DMCA Takedown Notices Require Fair Use Considerations

Reprinted with the kind permission of the DMLA
Nancy Wolff and Josh Wolkoff, Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard, LLP

Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., Case Nos. 13-16106 and 13-16107, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was enacted in 1998 to address in part issues created by the internet and the widespread posting of content by users. In reforming the Copyright Act in 1978, the drafters thought that this Act would serve well into the future as it was content neutral but they could not foresee the way the Internet dramatically altered the way users exchanged content online and how perfect copies of copyrighted content could be virally distributed in seconds. Internet service providers (ISPs) were concerned with strict liability and monetary damages based on content posted by users and hosted on their servers over which they could not monitor and control. Section 512 of the Copyright Act was enacted to balance the concerns of ISPs and copyright owners. Qualified ISP were granted immunity from liability if they received a proper notice of infringement and expeditiously removed the infringing content.

There has been much litigation over the years regarding various aspects of the DMCA, including whether a copyright owner is required to consider whether the use made of the uploaded content is considered a fair use and not an infringement before issuing a takedown notice. Because of the massive amount of content uploaded by users, and the difficulty to search the ever increasing number of sites, content owners, including the music industry, employ technology to crawl the internet to find unlicensed content in order to end the ISP the requisite takedown notice.

A test case was brought in 2007 by Stephanie Lenz, a mother who sued Universal Music Group after YouTube removed a 29-second video of her toddler dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” in response to a DMCA takedown notice submitted by Universal Music Group, Prince’s music publisher. Not surprisingly, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a pro user group supported Lenz in bringing this test case. Dubbed the “dancing baby case,” Lenz argued that her video was protected by the doctrine of fair use and that Universal’s takedown notice violated a section of the DMCA that provides liability for knowingly making material representations because it misrepresented that the video was infringing without considering fair use . Under the DMCA, a proper takedown notice must include a statement that the owner or its agent has a “good faith belief” that the use of the copyrighted work is not authorized under the law.

The case ultimately made its way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. An appeal the court was asked to examine whether fair use was a right under copyright and an authorized use, or a defense to infringement and unauthorized. In a significant ruling to content owners and ISP’s, the court issued a bright line rule that copyright holders must consider the fair use doctrine before issuing takedown notices to remove otherwise infringing content under the DMCA. The Court’s decision makes clear that a failure to do so can open the door to nominal monetary damages and attorneys’ fees for any material misrepresentations made (or improper procedures used) in the course of pulling content from service providers like YouTube. The court explained that fair use must be treated differently than other affirmative defenses because fair use is not merely an exception to an infringement – it is one that that is expressly “authorized by law” under Section 107 of the Copyright Act.

The Ninth Circuit took great pains, however, to qualify the thrust of its ruling, suggesting that it was “mindful of the pressing crush of voluminous infringing content that copyright holders face in a digital age.” In particular, a sender must only form a “subjective good faith belief” that the use is not a fair use or not authorized under the law. The inquiry “need not be searching or intensive” and, in fact, the Court recognized the role that computer algorithms and automated programs might play in making such fair use determinations and issuing proper takedown notices. The Ninth Circuit also confirmed that the question of liability for material misrepresentations does not hinge on whether or not the use is indeed a fair use: courts are “in no position to dispute the copyright holder’s belief even if [the court] would have reached the opposite conclusion.”

As a result content owners should review their notice and takedown procedures in order to ensure that their procedures give due consideration to potential fair uses. DMLA, in watching this case over the years, revised the declaration in its DMCA notice to include reference to a fair use review: I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of herein is not authorized by COPYRIGHT HOLDER, its licensing representatives, or the law and is not a fair use.

Even if using recognition technology to find infringing uses, someone should review the use to determine if the use is a fair use or not. As fair use is determined on a case by case basis, and in not the easiest area of the law, the determination just needs to be made in good faith. As noted by the Ninth Circuit, it is not a material misrepresentation if a court might come out differently. Fair use is a judgment call after weighing the requisite four factors. DMLA has a webinar on fair use found [here] and the Copyright Office has published an index of fair use cases []

VISUAL CONNECTIONS 2015; Real Face Time and Lots of it!

By Brooke Hodess

Despite high winds and whipping rain, a nearly sold out Visual Connections New York 2015 Media Expo took place on Wednesday, October 28, attracting dozens of new exhibitors and a significant increase in the number of big budget art buyers and producers than past expos.

After four years at the Altman Building, the annual trade show for art buyers, producers, editors and sellers returned to the Metropolitan Pavilion, a larger venue that could handle more booths and foot traffic and had a separate floor for educational sessions.

Despite inclement weather, the event drew a full crowd. “We were delighted to attract 24 new exhibitors this year, and a record 60 percent of new buyers attending,” said Edward Leigh, co-president of Visual Connections.

New Collaboration Brings First-Time Exhibitors and Buyers

Less of a challenge and more of a win-win was a new collaboration with Workbook, the leading marketing resource for commercial photographers and illustrators. As Principal Sponsor of the event, Workbook helped attract, for the first time, artist reps. Seven artist reps—including Anderson Hopkins, M Represents Inc, Richard Solomon Artists, Robert Bacall Reps—joined the growing number of exhibitors.

