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I have a confession to make.

When I’m on an airplane, and the flight attendant tells everyone to turn off their cell phones and personal electronics, I never turn my iPhone off. I just leave it on. I’m not sure why I don’t turn it off. Probably because I’ve never seen any compelling evidence on how cell phones in the on position affect flight safety in any way shape or form. And since I have a natural bent to buck against the system, in light of no empirical evidence, I tend to disregard and dismiss authority.

Same thing goes for the gas station. When I see that little sign that says to turn off my cell phone, I don’t do it. I leave it on. I even talk on it while I’m pumping my gas.

Check it out here.

An Illinois Senate panel voted this week to back a bill that bans restrictions on news photographers at high school tournaments.

The Senate Education Committee voted 8-1 in favor of a bill to ban the Illinois High School Association from putting restrictions on the resale of news pictures taken at the state’s 35 high school championship sporting events, speech, and debate events.

IHSA has contended that they have a right to contract with a private photography firm and because they bear the right of organizing the events, newspapers do not have the right to make a profit reselling photographs from their events.

Check it out here. Via PDNPulse

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Responding to the London Metropolitan Police’s new anti-photographer snitch campaign, wherein posters urge Londoners to turn in people who might be taking pictures of CCTV cameras, many people have taken a crack at redesigning the posters to point out the absurdity of them.

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Police deny that their latest anti-terror campaign will encourage harassment of photographers taking pictures in public places.

Last week police chiefs issued fresh warnings over the potential dangers posed by people carrying cameras for surveillance purposes.

The news comes amid growing reports of clashes between police officers and photographers taking pictures in public places in the UK.

Check it out here. Via Conscientious.

A group of top news and sports editors is planning to meet with Major League Baseball this week to discuss a string of new restrictions on media credentials that editors contend are an unfair limitation on Web-related reporting.

The new restrictions, which take effect later this month when the 2008 season begins, include: a 72-hour limit on posting photos after games; a seven-photo limit on the number of photos posted from a game while it is in progress; a 120-second limit on video length from game-related events; and a ban on live or recorded audio and video from game-related events posted 45 minutes before the start of a game through the end.

“I am really unclear about what they are trying to accomplish with that one,” John Cherwa, Tribune Company sports coordinator and sports special projects editor at the Orlando Sentinel, said about the 45-minute rule.

Check it out here.

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Lawrence Looi, 31, who has been a staff photographer with news agency News Team for the last three years, had been sent to cover a protest on public roads outside the International Conference Centre on Thursday morning when he was approached by a police constable who objected to having been photographed.

According to the written complaint, a copy of which has been seen by EPUK, the officer held Looi by the upper arm and asked him to delete any photographs that had been taken of police officers. The officer also asked Looi to identify himself, but refused an offer to see Looi’s NPA-issued National Press Card.

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Outlets including The Associated Press and Sports Illustrated, and groups including the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE), are asking MLB to change the credentialing terms for the upcoming baseball season.

This is the latest in a series of disputes between the press and sports leagues, which are increasingly trying to take control of photographs and other elements of media coverage.

In the new set of conditions for issuing 2008 press credentials, MLB states that “still pictures or photographs of any game cannot be used as part of a photo gallery.”

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The National Press Photographers Association today delivered a letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig objecting to new restrictions that are in the 2008 credential application photographers and news organizations must submit in order to cover MLB games, workouts, activities, and events.

“The historic and statistical nature of baseball requires that its photographic coverage often deals with contextual issues, not specific games. Your new terms impose a form of prior restraint on the use of visual images (both still and video) that will negatively impact the editorial independence of our members and the press as a whole,” NPPA president Tony Overman wrote to Selig.

Check it out here.

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Here’s a tip to other journalists covering the Clinton campaign from here on out: Do not identify yourself as a journalist. Simple as that. Hide your credentials; do not whip out your notepad; put your camera in your pocket; do not sign the media sign-in sheet. Because that way, the Clintonistas will not be able to ID you as working press and do their damnedest to guarantee you can’t actually work, unless you’re willing to do it on a barricaded riser away from the actual people attending the event. Sorry, lady, ain’t in the transcribing business — especially when your guy didn’t say much besides the usual blah-blah-blah.

