EPUK Editorial Photographers United Kingdom and Ireland. The private mailing list and public resource for editorial photographers

Copyrighting For Boys

Photographers of a certain age – and that’s all of us in EPUK Towers – are forever grumbling that clients nowadays are often underage, under-skilled and just plain ignorant about the business they work in.

And the thing they very conveniently seem to know least about is copyright: often they apparently think it means they have the right to copy anything they want without paying for it.

We favour a clip round the ear from M’ Learned Friends for that kind of behaviour, but of course prevention is better than cure and what the youf of today really need is education. So on the Jesuit principle of grab ‘em young we’re impressed to see the latest copyright education initiative for youngsters from…the Boy Scouts.

The Scouts already offer badges for photography and – oh dear – public relations, along with the ever popular one for inserting objects into Girl Guides, but some 52,000 Baden-Powellites in Los Angeles now have the opportunity to earn an award boasting their knowledge of and respect for copyright. The La La Scouts will be instructed in the basics of copyright law, how to identify copyrighted work, and ways in which copyrighted materials may be stolen – by joining the BBC , launching dodgy photo contests , that kind of thing. Mind you, given the age group the badges are aimed at, 6 to 21 years, we tend to assume that the Scouts already know plenty about how to steal copyrighted work, but at least the rest of the course will put them ahead of plenty of so-called professional image buyers.

Not surprisingly the movie industry has been involved in developing the course. “Working with the Boy Scouts of Los Angeles, we have a real opportunity to educate a new generation about how movies are made, why they are valuable, and hopefully change attitudes about intellectual property theft,” commented Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America. And equally unsurprisingly some people – this is LA after all – saw the whole thing as a conspiracy, accusing the Scouts of “allowing an industry group to brainwash the children in their charge”. Go figure.

Meanwhile back in the real world – sort of – if you’re the kind of sad photographer who spends too much time reading EPUK perhaps what you need is a different website. Mediadates, set up by journalists Harriet Cross and Ros Love [no, we didn’t make that up] is an internet dating agency for losers – sorry, we mean media workers – just like you, aiming to bring together single “journalists, photographers, designers, technicians, PRs, media planners, advertising and marketing bods, along with hard-pressed administrative staff”. In other words, all those people you spend most of your working life trying to avoid.

Ironically the site was puffed in this week’s Press Gazette. Ironic because the PG has itself been desperately seeking suitors well endowed with cash to keep the ailing trade paper afloat. By week’s end editor Ian Reeves’ attempt to convince the newspaper industry to form a trust and own the publication collectively appeared to have failed and the PG was headed for administration. Perhaps he should have advertised on Mediadates instead.

Dib dib dib, dob dob dob: the Boy Scout copyright badge

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EPUK is an email group for professional editorial photographers who want to talk business. We don’t do techie stuff or in-crowd gossip. We don’t talk cameras or computers. What we talk about are the nuts and bolts of being in business - like copyright, licensing, fees and insurance.

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