And the reviews were glowing.

Ralph Mennemeyer, managing partner of M Represents , a New York–based agency representing photographers, CGI artists and filmmakers, said, by the end of the day, he believed the event would go beyond his expectations. “I’ve already made a couple of connections with people who I hadn’t seen in years, and I know right away that’s going to get things rolling.”

In turn, Workbook’s presence helped bring new buyers from both the creative side as well as the well-represented book publishers.

Amy Wolff, a freelance photo editor for AARP, said, “I came looking for more diverse stock images and in less than ten minutes I’m finding that here.”

Linda Levy, advertising sales representative for Workbook, showed no signs of disappointment. “I’ve been to many trade. . .the vibe here is terrific,” she said. “People want to be here. They’re engaged. At some of these more enormous trade shows you see a lot of zombie-like looking people trudging around, throwing things in a bag. I haven’t seen that at all here.”

Networking: Real Face Time, not Facebook

Networking is more often about reconnection than new connections, as expo showers and goers reiterated, and offline face time was a welcome change.

Said Mennemeyer, “Reconnection is key. That’s the business; you’re always reconnecting. LinkedIn, Facebook, they’re all great, but there’s nothing like that one on one.”


Longtime exhibitors as well as buyers, editors and producers, continued to reap the benefits of the close-knit event.


“The fact that it’s my tenth show, it’s obviously beneficial for us to be here, not only to meet new clients but also to touch base with existing clients,” said Tom Haggerty, senior account manager of Bridgeman Images. “It’s probably the best show we do.”

When asked what she liked best about the expo, attendee Sarah Parvis of Downtown Bookworks said, “I am always looking for new photo vendors. And Visual Connections is one great way to meet them. It’s also fantastic to see the faces of people I usually just deal with online.”

Increase in Big Budget Buyers

With 72 companies represented, registration and attendance figures showed a significant increase in the number of big budget art buyers and producers.

“It’s hugely encouraging,” said Leigh. “Twenty-seven percent of this year’s attendees spend more than $10K a year on assignment and production services.” That’s up from 22 percent in 2014.

Worth the Reward Miles and a 13-Hour Flight

Exhibitors traveled across continents to attend.

Sophia Zhang of PanoramaStock flew more than 13 hours from Beijing to set up a booth to show off a collection that specializes in Asian images. “We are the only Asian photo agency here,” said Zhang, “but I think there will be more next year.” The company has been around for more than ten years and want to expand their business. “This is a good place for that,” she said.

Russia-based Dmitry Shironosov came to New York to get feedback from visitors on his visual search engine for microstock photography,, currently in beta.

Educational Sessions: Knowledge is Key

Three panel discussions were scheduled throughout the day.

The first panel, moderated by Cathy Aron, executive director of DMLA (Digital Media Licensing Association), included panelists Ophelia Chong (Stock Pot Images), Bill Cramer (Wonderful Machine), Moya McAllister ( and Nancy Wolff (Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard LLP). The open forum-style exchange informed buyers about different licensing models, pricing, shrinking budgets, large indemnities, copycat rights and the benefits (and pitfalls of social media).

The second session focused on footage as it related to YouTube curation, pricing, key wording, fair use and Creative Commons license. Moderator Matt White, executive director of ASCIL, directed a panel that included Jessica Berman-Bogdan, president and founder of Global ImageWorks; Bobby Dicks, director of sales & licensing, CNN Collection; Analisa Goodin, CEO and founder of Catch & Release; Rich Remsberg, archival and visual researcher; and Alison Smith, who heads up WGBH Stock Sales.

A third panel discussion delved into various visual media issues regarding disposability, democratization, appropriation and memory. Moderator David Newhoff, writer, film and video maker and activist for the cause of creators’ rights in the digital age and creator of the blog “The Illusion of More: Dissecting the Digital Utopia,” led a fiery dialogue with panelists Paddy Johnson, founding editor of Art F City, and Julie Grahame, publisher of, a full-screen photography magazine.

What’s Happening Next?

The collaboration with Workbook will continue as Visual Connections prepares for the Chicago expo on April 28, 2016. Said Visual Connections Co-president Deborah Free, “We are very excited at the prospect of growing our event to include artist reps, productions houses and hopefully more service providers. It makes sense given we are all about visual media. Workbook brings a lot to the table and are equally excited.”

Brooke Hodess is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She can be reached at

Co-ops, Sustainability and Stock..or rather; Stocksy

Been watching Stocksy for some time and pleased to share a recent conversation with new CEO Brianna Wettlaufer.

Founded in 2012 Stocksy is described as a Co-op – can you elaborate?

Stocksy is a multi stakeholder co-op, jointly owned by all of our photographer-members (900) and founders.

In Stocksy’s infancy we explored many business models that would ensure transparency, involvement and support of photographers, including non-profit, but the co-op model (deep routed in Canadian history, where we’re founded) was the only structure that obligated business practices to meet these goals.

