Peak Design’s Latest Video Distracts You from the Ironic Truth

Peak Design is playing into a scene of photographers who aren’t doing their research.

Some of the big news in the photo industry is how Peak Design is trying to rally the world. Specifically, they’re doing this about Amazon. They made a video about how Amazon is ripping off their Every Day Sling camera bag. Is it messed up? Totally. But there’s a lot that’s not being said here. And I’d like to give everyone a different point of view.

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Congress is Looking to Make it Easier for You to Enforce Your Copyright

Thank god this is finally happening!

If you have been a photographer for any length of time now the chances are that at some point a person or business has used an image of yours without permission. You would also know, getting any sort of payment from them after the fact and collecting any compensation through a copyright case is as unlikely as it is expensive. Thankfully the US Congress is looking to remedy that – at least partially. Continue reading…

B&H Photo To Pay Over $3.2 Million in Discrimination Lawsuit

Unless you've been living under a rock or purposely turning a blind eye to the issue, you're most likely aware that B&H Photo (B&H Foto legally) has been in the middle of a class action lawsuit involving discrimination for a while. It started when workers in their warehouses (located in Brooklyn) started protesting unsafe conditions and discrimination. The workers, who wanted to unionize, were not being allowed to do so. Now, to settle the problems B&H Photo has "agreed to pay $3,220,000 in back wages and other monetary relief to more than 1,300 affected class members," according to a recent press release issued by the Department of Labor.

But the problems didn't stop there.

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Workers Are Still Protesting Outside of B&H Photo Video for Better Treatment

Photo by @Jeffrae provided by the Laundry Workers Union

For over a year, workers at the B&H photo warehouses have been protesting for better treatment and for the creation of a union. In fact, the issue has become so large that it’s now been a class action lawsuit put into place by the US Government, and backed up by controversies for the better part of 10 years. So it comes as a bit of a shock that workers are still protesting outside of the store the way they were this morning.

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Lawsuit Hints that Digital Holga Kickstarter Could Have Been a Scam

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One of the biggest things every Kickstarter backer worries about is whether or not a scam is being backed; and a new lawsuit is hinting that could be the case with the Digital Holga Kickstarter that was reported on back in August.

A reader, who would like to remain anonymous, received a letter from Thomas Alvord, General Counsel of Funded Today–the company responsible for the marketing behind the Digital Holga. The lawsuit is against Alex Ng and Dennis Wong of Smartgears Global Limited–which was behind the Digital Holga– for breach of contract, and non-payment. The letter goes on to say that the company is over two months behind on payment and helped Alex and Dennis raise over $700,000 CAD. Generally, this is extremely commonplace with companies or individuals hired out on a freelance basis for one reason or another and in the most well intentioned of cases is because of a sufficient lack of funding.

But this gets even more interesting.

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Warehouse Workers at B&H Photo Video Protest Unsafe Working Conditions

Chris Gampat BHInsight B&H Event Space (4 of 10)

B&H Photo Video Pro Audio, a retailer in the photo industry that is close to the hearts of many photographers, is currently facing quite a bit of public heat after a story run by Al-Jazeera America related the accounts and complaints of around 200 of their warehouse workers. To clarify, these are the accounts of warehouse workers in the Brooklyn Navy Yard–not at the superstore located at 34th and 9th in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen.

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Justin Bieber Gets Sued by Another Photographer

Justin-Bieber

Earlier last year, Justin Bieber was sued by a photographer when his body guards forced a photographer to delete the images shot of the stripclub attending starl and even threatened him with a gun. But the guards and the Canadian who found fame here still haven’t learned their lesson. Resource is reporting that photographer Manuel Munoz is suing Bieber after his bodyguards, “locked him in a nearby Subway restaurant and demanded he delete the photos he took of the star…Munoz and Patterson haggled in the restroom of the Subway restaurant for Bieber’s pictures for 10K but the bodyguard was only willing to pay 5K.”

But the story doesn’t stop with forced incarceration. It gets worse–Munoz states that he was punched and kicked by the guard who then took the photographer’s memory card. Additionally, this was two hours before Bieber was arrested for a DUI.

The problems with the lawsuit though state that Munoz only told the cops that he was tripped and suffered a scratch on the knee. But now he’s saying that he was further physically assaulted. To begin with, he should be suing for being locked in a bathroom and being forced to delete the images that were taken in public.

