Friday, February 14, 2020

The FITT360 360° Wearable Virtual Reality Camera - Unboxing and Testing

We recently received the FITT360 360° virtual reality camera which you wear around your neck. We purchased this from the company, and because we were unable to find many videos other than those put out by the company or which use the company-supplied footage, we put together an unboxing and testing set of videos.

(Continued with testing video after the Jump)
Here is a series of tests of the camera, stitching, and clarity in and outdoor, indoor, and low-light setting. (This is best watched full-screen where you can use YouTube's VR navigation).

 



NOTE: This is not a sponsored post, and Linkflow, the manufacturer of this product, did not provide this product to us with the knowledge that it would be reviewed and tested. It came from their standard production run, and was purchased at the Indiegogo backer price.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

US Copyright Office - Step-By-Step for a Group of Published Photographs

The US Copyright Office has produced a video which is very helpful in giving you a step-by-step explanation of how to register a group of published photographs.

Back in January of 2018 Photo Business News reported Significant Changes at The US Copyright Office whereby in February of 2018 a new system as put in place to process your copyright registration.  Thankfully, they saved us here at Photo Business News from having to spend the time updating our video that is 42 minutes long and has almost 7,000 views on YouTube alone.

Here is a step-by-step video produced by the US Copyright Office  (best watched in full screen) -

(Continued after the Jump)


One of the ongoing challenges of the US copyright registration system is the upper limit of 750 images per registration. Prior to the February 2018 change, you could register a virtually unlimited number of images on a single registration. Hopefully, future changes to copyright registration policies and procedures will allow for more than 750 images per registration.


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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

US Copyright Office - Step-By-Step for a Group of Unpublished Photographs

The US Copyright Office has produced a video which is very helpful in giving you a step-by-step explanation of how to register a group of Unpublished photographs.

Back in January of 2018 Photo Business News reported Significant Changes at The US Copyright Office whereby in February of 2018 a new system as put in place to process your copyright registration.  Thankfully, they saved us here at Photo Business News from having to spend the time updating our video that is 42 minutes long and has almost 7,000 views on YouTube alone.

Here is a step-by-step video produced by the US Copyright Office (best watched in full screen) -

(Continued after the Jump)


One of the ongoing challenges of the US copyright registration system is the upper limit of 750 images per registration. Prior to the February 2018 change, you could register a virtually unlimited number of images on a single registration. Hopefully, future changes to copyright registration policies and procedures will allow for more than 750 images per registration.


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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Termination of ImageBrief Services

Today, March 1st, 2018, ImageBrief announced the "Termination of ImageBrief Services", telling contributors "...that after six years of connecting agencies, brands and creators, we will be closing down ImageBrief's photographer marketing services."

Amen.

For years, PhotoBusinessNews has been critical of the damage that ImageBrief has been doing to the assignment sector of the photographic industry.   Feburary 13, 2015 we wrote "ImageBrief: A scourge on the photographic industry",  and last year, 
on May 28th, 2016 we published "500px, ImageBrief - The Crowdsourcing Scoundrels of the Internet".  

So, it came as no surprise, and is good news for photographers in general, that ImageBrief announced their own demise.

If you contributed to ImageBrief, you have 7 days to retrieve your images, licenses, and other documents from the ImageBrief servers.

Here is the entire text of their email:

Dear {Contributor},

Today, we're announcing that after six years of connecting agencies, brands and creators, we will be closing down ImageBrief's photographer marketing services.
We're proud of the products and apps we built, but even more so, we're grateful for the community that enabled them to grow. More than 70,000 creators earned millions of dollars collaborating with 12,500+ global agencies and brands in 169 countries.

There has never been a better time for creators to thrive. Demand for content has increased, and the tools to create world-class creative are more accessible than ever.
Our talented team of engineers, designers, developers, and curators have worked tirelessly to make ImageBrief a success in a competitive and rapidly evolving landscape, and our immediate priority is to help you transition to other services to support your business.

In the coming days, our team will be in contact with you directly with detailed information about your specific account, license history, and services. Over the next week, we recommend logging into ImageBrief to download and retain your license history and related assets. Further details can be found in the FAQ's below.
We want to thank you for your participation and loyalty, and look forward to working with you in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition. 