By not involving a top tier of financially focused investors or executives, we can focus on the things that matter, the quality of the product and long-term integrity of what we’re doing.

We’ve proven co-ops are a profitable model, by only taking an initial investment of one million dollars and hitting profitability in our first year of business. We founded the company with four people huddled around a picnic table and have grown that to twelve people in office and twelve working remotely.

This allowed us to be the first agency to challenge the stale and cliché stereotypes and concepts found in stock photography that left everyone with a bad taste in their mouth.

(c)Sven Dreesbach/Stocksy

(c)Sven Dreesbach/Stocksy

In 2012 when we entered the market, it was stuck in a moment, which was unfortunate because there were a lot of amazing things happening in photography. Pinterest, Instagram and VSCO all aided in raising the bar of expectations. Stocksy’s goal was to bridge that gap with amazing artistic images by extraordinary photographers, both new and veteran to the stock world.

I like that Stocksy describes itself as being ‘career-sustainable’ Tell us more.

Our goal in sustainability is in the foundation of everything we do. The success of our company and product is interdependent between what all of us can contribute.

As a tech company, we’re very focused on the quality of job, pay and environment that we provide our staff so they can succeed in their roles.

Likewise, we have to create a sustainable product for our members that they can remain committed to. We provide a personalized team of editors who always take the time to work with them one on one for feedback, provide comprehensive creative direction and creative research, and grow the collection at a rate that maintains momentum of photographer incomes.

With our royalty-structure, paying out 50% of standard royalties ($10-$100) and 75% of our extended licenses ($100-$500), 75% of exclusive licenses ($1,250-$9,000), and 90% of any profits divided among our members, we ensure that we’re getting as much profit immediately into the hands of our photographers. In fact, some of our photographers make more money than members of our executive team. We feel that is how it should be. Since launching Stocksy in 2012 we have paid out roughly $4 million to our photographers. Our goal is to only take what we need to sustainably operate and grow our business.

(c)Carey Haider/Stocksy

(c)Carey Haider/Stocksy

After years of seeing disenfranchised photographers, and hearing complaints about the reality of the microstock industry and what it was becoming, our team had the vision of creating a company with soul.

Being a co-op presents its own challenges, but we welcome them because we have created a business we trust and believe in. Despite the limited time and resources, we are growing and finding success.

 Stocksy came to be around the time Social Media was gelling as a marketing/communications force to be reckoned with. Can you elaborate on your strategy here and how you stay relevant?(having artists take over the feeds, etc.)

From the beginning, we opted to keep our marketing needs organic, from the original ideas of our members and employees. Staying relevant isn’t something we go out of our way to do. When you love photography you’re naturally always paying attention to emerging trends that you want to support, experiment with and challenge.

We actively work closely with all our members sharing our research and creative direction. This is what emerges in our curations and weekly photographer Instagram takeovers.

Since social media is synonymous with visual content, the opportunity to engage in various platforms makes sense for our business model. We are finding lots of success with Twitter and our community is very engaged with Instagram. Every week we select an artist to lead a “photographer takeover” session giving them complete creative control to share their favorite photos with our followers.

Visually, Stocksy has the reputation of authenticity – so often we hear that an agency will have ‘marketing images’ that represent the cutting edge, but that clients will trend towards the more conservative? True/False?

Stock photography is often synonymous with dry, staged images—think conventional couples or a group of typical professionals in suits. Stocksy’s collection features images that closely reflect real life and diversity—you will find tattooed bodies, same-sex couples and people of all ages created by photographers who want to stand out with their work.

We are hearing more and more that the buyers want the spontaneous ‘Instagram’ feeling images – thoughts?

As we’re fed more and more images integrated into all of our social media, we’re all becoming more savvy at recognizing a good photo and photos that are “real”, not forced or staged. I’m incredibly proud and inspired by our artists who do shoot mobile exclusively but being “real” certainly isn’t limited to the Instagram-look.

More than real, more than curating our lives to look perfect, I think we’re craving photography that has meaning and reminds us: life is beautiful.

(c)Gabriel Ozon/Stocksy

(c)Gabriel Ozon/Stocksy

Instagram pictures are real and spontaneous and buyers are definitely gravitating towards that look. Social photography is changing the way people look at stock photography. To that end, buyers are looking for “authentic” images that mirror their photo sharing culture.

We support content that celebrates how beautiful life can be and we support artists that have stayed true to their vision and distinct style. Truly that is the kind of content we hope will resonate with buyers. At Stocksy, we are excited for the comeback of film photography. Similar to the realness of Instagram, film photography feels nostalgic, magical and organic.

 Brianna, I understand you are a new CEO – Congrats! Tell us just a bit about yourself and how you see your role shaping the future of Stocksy.

Thank you. I’ve been in the stock industry now for over ten years, first joining as a photographer/designer then moving to Calgary, AB to become one of the founding members of iStock. My path and where I am now comes from a passion to create an amazing photography product, from a collection and online experience, that’s married to the strength of community–as a person from the community who see’s the strength it represents.

Now at the helm of Stocksy I get to execute those ideals for supporting photographers, creativity and community into a single amazing product, created in collaboration from a staff and member base who share the same vision.