“Excuse me, you have to get behind the barricade,” said a Clinton campaign worker who softly grabbed my arm about 30 minutes before Clinton finally showed. She pointed to the riser upon which the local TV outlets had perched their cameras. When I asked why I had to move, she said it was to keep cameramen from lugging their tools through the crowd. “But all I have is this notebook and this pen,” I said, standing next to a Clinton supporter and Unfair Park reader with whom I’d just been speaking.

Check it out here. Via AVS.

A representative of the Illinois Press Association today told IPA members that the Illinois High School Association will allow photographers with valid press credentials to have access to the floor at the girls state basketball finals in Bloomington this weekend without being required to sign IHSA’s waivers or releases.

Check it out here.

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London-based photojournalist Marc Vallée originally brought a private civil action for up to £15,000 against both the police force and its commissioner Sir Ian Blair alleging assault and breaches of the Human Rights Act. Under the terms of the settlement the Metropolitan Police have not accepted any liability.

Vallée, 39, was hospitalised and left unable to work for a month with back injuries which he alleges resulted from being manhandled by a police officer while covering the Sack Parliament protest in London’s Parliament Square on 9 October 2006.

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A bill that would have repealed Maryland’s ban on cameras in court during criminal sentencings was rejected by the Maryland House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

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under no circumstances may Bearer display any more
than seven still pictures or photographs of any Game at any time regardless of whether Bearer obtained such pictures or photographs at the Game; (ii) unless such still pictures or photographs of any Game are displayed in connection with an article about or summary of such Game, such still pictures or photographs cannot be displayed for more than seventy-two hours following the conclusion of the respective Game

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The Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com and ChicagoSports.com will not publish news photographs of this weekend’s girls gymnastics and wrestling state finals because of a legal challenge the Tribune, the Illinois Press Association and other state newspapers have filed against the Illinois High School Association.

Check it out here.

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Lockport came from six runs down to beat Oak Park 8-6, and Banks headed onto the field to take the “jubilation shot”—the photo of ecstatic teenagers hugging and tumbling and screaming. It’s the shot that goes on page one of tomorrow’s paper and into the photo albums of every player on the team.
But a volunteer from the Illinois High School Association blocked Banks’s way at third base. “She knew who I was and she said, ‘I can’t let you out,’” he says. “I asked why. She said, ‘This is my instruc tion.’” Banks looked around. He spotted the photographer from Visual Image Photo graphy, the firm under contract with the IHSA to take pictures of its major events, heading for the field from the first base side. Banks trotted after him and got his picture.
Banks also calls the jubilation shot the “money shot,” and that’s not just a metaphor. Papers point out that for 100 years they’ve sold copies of their pictures for a nominal rate to readers seeking mementos. Now a lot of papers have digitized the process—their photographers post pictures and readers order them online. An outside company that handled the order and made the print took a cut and Banks and the Southtown split the balance. Banks says his yearly take was something under $2,000.
The revenue stream is pretty small—it didn’t come close to sparing the Southtown its recent drastic economies, merging with the Star papers and laying off a lot of people, Banks included. But visit the Web site of what’s now the SouthtownStar and you’ll see the paper means business. “Welcome to Southland Photo Shoppe,” it says. “Your shopping choices range from traditional prints to T-shirts, mugs, computer mouse pads and other items on which our photos are imprinted.” A simple eight-by-ten is $25.

Check it out here.

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“In Vegas, I don’t have to worry about photographers waiting outside my house every day because they can’t wait outside my hotel room,” Spencer Pratt, a star of the MTV reality series “The Hills,” said in early January as he and Heidi Montag, his co-star and girlfriend, posed for photos on a red carpet on the way to an event that they were paid to attend at the Jet nightclub at the Mirage.

