LicenseStream - Evaporating Into Thin Air?

For several days recently, the LicenseStream website has been down. ImageSpan (Which changed it's name to LicenseStream in January of 2011), was the company behind LicenseStream, and billed the site as "the market-leading licensing and royalty payment automation platform for all media types and businesses." Yet, we have never really seen a functioning business model that we thought would work.

More than one LicenseStream employee was on-site at PhotoPlus Expo back in October in New York City looking for a new place of employment, stating that the company only had enough money to last through the end of December, as they spoke to prospective employers. Oddly, as Digital Railroad ( the formal online portal for image archiving, marketing, and sales, as well as a client delivery platform) went down in flames several years ago, they shopped their company around and then, with no buyers, shuttered operations with little warning to clients. LicenseStream has, according to sources, not been doing so - at least not amongst prospective buyers that would make sense to take over operations that we checked with. Whispers of friendly staff telling image owners they had relationships with to backup their images & data have not been substantiated, however, with enough chatter on the subject, and the risks if the data isn't redundant, we strongly encourage you to have all your LicenseStream content archived, either way.

LicenseStream secured Series A funding back in February 2007 (here) and another $11,000,000 in June of 2008 as a part of a second round of funding (here). In April of 2010, a new CEO was brought in, and another round of financing, billed as "growth financing", with an unreported amount of additional funds (here).

In preparing for this posting, we checked one last time and found that the website, at least as of this publishing, was back up. Perhaps it was just a multi-day site crash over the holidays, or perhaps it was a harbinger of things to come.

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Workflow Hardware Upgrade: Wiebetech Solution

As technology changes, so do our needs as a photographer. This December, we've upgraded our boxes we use to store our images.

Here's our system:

When considering other solutions, we particularly do not like the Drobo boxes for several reasons, and want to caution you strongly before considering them. Problems abound, as reported all over the internet, however, I am sure that some people will sing their praises. Below are several problems - each in-and-of themselves would be a reason not to use the boxes. Together, they make a compelling argument to avoid Drobo. If you're not going to choose the system we're reviewing and reporting on today, then consider other solutions.

Here are some of the Drobo issues:
  1. Proprietary file format. Thus, if you need to pull a drive from their box, you cannot plug it into a Mac or PC and browse/access the files. Further, unless you re-insert the drives with the exact same configuration as when the files were written, you have no access to the files.
  2. The drives/boxes tend to be far too slow for drive-access intensive needs like opening, saving, and other file-releated needs.
  3. A mirrored drive array is not a backup, just reliability protection. You'd need to run two Drobos to do have two backups, as whatever you do (or is erroneously affected on one drive) is immediately replicated on the second. So, you're protected from "drive failure", but not an accidental deletion, or file corruption which then corrupts the file on the mirrored drive. A backup would not only protect you from drive failure, but also those accidental deletions, accidental "save" when you meant "save as" file changes, and other unwanted file changes. Further, the Drobo isn't a true "mirror", it's an odd-flavor RAID 5.
  4. An electrical fault that fries one drive likely will fry the other. You do truly need a dual drive system, with redundancy offline (and preferably off-site) in order to be properly protected. When we have both drives mounted (as explained in the video) it is for manual mirroring, then the backup copy of the primary drive goes offline (and, in a perfect world, off-site.) We try very hard to keep drives seperate to protect them, and thus, our images.
  5. The Drobo does not check the integrity of the data. This is a problem from a data-integrity standpoint.
Upgrading and evolving your workflow - and the hardware solutions that you use to care for your images - is a critical component of your business.
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Convoluted Views about Media Ownership Inhibit Effective Policy

I was recently reviewing the effectiveness of media ownership policies and regulations and was struck by the limited success they have achieved during the past 50 years in Western nations.

There seem to be two central problems with ownership regulation efforts: ownership really is not the issue that we are trying to address through policy and we have convoluted views of ownership.
Media ownership is not really what concerns us, but is a proxy of other concerns. What we are really worried about is interference with democratic processes, manipulation of the flow of news and information, powerful interests controlling public conversation, exclusion of voices from public debate, and the use of market power to mistreat consumers. It is thus the behavior of some of those who own media rather than the ownership form or extent of ownership that really concerns us.

This is compounded because media practitioners, scholars, and social critics have highly convoluted views about ownership and most have complaints about all forms of ownership. It is thus nearly impossible to identify a preferential a form or extent of ownership.
We don’t like private ownership of media because proprietors can use them pursue their private interests; we don’t like corporate ownership because companies can put profit goals ahead of social goals; and we don’t like having just public service media because they doesn’t provide enough choice and are often limited in their ability to pursue political agendas--a function important in democracy.

We don’t like big companies because they can be arrogant and unapproachable and because they can control content as well as markets; we don’t like small companies because they can’t provide the range and quality of content we desire and because they sometimes can’t withstand pressures from powerful interests.
We don’t like foreign owners because they don’t share our identity, don’t represent who we are very well, and can bring foreign influences that affect national sovereignty; we don’t like domestic owners because they can be too close to those with domestic social and political power.

The list of ownership we do not like—and the fact that most regulation is promoted because of particular proprietors we disliked—makes it difficult to fashion effective policies. We are stymied because no ownership form itself is good or bad and they all have advantages and disadvantages. And there are examples of good and bad owners under all the forms of ownership.
Using ownership regulation to control the behavior of bad owners can only somewhat limit the scope and scale of their activities, not address their poor behavior. It is like permitting higher levels of crime in one area of town as long as it does expand into other areas.

If we are to effectively address our real concerns, we need to develop better mechanisms for influencing behaviour and we need to stop ineffectively regulating ownership just because it makes us feel like we are doing something.

Colbert's MeReporters Underscores Absurdity of Working for Free

Steven Colbert brings his satirical comedy to bear on the notion of "free reporters" who get paid nothing, like CNN's iReport, in the wake of the layoffs of 50 CNN photojournalists and other staff.

Colbert notes CNN also launched an "Assignment Desk" where you an actually go out and report on things that CNN wants, and then goes further, saying "iReporters do not get paid, they get something even better, badges, which, I assume, are redeemable for food and rent."

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So you want to work in a start-up?

Over the past few years, I've debated one career topic more than any other: entrepreneurship versus traditional most-MBA jobs. Perhaps it's because of the types of people I surround myself with, but this question is on the forefront of many of my friends, including military veterans.