Now growing a company for the second time from the ground up, I’ve learned how I can uphold those ideals while running a really tight team of professionals; in conjunction with knowing how to approach harder decisions of partnerships, seeking investment capital and knowing when to hold still for the integrity of the product.

We’ve made it through a lot of the growing pains of a start-up and can’t wait to lead us into our next chapter to continuously innovate where Stocksy can grow.

A leadership coach once told me that you have to be able to take people to hell one day and heaven the next. They might not like you that day, but when they rise up and grow, they will love you for pushing them. This advice has helped pave the way for my career. My journey to becoming CEO started with stubborn perseverance and even at 18 (the age I landed my first job), I was willing to go above and beyond to bring integrity to the company’s brand. Nothing has changed since.

Portrait of Stocksy CEO Brianna Wettlaufer by Rob Campbell

Portrait of Stocksy CEO Brianna Wettlaufer by Rob Campbell

As Pretty As … an Airport?

Writer Douglas Adams once observed, “It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport.’”

From the access roads that engorge and disgorge an infinite stream of cars; to the behind-the-scenes conveyor belts that somehow (but not always!) manage to deliver millions of bags to the right carousel; to the terminals that steer travelers past resources of fast food, booze, and important last minute trinket buying outlets; airports are concerned with functionality, to the point where this massive array of planning becomes, surreally, ‘invisible’ to the eye unless one looks closely.

There is one element of airports, though, that is usually the first (and maybe last) thing that we recognize as visible, as we approach the airport: all those air traffic control towers, jutting into the sky like inverted anchors, assuring us that we are at our first destination (and reassuring us that somebody is watching out for us once we’ve left the tarmac and ascended into the heavens).

Carolyn Russo , a photographer and museum specialist for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., has gathered together her own photographic tribute to airport traffic control towers: Art of the Airport Tower, a 176-page hardcover monograph published by Smithsonian Books. It’s publication this month coincides with an exhibition (of the same name) at the National Air and Space Museum that runs from November 2015 to November 2016.


Russo’s photos feature towers in a mélange of different architectural styles; capturing both the historical evolution of these structures, but also how cultural forces, in this multinational world, have shaped and represent local idiosyncrasies. For instance, in United Arab Emirates, in Dubai, the world’s only crescent shaped tower looms 109 meters into the sky; shaped like the prow of an indigenous vessel (a “dhow”), it resonates with the history of older forms of navigation.

In Oslo airport, Norway a glass tower is stitched with 98,425 feet of thread, creating a subliminal impression of webs and clouds. Back in the States, FDR’s New Deal Works produced LaGuardia Airport in 1940, and 26 years later, the terminal was adorned by a wonderful new Art Deco tower (referred to as “a design for a giant ice cream cone” by The New York Times).

Russo’s photograph of a tower at Barcelona El-Prat Airport, reminds us, however, that unlike the aforementioned works, some towers were built out of pure functionality; built in 1964, spiked with antenna over a brutalist concrete block, this tower echoes some of the worst architectural trends of the time.

And yet… Russo, shooting this tower in isolation, framed alone (and shot as elevated, like most of the photographs), manages to find a version of this tower’s own particular aesthetic beauty. It remains a compelling object; maybe, in this case, unconcerned with anything but function (unlike the Oslo tower; which features passenger-friendly “sound showers” that acoustically bathe weary travelers), but also unique, and otherworldly.

There is something ethereal and profound about the connections between these distant cousins; separate but connected over the skein of the planet; combining forces electronically, or taking responsibility over individual air spaces, for monitoring the safe passage of millions. There may be aesthetic differences between them, but none of these is a poor cousin, by dint of their function…

Russo is no stranger to combining flight and photography. Her previous four books – Art of the Airport Tower (2015), In Plane View: Abstractions of Flight (2007), Artifacts of Flight (2003), and Women and Flight: Portraits of Contemporary Women Pilots (1997) have accompanied an extensive array of sol and group exhibitions featured in the United States, Finland, and China. No surprise either that the National Geographic Traveler is a fitting home for her work as well as Science and Smithsonian.

A chance encounter with the Acting Administrator at the FAA was the slow fuse that ignited Russo’s eventual odyssey to 23 countries and the documentation of 100 air traffic control towers for the project. A maze of local permissions, logistics and life insurance certification, that would have daunted even the most experienced RTW veterans, was navigated in the process. As a viewer, looking at these images – which come over as both affectionate homage, but also as forensically objective – one can only hope that Russo’s jet lag was minimal, and her air miles considerable.

For exhibition and catalog details visit:

October 28th

Getting ready for a jam packed day at Visual Connections New York on Wednesday, October 28th. If you have not registered to attend, don’t leave it too late. Welcoming Workbook as  Principal Sponsor, the day is full of interesting sessions starting with 360° View of Visual Media Copyright, Trends and Technology with industry leaders, trend setters and legal expert Nancy Wolff filling us in; a powerhouse of a panel on all things Footage; and what we know will be a hit – an in-conversation with David Newhoff talking about Staying Valuable in a Disposable World with Paddy Johnson and Julie Grahame. Plus the best in agencies dealing with stills and motion, and reps working the top talent shooting today. Networking opportunities aplenty! I hear the food is delicious and there may be some fun contests too.

