Wednesday, July 29, 2009

LA Weekly Cover

see the story here

Monday, July 27, 2009

Time magazine writes back

Skye Gurney writes:

"Hi Star,

Clara Waldron forwarded your information to me inquiring about the use of the coin jar on the cover of the April 27, 2009 cover of Time.

The image was purchased from istockphoto with an extended license. You can read the provisions of the extended license here:


Skye Gurney"

Now we just have to find out, did they buy the other licenses they needed?
Multi-Seat (for when you have it on more then one computer at a time?), Items for Resale (the posters you sell online), Electronic Items for Resale (the Kindle download is an example of electronic items for resale)

And if they did, why didn't istock pay their artist what was agreed to for the credits? He was even not paid the amount for the extended license.

TIME magazine cover now pays $31.50

Recently there has been a lot of internet buzz on how TIME magazine used an istock photo as the cover of an issue last April.

I first ran across the TIME magazine istock cover on a forum at the website modelmayhem. What I noticed right away, is that the number for the photographer payout and the licensing numbers istock charges were not adding up.

Now one of the things we are seeing is how an issue like this can go viral.

EDIT: We don't know what TIME paid for. We only have the photographer's word on what he was paid. He was paid, according to his word, $31.50, 20% of what TIME paid for licensing. Istock guarantees its contributers no less then 19¢ per credit. We know what TIME should have paid in terms of credits for the image, so we know about what number of credits TIME purchased. TIME purchased somewhere around 158 credits (if we go from the lowest payscale per credit possible), which is not the full 400 and some credits they would have needed.

Also in fair disclosure I don't think TIME deliberately bought the wrong license, didn't credit the photographer, and sold the image illegally. However I do believe that TIME does not currently hold the correct licenses, and owes the fees set force in the license they have bought to istock photo, and the photographer. I do not believe they should be allowed to retroactively buy more licensing. /end edit

Pro photographers and hobbiests arguing back and forth over what TIME should pay for a cover, how micro stock is ruining the industry; and of course, in the end, somebody had to call communism.

Well here is answer to that argument, that saying paying a working wage is communism, it isn't. It is objectivism.

So that is that, but more then that I am concerned over the apparent disregard TIME magazine is showing to the licensing agreement they made with istock photos, which is the manager for the artist's work in this particular case.

With the payment made to the photographer it looks like TIME bought 87 "credits" from That is a multi-user license (which they need if they want it on more then one computer at a time,) and the standard license.

As an objectivist I have problems with this, and I have been stating my problems all along.

1. the amount the artist was paid WAS NOT the amount he should have been paid. Not should have in a universe owes him way, but should have as in the magazine bought the wrong usage way. I have outlined this at the end of this post if you want to understand my reasoning.

TIME currently states its circulation is around 3 million. So accordingly they have broken their licensing agreement with istock and oversold by 2.5 million. Istock charges a fee of .01 for every publishing past 500,000 on the normal license. Because of the payout to the photographer we know TIME did not buy an extended license.

So far no one has come forward explaining how istock is going to fix this. So far no one has explained how TIME is going to fix this.

2. Let's talk about communism.

Let's not talk about communism, lets talk about objectivism.

"No man is a means to an end. Man is an end to himself."

What does that mean? Well it means that by hiding who buys your photos istock is currently making it difficult to track down usage misconduct. So when a magazine like TIME makes at least 3 licensing errors, the person who owns the photo doesn't know. If they don't know, how can they ask for fair payment, and for istock to uphold their rights as the agent who sold the photo.

This cover is from last APRIL. The photographer just saw it now. Istock must have known it was being used, and they must have known that the photographer was not getting the usage payment they agreed to give for this type of usage, but they have done nothing.

They have shut down the discussion in their forums, and so far have made no statements.

Everyone must take responsibility for their own lives. And that means honoring your contracts. Two contracts have been broken here,

a. the contract between the photographer and the micro stock company which has failed to take action against a broken licensing agreement

b. the contract between TIME and the microstock agency, TIME has failed to buy the license for the product they have used. How is that different then shoplifting? They were hoping nobody noticed they took what wasn't theirs.