After having the exact same decision making process debated over and over again, and reaching the same conclusions over and over again, I decided to come up with a simplified decision matrix that I believe all entrepreneurs navigate in one form or another.

So for all those thinking that start-ups may be for you... get some dice out and play the following decision making game. If you make it to an end, congratulations! If you get stuck going in circles, you are one of the many who want their cake and to eat it too... you will have to compromise somewhere.

Click me...

Import Export Business News And Resources

Import Export Business Updates to help you grow your international trade business.
The resources cited below are definitely some you may wish to bookmark or mark as
favorites in your browser!

Trade Deficit Decreases in September

The USA's international trade deficit in goods and services decreased to $43.1
billion in September from $44.9 billion (revised) in August, as exports increased
more than imports.

Exports increased to a record $180.4 billion in September from
$177.9 billion in August (revised) and imports increased to $223.5 billion in
September from $222.8 billion.

The overall record in exports was led by record exports of industrial supplies and
materials ($44.4 billion) and consumer goods ($15.4 billion) - for more details and
graphs on the trade deficit, visit here -


Agricultural Commodities Price Watch

To know the U.S. market prices of agricultural commodities, consult the Commodity

pages of the United States Department of Agriculture - here is a link to their site -

Also at the International Markets page you can find prices elsewhere in the world.


Do you need to know the latest trade news from Singapore? Mumbai? France? Beijing?

Then the  Directory of Online Magazines and Newspapers website is a resource you
need to check out today.

World-Newspapers dotcom has links to thousands of English-language online newspapers
and magazines, indexed by either topic or country....go have a look and browse their


Trade Show Notices and News
Learn how you can maximize your trade show success.  Find tips, manage your

schedule, receive direct notices and news through their RSS feed at:


Regional Public/Private Partnership for Export Promotion

The District Export Councils contribute leadership and international trade expertise
to complement the U.S. Commercial Service’s export promotion efforts through
counseling businesses on the exporting process and conducting trade education and
community outreach.  Worth checking out and marking as a favorite for revisits -


Doing Business In Mexico

Do not ignore the Mexican marketplace because of the main stream media's constant
bad mouthing about the bad news out of Mexico.  There are many places just as bad,
if not worse in the USA that I would tell you to steer clear of for both business
and personal travel.

Here is a link to a website that will help you better understand how BIG the Mexico
marketplace is both for finding low cost products as well as selling your products
and services into -

and although this website has a great online trade directory, if you are going to be
doing any kind of direct marketing to businesses or business people in Mexico, then
having a targeting business list or database is your best resource.  To help you
compile the most up to date list of Mexican business owners, Presidents, CEO's and
TOP executives, check out the Mexico Business Directory

Remember, there are over 5 1/2 years of posts in this blog and you are encouraged to
use the archive date links located on the lower right side of the navigation bar
where they are listed by Month/Year to access them or you may wish to use the search
box located in the upper left side of the blog to search for specific words or

Until next time.

Ron Coble

Groom Sues Photographer, Demands Re-Shoot

It should be pretty clear by now that you can be sued for anything. Enter grudge-holding groom Todd Remis, who has decided to sue his wedding photographer 8 years after the wedding, and 3 years after the couple divorced, her whereabouts unknown. The New York Times reports on the whole fiasco here, where the ex-groom wants over $50k, which includes his money back plus the cost to fly his 40 or so guests back to recreate the wedding.

This would be where, if you were a wedding photographer, you should be calling your insurance company, and telling them "deal with this distraction, I have a business to run", and thaIt should be pretty clear by now that you can be sued for anything. Enter grudge-holding groom Todd Remis, who has decided to sue his wedding photographer 8 years after the wedding, and 3 years after the couple divorced, her whereabouts unknown. The New York Times reports on the whole fiasco here, where the ex-groom wants over $50k, which includes his money back plus the cost to fly his 40 or so guests back to recreate the wedding.

This would be where, if you were a wedding photographer, you should be calling your insurance company, and telling them "deal with this distraction, I have a business to run", and that's what they would do. What policy type would cover this? According to Renee Green (email), of the Hays Group, who handles insurance for many NPPA members, this would likely have been covered by either a general liability clause, or an errors & ommissions clause, depending upon the exact nature of the claim, and, of course, provided that the claim was made while the insurance was in effect. If, however, you had a claim made against you for work done years ago, and only got insurance this year, you wouldn't be covered. All the more reason to have insurance always, and ongoing.

Further, the Professional Photographers of America has sample wedding contracts (login required, here) that include a limitation of liability clause:
If the Studio/Photographer cannot perform this Contract due to fire or other casualty, strike, act of God, or other cause beyond the control of the parties, or due to Photographer’s illness or emergency, then the Photographer shall return the deposit to the Client but shall have no further liability with respect to the Contract. This limitation on liability shall also apply in the event that photographic materials are damaged in processing, lost through camera or other media malfunction, lost in the mail, or otherwise lost or damaged without fault on the part of the Photographer. In the event the Studio/Photographer fails to perform for any other reason, the Studio/Photographer shall not be liable for any amount in excess of all monies paid.
I'm sure that some variation of that clause existed in the defendant's contract.

It's business people, and when the paperwork gets in the way of the creative stuff, you'd better make sure your paperwork is in order, and you're protected. Otherwise, you'll spend all sorts of time dealing with the unpleasantries, and it could even cost your your house.

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at's what they would do. Further, the Professional Photographers of America has sample wedding contracts (login required, here) that include a limitation of liability clause:
If the Studio/Photographer cannot perform this Contract due to fire or other casualty, strike, act of God, or other cause beyond the control of the parties, or due to Photographer’s illness or emergency, then the Photographer shall return the deposit to the Client but shall have no further liability with respect to the Contract. This limitation on liability shall also apply in the event that photographic materials are damaged in processing, lost through camera or other media malfunction, lost in the mail, or otherwise lost or damaged without fault on the part of the Photographer. In the event the Studio/Photographer fails to perform for any other reason, the Studio/Photographer shall not be liable for any amount in excess of all monies paid.
I'm sure that some variation of that clause existed in the defendant's contract.

