Archivi categoria: government

The US Copyright Office Wants to Hear Your Thoughts on ‘Moral Rights’

The US Copyright Office is currently doing a study on the “Moral Rights of Attribution and Integrity.” Want to play a part in the development of US copyright law moving forward? You can weigh in and share your views on the matter.

“The term ‘moral rights’ is taken from the French phrase droit moral and generally refers to certain noneconomic rights that are considered personal to an author,” the copyright office writes. “Chief among these rights are the right of an author to be credited as the author of his or her work (the right of attribution) and the right to prevent prejudicial distortions of the work (the right of integrity). These rights have a long history in international copyright law.”

The government wants to know how current US copyright law is working with regards to these moral rights, and it’s trying to figure out whether additional productions is needed.

Here’s the notice of inquiry with more information and questions you can respond to:

Example questions, found at the bottom of the notice, include:

“Should additional moral rights protection be considered? If so, what specific changes should be considered by Congress?”

“Would stronger protections for either the right of attribution or the right of integrity implicate the First Amendment? If so, how should they be reconciled?”

“How does, or could, technology be used to address, facilitate, or resolve challenges and problems faced by authors who want to protect the attribution and integrity of their works?”

If you’d like to share your thoughts with the copyright office, you’ll need to do so before March 30th, 2017. You can submit your comments through this page.

(via US Copyright Office via PDNPulse)

Jarob Ortiz, the Next ‘Ansel Adams’ of the National Park Service

In December 2015, the Internet was abuzz with a National Park Service (NPS) job listing that was considered the search for “the next Ansel Adams”: a position for a black-and-white large format photographer with a salary up to $100,000 per year.

The full-time photography opening called for large format experience to document both features within the National Parks as well as “outside in the communities around the parks, sites that aren’t under the umbrella of the National Park Service but are still significant in American history,” according to Dr. Richard J. O’Connor, Chief of the Heritage Documentation Program.

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) – all parts of the NPS’s Heritage Documentation Programs – require large format photography for inclusion in their respective collections in the Library of Congress. In addition to providing much higher resolution than 35mm photography, large format allows the photographer to use shift and tilt controls to control the rendering of perspective, and the polyester-based large format film is more durable than the acetate used in 35mm roll film.

In July 2016, NPS announced that Milwaukee native Jarob Ortiz edged out nearly 5,000 applicants for the position, and Ortiz soon drove to the Washington, D.C. area to begin work.

Photographer Jarob Ortiz.

After spending time getting his darkroom in order, Ortiz went to work. He traveled around the country documenting landmarks like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Schwartz House in Two Rivers, WI, the Bloede Dam in Maryland, and the Baggage and Dormitory Building on Ellis Island, which led to a profile on CBS This Morning.

We spoke to Ortiz via e-mail.

There was a lot of buzz on social media when the Parks Service posted the job opening. I suspect a lot of people were interested but deterred by the large format photography requirement. What background did you have with this increasingly rare analog format?

My background in large format photography started at my photography program at the Milwaukee Area Technical College. There I was formally trained on how to use the view camera. I was taught what each camera movement is responsible for and how they can be utilized effectively to solve different photographic problems. I instantly fell in love with the system because I recognized how versatile the camera was for photographing architecture and landscapes; my two favorite photographic subject matters going into the photography program.

After graduating in 2013, I continued to regularly use the view camera for personal work and for a few commercial architectural jobs. During this period I was shooting a lot more color transparency film than black and white. I did this because I found color transparency to be much more challenging to work with than both b&w and color negative film. The limited exposure latitude constantly keeps me on my game and forced me to find a creative approach when capturing scenes with extreme contrast (deep shadows and bright highlights). It taught me how utilizing fill flash in a number of different situations – including some of my landscape shots.

Photo by Jarob Ortiz/National Park Service

While most of the world has gone digital, what are the reasons for the Parks Service to continue shooting film? Have there been any discussions about using equipment like the Phase 100MP system?

Here at the National Park Service we are still shooting film because the Library of Congress likes to have a tangible record of each documentary photograph. The negative serves as this tangible, unaltered record. If properly processed and stored, a negative will outlast a print by a few hundred years. It’s quite remarkable.

With that said, we have begun discussions with the Library of Congress to move the Heritage Documentation Programs into the digital era. I’m currently giving the 100MP Phase One system the most consideration for our transition, but before that can happen, we need to iron out the guidelines and standards for born digital photography as they relate to documentation photography. We are currently working hand in hand with the Library of Congress to have these ready by the end of 2017.

Photo by Jarob Ortiz/National Park Service

What type of gear are you using?

The cameras I use are a 5×7 Linhoff camera and a 4×5 Arca-Swiss F-Field C View camera.

The lenses I use are Schneider, Nikkor, or Rodenstock lenses. 72 mm; 90 mm; 121 mm; 150 mm; 240 mm; 300 mm; and 480 mm on the 5×7 camera. 65 mm; 72mm; 90 mm; 150 mm; and 210 mm on the 4×5. I always fit the lens with a b+w contrast filter (typically yellow).

For lighting I use two 1000ws Profoto D1 Air heads and two 500ws Profoto D1 Air heads fitted with various different sized Profoto softboxes and umbrellas.

The tripod I use is a set of Gitzo Moutaineer Series 3 Carbon Fiber Legs with an extra industrial head made just for the 5×7 Linhoff. To be honest, I have no idea where the NPS got this head. I think it may be an older, more robust version of the Manfrotto Deluxe 400 head, but not 100 percent sure on that. There’s no label on this thing anywhere. For the 4×5, I use a Manfrotto 410 Junior Gear head that’s been modified for exclusive use with the Arca-Swiss rail system.