See you there? Thought so!

Ellen Herbert


Heather Elder Supports Freelancers

Photographer Rep Heather Elder talks about the recently launched, a much needed and welcome resource. Reposted from FoundFolios with permission.

A few months ago, an art producer friend called to ask if I knew of any freelancers looking for work. I did, so I shared their names with him. A few days later, someone else called and asked the same question, but for a different city. The following week, another person. In the span of a week, I was asked three times if I knew of any freelance art producers.

By the third call, I realized there was a real need for a central website for freelance art producers to showcase their work and share their contact information with other producers looking to hire them.

So, I created one. It is called

Why did you start

When we first started our blog, Notes from a Rep’s Journal the idea was simple; to start meaningful conversations with people in our community about important issues in our industry.

We wanted to create a space that our entire community could discuss what was on their mind but as well as share with each other all the things that make our jobs special. So many of us do not have a team of people to answer our questions so we need to rely on each other. The blog was designed to provide a place for all of us to share resources and information and start conversations on a bigger platform. Drafting off of this, along with Brite Productions, we co-founded The Community Table. These are round table events hosted around the country with industry leaders talking about the most relevant and current issues. The conversations are then posted on our blogs in their entirety, with the idea that there is nothing more powerful in our industry than education.

We care very deeply about community and for the past five years, our blog and the Community Table have allowed us to foster that in a unique and relevant way. So, FreelanceArtProducer was an obvious next step for us. What better way to connect a group of people in our industry than to help them make meaningful connections among themselves?

Why aren’t you charging for this site?

The site is not much more work than our current blog and to charge for it did not seem in keeping with the sense of community we want to foster. If someday it gets popular enough and the upkeep is such that we need to hire someone else to handle it, then we might consider charging but for now it is free to join and free to use.

What do you get out of it?

First and foremost, we are filling a need in our industry and we like that. It fits with who we are and have become over the past five years. It is about community and the very idea that we are more powerful together than we are alone.

Second, while we build this site, we will get to connect with the freelance community in a way that we have not been able to before the site. Because freelance art producers move around so much, they are hard to keep in touch with consistently. If we were more connected with them, we could include them on our blog, invite them to events such as Community Table and other gatherings, and hear what they have to say about issues. In our opinion, they are an underrepresented group in our community.

Why would I want to be on a site with other freelance producers?

Great question. We understand that the freelance community can be very private. You have your contacts and the regular people who call you. If you promote yourself on a site with other people won’t they be tempted to try someone new? We can see the point, but ask you to think about the power that could come with being part of a community of freelance art producers. Imagine the new opportunities that might come your way if a person who didn’t hear about you via word of mouth, found you on this site? And, imagine how great it would feel to cheer lead for your community some?

And, think about the future. You are a dynamic group of creative and resourceful art producers. We know what you pull off every day. We can only imagine what wrangling you all together will lead to eventually. We suspect even bigger, better and more important things that we haven’t even discovered yet.

How will you promote the site?

We are committed to promoting this site. To do so, we will create a blog post for each member that celebrates something special about them. It may be an interview for the Insider Art Producer series, or it could be something specifically geared toward that art producer. A contributing author to our blog, has already agreed to help create interesting content with the participants.

We believe that so much of what makes being a success in our business is the power of word of mouth. So, we are asking that everyone consider being generous with their social media channels to help promote the site and the blog posts about the art producers. We know it seems odd to think about promoting an art producer other than yourself, but we believe in the power of community and supporting each other and know that it works. This is of course not a requirement, just a hope of ours.

As well, we have partnered with our friends at FoundFolios and they have offered to share the profiles of a few of the freelancers in their bimonthly newsletter, which is sent out to 80k creatives internationally.

How do I sign up?

That’s easy. We can get your profile done right away while you work on gathering any other items you may want to include. Check out this link: Want to be on the site? If you made it this far, thank you! And, if you like the idea, please spread the word by sharing it on social media.


Arcangel Images – Bringing the Sunshine In

by Julian Jackson

(c)Shanea Gaiger/Arcangel

(c)Shanea Gaiger/Arcangel

Arcangel Images is a photo agency which has grown from specialising in book covers to a wide range of artistic images, mobile media, and video. Founded by Michael Mascaro and Gloria Mejuto in 2004 it has grown to have offices in Paris, London and New York, although its HQ is unusually in the sunny Spanish town of Malaga. Michael Mascaro explains the initial idea, “I was working for publishers Random House as a designer, and I saw a niche in the market for more artistic images. I left and formed Arcangel with a group of friends as contributing photographers.”

Progress was slow at first. Having only 3000 pictures on file they weren’t going to make a big dent in the market. They relaunched the website in 2005 with a greater number of images and a more polished presentation. The pictures were aimed at top quality book covers. With a list of contacts from his years in publishing, Mascaro and his team were able to build the business. Mascaro says, “We were aiming at visually original and powerful images, but you have to tread a fine line between being commercial and being too artistic to be saleable.”