It's business people, and when the paperwork gets in the way of the creative stuff, you'd better make sure your paperwork is in order, and you're protected. Otherwise, you'll spend all sorts of time dealing with the unpleasantries, and it could even cost your your house.

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Import Export International Trade Business News Updates

Import Export International Trade Business News Updates

Quick reminder - there are nearly 6 years of posts within this blog - many containing very helpful information - just scroll down and you will find the links to the archives listed on the right by their Month and Year originally posted.

This post consists solely of news and updates regarding various resources for your International Trade and Import Export Business.

First resource update - The FREE electronic trade magazines offered on our site has a NEW addition - One that used to be quite expensive if you purchased a paper copy - it is a Quarterly trade directory in electronic format of KOREA PRODUCTS.

Remember these are FULL COLOR PDF electronic trade magazines and you get DIRECT contact details of the manufacturers and suppliers.

You can sign up for just the Korean Products emagazine or any of the other product specific trade directories you will find on the following website - the Korea Products magazine is quarterly but the others are monthly and they will be automatically sent to you once you sign up AT NO COST - Please Note: The Emagazines are a FREE service and any specific one may be withdrawn at any time so if you are interested I would suggest you sign up now.

Korean Products


As you read the other posts within this blog you will learn how much emphasis is placed on using the Internet to help you promote your products internationally.

You are doing yourself and your business a GREAT disservice if you do not utilize the greatest marketing equalizer in human history.  So when I recommend something, I do not take it lightly.

The following Ebook was just updated on 11/3/2011 and is one you should download and save to your PC today.

Written by the owner of a business who has built a multi-million dollar empire and a business that is one of the FEW that eBay has certified as a solutions provider - it is FREE so put your wallet away but just because it is FREE does not mean it should be taken lightly.

Titled - Starting Your Internet Business Right - this valuable 78 page ebook will show you how to start your own Internet Business the right way, without falling into the traps that are out there waiting for you EVERYWHERE.

The Internet has become a Fantasyland of get-rich-quick schemes, scam artists and is laced with other pitfalls that are just waiting to take your money and leave you with nothing to show for it.

I am not going to repeat everything that is stated on the download page, go read the download page then download the ebook and save it to your PC - this is a GREAT resource and YES it is helpful to international traders -

FREE 78 Page Ebook - Start Your Internet Business Right


Last, but certainly not least, GlobalSources has extended the dates on their Hong Kong Sourcing Fairs - the new expire dates are listed below:

China Sourcing Fair: Hong Kong phase 1 - End Feb 10, 2012

· Electronics & Components

Security Products

Solar & Energy Saving Products

Korea Sourcing Fair: Electronics & Components

China Sourcing Fair: Hong Kong phase 2 - End Feb 15, 2012

· Baby & Children's Products

Home Products

Gifts & Premiums

Medical & Health Products

Christmas & Seasonal Products

India Sourcing Fair: Home Products

China Sourcing Fair: Hong Kong phase 3 - End Feb 23, 2012

· Fashion Accessories

Underwear & Swimwear

Garments & Textiles

India Sourcing Fair: Garments & Accessories

That is it for this post. Hope you find value and if you are aware of other resources that may be of value our visitors, please feel free to use the contact link located on the right side of this blog.

Wishing you the best of health and success!

Ron Coble

Top 8 Military MBA Applicant Mistakes

Here are the top 8 most common mistakes I have seen military applicants make this season. The good news is that just about all of these can be addressed...

8. Not coaching theirrecommenders sufficiently

It’s the applicant’s responsibility to coach and educate hisrecommender, but often this is a senior officer, and doing so is contrary tothe military chain of command and protocol. This awkwardness often leads tomiscommunication and a “hope for the best” approach that won’t cut it.

Recommenders should ideally show new perspectives on theapplicant, reinforce key applicant value propositions, and shore up perceivedweaknesses. Often none of these happen in a military letter of recommendation.Some senior military leaders have written many letters, and are familiar withthe process. Others however may not have a clue for what makes a good LOR, andmay revert to language found on an applicant’s military performance report, whichis often vague and full of not very useful hyperbole.
Applicants should coach their recommenders by making surethey understand what it is business schools look for, and educate them on theirown applications and aspirations so that the recommender can do his part. 

Lastly, applicants should follow up regularly with therecommender to make sure the LOR is turned in on time, as late recommendationsare unfortunately more common than they should be. If a recommender is waitinguntil the last minute to write your letter, that is also a bad sign he is notinvesting the time and thought necessary to write a compelling recommendation.

7. Thinking that theyshouldn’t try to communicate specific career goals because they don’t knowbusiness well enough

“I don’t know anything about business, so I can’t write aspecific career goals essay.” This is an initial approach taken by manymilitary applicants. Showing that you have sufficient introspection to knowwhat kind of career you want topursue, and the ability to follow through with research as to what thatactually means, is part of the point of a career goals essay. Not havingbusiness experience is not an excuse.

6. Not having enoughnon-military people review their application

A military applicant can write an essay that he is in lovewith, and all his military peers may also love it, but it might be confusing,offensive, or just completely incomprehensible to a civilian reader who has nevermet anybody from the military. If you have ever returned to your hometown afterlosing a member of your unit on a deployment, and heard for example,“Afghanistan? Oh, do we still have troops there?” – Then you already know whatI am talking about. There is a large part of America that is largely insulatedfrom the military. While we should give the admissions committee the benefit ofthe doubt, it is still to your benefit to get people who you would neverotherwise engage with to provide feedback on your essays. I mean people wholive far away from military bases, who don’t know anything about the military,and are a different gender and generation from you. Getting their perspectivemay point to serious holes in your assumptions about what some people actually know.

5. Writing a resumewithout a civilian perspective

This one is pretty straightforward. Translating yourmilitary accomplishments into civilian friendly language, getting rid of alljargon, and emphasizing what is important to a civilian reader necessitateshelp from a civilian who knows how to write proper resumes. Make sure you havea trusted advisor for this step.

4. Underestimatingthe GMAT

Never count on a GMAT score until you have taken theofficial test. I’ve seen applicants who sometimes consistently score 700 onpractice CAT exams end up walking out of the testing center with something inthe high 500s. That may be an extreme case, but it’s not uncommon for applicantto score 50-100 points less than they hoped for on the day of the actual exam.The reasons for this are outside the scope of this article, but the point isthat don’t count on a score until you have an official one in hand. This meansthat you shouldn’t go forward with your application with a plan to just takethe GMAT late in the ballgame and assume a top score. Taking such a strategyhas caused many to delay for a later round, or force an application with a poorscore.

