Copyright and Quick Hits

“On February 21, the Copyright Office submitted a report to Congress that analyzes the fees charged by the Office and proposes an adjustment to the registration fee for online registrations. This fee will go into effect with the activation of the online registration system on or about July 1. If Congress takes no action within 120 days, the Register may implement the new fees. As an incentive to use the new online registration system, the fee for a basic registration filed online will be $35. The fee of $45, established in 2006, would remain the same for paper filings. The Register proposes the $35 fee both for those who submit their deposits online and those who submit deposits in physical form.”

— US Copyright Office

When we first launched PhotoShelter, we contemplated developing a system that would allow photographers to automatically register their copyright, but then we heard that the Copyright Office was developing online registration. And now it looks as though things are proceeding, including the setting of fees for the service. Time will tell whether the mechanism is actually effective and efficient, but I’m happy to see some movement.

Zooomr to Sell Photos
Consumer photo/geo-tagging mash-up, Zooomr, is apparently working on some sort of photo sales capability. Undoubtedly, it will be royalty-free sales, and I imagine it will end up being something iStockPhoto-ish. The challenge for photo social networking sites in moving to sales is not tearing apart the social fabric through the commercialization. It will be interesting to see how Zooomr, and eventually Flickr, handle these sales, and the numerous copyright infringements on their sites. The move into image sales, of course, is not surprising.

With so much user-generated content, some percentage of which has to be monetizable, it would be silly not to pursue such an avenue.

Anti-Trust Investigation Initiated for Getty Acquisition of MediaVast
I’m not a lawyer, so I won’t even bother trying to interpret the legal situation. And I’m sure that the inquiry is standard operating procedure for two market leaders, so I would expect the outcome to be favorable for Getty in the end. But from an editorial coverage perspective, it does appear to be a dubious situation as Getty and WireImage have historically had exclusive positions as the “official” photographer for many professional sports leagues and high-profile events.

And I don’t think that this is a situation of crying over spilled milk. There is a legitimate concern over the monopolistic tendencies of the business as well as the veracity of photojournalism to survive in places where there is no separation between the league and the media outlet covering it.

Grover and I are venturing out to Vegas for the 2nd time in the same month for the WPPI conference. Come say hello, and watch while we lose our shirts at the blackjack table.

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Allen Murabayashi is the co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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