Tuesday October 2, 2012

Miami Herald on 'Trayvon Inc.' – any hint of hypocrisy?

miami herald, today's cover Here’s the front-page story of today’s Herald, CASHING IN ON TRAYVON INC.

An iconic photograph of a young Trayvon Martin in his Bulldogs football uniform, staring stone-faced into the camera, has been published in print and online around the world.

The Optimist Club team photographer, Lucricia Woodside of North Miami, owns the copyright to the picture and never authorized its use. Now she is a member of a growing number of entrepreneurs, artists and even some opportunists who have found ways to cash in on a new cottage industry.

Call it Trayvon Inc.

The Trayvon case is tragic and wrong on many levels. But a photographer trying to get credit for her work? That’s the lead in the article about people exploiting the tragedy for profit? Let’s be clear about this: despite the liberties people have been taking with reuse of imagery on the internet (including this very blog!), a person with a camera owns the copyright to every picture they make.

What is the writer, Frances Robles, arguing here? That when something becomes news any photo relevant to the news becomes public domain, free to be used without the photographer’s permission?

In fact that must be the argument. Because that’s what these newspapers and websites did: used a photo without asking for permission of the copyright holder. (From a legal perspective, the fact that the photographer registered the copyright is irrelevant to the story.)

Check out the Herald’s own terms of service

Material published on MiamiHerald.com, including articles, photos, Content Feeds, graphics, bulletin board postings, audio and video clips, trademarks, service marks, and other content (“Content”), is copyrighted by The Miami Herald … You may not reproduce, republish or redistribute Content or any portions thereof, including, without limitation, Content provided by licensors and others, including member-submitted content, without the written consent of the copyright owner.

What do you think would happen if something in Miami became a national news story, and a photo from the Herald started popping up in newspapers and websites? That’s right, they’d get their lawyers on it. It’s wrong because the person doing it is a journeyman photographer? Look: part of the deal with being a photographer is that you might be in the right place at the right time and get a photo that becomes valuable. Trust me: professional photographers have it tough these days. They deserve whatever break they can get.

And they certainly don’t deserve to be made to look like profiteering lowlives by a major national newspaper. This poor woman is going to be getting hatemail and threats from ignorant jerks who read this stupid article and don’t think this through.

The Herald’s got a catchy headline, but it’s completely unfair. Cashing in on Trayvon Inc., eh? Say, I notice that this article is on your front page. Could it be that you’re profiting as much as anyone else from this? Where’s the intellectual honesty?

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