The best thing to do is to take the GMAT well in advance….Well before even starting applications. Having a score in hand will free you upto completely focus on the application itself, and give you a better idea onwhich schools you should apply to as well. If it’s too late to take it well inadvance (at least 6 months prior to the application), then at least leave timeto retake the exam a second time after 4-6 weeks if needed. One’s first shot atthe GMAT really ought to therefore be an absolute minimum of 10 weeks prior tothe application deadline. I also advice applicants not to work on their GMATprep and essays at the same time if possible. Either is difficult enough on itsown and takes a full commitment.

3. Underpreparing forthe interview

Most military applicants have never had a b-school styleinterview in their lives. Knowing how to properly handle insightful questions,awareness of how to read and communicate body language, engaging theinterviewer in conversation (not just monologue), feeling confident speakingabout your history, your future plans, your familiarity with the school, andcurrent market events, all take some serious time and effort.
Between the GMAT and essays, some applicants may spendhundreds of hours towards their application. With the interview weighing in asmuch as a third of your overall application, spending an hour or two inpreparation shows a complete asymmetry in one’s planning. It would be likespending 200 hours preparing for ingress and egress on a mission, and spending2 hours for actions on objdctive. Make sure you get the support you need toprepare if you are unfamiliar with these styles of interviews.

2. Assuming theirmilitary experience is unique

Military applicants sometimes think that theirinternational, Pentagon, or MOS experience, by themselves, makes them unique enoughto stand out from the crowd. Similarly, some applicants with weak GPAs from aservice academy think/hope they will be cut a break from schools because lifeat a service academy is more demanding than non-service academies. All of theabove are poor assumptions to make.

Of all the military applicants at a school like HBS, it isunlikely any MOS or deployment experience is the first they have seen. It islikely there is at least one, if not a half dozen or more other applicants witha similar enough profile. Furthermore, there are plenty of applicants with topGPAs from military academies, so the thought that attendance at a serviceacademy, by itself, will mitigate a low GPA, is also a poor assumption. Inother words, one should not over-assume strengths or underplay weaknesses incomparison to his competition.

None of the above implies that one’s military orundergraduate experience cannot be leveraged to deliver a great application.Certainly some experiences can be very compelling; they just can’t be assumedto be enough. It will still take a lot of effort to find your voice.

1. Self-selecting outof top schools

“I don’t have the stats for my dream school, so I’m notgoing to apply.” – More often than not, this is wrongly assumed. GPA and GMATare not the only criteria… and why would you ever self-select yourself outanyway? At worst case, you lose the application fee and spent some timeadjusting/improving your portfolio of application essays. Why not let theschool make the final decision? The only way to guarantee you won’t get in is notto try.

PhotoPlus Re-cap: Seminars & Tech

PhotoPlus Expo was enlightening this year, for a number of reasons. Among them, a big hit at the show when it comes to continuous-light sources, but more on that in a minute. American Photographic Artists (Yes, that's the new name for what used to be referred to as Advertising Photographers of America, or APA) brought myself and Michael Grecco in for a rousing discussion about the value in licensing, and how to generate revenue over the life of your image's viable (and valuable) time. PDNPulse did a very nice write-up on it here -
PhotoPlus Panel: Why Licensing Matters (10/31/11) so I won't recap their piece except to encourage you to read the review and learn a few of the tidbits that you missed if you weren't in attendance.) PhotoPlus Panel: Why Licensing Matters, summarizing the presentation by saying "making extra money on photographs you’ve already taken, that’s just a smarter way to do business."

On the technology side, several companies caught our attention.
(Continued after the Jump)

First up, is the company ikan, which has an amazing array of CLS lighting. Just when you thought you had every strobe you needed, all of a sudden you're now "shooting just a little bit of video" for that still client (or branching into multimedia all-together) and realize that strobes just don't do it for your video needs. Enter CLS, and ikan, with amazingly reasonable prices on their lighting products with blindingly bright LED units that are small and mount on camera, to 1' x 1' units that seem like they could burn out your retinas. Sure, they also sell camera cradles, bags, and countless other production tools (all with a craftsman's approach to quality), but the lighting, that's worth a long look, because you'll never have to suffer under "hot lights" again if you go this route, not to mention these LED's are battery-powered and highly efficient, so that means no blown circuits with a few hot lights plugged in! Our go-to source for these units is Mac Business Solutions, which is a top-end boutique for all things mac (from computers to still gear to video, to, yes, even high end printers). Be sure to ask for Sonny, the owner, when you call.

Next was GoalZero which has some amazing portable battery power. We picked up a set of these packs, and have used them to power dying laptops, and hope to use them to power our ikan lights when they arrive! Not only can they provide a wide range of power, but they also have portable, small, and efficient solar panels to recharge your kit. No more looking for a shack with a bunch of car batteries when you're in the middle of nowhere to charge your gear. These babies do the trick.

Our last tech company that peaked our interest that we're featuring (trust us, there were many), is onOne Software. They launched Perfect Suite 6 on October 25, right before the show, and Brian Kraft, VP of Sales talked about how advanced this new version is, and we're a believer. The resizing, focal point features, and the portrait retouching capabilities make this thing a dream for those looking to save time. Further, there are plug-ins for both Lightroom and Aperture, so check the specs to see how these can integrate into working where you do, or, if you prefer, as a standalone application (or module of all of them combined.)

A worthwhile presentation was the always enlightening Sam Abell, who spoke at the Canon booth. If you missed (or didn't want to pay for the 3 hour seminar (which you should have if you'd have had the option), Sam Spoke for a brief period of time at the Canon stage, and if you couldn't make it to NYC, Canon was saavy enough to live-stream it. Suffice to say, I'm biased when it comes to Sam, but his stories are always so engaging and inspiring. Rumor has it he's in the Amazon working on a book project, so stay tuned.

All in all, I was impressed with the integration of the WPPI portion of the show, following the merger (or aquisition?) of WPPI by Neilsen/PDN, which was announced at the 2010 show. Well done, integrators. The show was, as always, not to be missed. If you did, don't miss it next year.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

Barriers to International Business

Firms desiring to enter international business face several obstacles; some are much more severe than others. The most common barriers to effective business are cultural, social, and political barriers, and tariffs and trade restrictions.