3. Lets talk about objectivism again.

The whole man an end to a means thing, that encompasses paying a fair labor rate to your contractors, employees and other people you do business with. It means don't take everything you can grab at an unfair rate of pay, rather pay your own way and other people will pay their own way. Take care of yourself, but not by taking advantage of others.

What many of us have found to be insulting is that the OP doesn't really care that TIME owes him about $5,000+ just in unpaid licensing, according to the contract TIME signed when acquiring the photo.

He doesn't care that by excluding his name that TIME again broke the licensing agreement, and that the framed artwork sales make a THIRD time that the magazine is doing an unlawful usage.

At the rate of $150,000 per violation, and the fact that in the 90s in the USA commercial copyright violation involving more than 10 copies and value over $2500 was made a felony, TIME and istock should be jumping onto this burning barge before it becomes a real news story. Not shutting down all discussion, or not coming in and saying what they will do to rectify.

And that is where people like me, and other professional photographers have to step in and say even if he doesn't care we have to care. That by not taking action against TIME magazine we are not the people who will lose out in the end.

The next time the magazine oversteps its bounds, and istock decides to notice because this time the photographer does care, it will be too late. Having been informed of this behavior in the past, and done nothing to stop it, istock has set the precedent for how it will enforce its licensing contracts.

If they take action they can get money owed, and damages and copyright violation damages. But only if they step in, only if they say something.

And that my friend is not communism, it is objectivism. Taking care of yourself. Not using others to obtain your goals, with no thought to the consequences to the people you use.

It is a social construct, but so is everything.

some information on istock and the licensing they sell

the licensing for what TIME magazine used would be 462 "credits". The smallest amount per credit that this could pay out still totals to a $91.20. (according to istock's credit calculator)

Also they CANNOT do the unlimited sales of a poster by any available istock license.

Here is the extended license clauses, and because of the artist's payout it is obvious they DID NOT buy a full extended license.

"Items for Resale - Limited Run

Notwithstanding the restriction contained in section 4(a) of the Standard License Prohibitions prohibiting the use or display of the Content in items for resale, you shall be entitled with respect to this specific Content to produce the following items for resale, license, or other distribution:

1. up to 100,000 postcards, greeting cards or other cards, stationery, stickers, and paper products,
2. up to 10,000 posters, calendars or other similar publications, mugs or mousepads,
3. or up to 2,000 t-shirts, sweatshirts, or other apparel, games, toys, entertainment goods, framed or mounted artwork

in or on which the Content is used or displayed (the "Resale Merchandise"), provided that:

1. the right to produce the Resale Merchandise in no way grants any right to you or any recipient of the Resale Merchandise in any intellectual property or other rights to the Content;
2. you agree to indemnify the iStockphoto Parties from any cost, liability, damages or expense incurred by any of them relating to or in connection with any of the Resale Merchandise;
3. any production of Resale Merchandise in excess of the allowed run size is prohibited and requires the Content to be purchased separately;
4. all other terms and conditions of the Agreement remain in full force and effect, including all Prohibited Uses."

THEY DID NEED TO CREDIT the photographer as the artist

from the extended license
"Reproduction / Print Run Limits

Notwithstanding the restriction contained in section 4(a)(14) of the Standard License Prohibitions limiting you to 500,000 reproductions, you shall be entitled with respect to this Content to an unlimited number of reproductions, and the Agreement is deemed amended in that respect. All other terms and conditions of the Agreement remain in full force and effect, including all Prohibited Uses."

from the standard licensing contract

"may not use the Content for editorial purposes without including the following credit adjacent to the Content:[b] “©’s Member Name]; or
# either individually or in combination with others, reproduce the Content, or an element of the Content, in excess of[b] 500,000 times without obtaining an Extended License, in which event you shall be required to pay an additional royalty fee equal to US $0.01 for each reproduction which is in excess of 500,000 reproductions. This additional royalty does not apply to advertisements in magazines, newspapers or websites or to broadcast by television, web-cast or theatrical production."

in the spirit of fairness I should mention that I do contribute to some microstock agencies.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vote for me spam- please

I kinda hate doing this, but since this year surface magazine has decided on a very poorly designed popular vote

If you have the time vote for me here

and here

second spam vote

Friday, July 24, 2009

When will Facebook learn that stealing isn't nice?

