Friday, April 18, 2008

The 2008 AP Contract Analysis - Section 2

Here's Section 2, followed by commentary:

Section 2. Assignments.

2.1. Freelance Photographer shall use his/her own equipment for the purposes of executing and completing each Assignment. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event there is specialized equipment required to complete the individual Assignment and the Freelance Photographer does not possess or have access to such equipment on his/her own, then AP may in its sole discretion, supply such equipment, which shall be used by Freelance Photographer only in connection with such Assignment and then returned immediately to AP upon completion of such Assignment or prior to that, immediately upon AP's request.
(Continued after the Jump)
Comments:
At what point is what you own, expected to be a part of your core set of owned equipment? Is specialized equipment a 300mm lens? At the purchase and maintenance costs of such a piece of equipment, the ability to recoup the $5k or so that this lens costs makes owning it, financially unjustifiable. Local camera stores in the DC area charge roughly $50 per day for that kind of lens. The AP does not allow for the rental of this, or any other specialized equipment. It just says they can, at their discretion, supply it. I can’t see the long-term value in owning a long lens like this when you’re not properly compensated by either a surcharge allowance, or the ability to be reimbursed for rental charges. There does not appear to be the allowance for that. Further, the AP should allow you to “rent to yourself” a lens like this. This concept is very common in the television news arena, where you are hiring the cameraman for $X, and if you want him to bring his $30k camera, it’s $X+$Y, where $Y is a standard up-charge for the use of the equipment. Otherwise, the hiring company provides the camera and other equipment.

I propose below a change to be in-line with the TV model. A schedule could be attached which would allow for a standard package of equipment – say 2 bodies, and lenses ranging from 14mm – 200mm, 2 strobes. Since a standard camera rental for a single body is $125 or so a day, and lenses of that type are $15 or so a day, Even though it would be irresponsible for the AP to send you out with one body, and a full rental package should be $300 for that range of gear, it might be reasonable to pay you $150 for the days use of your equipment. In some cases, there may be an editor on-site you are delivering your cards to, and so a laptop may not be necessary. In cases where you are required to have a laptop and wireless internet to deliver images, a per-day laptop rental/usage charge of $50 could apply.

The basis for this concept was that some networks required betacam’s, other’s betacam SP, some shoots required lights, backdrops, dollies, and a wide variety of audio gear. So too, but to a lesser degree, do still photographers have a variety of potential equipment needs to fulfill the requirements of an assignment. It’s not unreasonable to apply the TV model of compensation here.


Here ,a New Jersey firm, Euro-Pacific, delineates the level of professional equipment needed for the assignment. Perhaps the AP could specify Nikon D70 or Canon 10D, as is delineated on the video package, for a Mini-DV camera, versus a top of the line Betacam SP. For a Betacam SP package for the day, it’s $1225. Here this crew rates listing shows that a camera operator only is $525 for the day (an audio tech is $420), and you can add-in a Sony Betacam SP for $630, for a total of - $1155 for the day. This surely looks to be a fair method, especially when you look at the equipment they bring, and similarly, still photographers bring, to an assignment. While it's somewhat silly to suggest a D70/10D over an EOS 1Ds or a D3, or any other technical specification for the camera, the point remains that the cameras could/should well be separated out.

Could be changed to:
“then AP may in its sole discretion, supply such equipment,” should be changed to “then AP may in its sole discretion, supply such equipment or authorize the rental charges of same,”. Ideally, this clause reads, in part:

AP may in its sole discretion, supply such equipment necessary for the execution of the assignment. In the event that the AP supplies such equipment such equipment, it shall be used by Freelance Photographer only in connection with such Assignment and then returned immediately to AP upon completion of such Assignment or prior to that, immediately upon AP's request. Freelance Photographer may, at the AP’s discretion, use his/her own equipment for the purposes of executing and completing each Assignment. The AP shall pay rental charges pursuant to the attached schedule of rental fees, for equipment normal and usual for the completion of the assignment. Any specialized equipment needs shall be discussed and agreed to prior to their application on the assignment.

Sub-section 2.2, up next:
2.2. AP shall provide to Freelance Photographer, on a per-Assignment basis, a description of the Assignment, and may provide a letter of introduction to obtain working press credentials necessary for Freelance Photographer to gain access in connection with the Assignment. All such items must be returned immediately to AP if Freelance Photographer does not accept an Assignment or upon AP's request. Freelance Photographer may not use the AP name to obtain media credentials except in order to gain access as a freelance photographer when performing Assignments that Freelance Photographer has accepted under this Agreement. Freelance Photographer will act in a professional and businesslike manner while on Assignments for AP. Freelance Photographer may not create credentials, badges, business cards or similar identifiers using the AP name or trademark. Freelance Photographer will not have access to or use of AP's systems, equipment or materials except as otherwise specified in Section 2.1 above. In the event that AP provides Freelance Photographer with access to metadata, captioning standards or other proprietary tagging information ("AP Metadata, Captioning Standards and Tagging Information") for purposes of tagging Assignment Photos (as defined in Section 3.2 below), Freelance Photographer shall not use any such AP Metadata or Tagging Information for any other customer, purpose or project other than an Assignment. AP Metadata, Captioning Standards and Tagging Information is confidential and proprietary to AP, and may not be used in a manner not expressly authorized hereunder, and may not be made available or disclosed to any other party or used for any other purpose.
Comments:
Be cognizant of the description of the assignment. Some events may require a just a few images to be transmitted, while for others, even of a similar duration, could require a dozen. I can assume that the AP thinks that, on average, it will work out and be fair.

Note the preclusion that you “may not create”, however, this does not preclude you from wearing or displaying AP lanyards, luggage tags, stickers, and so forth that the AP made, but that you are using on your equipment. Simply affixing or wearing those identifiers is not a technical breach of this term, when they are AP created.

Note that the AP considers its’ Metadata and Tagging Information as proprietary – and thus – of value. You too, if you don’t already, should be recognizing the value of this aspect of your work.


Sub-section 2.3:
2.3. Freelance Photographer is free to engage in any other business or profession and to contract his or her services with any other entity or person ; provided that while on Assignment, Freelance Photographer shall perform services solely for AP. Freelance Photographer may retain or subcontract with other individuals to assist on Assignments; provided that only Freelance Photographer shall compose and capture the images in the Photographs (as defined below) .
Comments:
The AP has to have this clause in here, otherwise, your preclusion from working for, say, Reuters, might be something that could trigger an IRS look at your relationship, and deem you to be an employee, regardless of what Term 1.2 above specifies.

The AP also here is careful to ensure that your assistants aren’t triggering cameras (remotes, etc) since that may cause that assistant to have a claim to the copyright of the work. This is an important clause here – be careful you pay special attention to this when working with assistants.


Sub-section 2.4 is pretty straightforward, and doesn't really need any comments:
2.4. All Photographs (as defined below) created by Freelance Photographer while on an Assignment must be submitted to AP in accordance with Section 3 below.


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