The first one to effective business is the cultural and social barriers. A nation's culture and social forces can restrict international business activities. Culture consists of a country's general concepts and values and tangible items such as food, clothing, and building. Social forces include family, education, religion and customs. Selling products from one country to another is sometimes difficult when the cultures of the two countries differ significantly. For example, when McDonald's opened its first restaurant in Rome, it was met with protest. The people of Rome objected to the smell of hamburgers frying. McDonald's overcame this objection by changing the exhaust system of the restaurant.

The second barrier is the social forces that can create obstacles to international trade. In some countries, purchasing items as basic as food and clothing can be influenced by religion. In many nations, individuals do not have the same choices in food, clothing, and health care.

Risks in International Business

Just as there are reasons to get into global markets, and benefits from global markets, there are also risks involved in locating companies in certain countries. Each country may have its potentials; it also has its woes that are associated with doing business with major companies. Some of the rogue countries may have all the natural minerals but the risks involved in doing business in those countries exceed the benefits. Some of the risks in international business are:

(1) Strategic Risk
(2) Operational Risk
(3) Political Risk
(4) Country Risk
(5) Technological Risk
(6) Environmental Risk
(7) Economic Risk
(8) Financial Risk
(9) Terrorism Risk

Strategic Risk: The ability of a firm to make a strategic decision in order to respond to the forces that are a source of risk. These forces also impact the competiveness of a firm. Porter defines them as: threat of new entrants in the industry, threat of substitute goods and services, intensity of competition within the industry, bargaining power of suppliers, and bargaining power of consumers.

White Night Brighton Saturday Oct 29

Marwoods FINAL.pdf Download this file

I'm excited to be part of the amazing White Night event, which lights up the streets of Brighton all night this coming Saturday, partly to acknowledge the Autumn Equinox, when the clocks go back and we get an extra hour to enjoy the hundreds of events… and partly just to connect and be fascinated by a wealth of happenings, performances, installations and (in my case) café talks. There's a parallel event in Amiens, and they share a strong theme around sound, which is why I'll be there. My talk is about the future of sound and listening. Come along to Marwoods café at 2230 if you'd like to learn how to transform your listening and just possibly to change your reality.

Check out White Night here. And here is a flyer for the Marwoods café talks. See you there!

Posted via email from Julian Treasure's posterous

Service Academy Representation at HBS

For those curious about historical military representation at HBS, I've done some research as to the number of military students at the business school since WWII. Historically the school did not have a way to capture military affiliation for its students, which makes precise numbers difficult if not impossible, but HBS does track undergraduate schools, which naturally includes military academies. I can therefore use military academy representation as a proxy for the total trends in veteran attendance at HBS. I'll explain more of this in a bit. For now, here is the data on US military academy representation at HBS (click to expand):

In the upper right hand corner of the above chart is the total number of military at HBS since 2000, which I have been able to calculate directly in the past (see note here). My data shows service academies  roughly represent about half of the military at HBS over the past 14 classes (to be precise 54% average with a 19% standard deviation), so if that rule stands going backwards pre-2000, we can interpret the above chart not just for service academy interest, but also by doubling the numbers for the total number of military veterans at the school. The one exception of this is probably in the late 1940s, when the number of veterans was probably extremely high, and dwarfed the service academy students.

Here are some observations:

  • The peak years for veteran representation were during the HBS Classes of 1971-1973 (students entering from 1969 to 1971). It's unclear from the data whether the school was being proactive to admit Vietnam Veterans, or whether more veterans were applying. For those classes, it's likely there were over 100 veterans in each graduating class.
  • The average military academy representation since WWII has been around 15 per year, which would support the argument for an average of ~30 military students per year. Since 2000, the average however has been 20 service academy students and 39 total US military per class, so slightly higher than historical average.
  • The lowest representation was post-Vietnam, from 1975-1985.
  • Except for the peak Vietnam War years, representation was very consistent and flat from 1955-1995. Since the mid 90s, there have been some periods of high variability, and a general increase.

Proportion of Service Academies at HBS

One can look at the chart above to see which service academies were represented when, but I also normalized the data to more clearly show the proportion within the academies themselves (click on the following graph):

Some observations:

  • The dominant sources are USMA and USNA, which both have averaged around 7 per year since WWII, with a standard deviation of 5. 
  • USMA slightly leads on USNA, with a total of around 500 USMA alumni versus 450 USNA alumni. 
  • The third highest is USAFA alumni with 78, followed by USCG with 39, and Merchant Academy with 25, although the latter has only had 2 since 1990.
  • Since 2004, USMA alumni have outnumbered USNA alumni by a factor of over 2 to 1.
  • The greatest disparity occurred during the HBS classes of 1965-1969, meaning application years of 1962-1966, when USMA representation was only around 20% of the service academies. If one tries to analyze this as a phenomenon of the Vietnam war years, and compares it to post 9/11, it leads to inconsistent results, since USMA/USNA representation held largely steady post 9/11.

Before reading too much into any of this data, one needs to remember that:
  • Admissions to HBS depends a lot on the philosophy and leadership of both the Dean of the school and the Dean of Admissions, which naturally change over time, and shape the makeup of the admission classes. It is therefore difficult to know if these results are more due to the school or the application pools changing.
  • This data is not official, and while very accurate, it is not 100% accurate... it carries a slight margin of error, though it is the most accurate data I'm aware of.
  • One should not interpret anything here to imply whether one undergraduate source is any more competitive than another, as from an admission point of view, all are highly respected, and one's personal and professional performance far outweighs the actual academy itself.

I hope this helps provide some historical context.

Import Export Business Q&A And Warning

Import Export Business Questions-Answers-Warning

1) Use the search box in the upper left side of this blog to help you in search through this blog and the many years worth of valuable posts.

2) There are nearly 6 years of posts in this blog, you are encouraged to use the archive date links located on the lower right side of the navigation bar --> --> --> - they are listed by Month/Year.


QUESTION Part 1: I have no experience and/or knowledge of import/export business.

