If you mention the topic of commercial film permits to most professional photographers, the response may range from an irritated growl to a wall of invective that would make a sailor blush. And for good reason, too. The statutes and regulations governing when a photographer needs a commercial permit are confusing at best and vary depending on factors such as whether or not the activity involves stills or video, is considered commercial filming, uses props, sets or models, and more. They are sometimes even prone to inconsistent and arbitrary application and even abuse when applied by park rangers and administrators in the real world
For those reasons, NANPA has long advocated for reform and simplification of the commercial film and still photography permit laws and regulations.
It’s hard to believe that this fiscal year over! Today we welcome Dawn Wilson as NANPA’s next president as well as new board members Beth Huning, Trent Sizemore, and Kika Tuff. Lisa Langell will stay on for a second term and be a great mentor to the incoming members. I’m looking forward to working with and helping everyone achieve NANPA’s goals and dreams.
“In another victory for photographers, Instagram has now come down on the side of visual artists–expressly stating that it DOES NOT grant API users a blanket license to embed public third party content. This decision will undercut the recent decision in Sinclair v. Ziff Davis and give photographers who use Instagram much needed protection from blanket, unauthorized use of their Instagram posts. Instagram explained its determination in a communication with Ars Technica:
” ‘While our terms allow us to grant a sub-license, we do not grant one for our embeds API,’ a Facebook company spokesperson told Ars in a Thursday email. ‘Our platform policies require third parties to have the necessary rights from applicable rights holders. This includes ensuring they have a license to share this content, if a license is required by law.’
“Instagram’s decision is significant. Before a party embeds someone else’s Instagram post on their website, they now may need to ask the poster for a separate license and failure to do so could subject them to a copyright lawsuit. Users who fail to get such a license might still be able to assert a fair use defense as justification for their use, but they can no longer claim a blanket sublicense to do so.
“Instagram has also stated that it is exploring the possibility of giving users with public Instagram accounts more control over the embedding of their posts. NANPA joined with other visual art groups in requesting that Instagram account holders should have the ability to control how third parties use their post and we will continue that dialogue.”
We’ll continue to monitor this and keep you informed as new information or court decisions become available,
Wow! It was quite the shock to me a little over a year ago when I was approached about being nominated to be the next president of NANPA. Skip forward almost one year after being elected as president and the time has just flown by. The best part about it has been the opportunity to become more involved with NANPA and getting to know many of the people who make NANPA a special community of and for nature photography. So, before I pass the gavel to our incoming president, Dawn Wilson, I want to thank all who have helped NANPA in the last year and continue to do so. This may feel like a going away note, but really I will be on the board for another year, and who knows after that.
Can an online publisher simply embed a photographer’s Instagram post in an online story without paying that photographer or obtaining express permission to do so? Unfortunately, a recent New York district court decision in Sinclair v. Ziff Davissuggests the answer is yes, as long as they do so consistent with Instagram’s various service agreements. While some online publishers have been embedding Instagram posts in their stories for a while, Sinclair is the first court decision that gives legal cover to the practice, leading some photographers to reassess how they use Instagram, and indeed all social media, going forward.
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: https://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.
Susan Day on a foggy morning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Richard Day
June 30 is the last day for Gordon Illg’s term as NANPA’s 25th president and when the board terms for Sean Fitzgerald and Ted Moreno end.
If there was a prize for the most meetings presided over, Gordon definitely qualifies! In the last twelve months, Gordon led twelve teleconference board meetings, three teleconference executive committee meetings, two in-person multi-day board meetings, and the NANPA Business meeting held at the 2019 Summit in Las Vegas. Not to mention, he participated in almost weekly meetings with me plus dozens of committee and planning meetings in the past year. Gordon has been great to work with, and even though he travels a lot for his workshop business, he was always available to answer questions and kept in regular contact with me. Gordon will continue his board service to NANPA as Past President for another year—where he’ll still get to attend plenty of meetings (but won’t have to lead them!)