"Facebook has agreed to let third party advertisers use your posted pictures without your permission. Click on SETTINGS up at the top where you see the log out link. Select PRIVACY. Then select NEWS FEEDS AND WALL. Next select the tab that reads FACE BOOK ADS. There is a drop down box, select NO ONE. Then SAVE your changes.

(REPOST to let your friends know!)"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fast - Good - Cheap

You have to choose, and since i don't do anything other then good you get to have good and fast, so you can't have cheap-- or good and cheap, but that means it ain't gonna be fast.

There are always clients that contract with you and try to change the rules after the fact, but don't let them. You can't work every day all day at your computer retouching, and you shouldn't have to.

If your clients can't understand the mantra, they shouldn't be your clients.

Google Calendar

Monday, July 13, 2009

$700 for images, what a rip-off!

Many models contact me and are playing the "poor student" card. Which is fine, you may be a poor student, but why is a photographer supposed to care about that?

Here is a breakdown of where your $700 goes.

You understand that that $700 is not that much right? Ok, forgoing all the costs associated with being a photographer you pay me my $700 1/2 day rate for images.

From that $700- $200 goes to my MUA leaving me with $500. On the day of the call time is 8am, wrap time is 2pm.

So that is 6 hours. But we are not done, I must then go through the images getting rid of images that will make you or me look like we don't know what we are doing.

Two hours later I take those selects and place them into the editing program to make my color adjustments. Another 3-4 hours goes by. I then process the images into JPGs and send them to you via FTP.

You select your 10 images for retouching. At an average of .5 hours per retouch that is 5 hours of retouching.

So discounting the costs for computer, software, marketing, maintaining my loft, wardrobe, photo equipment, paying my own health care costs, and loan payments from my very expensive schooling we have me making $500 for 17 hours work.

That is how much an hour? $29.42 an hour, or what you make working for the phone company.

Nobody owes you anything. Nobody owes me anything. Wanting to model, is in the end an expensive occupation/hobby. But please, don't try to make it sound like photographers aren't earning every penny of what they charge.

Photographers are not trying to take you for a ride, that one day shoot is normally 3 days work.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Why agencies want exclusive contracts with models

For a few reasons

1. they are helping the model develop their potential as a model. As such they will arrange for the model to agency parties, have agency zed cards, and be put in an agency databank like modelwire. Now while the models can use the images they get from testing with the agency's people, and listening to their agent's advice, in other venues the agency is still providing the model with real world connections, training, and portfolio shoots to get the model a stronger presence and a better book.

How is it fair for the agency if they are putting in this time and effort, and a client tries to go around the agency to get a better rate by talking to the model directly? Or if a client sees the work the agency helped her prepare on model mayhem, and again circumvents the agency by contacting her directly?

2. Booking, the agency needs to know where you, the model, are and when you are available. The only way they can know they are doing that is if all booking go through them. They don't have the time to take a million calls from girls saying, oh I booked myself on Thursday. For all the model knows she has been put on hold for Thursday, or submitted to a project.

It makes the agency look bad if you are unavailable for a project after being submitted. It looks worse if they have to cancel you because you booked yourself on another gig.

3. Problems on a shoot.
Had a problem on a shoot, call your agent. The people you work for want more usage then originally contracted for, call your agent.

Your agent is there to protect you and to look after your money interests, because it is there money interest. If you have freelance booked yourself you don't have that protection, and again if you book yourself on a gig with a small local cosmetics company, and the agency wanted to put you up for a national campaign for a competing company, they couldn't.

