Along with the bounty on the table tomorrow, most of us will be grateful for things like our family, health, home and hearth. We might also be thankful for the wonderful photographic opportunities that abound in this old world, even with all its problems (see A Nature Photographer’s Thanksgiving, Part 1). I am embarrassed to admit that sometimes missing from my list of things to be thankful for are the volunteers that make possible so many of the experiences I enjoy.
NANPA has worked long and hard to get Congress to pass the CASE Act (Copyright Alternative Small Claims Enforcement Act), which would provide photographers with the option of pursuing infringers in a small claims-type of process instead of federal district court. You can read more about how the CASE Act will help photographers here: http://www.nanpa.org/advocacy/intellectual-property/case-act/
The good news is that the CASE Act has picked up bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. It just passed through committee in the Senate and will soon come before the House Judiciary Committee. If it passes there, the Act will proceed to a final vote in both chambers.
In other words, this might actually happen!
Is it a done deal? Nope. Unfortunately the so- called protectors of an “open internet” have awoken. Backed with cash from Silicon Valley, an army of lobbyists, and a fear-mongering scare campaign they have descended on Washington D.C. to righteously proclaim that the CASE Act is just an evil plot to destroy the internet by unleashing copyright trolls on unsuspecting innocents. They screech that the “sky is falling” because photographers like you and me want to use it to go after innocent grandmothers who repost social media memes on their Facebook pages.
As we say in Texas, “I s#*t you not.”
Here is where you come in. Your voice will help drown out the nay-sayers and push this bill over the finish line. Over the next few weeks, NANPA is joining the “50 States in 20 Days” campaign to send specific messages to legislators in each state on a single, specific day. Be on the lookout for emails with specific instructions for the messages we would like you to send. Contacting your representatives will only take a few minutes, but will help make a huge difference.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the controversy swirling around The Vessel, a massive “sculpture” in the heart of Hudson Yards, a huge real estate development in Manhattan? It’s been described as an M. C. Escher drawing come to life and instantly became a favorite Instagram background for visitors to New York. You can learn more about it in the video above.
When you snag a ticket for admission to The Vessel, as in so many things in life these days, you agree to various terms and conditions. Nobody reads them, right? Well, someone did and found that, by buying a ticket, you were agreeing to terms that essentially gave ownership of your photo to the real estate development. The original terms stated that you were giving the company “the irrevocable, unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable right and license to use, display, reproduce, perform, modify, transmit, publish and distribute such photographs, audio recordings or video footage for any purpose whatsoever in any and all media (in either case, now known or developed later).”
Google Images will now include IPTC creator, credit and copyright information . . . if you have it in the image file. In Lightroom, Bridge and other software, you can apply IPTC metadata with presets.
In late September, Google announced that, in a major update to Google Images, it would be adding “rights-related meta data,” where available, to photos. Collaborating with CEPIC, a coordinating body of stock and news agencies, museums, libraries and art galleries, and IPTC, the “global standards body of the news media,” Google designed a way to access the Creator and Credit metadata for photos. That is, assuming you’ve included the metadata in your original upload. Google will also be adding copyright notices in the near future.
Susan Day at NANPA board meeting, Jacksonsville, FL. Photo by David Small.
Choices and Goals
Everyday we make choices. What to eat. What to wear. What to do. Nature photographers make choices on new equipment, how to pay for it, where to use it, how to compose an image, which tweaks to make during post-processing; and for some, how to make a living. Everyone’s bucket list is unique, and we take different paths to reach them–whether you’re a big-time goal-setter with spreadsheets and planners or a seat-of-the-pants winger.
Passion, planning, and drive play big parts in whether (and when) we take those fall landscape photos in the Rockies or photograph wildlife on an African safari.
In the old days, not only did we have to walk through two feet of snow on our way to school (which was really tough for me because I lived in Tucson), but we didn’t have access to all the species and landscapes that photographers do today. If one has the money, there is now almost no place on Earth that cannot be reached and photographed with only a couple of days travel. Nature photography has indeed changed over the last 30 years, and I’m not just talking about technological advances in photo gear. I’m also referring to our subjects, our relationships with them, and our access to them. Most, if not all, of these changes have resulted from an exploding human population and the fact that we are increasingly mobile. Have these changes been good or bad? The answer is yes. The immediate conclusion most of us jump to is that a hordes of people are bad for the natural world, and this conclusion is not wrong. But, and this is a big but, lots of people can make nature photography better.
NANPA’s Board terms end on June 30, and new directors take office on July 1, which is also the date that presidents change. I had the privilege of working with Don Carter for a year as president, and on July 1, Don passed the gavel to Gordon Illg. To say that Gordon jumped in with both feet would be putting it mildly.