Sincerely,
Team ImageBrief

FAQ'SWhat will happen to images I have uploaded?ImageBrief does not distribute your images through third parties. All photos you have submitted to the site will be permanently removed from our servers within the next seven days. 

How do I get copies of my licenses?For the next seven days, you will be able to login to www.imagebrief.com if you require additional copies of your licenses. Download your license and associated schedules. You are legally obliged to continue to adhere to all terms and agreements of your licensed images.

What will happen to my personal and credit card Information?We will permanently remove your personal information where it is no longer required, protecting your personal information from unauthorized access, disclosure, loss, misuse, and alteration.  ImageBrief uses Stripe and does not store private credit card information.

What will happen to payments due to me?Over the next 90 days, our finance team will continue to manage accounts on behalf of contributors for images recently licensed. You will be contacted directly regarding the specific status of outstanding payments and paid within 30 days of receipt of the client's payment.

ImageRights ServicesIf you activated ImageRights and via the ImageBrief platform, images you have synced to ImageRights will remain in your ImageRights account.
You can use the email you used to signup with ImageBrief, but you'll need to reset your password to be able to login to ImageRights directly. Head to the login page at www.imagerights.com/login and select the 'Forgot Password' link. Cases will continue to be pursued while your account remains open. You can submit an account cancellation to ImageRights by emailing support@imagebrief.com.


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Monday, January 22, 2018

Significant Changes at The US Copyright Office

The US Copyright Office for months have been working behind the scenes to codify new rules for group registrations of photographs, and they were released last week. In short, they are bad news for photographers, with very little good news.

For almost a decade, we have been registering, monthly, several thousand of our images in a single registration, for one registration fee. Some times, these were less than a thousand, and sometimes they were more than 5,000 images. 

 Here is the video that details how we have been doing them:


In less than a month, the limit is going to be 750 images, TOTAL, on a single registration. This means that a group registration of 5,500 images that I could previously register for $55 using the online eCO, will now cost me $520, or almost a ten-fold increase. (Source: Library of Congress fees).

It is disturbing that there is little extra cost (that is, a few additional sheets of certificate paper) for a 5,500 image registration than for a 750 image registration, so it makes no sense as to why this change has occurred.

While the new rules are the same for both a group registration of published photographs (GRPPH) and a group of unpublished photographs (GRUPH), this doesn't alleviate how much more work it is going to be for photographers, and how much more expensive it is.

Here are the new requirements:
  • Every image must be in a separate document in list form, and this list is not created until you have submitted your registration, and receive a case number from the eCO
  • Photos can only be JPEG, TIF, and GIF, and all should be in a .ZIP file, and the total size of the file must be 500MB or less
  • You'll still page the $55 fee, but the link above lists a $65 fee now as well
  • You can no longer use a paper registration, it's online only
  • The registration requires that you're the only author
  • Every image must have it's own title, as we recommend in the video above, not just a single title
  • the entire group must also have a title, also as we recommend in the above video
 The document has to list in a very specific manner, the title of the work, the filename of the work as stored in the ZIP file, and the date of first publication.  So, a work I created today at the US Capitol covering the reopening of the government would be:

TITLE: 20180122_CongressPressConf0987  FILE: 20180122_CongressPressConf0987.JPG  DATE: 01/22/2018

While this is easily automatable, it is an additional steps that adds to the hassle.

Then, the required attached document, in list form, using Excel, would something be named something like:

A group of published photographs by John Harrington CaseNo000000.xls

Then title of the work would be:

"A group of published photographs by John Harrington"

On the plus side, the Copyright Office has specified that now it is no longer a question as to whether or not the individual images registered as a part of a group registration are covered individually or not, they are now. So if someone were to say you were entitled to only a single statutory award of up to $150,000 if someone infringes on 5 images that all were in a single registration, your maximum statutory award would be $150k x 5, or $750,000. Whereas now,  That argument now is supposedly laid to rest. That is, until a court case challenges it.

Another significant improvement to the regulations is that the photographers who use assistants or other photographers to work under them on a work-made-for-hire basis can now register multiple photographers all on the same registration for one fee, provided that the legal author of all the photographs is the same, as it is when second shooters work on a work-made-for-hire basis (with the necessary contract signed beforehand). Previously one would have to file a separate registration for photographs made by each additional photographer even if  they were working on a WMFH basis.