Arguably the reason for signing with an agency is that they can get you work you can't get yourself. The trade off for that is you have to give up freelancing if you sign an exclusive contract. Several agencies in So Cal don't require exclusive contracts, like Otto. Or you may want to consider finding a regional agency, for a large market in your area, but only sign a regional contract with them.

In the end it is up to you on whether or not you feel the agency can get you better paying more high profile work then you can yourself. If you feel they can. sign with them.

If you are unsure, ask for a 30 or 90 trial period.

If you don't think they can don't sign with them.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Giving back

I am looking to get together with other photographers and craft artists to start an etsy team to benefit Inland Agency's Breast cancer free mammograms program.

You can find info on them here

Looking to start a team of people who would be willing to donate 20% of all sales, or all sales in a certain special category.

In exchange we would have our own team with a blog, a special dedicated store, and links from the Inland Agency website. The website would have a mini etsy store that we could all add to our blogs and such.

This is a great opportunity to give something back, and to help promote each other in the process.

I am only looking for people who already have an etsy account and are willing to join the team.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The End of the line

Note: it was later confirmed by the Press office of the Metro LA that the cause of the train stoppage was a power outage. They do not know what caused the outage or if it will reoccur

At the End of the Line

I like the Los Angeles subway system. In the subways you could be in any city, any place. From San Francisco to London subways are very alike.

Today at eleven forty-something the red line train to north Hollywood slowed. It stopped several time between stations before, at 12:08, coming into the Hollywood and Vine station the conductor announced. "Folks, I've just been told that this is the last stop. This train is going to be turned around and sent back to Union Station, you'll have to make your own way from here."

When i returned, at 1:40pm I was told the trains still weren't going. "There's a suicide," a young woman holding her boyfriend's hand, told me.

The same way someone might say, "There's an apple." No inflection, no thought, not an event but a thing. A suicide. I decide to go in and wait, hoping that at least the trains going away from the thing will start up soon. After 20 minutes the train going towards downtown, where i happen to live, start up again. As we pass station to station i see the trains on the other side of the platform standing inert, each one filled with people going nowhere. People who hopefully stand inside the non-moving cars, their attitude less of a vigil and more of a stoic, where else can i go?

The car is packed but quiet, nobody speaking much above a whisper, a guitar plays just softly enough in the background to be mistaken for incidental music. As though this was a very boring, very long, scene in some genius's independent film. And like any independent film star the narrator in my head begins it, well its narration.

At first, being the narcissistic being that i am, i imagine someone very much like myself. Maybe somebody like me with health or money problems (or worse money problems.) I wonder what could make me jump in front of an oncoming train, instead of taking it to Universal Studios and going on rides that only simulate catastrophes. I wonder if I ever could do that, to myself, to the passengers, to the train driver.

Then i think about the act itself, if it was a fall or a leap. if the person waited till just before, or climbed down and watched it coming. i wonder if the thing that happened was a suicide. My mind runs through the possibilities of all the people it could be. A veteran with PTSD, a failed actress writer musician, a drunk or druggie, or someone very much like me who was in a lot of pain.

I wonder which train exactly experienced the thing. I had missed the train before mine, mistaking the red line for the purple line and not getting on. Was that the train that had the problem? How close to this thing was I?

At 2:02 the train across from us starts to go forward again. I wonder about the whys of a suicide that is so public, so gruesome, and dare i say it? so annoying to commuters. For two hours this person was thought about by every person trying to get to work, or go home. Tourists with over-sized luggage thought about this person. Boss's waiting for workers thought about this thing. Children waiting for parents to pick them up from school were affected by this person. For two hours this person mattered. For two hours this person would make the world stop for them god damn it. See me, know me, pay attention to me.

I wonder if that is why they did it? Why they went into a station filled with film canisters and gilded stars and decided that for just a moment, that moment, they would matter.