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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Carolyn Bivens, LPGA should reconsider bad policy on copyrights of journalists' work

Geoff Shackelford, Rob Thompson, the Associated Press and many individual papers, writers and industry experts are lining up to try to diffuse a ghastly and grotesque policy gaffe by the LPGA.

Here is what the AP released this morning:

"The Associated Press was denied credentials to cover the LPGA Fields Open tournament Wednesday in a dispute over new restrictions on use of its stories and photos. AP reporter Jaymes Song was not allowed on the course during Wednesday's practice rounds or in the media room to cover Michelle Wie's pretournament news conference after refusing to sign the credential form with the new restrictions. Freelance photographer Ronen Zilberman also refused to sign the form and was denied a credential. The tournament begins Thursday. Without an agreement, AP sports editor Terry Taylor said the AP will not provide photographs or other news coverage of LPGA events but will carry final scores."

Check and mate. The entire AP article is here. The Honolulu newspaper...which is the largest supporter of Michelle Wie agrees in this article.

Here are the absurd demands, as reported by Rob Thompson:

"Among the rules to which LPGA photographers must adhere:
The LPGA gets unlimited, perpetual, non-exclusive rights to use any photograph taken at an LPGA event for "non-commercial promotion" worldwide at no cost.
LPGA has the exclusive right to purchase a commercial-use license for any image taken at an LPGA event at a 20 percent discount off the best terms usually offered or a similar price.
A photographer or news organization must promptly supply the LPGA with any photo or digital file it requests at no cost.
Photographers "must refrain from taking photos until after a player has made her swing or stroke." These requirements are even softer than the first draft of the LPGA rules, to which editors also strongly objected. The first set of regulations, dated Feb. 7, said news organizations could only use LPGA photos if they were accompanied by a text article and for coverage that has a deadline within 48 hours of the event."

Rob's article is here. Goeff Shackelford's is here.

Every provider of content, from AP journalists to photogs to weblog authors should denounce this rule as dreadfully thought out on the LPGA's part. At a critical time on the tour's history when they need to reach broader demographics in both economic income categories and age, sex, ethnicity, etc., angering the vehicle that is your partner in such growth, (the media) is counterproductive. They should follow the more comeraderous example of more successful tournamments and organizations.

Save the battles for far more important issues. This is a waste of bargaining leverage.


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