(c)Alister Clark/Arcangel

(c)Alister Clark/Arcangel


Although brought up in the UK, Mascaro has Spanish ancestry and in 2006 he moved the office from London to Malaga in southern Spain, partly because of lower costs, but also to return to his roots and for better weather. Given that it was pouring with rain in London when I talked with him on the phone, I could see his point of view. Without the digital revolution, this sort of techno-migration would not have been possible. Arcangel would have had to remain in one of the publishing world’s capital cities to compete.

By 2015 the collection had grown to 320,000 highly-curated images.

The ongoing marketing push included reaching out to a wider range of clients, including advertising, music and marketing. Another website makeover happened in May this year, which integrated various systems and the back office, which was necessary for further expansion.

(c)Bella Kotak/Arcangel

(c)Bella Kotak/Arcangel

The collection consists of several different sectors, aimed at different clients’ needs and budgetary requirements. The Premium Collection is their main offering, showcasing 300K worth of RM and RF artistic images. Their cine collection is new, with HD footage – interestingly it has stills and video from the same shoot. Mascaro explained that this was inspired by his publishing background, as now book covers also often needed motion material for publicity. He expected that in the near future, digital books would have moving images on the covers and he wanted Arcangel to be ready for that development.

Arcangel NX is non-exclusive images, so they can expand their photography and distribution. The fee structure is lower than the premium collection.

Vintage Archive is self-explanatory, an eclectic archive of older images on a wide range of subjects.

Arcangel Smart is a collection of images taken with mobile phones and tablets. This has had a lot of interest from photobuyers, because the style has an immediacy which is very different from the polished nature of conventional photography. Mascaro says, “The format has limitations, most obviously of file size, although that continues to increase, but we have had steady sales of this material. I was quite surprised at how quickly it took off.”

Livesearch is another feature of the new website. Although it has been around for a while, it wasn’t featured so much – essentially any photo buyer can put in a request for an image to all Arcangel’s contributing photographers if they can’t find what they need during the search. Mascaro says, “Sometimes a photographer will receive the request, and shoot a picture on spec, even if it isn’t used by the client, it will go into the collection and may well become a good seller.”

All the collections continue to be highly curated – of submissions from contributors, only around 50% are accepted. This ensures consistent high quality. Although book publishing will remain a core part of Arcangel’s business, they are looking to advertising, music and design, and of course continuing to feature video, as this is a growing market.

(c)Ebru Sidar/Arcangel

(c)Ebru Sidar/Arcangel


juliancoffeshopcuJulian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment. His portfolio is here: He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course Linked-in profile.

The Wheels Keep on Turning for Wonderful Machine

Whether it’s assignments, stock or production, Wonderful Machine knows how to assemble photography for virtually any visual project you can dream up.

Guest post by Jain Lemos

It’s been nearly 10 years since Bill Cramer started his cooperative photography agency, though he says it’s hard to pinpoint the actual founding date. That’s because Wonderful Machine evolved somewhat gradually from being a cooperative in 2006 of three photographers—Cramer, Chris Crisman and Ryan Donnell—who were sharing a space and staff, to today’s production company with a network of 725 photographers in 30 specialties from 50 countries.

(c)Mark Meyer

(c)Mark Meyer

Primarily a magazine portrait shooter, Cramer remembers the early days with fondness when Crisman, who was a college student, was working as his freelance assistant. “We had a great rapport so we decided to build a cooperative together. After about a year, we invited Ryan Donnell to join us. The idea was that we could reduce our expenses by sharing equipment, insurance, staff, studio space and supplies. And we could increase our revenue by collaborating on marketing and referring work to each other,” he recalls.

That cooperative approach was successful for a while. In the early years as the agency grew, they cultivated relationships with their regular clients, including one who was paying close to $100,000 annually for their collective efforts. But eventually the three found themselves facing the problem of finding a satisfactory financial arrangement. That led to the cooperative venture collapsing but the transition gave way to the production company model that WM now embraces.


(c) Jenn Bischof

(c) Jenn Bischof

Cramer originally envisioned running a directory of about 100 or so portrait photographers in order to create a type of marketing tool that wasn’t readily available in the industry. But he admits, “it didn’t take long before I realized that in order to have the revenue to support a meaningful marketing effort, I would need more photographers and in more specialties.” As WM was hitting their stride as an online photography directory, photographers started requesting additional support and services, including portfolio help, marketing plans and shoot estimates. They quickly responded by growing that expertise.


Early on, their plan was simply to connect clients directly to photographers. They then realized there were times when clients and photographers needed help with hiring crew, making travel arrangements, scouting locations and casting talent. They were more than happy to meet that need. “Instead of thinking of ourselves as a directory that also does production, we now think of ourselves as a production company that has an incredible network of photographers. As much as I’d like to say that I planned it this way, the fact is that the company has seemed to have a life of its own from day one,” Cramer shares.

