust that as an organisation dedicated to promoting the best in photography, you are equally committed to respecting and honouring the rights of others, and will ensure that the photographer is paid the commercial rate for the use of his image as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely

The Association of Photographers

You might need to pinch yourself, but I can assure you that you’ve not misread it. The Photographers’ Gallery, an organisation designed to promote and support photographers and their work, allowed John Goldsmith’s photo to be used as part of its marketing campaign for the refit of its shiny new building, without asking his permission or offering him recompense.

Above: Porcelain by John Goldmsith. Below: unauthorised use of Porcelain in publicity for the Photographers' Gallery (photo courtesy of Joni Karanka).

The AoP stepped in when Goldsmith was pushed from pillar-to-post by the Photographers’ Gallery and their architects, each denying responsibility for failing to get permission to use the image. O’Donnell and Tuomey, the architects, have had the cheek to argue that they don’t need to reimburse Goldsmith because they’ve given him months of free publicity. Hogwash!

Goldsmith points out on his website that the original image was a candid street shot not intended for commercial use: he doesn’t even know who the woman in the picture is. In fact, if you’re her, or you know her, he’d like you to get in touch.

There’s just so much that’s wrong with the attitude of the Photographers’ Gallery that I’m astonished. Exactly which photographers are they promoting and supporting here? Precisely whose work and income are they managing to protect? Something tells me that they’d better move fast to rectify this one, or their credibility will be on very rocky ground.

In fact, I’m astonished that anyone who works in a creative capacity isn’t prepared to stand up for the copyright of any other creative individual. It’s an uphill struggle for those of us trying to earn a living by writing books, making music, taking photos, or producing art, at least until we hit the very big time. A little bit of co-operation goes a long way. It’s far better than cannibalism.

And for anyone who says that copyright is complicated: hell’s bells people, it’s copyright, not astrophysics.

(You can read more about the Lady Gaga fiasco in Rolling Stone, whilst John Goldsmith gives the story of Porcelain in his own words on his website.)