Held at the posh New York Times Center auditorium, the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) flawlessly executed its public discussion of copyright under the banner of "Registration Counts". Speakers made copyright-related presentations to more than 300 participants. A few key points at the all-day event ...
Victor Perlman (ASMP's General Counsel) framed the meeting by retelling the history of copyright, citing the U.S. Copyright Acts of 1790 and 1976 as pivotal moments. Mr. Perlman concluded there are three viable options that adequately address the need to stabilize photographer revenues for digital use: Compulsory licensing, Collective licensing systems, and a Tax on access (such as an Internet tax).
Brian Storm (founder of MediaStorm) stressed that traditional photojournalism is alive and well on the Internet in the form of compelling multimedia story telling. He further emphasized the importance of social media for branding and marketing, including RSS feeds, newsletters, "forward to a friend" and "share" functionality, joining affinity groups and content posting to services like Facebook and Twitter.
Professor Lawrence Lessig (founder of Creative Commons) presented a persuasive argument that traditional copyright law enforcement is polarizing rights holders and users at a time when harmony is needed most. Professor Lessig called for simplifying the law, supporting methods of knowing who owns what (i.e., registries), and making it easier to know what is considered "fair use". He also pointed out that the ecology of creativity requires a culture that encourages amateur creators.
David Carson (General Counsel for the U.S. Copyright Office) mentioned the benefits of copyright registration to society, which include establishing a record of authorship/ownership, assistance to the court in determining the validity of copyright claims, marking in time a version of each work, and USCO's value as a collection source that adds to the Library of Congress. Mr. Carson called attention to the stress that digital evolution is putting on current copyright laws, which were predominantly drafted in the 1960's.
Jeff Sedlik (founder and CEO of the PLUS Coalition) described the mission of PLUS, which is to "Simplify the communication and management of image rights". PLUS will add a registry function later this year that will connect people, permissions and pictures and provide secure, remote metadata storage and lookups.
Darrell Perry (former Director of Photography for the Wall Street Journal) spoke of the shift from the corner news stand to a bigger variety of online news sources. Brand is becoming increasingly important as choices grow, he said. "Do I trust that pipe?" is the question being asked.
Photographer Chase Jarvis pointed out that it's the first time that creators can also be distributors, and the impact that this deceptively simple transition is having. Photographer Liz Ordonez spoke about real estate photography in the South Floria market. And, the panel was moderated by Jay Kinghorn.
All in all, it was an informative and well-executed event. The ASMP will have a video and related resources available of the event in about two weeks.