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Category Archives: Legal Issues

So, there’s this whole legal wrangling going on about Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster – the Associated Press claims the illustration is based on one of their photographs. Except now the photojournalist who actually took the photo is claiming it isn’t AP’s – it’s his. This should be fun …


The New York Times‘ Lens blog has a selection of images up by Michael Wolf of Chicago architecture – and the visual formations are stunningly cool (particularly the last frame). There’s even a legal note appended to the piece that talks about privacy issues – something we as journalists deal with a lot.

It took more than 57 years, but Rudy Mancuso is at last getting credit for his iconic 1951 image of the Giants winning the pennant. In a story for the Wall Street Journal, Joshua Prager talks about how the amateur photographer took the image, lost track of the negative and then had it returned shortly before his death.

Facebook instituted a change in its terms of service that drew a lot of complaints. Wednesday morning, they backed down.

Now, if only other entities would understand that content has value … 

Photo Attorney Carolyn Wright has posted about the terms of service on Facebook – and it’s not friendly.

Facebook, I’m sure, is not the only site to have this stuff buried in there. (I should probably go check …) Please make sure you’re reading those pesky terms of service agreements and that you’re not giving up anything you value by posting to online sites.

Update: Well, I checked Google’s terms of service. It starts out fine …

Your Intellectual Property Rights. Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Google services and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. (Emphasis their’s)

However, they then wrap up with …

By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services.


The negative side of me says this isn’t good, the optimistic side of me says that’s just legalese to allow them to do what you’ve asked (distribute your content via their services). I think I’m going to lean towards the optimistic side on this as there’s nothing there about relicensing or redistribution.

Yep, a lawyer is suing because the paper announced cuts after he paid his subscription

So, instead of being able to put money into staff or resources, they now have to spend it fighting off a frivolous lawsuit. But, the lawyer says he could have cancelled his subscription, but “filed the suit to make a point.”
Proving, again, that in the legal system, the lawyers always win.

Photo Attorney Carolyn Wright tells the tale of a photographer who just won a $12 million settlement for copyright infringements.


The Fox affiliate in Washington, D.C., has a piece on whether you can shoot photos in Union Station. Turns out, you can – but security doesn’t know that and has been harassing tourists and pros of late.

Meanwhile, Bruce Schneier at The Guardian has a column on why photographers are considered threats by government agencies.

The 9/11 terrorists didn’t photograph anything. Nor did the London transport bombers, the Madrid subway bombers, or the liquid bombers arrested in 2006. Timothy McVeigh didn’t photograph the Oklahoma City FederaLinkl Building. The Unabomber didn’t photograph anything; neither did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Photographs aren’t being found amongst the papers of Palestinian suicide bombers. The IRA wasn’t known for its photography. Even those manufactured terrorist plots that the US government likes to talk about — the Ft. Dix terrorists, the JFK airport bombers, the Miami 7, the Lackawanna 6 — no photography.

Hit the link for his explanation.


UPDATE: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton responds to the privatization of Union Station. Or, not.

If you’re freelancing, it pays to have insurance. So says John Harrington at Photo Business News and, well, anyone else who’s thinking …

Why? Because things go wrong. In this example, it’s a model who gets injured by a lion. (No gore, a lot of bruising, though.) There are lots of stories of equipment getting damaged out there, but this could have been a really tragic situation.

Okay, for you slightly-off photographers, be wary of traveling to London.

(My generation’s excuse for odd behavior was sniffing the Dektol. What is yours?)