As a former paparazzo who has spoken about issues like this on television, you should know that Munoz was really just doing his job. paparazzo don’t exactly stalk their subjects–the agents for the talent tell photographers where their clients will be. So with that said, they want their clients to be found. Problems like this don’t often happen to this degree but I’ve had my share of threats from guards and most celebs are perfectly fine with being photographed because it means extra press for them and therefore more money.

Bieber has more money than most people though; so he probably doesn’t care.

Walmart Sues Photographer’s Wife, Stoops to a New Low

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It’s a classic tale about the little guy being bullied by a billion-dollar corporation to get their way. Adding to their portfolio of notoriety and stooping to a new low, Walmart is now suing a photographer’s widow in Arkansas for the rights to the images her husband and his father took of the Walton family–the ones responsible for starting Walmart.

According to reports, Walmart is demanding that widow Helen Huff turn over the negatives, proofs and prints of some 200 photographs taken by Robert A. Huff and his son, David A. Huff, both deceased, maintaining that the Walton Family owns the intellectual property rights to the photos.

But Helen Huff is not as easily intimidated as they probably thought. What Walmart thought was a straightforward case in their favor has now been moved from the state to the federal court. She is now countersuing to stop Walmart from using the photographs without her permission. She asserts that both her husband and her father-in-law, who co-founded and owned Bob’s Studio of Photography in Fayetteville, AR, were not under “work-for-hire” contracts but working as independent contractors when they took the photos and had given the Walton family copyright notices to inform them that the Huff owned the rights to reproduce the images exclusively.

While unconfirmed, it’s been reported by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) that the Walton family offered Helen $2,000 for everything–which seems a bit like a paltry sum for something so valuable. No doubt Walmart was trying to keep this from blowing up in their faces. No word yet on whether or not she shook on it.

Let’s hope the Mrs. Huff wins this one, if only to serve as a lesson to evil corporations so they’d think twice before trying to take another small business down.

Via DPreview

In VR Patent Lawsuit, Sigma was Sentenced to Pay $14.5m in Compensation to Nikon

Nikon D3100 and lenses (8 of 8)

Bad news for fans of Sigma lenses: the company has just lost a trial before the Tokyo District Court, where it was sentenced to a payment of $14.5 million in compensation to Nikon. Sigma was found guilty of infringing on Nikon’s patented VR image stabilization technology, part of which it has allegedly been using in a number of optically stabilized lenses. Nikon had originally filed the lawsuit back in May 2011, after the two companies failed to come to an arrangement outside of court. Back then, Nikon sought $120 million in compenation from Sigma.

Strangely enough, though, the Tokyo District Court originally dismissed the lawsuit back in January 2013. We have no idea what happened in the meantime, but apparently the case was taken up again. Now, does this mean that Sigma won’t make optically stabilized lenses anymore in the future? That is most unlikely, as image stabilization is so commonplace today that a reputed lens maker such a Sigma can hardly justify building lenses without it.

The way we see it, Sigma has two possibilities now. They could pay the compensation to Nikon, continue to use the image stabilization technology patented by Nikon, and continue to pay royalties for all future lenses using the technology. This of course would mean that Sigma lenses will become more expensive. Alternatively, the company could research other stabilization technologies, which would probably cost money as well and will also lead to its lenses becoming more expensive.

We can’t say whether or not an appeal is a possible third option, as we are unfamiliar with the Japanese legal system. But if it is, Sigma will most likely challenge the ruling in order to try and avert having to pay the huge amount of compensation (and possible future royalties) to Nikon.

Via Nikon Rumors

Nikon May be Facing a Class Action Lawsuit for D600 Camera Issues

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It was bound to happen, but we never thought that it take this long for it to happen. Petapixel by the way of Nikon Rumors is stating that US law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein is trying to gather complaints for a possible class action law suit against Nikon for issues had with the D600–the company’s entry level full frame DSLR. While some report that Nikon had replaced the shutter for them with better results, others state that it is still problematic for them. To recap, the D600 had a sensor problem where due to a faulty shutter dust and oil would gather and therefore also appear in photos.

Nikon’s major response to the issue was replacing the camera with the D610. And even went as far as replacing some D600 cameras with the new D610. Because of this, we’re not sure how far the lawsuit may go.

