I was very pleased to read Photo District News blogger Daryl Lang's take on my whole situation. A highlight:
Had Ledbetter decided to fight the AP, things could have gotten very interesting. I wasn't familiar with Snapped Shot until this weekend, but I can see why it got on the AP's nerves. It tended to post large numbers of AP photos, sometimes with just a few words of commentary, and leave them up indefinitely. The site's venom-spitting nastiness toward photographers and editors surely did it no favors.
On the other hand, in my quick perusal of the site's archive, all the images I saw were displayed in the context of a critique. You could argue this is fair use. Lots of Web sites (including this one) will run photos they do not have permission to display as part of a commentary about the photos.
Be sure to jump to the source
to read the rest. And Daryl, if you have a problem with me reproducing this snippet here, please contact me
(sorry, still quite gun-shy over here).
For those of you who are interested (or at least, those of you that I haven't put to sleep yet), I'll follow up with some commentary beyond the fold.Personally, I don't think the law describing "fair use" of copyrighted works is concrete at all
, so ultimately, the only two things that mattered were: (a) the Associated Press is
the sole copyright owner of all of the content published on their news wires, and (b) they have a legal team, and I do not
And to be honest, to the courts, (a) is really all that matters.
My choices were to take the fire-and-brimstone
approach with them, and then confront the near certainty
that a court would see things their way and fine me (personally) accordingly. Or, I could cooperate
with their demands, and do my best to adjust my blogging style to work within the constraints they've set before me.
Personally, I could use a good challenge. Negotiating these muddy waters ought be fun!
It is interesting to note that the Associated Press does not offer a public site that end-user customers
can use to browse their full photo archives. I mean, the AFP
does it via Getty
and ANP Photo
, so it's not like we're talking about uncharted territory here.
Alas, for those of us who use the largest two wire photo services in the world
, we are stuck with "access denied
," that is, unless one is employed by a big company that "needs" access to the services.
(I should know, I've gotten at least
two rejection letters/callbacks from Reuters from the times I tried to sign up for access to their archives. And my AP Images
account, which is useless for linking users to anyway, seems to have mysteriously vanished.)
Of course, I suppose we could always be satisfied with the very limited stock
that the AP feels end-users deserve
If these companies are so serious about entering the digital age
, don't you think they'd open things up just a little
(If any of you have any theories on why they do things like this, feel free to drop them in the comments
. Does it have something to do with them selling
access to their archives to libraries? Other legacy services such as LEXIS/NEXIS? I'd love to hear it, if you know the answer.)
Oh, and as an aside, while this blog was quite venom-spitting in the beginning, I've softened my stance considerably since then. Heck, I've even managed to make a few "friends"
along the way! In fact, when Mr. Muheissen learned of this site's predicament, he replied (and I hope he doesn't mind me sharing here—You know the drill
No man at all beleive me but now we all check out your site, big time curiousity so thats why, but nothing personal mate.