Susan Day relaxing in Rhyolite Ghost Town, NV after 2019 Las Vegas Summit. Photo by Richard Day.
As I’ve been flipping through past issues of NANPA’s first newsletters, Currents, I’m impressed with how forward-thinking our boards and management teams were as they formulated our organizational documents, Mission Statement, bylaws, and basic structure. Much of those basics are still relevant and just as important today—ethics, education, conservation, inspiration as they relate to nature photography—as they were 25 years ago.
The birding community lost a treasure on March 25 with the passing of Bill Thompson III. Bill was Co-Publisher and Editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine for years where many NANPA members licensed their photos. Not only was Bill instrumental in helping photographers and writers, he also worked tirelessly devoting his life to creating awareness of and conservation of birding worldwide. I was privileged to know Bill as a friend for nearly 30 years. He was a NANPA member in the early days and attended summits to find photographers and writers for the magazine. At the 1995 NANPA Forum in Ft Myers, Florida; Bill, Richard Day, and I were hanging out together and planned to eat together at the closing banquet. The Forum organizers were not prepared for the number of people that showed up for that historic meeting, and there weren’t enough tables or food that night. We waited a long time while the hotel set up more tables; and we finally ended up crammed in front of the room at an angle partially behind the stage –which didn’t really matter, because by that time everyone in our new group of friends had made the most of the situation and were having a great old time. While we waited for our food, which ran into the evening festivities on the stage after everyone else had finished eating, Bill entertained us by balancing a spoon on his nose and asking how many others could do it. I know I have a photo somewhere (probably on a 35mm slide buried in a box) of our entire table playing “Spoon Bill” with Bill Thompson. That’s the kind of guy he was, and those are the kinds of stories and memories that are born at NANPA meetings.
As we celebrate NANPA’s 25th Birthday #happybirthdayNANPA this year, our hope is that everyone associated with NANPA has fond memories and stories. We started off with a big birthday cake at the Las Vegas Summit; and this month, in keeping with the “25th” theme, we selected the 25th new member to join NANPA in 2019—Alyssa Kline. Alyssa’s gift for NANPA’s birthday is a print copy of 2019 Expressions, which features photos of this year’s Showcase winners. Welcome to the NANPA family, Alyssa!
It’s hard to believe, but NANPA’s 26th election of our board of directors is taking place now. You have until April 20 to vote to fill vacancies of Sean Fitzgerald and Ted Moreno, whose terms end on June 30. Five candidates are on the ballot: Ted Moreno (who is eligible for a second term), John Reed, Alice Robertson, Trent Sizemore, and Dawn Wilson. Login https://www.nanpa.org/members/members.php to the members’ area of the website, read their bios and nominations questionnaires, and cast your vote.
We’re proud to announce the completion of NANPA’s Conservation Handbook this month. This is first in a series that will be ongoing, and we are grateful to the Conservation Committee for developing, producing, and introducing this series. Check it out here. https://www.nanpa.org/members/members.php
On June 15, NANPA will observe its 14th Nature Photography Day. We’ll be holding a photo contest with some nice prizes, but Nature Photography Day is not just about contests. It’s about getting as many people outside as possible to enjoy nature through photography. We’ll be sending media releases and doing a big social media push to let everyone know. In past years, National Parks, nature centers, camera clubs, and civic groups have organized events around Nature Photography Day. Many of these festivals and celebrations use local speakers and instructors to teach attendees how to photograph nature. You can help spread the word in your area too (and maybe pick up a teaching gig!) so watch your emails for more information in the coming weeks.
As we enter a new season, I hope you’ll have many opportunities to explore and experience the rebirth of life after a long winter. As nature photographers, seeing and documenting the natural world is part of who we are. Cherish those special moments and the people you meet along the way.
He posted it to Facebook, the image went viral, and then the real fun started. Fox News called. The Associated Press called. Everyone wanted to use the image in news stories, but they all wanted it for free.