(C) Clark Vandergrift

(C) Clark Vandergrift


2015 has been a year of transformation for the agency, one Cramer likens to a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. In April, after a year of concept development, design and coding, WM launched a completely new website. That allowed for correcting technical issues and a repositioning of their messaging. In June, they moved their office across the parking lot into a stand-alone building that is three times the size of their old space.

Next on the horizon is a strategic partnership with Bikini Lists, a deal that will be formally announced in November. The collaboration will allow WM to be more closely involved with the process of gathering and sharing prospect contact information—an area of concern for photographers and clients alike.

Internally, perhaps the most dramatic growth has been in their production department. Already staffed by three associate producers, three photo editors, two marketing specialists, two publicists and two designers, they are now up to eight producers. “Our producers’ main responsibility is to help clients find photographers who are appropriate for their projects, either by connecting them directly with the photographer for smaller projects or by helping them manage the bigger ones,” Cramer says.

Stock is another area of innovation for the company. Clients can fill out a simple online stock request form that reaches more than 700 WM photographers, who then respond directly to the client with their images. WM sees this as allowing for individualized attention many buyers love, plus photographers get to make direct and valuable new client connections.

(c)Art Meripol

(c)Art Meripol


Education is also area of importance to WM’s ethos. WM has produced a valuable series of more than 60 Pricing & Negotiating articles that are available for free. Cramer and his staff give talks, write articles and review portfolios for trade organizations and leading photo-centric schools and workshops as well as a number of online educational websites that help young photographers learn about the business of photography. Alex Koloskov, a former WM photographer who launched the online creative course company Photigy, has plans to work on courses with WM. Cramer says he’ll be testing the waters with some staff interviews and website critiques to see if something clicks in this space (see Koloskov’s recent interview with Cramer here).


It’s clear under Cramer’s guidance that WM has developed the resources and relationships to help ad agencies, brands and publishers source and produce photo shoots of all sizes and price ranges. They’ve made it their business to know every photographer and crew member intimately and that confidence allows them to make a photo shoot happen on time and on budget anywhere in the world. Every estimate is painstakingly custom-made for each situation because no two projects are alike. “We want art buyers to know that we’re here to help them. We want them to think of us as an extension of their team. Whether they just need a quick photographer or crew recommendation, or they need a full-blown production, they can always just pick up the phone and give us a call,” Cramer adds.


As for WM’s upcoming 10 year anniversary, Cramer says he hasn’t made any plans just yet. “It still seems like we’re just getting started, but maybe it’s time to pause to consider what we’ve accomplished.”

JainLemos-600x600Jain Lemos is the Director of Content and Collections for Come Alive Images. She has been deeply involved in photography publishing and licensing for more than twenty years and shares her informed perspective about our visual industry on multiple platforms including her website,

Capture and capture DESK Streamline Visual Asset Management


Abbie Enock is the founder and CEO of Capture who make image management and business software for libraries and photo-buyers. She started out in journalism, then moved into photojournalism, and created her own photo agency, Travel Ink. During that journey she needed asset management software, and finding no product she was satisfied with, she learnt programming and wrote her own. “That was six years of 120-hour weeks.” The result was the first version of Capture.

Launched in 2000, Capture became a major name in photo agency software, very customisable and following Abbie’s philosophy of “Collaborating with customers to achieve their goals, not just giving them technology and walking away.” Users of Capture include the British Library, National Maritime Museum, Historic Royal Palaces, publishers like Macmillan and charities such as the RSPCA.

Capture has continued to be improved based on feedback and is used by more than 50 organisations. It comes in various packages including Capture MAXIMISER (suitable for a large scale agency) and its smaller version Capture EXPRESS. Capture EXPRESS is intended as a fast roll-out starter system, but it can be easily upgraded as needs increase. The design philosophy behind it was “Easy DAM”, so that it would not require a complex training programme or staff reskilling to use it.

Obviously there is another side to the equation: the photo-buyer.

capture DESK enables image users to manage multiple projects across multiple sites. In its dashboard researchers can send lightboxes to multiple editors and clients, record pricing and copyright information, and make selections and notes. Many photo-buyers have found it very useful. Abbie describes it as “a lightbox on legs – with rights management and approval processes – spanning as many sites as you wish”.

Sandra Hilsdon is a photo-buyer and copyright clearance specialist in the UK with extensive experience of using the current version of capture DESK both in-house and as a freelance. She says, “It’s a handy tool to have. A lot of educational publishers don’t have proper systems in place for reviewing picture selections, and it makes no sense to send over lots of individual files without captions or notes. Capture DESK lets editors review material more easily. My clients have been impressed with it, and I think it is a good investment.”

At Visual Connections in New York in October a new, expanded version (capture DESK 3) will be launched with a special introductory offer. The latest version includes high-res downloads and video – two most requested new features; previously digital space requirements limited it to low-res images. The design has been completely updated to have a new, sleeker feel with more options for photobuyers.

A major feature of capture DESK is the “Right click menu” which means that users can immediately take an image, complete with its metadata, and put it into a project in capture DESK.

This is a streamlined process, much liked by photobuyers. Drag-and-drop enabling makes moving and sorting images and projects easier to handle. The objective is to make managing multiple projects and clients, from numerous sources, quicker and easier.

