Advocacy

APA Works for Photographer’s Rights

APA is an industry leader in the fight for photographer's rights.

At Photoville this year, APA National President, Tony Gale and APA New York Members Ron Jautz and Alley Maher, along with members of other creator organizations, met with Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to talk about the importance of introducing a Small Claims Bill in Congress. For Congressman Jeffries to come to Photoville and see the fine work being done by small-business creators and to hear directly how strong copyright legislation can benefit his creative constituents, helped solidify his intent to bring such a bill to the floor of the House.

Yesterday, October 5th, Mr. Jeffries and Co-signers Marino, Collins, Smith, Chu and Lieu, introduced House Resolution #3945, the "Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2017" ("CASE Act of 2017"). This is a big step forward for photographers but the work is not done yet, the Bill needs to pass onthe floor of the House of Representatives. Now is the time to contact your Congressman and urge support of # H.R. 3945 when it is brought up for a vote.

As individuals, it's hard to have your voice heard in Congress, but APA, in a strong coalition with other imaging organizations, can speak on your behalf and fight for your rights. Most people don't know about the leadership role APA plays when it comes to copyright matters, but APA fights for you--whether you're a member or not. If all photogrpahers joined APA, our voice would be even more powerful. We urge you to join today.

Our coalition includes the American Photographic Artists (APA), American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), New York Press Photographers Association (NYPPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) and Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

Together we can accomplish great things, so join the professional organization of your choice.

APA Continues Posture against Appropriation

American Photographic Artists will continue to take an aggressive stance against the appropriation and use of works without compensation to the author, in light of the recent Cariou v. Prince settlement.

The five-year legal battle between photographer Patrick Cariou and artist Richard Prince was settled last week for a confidential amount. Cariou filed against Prince for breaching his copyright by using his photos of Rastafarians to make "new" works. The Prince paintings and collages were already sold for over $10m by the Gagosian Gallery in 2008.

"As one of the premier national photo organizations whose members rely on the licensing model to run their business, APA stands behind the Copyright Act and seeking permission for use," says APA President Theresa Raffetto.

Although this case was settled, the issue of altered and derivative work without permission remains a major issue.

The American Photographic Artists joined a courageous effort supporting artist and photographer Patrick Cariou by filing an amici curiae or 'friend of the court' brief on December 16, 2013 along with the American Society Of Journalists and Authors, American Society of Media Photographers, Graphic Artists Guild, Jeremy Sparig, National Press Photographers Association, Picture Archive Council of America, and the Professional Photographers Of America.

APA and others submitted this brief primarily in opposition to the amicus brief filed by the Andy Warhol Foundation "and other elite foundations and museums who do not represent the views of working artists."

The Brief stated APA members "operate businesses which rely heavily upon, and derive substantial revenues from, a large, broadly defined, secondary and derivative market for the use of existing photographic work." It goes on to state, "APA members seek to preserve the licensing possibilities presented by this secondary and derivative market, and they seek a consistent application of the principles under which this market has traditionally functioned."

"Photographers, and all creators of original work, should not be deprived of their work's value on the basis of appropriation," says Raffetto.

APA Joins Brief Supporting Cariou in Prince Case

The American Photographic Artists joined a courageous effort supporting artist and photographer Patrick Cariou by filing an amici curiae or ‘friend of the court’ brief with the American Society Of Journalists and Authors, American Society of Media Photographers, Graphic Artists Guild, Jeremy Sparig, National Press Photographers Association, Picture Archive Council of America, and the Professional Photographers Of America, in Cariou vs. Prince, Case No. 08 Civ 11327 (Dab) in the Southern District Court of New York.

APA and this community of day-to-day working visual artists and authors have a “considerable interest in how the resolution of this matter will impact the rights in their original creations,” states the brief. They submitted this brief primarily in opposition to the amicus brief filed by the Andy Warhol Foundation “and other elite foundations and museums who do not represent the views of working artists.”

APA members have a strong interest in the issues presented by this case “because their businesses and livelihoods depend upon the broadly defined subject matter that is protected under the ‘derivative works’ right in the Copyright Act,” according to the brief. More specifically, APA members “operate businesses which rely heavily upon, and derive substantial revenues from, a large, broadly defined, secondary and derivative market for the use of existing photographic work.” The brief states that “APA members seek to preserve the licensing possibilities presented by this secondary and derivative market, and they seek a consistent application of the principles under which this market has traditionally functioned.”

The Brief gives the following concerning the artist groups’ reasoning for filing:
Prince took Cariou’s photographs and displayed them as his own in his Five Paintings. He did not avail himself of any avenues by which he could easily have obtained permission to use Cariou’s creations or other readily licensable images. He minimally altered the photographs; it was a bare display of Cariou’s original work. As a result, Prince also usurped Cariou’s right to control the marketing and exposure of Cariou’s original aesthetic vision. Defendants and the Warhol Foundation propose an application of the “reasonable person” standard that would not even require modification of the original photographs’ aesthetic in any way. Such a standard would permit appropriating artists to circumvent the available licensing systems, knowing that a standard that permits simple after-the-fact rationalization for appropriation as a “fair use” defense forecloses many less-endowed visual artists from fighting them in the courts.
In short, such a standard deprives copyright owners of both their original copyrighted vision, as well as the additional valuable property rights conferred by the statutory scheme. Photographers, and all creators of original work, should not be deprived of their work’s value on the basis of appropriation.

David Leichtman and Hillel Parness of the New York law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ceresi wrote this brief.

Plaintiff, Patrick Cariou, as well as Defendants, Richard Prince, the Gagosian Gallery, Inc., and Lawrence Gagosian have all, through their legal counsel, consented to the submission of this brief.

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