Photo by Jarob Ortiz/National Park Service

I think many people think you spend your days shooting Yosemite or Yellowstone, but what has the reality of the first six months been like?

The reality of the first 6 months has been nothing but architecture. It’s what I shoot the most and it’s why I was hired for this job – because I was the only candidate in the pool that submitted a strong architectural portfolio comprised solely of large format images.

Photo by Jarob Ortiz/National Park Service

The average photographer traveling to a National Park or monument is probably thinking of taking a photo that will get the most “likes.” How do you conceive of an image, and what do you want your images to accomplish?

When I approach an area to photograph the first thing I consider is the most important historic element that needs to be recorded. I typically walk around the subject matter and analyze it from every visible side. I like to see how the natural light interacts with it and then determine whether or not that subject matter is fit to shoot at that moment or if I can complete another task while I wait for the light to shift.

Not every photograph is an eye-catcher. Sometimes the end photo can be quite mundane, but not any less important. The photo still serves as a historic record and must showcase all relevant information to help supplement the rest of the historic report (i.e. measured drawings, written history, laser scan, etc.).

Photo by Jarob Ortiz/National Park Service

Your career path didn’t include attending “name brand” schools with renown photography departments, yet you have scored what most photographers would consider a dream job. With all the discussion around the affordability of college, the demise of for-profit schools like the Brooks Institute, etc, why do you think you have been successful?

I think I’ve been successful because I knew exactly what I wanted from my school and from photography in general. Before I just jumped into a program, I researched all the photography programs in Wisconsin and the Chicago area. I wanted an affordable program that taught large format camera techniques in conjunction with the application of a working analog zone system. Thankfully that program was located right there in my hometown of Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Also, I definitely give my instructors a lot of credit for instilling an enormous amount of discipline into my everyday workflow. I really think that is the ultimate key to my success – the patience and discipline I need to exercise in order to execute large format film photography properly. Everything is very process[-oriented] with these kinds of cameras. The way you set up the camera, focus an image, set up lights, measure light, take notes, develop film, printing – every step has its own rules and they must be addressed in a certain order. It’s really all about patience and discipline.

Photo by Jarob Ortiz/National Park Service

You’re obviously still new to the job and relatively early in your career, but what sort of legacy do you want to establish with your photography with the National Park Service?

As far as my legacy is concerned – I’ve never really given it much though other than I want history to show that I did this job the best I could and with all of my heart day in and day out. Words cannot express how absolutely grateful I am to have been given this opportunity to work for the National Park Service. This is a dream come true.


About the author: Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, which regularly publishes resources for photographers. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Allen is a graduate of Yale University, and flosses daily. This article was also published here.

U.S. Now Asking Foreign Travelers for Instagram Usernames

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The U.S. government is now asking certain foreign travelers about their social media accounts prior to entering the country. Among the various services listed in the new “optional” section is Instagram.

The new social media info request is found in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) form that’s part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of 38 countries to visit the U.S. for 90 days without a visa.

This addition to the form was first proposed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) back in June 2016. It reads, “Please enter information associated with your online presence,” and a drop-down menu and text box allows applicants to select a social media service (e.g. Instagram) and enter in their username.

A screenshot of the new form field. Via Engadget.
A screenshot of the new form field. Via Engadget.

The goal of this change is to identify potential terrorist threats. CBP wrote back in June that, “Collecting social media data will enhance the existing investigative process and provide DHS greater clarity and visibility to possible nefarious activity and connections.”

But the proposal was immediately met with criticism and protest when it made. A large coalition of rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, published an open letter back in August 2016 to share their “significant concerns.”

“This inquiry goes far beyond the customary visa-waiver application questions regarding a person’s name, address, criminal background, health status, and duration of stay,” the letter states. “A person’s online identifiers are gateways into an enormous amount of their online expression and associations, which can reflect highly sensitive information about that person’s opinions, beliefs, identity, and community.”

The letter also warns that discrimination could “fall hardest on Arab and Muslim communities, whose usernames, posts, contacts and social networks will be exposed to intense scrutiny.”

“The choice to hand over this information is technically voluntary,” Nathan White of Access Now tells Politico. “But the process to enter the U.S. is confusing, and it’s likely that most visitors will fill out the card completely rather than risk additional questions from intimidating, uniformed officers.”

Despite the push-back from various groups, the U.S. government quietly rolled out the social media field last week, so now select travelers will need to weigh whether not they want to fill out the “optional” field when applying to enter the States.

You Must Register Your Drone in the US by Feb. 2016, and There’s a $5 Fee

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The FAA announced its drone registration process today, a couple of months after announcing the registry: if you operate a drone that weighs over 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds, you’ll need to register it by February 19, 2016. There’s also going to be a $5 fee.

The online registration process will be opened up on December 21st, 2015. If you purchased your drone before that date, you’ll have until the February 19th deadline to register. If you purchase one after December 21st, you’ll need to register immediately before you can legally fly.

A coalition of media organizations petitioned the government to not impose any registration fees last month, but it seems that the FAA decided that a $5 fee is necessary for the 3-year registration.

To encourage people to register as quickly as possible, however, the FAA is waiving the $5 fee for the first 30 days, from December 21st, 2015 to January 20th, 2016.

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Drone owners will need to provide their name, home address, and email address. In return, the FAA will issue a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership, which provides the operator with a unique ID number that must be displayed on the drone.

“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” says FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly.”

The new registration system will only apply to hobbyist and recreational flyers. If you’re a professional drone operator, your online registration won’t be available until spring of 2016. You can find the full FAA rules here and keep your eye on the registration page here.


Image credits: $5 photo illustration based on image by Ryan McFarland