Although it has been mainly aimed up to now at the individual photobuyers, a new Enterprise edition is in development, which will be for publishers, so they can manage their projects, and save money by efficiency. Abbie says that interested organisations should contact Capture, as they are looking for user feedback to finalise the application.

IP licensing is an important factor in this. Capture are working with Britain’s Copyright Hub ( to automatically licence images with a “Hub Key” built into the new capture DESK (and other Capture products) so image ownership is linked seamlessly, doing away with time-consuming manual systems.

Besides creating software, Capture manage some collections directly, under Steve Lake, their Head of Managed Services, formerly of 4Corners travel photo library. Three agencies they manage are the Magal Collection, of outstanding archaeological stills and video, Aviation Images , and MintImages who showcase premium lifestyle and travel photography.

Abbie says, “Our philosophy is of integrity and respect for staff, users and clients. We have over 250 years’ collective professional experience in our team now, and this underpins what we do. In this business you have to balance the creative and the technical, what we are trying to do is create applications which manage the workflow as seamlessly as possible, leaving creative people the space to do what they do best.”

juliancoffeshopcuJulian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment. His portfolio is here: .He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course

Sally Mann Went Looking For Her ‘Local’

Ellen Boughn reviews ‘HOLD STILL’, the photo memoir of the summer, if not the year.

I wasn’t particularly interested in reading Sally Mann’s autobiography, Hold Still, but took it up a few weeks after my husband bought it for me as a surprise. I began the book more out of a sense of guilt about not relishing his gift more than anything else

Surprise: The last paragraphs of the prologue grabbed my interest immediately. Addressing what Mann thought she might find in an attic full of family history that is the basis of one thread that runs through the story, she wrote:

“I will confess that in the interest of narrative I secretly hoped I’d find a payload of southern gothic: deceit and scandal, alcoholism, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land, abandonments, blow jobs, suicides, hidden addictions, the tragically early death of a beautiful bride, racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of a prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder.

If any of this stuff lay hidden in my family history, I had the distinct sense I’d find it in those twine-bound boxes in the attic. And I did: all of it and more.”

At this early point in the reading of the book, I turned to Amazon and enthusiastically ordered the book for a friend that I thought would love it. Several times as I continued through Mann’s writing, I regretted the gift as the book disappointed more than it promised in those early phrases. Mann clearly needed a better editor.

Photographs and other illustrations abound, as one would expect in a photographer’s memoir. One disappointment is that their reproduction is severely flawed. Not only are Mann’s well known photographs presented as muddy examples of their former selves, the personal family snapshots by Mann and others don’t fair much better. Photographic professionals will no doubt share my frustration. However, having a visual narrative of the writer’s life no matter how flawed contributes understanding Mann and her work.

Sally Mann, the child, hated clothes. It was an ordeal for her parents to get her dressed. She preferred nudity or only underpants. This fact adds a clue to Mann’s collection of photographs of her nude children and the subsequent publishing in 1992 of those photos in the book, Immediate Family.

The scandal that resulted from the publishing of the book both surprised and frightened Mann. She details how she couldn’t understand why the photos alarmed so many and reveals that she might have exposed her children to prurient interests. Indeed a stalker followed Mann’s life for some time.

Although there are the predictable stories of how some of her most famous photographs came to be, there isn’t an over abundance of technical data. In the same genre of Susan Sontag’s On Photography, Sally Mann probes the very idea of photography and how it affects memory and personal history.

Like Mann’s children, my life from birth until I walked off the set permanently at 12, was documented by my father in stills and motion. The ever-growing production was shown in full every holiday until I couldn’t remember what was real and what was from the Boughn family archives. Today I seem to remember my first crawl but how could I? It’s not memory but photography that has given me a picture in my mind of pudgy little Ellen creeping along the carpet in Dad’s film

Mann writes, “Before the invention of photography, significant moments in the flow of our lives would be like rocks placed in a stream: impediments that demonstrated but didn’t diminish the volume of the flow and around which accrued the debris of memory, rich in sight, smell taste and sound…when we outsource that work to the camera, our ability to remember is diminished and what memories we have are impoverished.”

41k+4zUe2UL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Available at fine booksellers everywhere.

th-1Ellen Boughn acts as an appraiser of the value of copyrights and as an expert witness in matters pertaining to standard licensing fees, copyright, unauthorized use and licensing business models in photography and illustration. Her client list includes many major U.S. and international law firms, publishers and photographers/illustrators. Her archive appraisal practice began in the 1990’s with the assessment of the George Hurrell Estate for tax purposes and she most recently appraised the value of the copyrights associated with the Bert Stern Estate. She works on cases that involve both the value of copyrights as well as fine art prints. In addition, she has prepared reports on patents that relate to licensing of intellectual property over the internet.

Ellen graduated from Colorado College, earned the certificate in Executive Management from the UCLA Anderson School and attends courses covering current valuation issues, as offered by American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and similar professional organization.  Boughn is USPAP (Universal Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) certified (Seattle 2008, San Francisco 2014, New York 2012).