Here is the final rule (LINK):
After soliciting comments in late 2016, the U.S. Copyright Office adopted a final rule, effective February 20, 2018, governing group registration of photographs. The final rule modifies the procedure for registering groups of published photographs (GRPPH), and establishes a similar procedure for registering groups of unpublished photographs (GRUPH). The final rule adopts a new requirement that applicants seeking copyright registrations for groups of photographs—both published and unpublished—must generally submit applications through the Office’s electronic registration system, and can include up to 750 photographs in each claim. The final rule also modifies the deposit requirement by requiring applicants to submit their contributions in a digital format and to upload those files through the electronic system; clarifies the eligibility requirements; and confirms that a group registration issued under GRPHH or GRUPH covers each photograph in the group, each photograph is registered as a separate work, and the group as a whole is not considered a compilation or a collective work.
For all the details, visit this link here at the eCO.  So if you're behind on your registrations, be sure to get them all done before 2/19/2018, as these changes go into effect on February 20th, 2018.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Take Action Now – Copyright Simplified


One of the many reservations photographers have to putting up any sort of official objection – that is, to file a lawsuit in court – is the cost and time associated with doing so. Further, their objections include the cost of hiring an attorney, and then paying them again, and again, and again. Then, there’s the reservation because, well, they didn’t register the copyright before the infringement. This all leads up to the idea that copyright protections don’t really help the individual photographer, they’re designed to protect corporate interests, so why bother doing anything at all?

This apathy has caused a downward spiral in copyright registrations, and the inverse is the case for infringements. Photographers feel helpless, and some fear sharing their work in any capacity online will result in large-scale theft of their work, so they don’t.

Enter small claims court.  In civil proceedings, if you have a disagreement that is minor (some jurisdictions cap it at $10k - $30k), you can come before a judge, present your case and evidence, and the judge will decide. It’s Judge Judy without the cameras and studio lighting. No jury, and, no expensive attorneys if you’re an individual.  It’s quick, and usually painless. In the world of copyright, to date, you have had to file a federal lawsuit and jump through a lot of hoops and hire a seasoned lawyer to help you through the process.  If the The “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2017” or the “CASE Act of 2017” becomes law, that won’t be your only option. 

This solution -  the Copyright Small Claims Board, proposes a small claims procedure would allow for an individual copyright holder to bring a claim where the cap on the award is $30,000, and does not require you to hire an attorney to represent you. While I would recommend you hire an attorney in matters such as this, in some instances, an attorney is not necessary.  And, as far as how much it would cost you to file a copyright claim? The act stipulated “a filing fee in such amount as may be prescribed in regulations established by the Register of Copyrights, which amount shall be at least $100, shall not exceed the cost of filing an action in a United States district court.”  So, for $100 or a bit more, and without an attorney, you can get the ball rolling where someone has infringed your work.

This looks to be an amazing solution where a website or t-shirt vendor or even a magazine has stolen your work. Has someone stolen your work and posted it on their instagram account? Here’s your solution, provided it becomes law. The Copyright Alliance has more information here - - and visit this link – a streamlined way for you to contact your member of congress.

(Continued after the Jump)





David Trust, CEO of the Professional Photographers of America explains it thusly:




Tom Kennedy, Executive Director of ASMP stated that “the introduction of the CASE Act is a critical step in the several years-long effort by ASMP and its colleagues in the creative community to correct an historic inequity in the copyright law: the failure of the law to provide individual creators with an effective and affordable means to combat infringements of their creative works—an especially vexing problem in a digital environment where piracy occurs at the click of a mouse.”

The NPPA, back in 2012, pointed out that  “While much of the advocacy by NPPA deals with access issues and the right to photograph and record in public; it cannot be understated that without the ability to affordably protect one’s copyright visual journalists will soon be out of business,” Mickey Osterreicher, NPPA general counsel said. “That is why it is so important that the Copyright Office support a new initiative that will address this critical issue,” he added. The NPPA went on to note that "As many photojournalists face situations involving copyright claims that amount to a limited amount of damages, the NPPA strongly supports the creation of a copyright small claims court system by the Copyright Office that would permit photojournalists to resolve such claims in an expedited and cost effective manner."