But if you’re a D600 owner, you may want to contact Nikon about fixing the issue first for you.

Ricoh Agrees to Pay Kodak $75.8 Million in Royalties

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Via RiceHigh’s Pentax Blog

In the aftermath of Kodak’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company (or what remains of it) will see a $75.8 million royalty payment from Ricoh, the new owner of the Pentax camera brand. Kodak originally sued Ricoh back in April 2012, shortly after the company’s acquisition of Pentax, who Kodak claimed had never signed an imaging licensing agreement with them. During the trial at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York this week, the jury ruled in favor of Kodak. However, the two companies had already settled the matter outside of court, agreeing on a payment of US-$ 69 million plus interest.

This is a very interesting development, especially considering that Kodak has in the meantime sold its digital imaging patents. They will receive the money nonetheless, as they were still holding the patents at the time of Ricoh’s acquisition of the Pentax brand.

For a recollection of the events leading to Kodak’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy emergence, see this article.

Nikon Sued Sakar for Infringement Regarding the iM1836 Android Camera

Polaroid iM1836

Around CES 2013, journalists thought something was a bit fishy when we saw Polaroid’s iM1836 camera. It looked strikingly like a Nikon 1 series camera but was different in that the sensor was built into the lens unit. Additionally, it was supposed to run on an Android operating system.

However, Nikon wasn’t too thrilled about this and is now suing Sakar (the company currently responsible for working with the Polaroid name) for copyright infringement involving the design of the camera. The lawsuit is trying to block both the production and sale of the product.

Apparently, the companies tried settling the issue out of court but Nikon wasn’t happy with the outcome.  Given how many patents Nikon has to their name, they could easily win this case. To that end too, Sakar/Polaroid are notorious for announcing loads of products that never see the light of day.

Via DPReview


Terry Richardson Needs to Hand Over 142,000 Photos of Lady Gaga for Court Case

terry-richardson

Terry Richardson and Lady Gaga have always been two nutcases that stuck together. But there is a slight problem now: and it involves a court case. According to both Petapixel and Complex, a former assistant of Lady Gaga’s is suing for many, many hours of unpaid work. To be specific, we’re talking about $393,000 for 7,700 hours. Jennifer O’Niell, who is suing GaGa, is being represented by lawyers that state that the photos are going to be sufficient evidence for the case.

Richardson tried to fight the subpoena by claiming the pictures didn’t have anything to do with the case and felt the measure was harassment–let alone a major waste of his time. But the courts are demanding that the photographer “hasn’t demonstrated to [the court] that there is any significant burden in producing the photographs,” according to what the New York Daily News states.

Crazy, huh?

 

Court Documents State How Perez Hilton Stole Robert Caplin’s Images of Glee Star Darren Criss

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Image from the Court Case used with permission

Yesterday, we reported on Freelance Photographer Robert Caplin suing entertainment blogger Perez Hilton for loads of cash. To refresh, Caplin is suing for $150,000 x 14 due to the fact that Hilton took 14 images of Glee star Darren Criss from Caplin’s website without permission or paying for them and commodified them for himself–which comes out to $150,000 per image.

However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. After hours of Googling, we were able to find the court docs.

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BuzzFeed Gets Sued by Photographer for $3.6 Million

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Chances are that you’ve ran into Buzzfeed more than once. They’re a serious hub of every meme and lots of cool things on the web. But right now, they’re getting that big giant smile of success wiped off their face–because they’re getting sued!


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Good Thing it Was Nikon Suing Sigma and Not Apple

Nikon vs Sigma

Back in 2011 Nikon sued Sigma for potential patent infringement on their VR stabilization technology. It’s not like anyone (besides Sigma) lost a lot of sleep over it but the case was dismissed recently by a Tokyo District Court judge. The judge stated that there was no patent infringement happening on the six sigma lenses included with the lawsuit. Nikon was seeking 12 billion yen (130 million US dollars) for the infringement.

This may be done for now or Nikon may take it to a higher court but for now it appears that the case is over but the dust is not quite settled. Losing a lawsuit like this would deeply impact Sigmas public image especially while they are rebuilding themselves as a company and releasing fantastic glass! Read more about the lens drama over at SLR Lounge.