This Photographer (& Her Copyright) Is About to Pay It Forward

This Photographer (& Her Copyright) Is About to Pay It Forward

Yunghi Kim, decorated photojournalist and 20 year member of Contact Press Images, is bringing more than turkey to Thanksgiving this year. In an email to me, she announced that she is donating $10,000 to create ten one-time grants of $1,000 with money that she has received “from fees recovered from unauthorized use of my work.” The nearly 5,000 members of the private, invite-only Facebook group she created for photojournalists are eligible to apply for the grants, with the final selection being made by Kim and Contact Press Images Director Jeffrey Smith.

Kim writes:

In this season of Thanksgiving, I have decided to gift $10,000 to members of this PJ group in recognition of the values and principles all of us hold as essential to our creative and productive well being. This one-time grant will select 10 photographers and each will be gifted with a $1,000 grant. I am doing this to emphasize the importance of copyright registration of your work and as a way for me to give back to the profession of photojournalism, an industry that I love and I am proud to be a member of for more than 32 years. 

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It goes without saying that $10,000 is a huge amount of money for anyone – particularly a photojournalist – to part with. Kim has been a long-time advocate for copyright, even as the tides of social media “sharing” have conspired against traditional rights. Kim says, “I am doing this to emphasize that, YES it makes a difference if you copyright register your work and everyone should make a practice of it in your workflow.”

The industry is full of pundits and critics, but few put their money where their mouth is. Here’s hoping that Yunghi’s actions and generosity encourage photographers to register their copyright and vigorously defend against infringements. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

Kim’s full statement:

***

Happy Holidays!
ANNOUNCEMENT “Value Your Work” Grant presented by Yunghi Kim.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I have decided to gift $10,000 to members of this PJ group in recognition of the values and principles all of us hold as essential to our creative and productive well being. This one-time grant will select 10 photographers and each will be gifted with a $1,000 grant. I am doing this to emphasize the importance of copyright registration of your work and as a way for me to give back to the profession of photojournalism, an industry that I love and I am proud to be a member of for more than 32 years.

This money to be dispensed here comes from fees recovered from unauthorized use of my work and I want to share it with my fellow photographers in this group, Photojournalists Cooperative. (It’s something I have been thinking about and wanted to do for a long time and a recent
confidential recovery allows). I am doing this to emphasize that, YES it makes a difference if you copyright register your work and everyone should make a practice of it in your workflow. Think of it as digital teeth brushing.

As you know image theft is rampant and registration is the first step on the road to protecting our work; it gives photographers better legal options when the work is registered. By doing so, you are also helping to map out paid image use on the internet and protecting our industry for the next artist.

In a very real way, registration acts as a deterrent to stop an infringer. Attorneys take you very seriously as it exposes an infringer to $150,000 per infringement statutory damages. I see it as a matter of survival for the creative industry.

Requirements:
Email me a 300 word explanation/statement of why you need the grant. Send to: [redacted]. This money can be to start, further or finish a project, or to help alleviate a financial hardship. Make an honest compelling case concisely and in 300 words. Ten people will be selected by me and Jeffrey Smith, director of Contact Press Images.

The deadline is midnight, EST, Sunday December 20, 2015. Ten chosen names will be announced on Christmas, December 25, 2015. Your explanation how the money will be used will NOT be detailed in the announcement, just the ten names and one image of your work so that I may post it with the announcement on my blog “One Image At A Time” and possibly release it to other media organization who want to do a story on this one time philanthropic endeavor. But you will be notified first. For cases of financial hardship, the utmost confidentiality will be observed.

Eligibility:
-Existing member of this group Photojournalists Cooperative, as of November 25, 2015.
-For US based working freelance photojournalists (no salaried photographers, staffers or educators), those who earn the majority of their income from freelance photojournalism.
1) US mailing address with your 300 word email.
2) Please list URL to your website
3) In email SUBJECT please write: Value Your Work (a must to keep track of emails)

-My friends are eligible but apologies in advance if you are not selected.
-Final decision is mine and Jeffrey Smith director of Contact Press Images. And of course, decision making is subjective. Please no complaints. Not responsible for any errors.
-Consider this money as a gift; should there be any tax liability, it remains the responsibility of the recipient to deal with appropriately and in accordance with IRS regulations.
-Presently, this is a one time grant.

As always, a special thanks to Todd Bigelow, Kenneth Jarecke and Jeffrey Smith.

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter. He co-hosts the "I Love Photography" podcast on iTunes.

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. Connie Drapeau Kennedy at 2:07 pm

    Brava, Yunghi Kim! Thank you for taking a lead and making a difference. Your generosity may help inspire and guide others to protect their rights.

    When times are tough and the choices are food, copyright registration, caring for a loved one, or the rent, it’s hard to choose registration. I know; we all know. You’re giving ten fortunate recipients the golden ticket to a more secure career.

    I wish you continued success. Thank you!

  2. William Sparkes at 10:31 pm

    Do I need to be a member of Photojournalists Cooperative to apply for the granr?
    I am a freelance photojournalist living in the US.

  3. Jessyca Stansbury- McCargo at 4:05 pm

    Do I need to be a member of the Photojournalists Cooperative to apply for your grant? I am Landscape and Nature Photographer living in the United States.

  4. Pingback: All Types of Gifting this Season | Visual Connections Blog
  5. Mat Tam at 12:12 pm

    The photography industry is a tough business to get into. It is even harder for many struggling photographers to register their photograph for copyright. Registering a single photograph with single author has a fee of $35 based on internet search. It is however a great gesture on Yunghi Kim part on making the donation of $10,000. Those 10 photographers receiving that $1000 grant should now have received it, congratulations.
    The topic that can help a wider audience is how to make copy righting your images easier and cheaper for more people. Until then it is easier said than done for most photographers.

  6. Pingback: Yunghi Grant | Yunghi Grant
  7. Pingback: Grant Info | Yunghi Grant

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