“When we travel here we have bodyguards, there are people with earpieces making sure there aren’t any photos we don’t want, making sure there’s no problems,” Mr. Pratt said. “I’m sure a lot of celebrities come out to Vegas because it’s like a hide-out, it’s a getaway.”

Indeed, as the city rolled into the year’s biggest betting weekend, the Super Bowl, stars aplenty were expected to be in the nightclubs and sports books. But they were not expecting to be trailed by what Robin Leach, the former host of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and the unofficial dean of the Las Vegas celebrity news media, refers to as “wild roaming packs of paparazzi.”

“All of our photographers are known to the casinos almost as if they’re registered,” said Mr. Leach, who writes the Vegas Luxe Life blog for Las Vegas Magazine. “If a photographer breaks the spirit of the unidentified terms of his access, that’s the last time he gets red carpet or nightclub privileges.”

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The document he’d given me provided no explanation for my expulsion, but I immediately felt that there was some connection to the travels and reporting I had done for a story published two days earlier in the New York Times Magazine, about a dangerous new generation of Taliban in Pakistan. I had spent several months traveling throughout the troubled areas along the border with Afghanistan, including Quetta (in Baluchistan province) and Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and Swat (all in the North-West Frontier Province). My visa listed no travel restrictions, and less than a week earlier, President Pervez Musharraf had sat before a roomful of foreign journalists in Islamabad and told them that they could go anywhere they wanted in Pakistan.

The truth, however, is that foreign journalists are barred from almost half the country; in most cases, their visas are restricted to three cities — Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. In Baluchistan province, which covers 44 percent of Pakistan and where ethnic nationalists are fighting a low-level insurgency, the government requires prior notification and approval if you want to travel anywhere outside the capital of Quetta. Such permission is rarely given. And the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where the pro-Taliban militants are strong, are completely off-limits. Musharraf’s government says that journalists are kept out for their own security. But meanwhile, two conflicts go unreported in one of the world’s most vital — and misunderstood — countries.

Check it out here.

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No, this dispute is not about high commerce. It is instead about principle. We believe it is within our absolute right to cover, publish and, yes, occasionally even sell, content that we create – particularly from highly public events involving tax-supported institutions and occurring at taxpayer-owned venues.

It is unfortunate that we are at loggerheads with the IHSA, which has already restricted our photo access to one major state championship event. It’s all related to this dispute. We have never previously viewed the organization as a foe. If anything, quite the opposite is true. Like the IHSA, we believe it’s in all of our best interests to draw attention to and celebrate youth achievement, whether it be on the basketball court, the football field, the concert hall or the scholastic bowl.

Check it out here.

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Illinois lawmakers have joined in the fight over whether the Illinois High School Association can prevent newspaper photographers from covering public school academic and sporting championship events games, and whether they can regulate the secondary use of photographs and videos that come from the events.

A new state law proposed this week comes in the aftermath of a dispute between the IHSA and the Illinois Press Association, a disagreement that reached a boiling point last November when several Illinois newspapers were prevented from photographing the state’s high school football finals and championship games.

And now Illinois lawmakers have proposed legislation intended to resolve the current conflict and to keep it from happening again.

Rep. Joseph M. Lyons (D-Chicago) has introduced House Bill 4582 which, if voted on and signed into law, will provide open access to all competitions, from elementary school to high school levels, including sports and academic activities.

And Sen. James A. DeLeo (D-Chicago) has agreed to file an identical bill in the other chamber of the Illinois General Assembly.

Check it out here.

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Editor Sues Newark Police Over Arrest

A newspaper editor on Wednesday sued the Newark Police Department, charging that police had no right to arrest him and demand he not publish photographs from a crime scene.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, came about two months after the state attorney general found that a Newark police chief violated her directive by questioning the editor and a photographer about their immigration status.

The incident stems from an incident in September in which a freelance photographer for a weekly newspaper, the Brazilian Voice, discovered a dead body and, along with the newspaper’s editor, reported it to police.

Here.

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