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Friday, September 15, 2017

PPA and Copyright - Trust a Champion

For many a professional photographer, the Professional Photographers of America is a trusted resource for education, support, and representation on all matters that matter to photographers. There are several trade associations, among them the NPPA, ASMP, and APA, and the PP of A stands shoulder to shoulder with them in working hard to affect change around the country and within the industry. Each tends to focus on one area where photographers need help, but all are working hard when it comes to protecting copyright for professional photographers.

A few weeks ago, the CEO of the PP of A, David Trust, wrote a great piece on "Why Congress Needs to Focus on Photographers", (Medium, 8/10/17) and it is a well reasoned presentation of the importance as to why photographers need help with protecting their intellectual property.

Trust notes that "...over 70% of photographers and visual artists will lose a month’s worth of income, or more, during their careers to copyright infringement..." and he highlights several examples of where photographers were the victims of the theft of their work or slandered and libeled, through no fault of their own. The article is very much worth a read.

With over 30,000 members of the PP of A, they represent a broad cross-section of members, and when people are wondering whether or not to re-up their membership in their various organizations, this article is a reminder that, while photographers are working hard at making great images and telling stories, whether it be the marriage of a bride and groom, a feature on a notable person, or the news of the day, leaders like David Trust are championing you and your business every day, often behind-the-scenes.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Binded - Unwanted S&M For Artists & Creatives

There are plenty of ways to gag and bind your time, creativity, and intellectual property. The latest one, Binded (a rebranding of a company called Blockai) is a startup offering up worthless "certificates" - selling snake oil to the creative masses.

On their website they proffer "we give you a copyright certificate as proof which can help protect you against copyright infringement." Unfortunately, they should be saying "might" or "may", and even then, that's not true. In a March 14, 2016 TechCrunch interview (here), when the CEO is asked if there is any legal benefit to their "Blockai Certificate", the CEO responds “we believe that a record created on the blockchain using Blockai would serve as sufficient evidence in a court of law.”

Wrong.

U.S. Copyright is governed by federal law, and the only "copyright certificate" that has any standing in a U.S. court is one from the United States Copyright Office.  These "Blockai certificate" offerings are as worthless as the myth of the "poor mans copyright", whereby you mail yourself a copy of your work, trying to use the postal cancellation date as proof of the date created and that you own it - the theory being that you open the envelope in court for the first time. This myth has been busted by so many reputable publications and entities, that the copyright office even addresses it here, writing "There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration."

During their launch last year, Fstoppers ran an article (here), where the author offered false hope,  writing "it adds another layer of protection for the creator". Let's be crystal clear here, Blockai offers no additional protections for the creator. A creator would have more protection wearing a torn prophylactic.

The snake oil being sold on their website is described as "copyright made simple" then "the easy way to protect your images, free forever."  

While this video, a pitch to TechCrunch from a year ago,  reveals something very different. They are charging between $0.25 and $0.50 per image you want to register.  And, you can't make this stuff up - their still frame for the video pitch is rainbows and a unicorn - as mythical as the protections they are saying they give you. Consider that a $65 official registration with the U.S. Copyright Office allows you to register an unlimited number of images in one single registration, whereas $65 will get you just 260 images registered with Blockai.

Their Terms of Service state they are "A web application that allows a user to claim copyright ownership of an image they created."  What they are doing does not protect your images, let alone, forever. In fact, what it does, is create a false sense of hope that the creator is doing something that does protect them.  The Vimeo co-founder  Zach Klein is quoted on their website as saying "finally, copyrighting is simple and fair." A photographer is quoted as saying "Binded makes it simple to manage my copyrights." These are quoted, obviously, as the opinions of these people, so they can say whatever they want, even when it's blatantly inaccurate. The Vimeo co-founder suggests Binded is "copyrighting", which it is not.

Further, it should be noted that this isn't the first time Klein has been criticized for being a part of a "scam", Gawker wrote here in 2013 about him pitching, in Tom Sawyer-esque fashion, for people to pay to help make him a bathhouse in the woods of upstate New York. With Klein having been named to the advisors board for one of the founder's other ventures, Quickcoin, I'm not sure I'd consider his endorsement exactly unbiased. It certainly is not accurate.

This isn't the first foray into delusion for the mouthpiece of Blockai. The founder of Blockai and Binded, Nathan Lands co-founded a service in 2014 when he was 29 called Quickcoin, billed in this article as "Bitcoin so simple, even Mom can use it", and was conceived "over noodles at Ramen Underground". In this Recode article about it, he throws a Bitcoin fair wearing "a lush gray velvet smoking jacket" with Lands quoted as saying "we’re trying to make bitcoin available to the average consumer" and then "Listen, I’m a capitalist. I like money a lot. And bitcoin means different things to everyone, but you can still derive a lot of value from bitcoin, a lot of value." Yet, some two years later, they've not raised more than their original $50k, and their website is down. To use industry-speak, it seems they burned through their funding and ran out of runway.

So, what do you do when you've burned through your funding? Move on to another ill-conceived idea, this time, trying to dupe artists and creators.  After getting just over $500k a year ago, 5 days ago on May 24th they received just under $1M, for a total of $1.5M in funding, according to Crunchbase here.

The most telling and accurate statement on the entire Binded website is in their TOS, where they write "3.2. Website Accuracy. Although we intend to provide accurate and timely information on the Binded Site, the Binded Site (including, without limitation, the Content) may not always be entirely accurate, complete or current...Accordingly, you should verify all information before relying on it, and all decisions based on information contained on the Binded Site are your sole responsibility and we shall have no liability for such decisions."

And there you have it. They can sell whatever scam they want dressed up with rainbows and unicorns, but you're on your own when that scam screws you over and you're left gagged and "binded" to your bedposts by their false promises.  What they should be collecting when you register for their services is your safeword.


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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

$1.2M Copyright Claim Awarded for Infringement of Photos

A common refrain by photographers who make excuses for not registering their work with the copyright office is that they’re not that valuable, or that no one would want to steal them.

On May 11th, in Baltimore Maryland, a jury awarded the copyright owner $900,000 in actual damages and $300,000 in statutory damages for 133 total infringements of 24 different images, of plants, in Under A Food Plant Company v. Exterior Design Inc.  The case is BPG-15-871, before the US District Court for the District of Maryland.

At issue was a a series of photographs of a product line that were stolen and used to market and sell a competing product line by a competing nursery. While to the un-trained eye the products may have appeared similar, however according to the press release, “Professor Jeffrey Sedlik, a leading expert on visual arts and photography licensing, was called as an expert witness at trial…He confirmed the infringement using a fingerprint-like “feature point analysis” of the photographs and then researched the fair market value for licensing similar images in similar marketing materials.  Professor Sedlik noted that the use of these photographs in competing marketing materials increased the likely cost of a license drastically, thus increasing the damages sustained by Under A Foot Plant, Co.  The size of the jury award suggests that Professor Sedlik’s testimony was critical in demonstrating Under A Foot Plant, Co.’s damages to the jury.”

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Letting Freelancers Screw Themselves: CONDÉ NAST(Y) Edition


Conde Nast has taken a page out of the Time Magazine playbook and their new contract outlines that you can pay a fee to be paid faster, according to the Fashionista blog here, who reports they have a copy of the latest contract.

In 2009, Photo Business News reported here about how Time Warner was doing the same thing.  What is not clear, is what the Conde Nast payment schedule is like.

It is a common accounting concept whereby you bill, say, $1,000 for an assignment, and offer the following terms: "2/10 Net 30", which means that the party receiving the invoice may take a 2% discount if they pay in 10 days, otherwise the full amount is due after that, and late after 30 days. A good outline of the concept is available here,  and sometimes, it's "1/10 Net 30" too.

One of the challenges is when that 30 days begins. Is it 30 days from invoice date? Is it 30 days from when the manuscript is accepted by the editor? Or is it 30 days following the date of publication (usually listed as the date on the front of the magazine). With magazines often having a multi-month lead time for articles, it could well be that you don't get paid for many months.

On many occasions, we've had clients hold onto invoices, or even lose them and ask that they be resent, which delays payment, because the accounting department doesn't start the "30 days" clock, until they receive it.

As Fashionista notes, in the state of New York, where Conde Nast is headquartered, a law passed in October of 2016 (here) requires timely payment or financial penalties or even a lawsuit could result. Clearly, this new contract begins to factor that in, plus payment terms.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, so they say. So, the contract could, or should include interest or penalty charges when an invoice is paid after a set date, no?

(Comments and a note, after the Jump)
Editors note:  Yes, we repurposed the same "Time Warner screws freelancer graphic here, because, well, they still are skewing freelancers

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