Answer: I had no experience when I got started - that is why we offer a self study course, the best one that "I" believe is available and I could offer you any number of courses that would earn us a lot more money than the one we offer does, however, I like to sleep at night and know that I have provided you with the BEST course I feel is available.

QUESTION Part 2: I was born in the Philippines.

Answer: Great! You have an advantage over other Americans in having connections there or the ability to speak the native language - think of this fact as an asset instead of a liability.

QUESTION Part 3: What is my chance to be become successful in this business?

Answer: Subjective question that I cannot answer - I would be lying to you if I told you everyone becomes successful who purchases the course we offer - as I told you above, I like to sleep at night - I simply cannot answer this question because it is up to you. I strongly suggest you take advantage of all the free materials we offer on our website and blog and after you have digested that information, then consider purchasing the course we offer ONLY if you feel the business is something you REALLY wish to pursue.

This isn't buying a lottery ticket, it is a training course and how you apply what you learn and how persistent and patient you are in doing so has more to do with your success than anything else, but MOST of all you have to WANT to succeed in this business. It is NOT an opportunity, it is a BUSINESS.


QUESTION: I am entering an agreement with a company in Belize, CA and will be shipping Solar Products to them. The bank is asking of an Export Contract. Is there a form for this contract? I looked in but could not find an official form.

Answer: There are various places on the web that you should be able to find an example or an explanation of what goes into an export contract.

But, first and foremost, ask your bank what they expect to see in the form of an agreement and ask if they have any examples - no use going thru the motions if what you present them with does not meet their requirements.

Pro-forma invoices often spell out the payment, products, quantities, delivery etc. and may suffice, however, in today's strict financial lending rules, your bank may need more. Pro formas are the easiest form of contracts to work with, but again, your bank may not deem that sufficient.


Import Export Business Job Market Fraud Warning!!!

I receive an email every day with links to the latest new information available on the Internet relating to import, export, international trade, international business, etc..

On an increasing level I am seeing ads being posted to many of the free classifed ad sites online, especially Craigslist for entry level Import Export agents, clerks, whatever. Most cite legitimate daily activities that an agent or clerk might perform but they never give ANY type of direct contact information for the prospective employer.

They will generally ask you to either contact them for an interview which is through Craiglist's email system which protects their identity and many will be brazen enough to ask you for your resume because they know many people are simply so trusting of their fellow human beings that they will send it.

If your resume has your social security number and other personal identity details, you have just handed an identity theif what they need to steal your identity. If it doesn't contain this information and they will generally evolve the conversation by email, phone or skype as a means of getting it.

In some instances they may forgo stealing your identity to steal from you via your bank account, even if you do not have much or any money in your account.

I have explained the fake cashier's check or money order scam elsewhere in this blog so rather than repeating what is stated elsewhere, understand that jobs like they are offering, simply do not exist. They are going to potentially make you financially liable for thousands of dollars that you "will" have to pay so be smart, use the search engine box in the upper left of this blog and search for either the word(s) scam, fraud, fraudulent and read how the real world works and remember I am simply the messenger.

Contract Analysis: Gannett/US Presswire

Photo Business News has written extensively about the acquisition of US Presswire by Gannett. Recently, Photo Business News was provided this contract that outlines the proposed new contract between US Presswire and their contract photographers. Below is a review and analysis of the contract, as someone who is very familiar with contract language for photographers. As the laws in every state are different, and more importantly, as I am not a lawyer, the analysis and commentary below should not be construed as legal advice, and you should seek competent legal counsel should you need such to consider this contract before signing it.

(Commentary and analysis after the Jump)

This Active Photographer Agreement (“Agreement”) is made effective as of September 1, 2011, by and between US PRESSWIRE, LLC, having offices at 1230 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 1900, Atlanta, Georgia 30309 (on behalf of itself and its affiliates, “Agency”), and {Photographer Name}, a photographer having an address of "{photographer’s address} (“Photographer”).

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a standard clause, which sets forth who is actually entering into the contract.
W I T N E S S E T H:

WHEREAS, Agency is in the business of creating, distributing, delivering and licensing the use of photographic images and video images or footage, primarily through its website,, and through various other internet or electronic means;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: While this is a common term, there are several points worth addressing in this clause. The first is that this is not a typical “agency” relationship. They are not “representing” you as much as they are themselves. They are using “Agency” because it has entered into the common parlance as they, and Getty have. However, they are not looking out for your own interests first and benefiting at a percentage, they are looking out for themselves first, with your images (and video) as the value, and you get a percentage. That brings up the next point – they are allowing for the distribution of your video as well, which is new. I would suspect that an organization that is now in the business of licensing video will raise a few eyebrows with the TV rights-holders. Further, they say “through various other internet or electronic means”, which likely refers to a Gannett branded service, or their own proprietary network not accessible to the general public.
WHEREAS, Photographer is in the business of creating photographic images and/or video images or footage; and

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Actually, We are in the business of licensing, not creating. We create in order to license. That said, while this too is a standard clause, again, it includes video. It will only take a few photographers to post video clips from the sidelines of a major league sporting event before the networks take issue. Further, this contract now will preclude you from doing anything with video outside of this contract that might compete with USPW.
WHEREAS, Photographer desires to engage Agency to represent Photographer with respect to certain photographic images owned by Photographer, and Photographer desires to photograph certain events for Agency, all in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: “represent Photographer” here seems to be a perversion of the concept. The Agency is the sole arbiter, and you (and your images) are along for the ride.
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing premises and agreements contained herein, and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, the parties hereto hereby agree as follows:

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This clause, while standard, essentially causes you to acknowledge that the rates that USPW/Gannett are paying are “good and valuable”, and they meet a “sufficiency” test, neither of which are, in reality and fairness, true. However, this clause will preclude you down the line from bringing a suit with much likeliness of success, with the claim of unreasonable compensation.
1) Grant of Authority. Photographer hereby grants to Agency the exclusive worldwide right to use, copy, perform, display, market, distribute, license, sub-license and negotiate the production rights of all photographic images, digital files, video images or footage and all other photographic materials that are delivered to Agency by Photographer (including Stock Images (as defined below), collectively the “Images”), in any and all media, now known or hereafter developed, whether such Images are created by Photographer while working under credentials issued from or through Agency or otherwise. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Photographer shall retain the copyright to the Images and Photographer shall have a limited right to license the Images to Photographer’s own editorial clients provided that:

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: In this clause there seems to be a problem, because you are granting “the exclusive worldwide right”, which means that everything they get from you can’t be used anywhere else in the world, except for where they permit you to do so. Further, this clause forces you to accept whatever fees they deem appropriate, from free, to, frankly, a situation where you pay to have your work placed somewhere. In other words, if they deem that it’s worthwhile to USPW to pay $100 to have your photo used somewhere, then they could legitimately debit your account that amount, and you would have no recourse. Further, this clause encumbers all of your “stock images” too under this same agreement. They acknowledge the obvious, telling you that you retain copyright, however, they then begin to set forth a very narrow window that you can service only “editorial” clients. So, if you are on the sidelines, and decide to make an image of the goal line marker because it could be used as a nice stock image for advertisers, despite the fact that there are no NFL markers or other branding on it, you can’t do anything with it. A photo of a fan that gets your card and wants to order a print from you? Nope – that’s not editorial, so you can’t do that either.
a. such editorial clients do not compete with the Agency or its customers;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: There are essentially no editorial clients that don’t compete with USPW/Gannett, because both are in the business of licensing stock images, so this essentially kills all editorial clients
b. the Images do not violate the issuer’s credential language or policies or infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any third party;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a reasonable clause, but since your credential was issued to USPW/Gannett, any use by you likely would violate credential language.
c. the Images shall not be distributed on any website, including but not limited to competitors, agencies, photoshelter (where any image can be made for sale) or any other photo service website worldwide;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: With almost all images being displayed on websites, this makes your use of the internet unacceptable to USPW. It’s interesting that they particularly single out Photoshelter. Of specific curiosity is the fact that the business “Photoshelter” (with a capital “P”) is identified as “photoshelter” (with a lower case “p”) and that is either a typographical error, or there was an intention to do so for legal reasons.
d. Photographer has secured all intellectual property rights and clearances to the Images; and

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a necessary clause to protect USPW, however, it is fraught with hurdles that make it all but never likely you’ll get past them.
e. Photographer notifies Agency in writing of any intent to license the Images to Photographer’s own editorial clients.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is untenable on it’s face that they are asking for this. This means you’ll notify them of EVERY potential licensing opportunity, which makes it easy for them to object to every sale, and then contact them with the same image and sell it themselves, take their cut, and then give you the fraction you are owed.
2) Images Created Under Agency Credentials. Photographer hereby covenants, acknowledges and agrees that with respect to all Images that are created by Photographer while working under credentials issued from or through Agency and while on assignment for Agency, including Images that are taken but not delivered to Agency by Photographer (“Outtakes”):

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This clause closes a loophole that Photo Business News pointed out when analyzing the last USPW contract, whereby even outtakes are encumbered by USPW. In the past contract, anything not delivered to USPW wasn’t governed by the contract.
a. Photographer shall be prohibited from using such Images and Outtakes for any non-editorial and/or commercial purpose, exhibition, reproduction, display, performance, adaptation or publication of any kind (including, without limitation, advertising, sales, marketing, merchandising or resale purposes);

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This means, among other things, that you can’t have a gallery showing, sell your work as art, and, really, as written, it’s confusing if you can even do an editorial sale at all. This clause essentially prohibits you from doing anything with your images not approved by USPW/Gannett.
b. Photographer shall be prohibited from selling or licensing such Images and Outtakes on any website; provided, however, Photographer may use such Images and Outtakes in accordance with the issuer's credential language or policies for self-promotion on Photographer’s personal website;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This reinforces you can’t do anything with the images, except self-promotion on a personal website. This differentiates from a “professional website”, which would be for your business, which might compete with theirs, and as such, wouldn’t be allowed.
c. Photographer shall not place any such Images and Outtakes on any social media network including, but not limited to Facebook, My Space, Twitter, Linked-In, etc.; provided, however, Photographer is permitted to post a link to the Images and Outtakes to the US website and/or Photographer’s personal website or blog and will be permitted to place the Images and Outtakes on; provided further that Agency credit accompanies Photographer’s name; and

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This clause will be a problem for many of the hobbyists who shoot for USPW for bragging rights amongst their friends. Again, it’s interesting to see that they’ve identified as a venue they want to place some restrictions on.
d. Photographer shall ensure all such Images and Outtakes shall be co-credited to Photographer and Agency when placed in any and all self-promotion campaign including, websites, blogs, print, brochures, galleries, photo contests, etc.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This clause really makes clear that they’re not your “agent”, and that whatever marketing or promotion you do for yourself (obviously at your expense) is also marketing for USPW/Gannett.
3) Representations of Photographer. Photographer hereby represents, warrants, covenants, acknowledges and agrees that:

a. Photographer is and shall at all times be the sole and exclusive owner of the Images, or if Photographer is not the owner of any Images, Photographer has the right to provide such Images to Agency, and Photographer will acquire the copyright owner's permission for Agency to use the Images;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: While this is standard, it could create some problems. If you set up a remote, for example, and have an assistant trigger the camera, that’s could be a problem depending upon your contractual arrangement with the assistant. Further, as Photographer is warranting they are the sole and exclusive owner, and further, that this contract is an exclusive contract, whomever photographer gets the copyright owner’s permission from also is covered by all the restrictions of this contract.
b. The Images are original;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a normal clause.
c. The Images do not and will not infringe upon any copyright, trademark, right of privacy, right of publicity, proprietary right, intellectual property right or any other right of any third party anywhere in the world;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a wholly unworkable clause, as the infringing they are detailing often takes place in the final use of the photo. So, a photograph taken of an athlete wearing an NFL Jersey and a Nike swoosh could be used editorially and fit into this clause, however, if the image was used commercially, it could be a violation of this clause, and the photographer could be at fault for not securing those rights. Further, anyone in a photo could sue for any reason. Photographer's liability should be limited to providing model releases, and where they are absent, the agency takes the sole risk, and the photographer does not warrant anything.
d. Agency reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to refuse to accept any Images;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is, to a certain degree fair, however, if you have a body of work you wanted to submit, and an editor objected, you couldn’t submit it, and further, if you covered a game/event, and USPW/Gannett didn’t take the images, you couldn’t submit them to anyone else.
e. Photographer has the right to enter in this Agreement with Agency and to perform the obligations set forth herein;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause which sets forth that you aren’t encumbered by a contract with someone else
f. Photographer has the exclusive right, power and authority to make the grant of rights to Agency in this Agreement;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause which sets forth that you aren’t encumbered by a contract with someone else
g. Photographer shall obtain any and all releases necessary to allow Agency to license the Images;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a potentially huge problem – you’ll be required to get model releases – and as such compensate the persons you get releases from. This is because you are granting agency the right to license commercially, exclusively, and the way this clause is written it could be you that would be liable if an image of an athlete was licensed by USPW/Gannett for commercial purposes – the would merely point out that you were required to get the releases, and did not. If it said “….for any non-editorial uses…” but even still, you’re now the one required to chase down every recognizable subject, and every trademark holder, as this clause is written.
h. Images created by Photographer while working under credentials issued from or through Agency shall not be used by Photographer for any commercial purposes whatsoever anywhere in the world;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: As such, even if a player saw an image you took and wanted to use the image on his sports drink line, you couldn’t do it. It is understandable that most credentials preclude commercial use, however, it could be argued that an Agency license is a commercial use, and it could also be argued that having a photo on a blog alongside ads is a commercial use.
i. While on assignment and working under credentials issued to Photographer by or through Agency, Photographer will conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times in accordance with the highest industry standards and code of ethics, within the rules set forth at any venue, league, team, sport, or any person or organization having authority and Photographer shall not violate the terms of the issuer's credential language or policies;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: While it would seem obvious to some, this clause is important so that it is clear that photographers don’t, for example, decide it’s appropriate to clap/cheer and/or participate in the jubilation. The contents of this clause should go without saying, yet it’s being stipulated.
j. Photographer shall use all reasonable means to become familiar with the rules set forth by any organization, governing body, venue, sport, team, league, security personnel, etc., while on location working an event or assignment;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Reasonable given that there is a continually revolving door of photographers that are new to the profession and likely unaware of the rules and nuances of covering important sports events. This clause allows for USPW/Gannett to, for example, discontinue their relationship with a photographer that forgets (or never new) that they can’t click a shutter when a pro golfer is about to (or is in mid-) swing.
k. When Photographer accepts an event or assignment from Agency, Photographer shall photograph the event or assignment and transmit the Images either during or immediately after the event or assignment as specified by Agency in accordance with the policies in the stylebook guidelines or specified by Agency editors, managers or personnel. Images shall be fully captioned with Photographer's name in the caption field as set forth in Agency's guidelines for captioning and transmitting in the Agency stylebook;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This would be standard for any professional accepting an assignment. New photographers may not understand the timely nature of the news business, and may not recognize the importance of delivering images in a timely manner.
l. Photographer shall not cancel any accepted event or assignment within 72 hours (3 days) before the start time of the event or assignment provided such cancellation is not a medical, family, or other unforeseen emergency acceptable to Agency;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Interesting that the Agency deems itself the sole arbiter of the nature of an emergency, and not the person with the emergency.
m. Because Agency is a news organization, Photographer shall not crop, modify, alter or manipulate the Images in a manner that alters the fundamental nature of the Images;

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Sadly, this clause is necessary as there may be some photographers who did not formally study photography and may not realize the ethical considerations that go into delivering images that are not manipulated into something that didn’t happen, or is re-created because the moment was missed.
n. Photographer shall use Photographer’s best efforts to promote Agency's name and good reputation throughout the world at all times, and Photographer shall not make any disparaging remarks about Agency or its affiliates; and

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This means that when USPW/Gannett is late to pay, or a USPW photographer gets criticized at a sporting event, you’ll defend USPW/Gannett. Further, if someone criticizes USPW/Gannett in an online forum – even if it’s a justified criticism, you not only can’t say “I see your point”, you must use your “best efforts” to promote USPW/Gannett, which means posting a positive comment.
o. Photographer shall use its best efforts to submit a second edit of Images while working under a credential and on assignment by Agency (“Stock Images”) within ten (10) days following the event or assignment in accordance with the policy guidelines set forth in the Agency stylebook.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This means that not only are you doing the $100 assignment for 4-6 hours, and spending 2-4 hours doing your first edit, but you also are doing another 4 or so hours on a second edit – not to earn you much more money, but rather, to expand the library of images.
4) Indemnification. Photographer hereby agrees to indemnify, defend and hold Agency, its affiliates, successors and assigns, and their respective officers, directors, employees, representatives and agents, harmless from and against any and all claims, demands, actions, causes of action, settlements, damages and expenses (including reasonable attorney's fees and court costs) arising directly or indirectly from: (i) the breach or alleged breach by Photographer of any representations, warranties, covenants or agreements made by Photographer hereunder; (ii) any erroneous or inaccurate information supplied to Agency regarding the Images; and (iii) personal injury (including death) or property damage caused by Photographer while working under credentials issued from or through Agency and while on assignment for Agency.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is indemnification without parity. You are not indemnified if Agency does something wrong. However, if you mis-credit an image, have a football player crash into your 400mm 2.8 and crush it, or the Agency gets sued for your actions, you’re on the hook for everything. Further, clause "(i)" may be okay provided that the other terms that require photographer to warrant that no 3rd party rights have been violated, be revised.
5) Use of Images. Agency and its affiliates, successors and assigns shall have the right, in their sole and absolute discretion, to: (i) determine how the Images will be marketed, displayed and distributed to Agency's customers; (ii) edit, crop or modify the Images, including the captions and metadata that accompanies the Images; (iii) establish the terms and conditions, including the fees, for the license of the Images to Agency's customers; and (iv) perform its services without Photographer's further approval. Photographer agrees that any Image or Stock Image given to Agency for distribution shall remain available for distribution by Agency for a minimum of five (5) years from the date of receipt by Agency.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is where USPW/Gannett licenses all the photos under a subscription where you earn nothing, or next to nothing. You have no say whatsoever in anything having to do with your image and how it gets used.
6) Compensation.

a. Assignment Fees

i. Agency will pay to Photographer an assignment fee in the amount of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per day per assignment for the remainder of the 2011 calendar year. Commencing January 1, 2012, Agency will pay to Photographer an assignment fee in the amount of One Hundred Twenty-Five Dollars ($125.00) per day per assignment. Photographer shall receive an Agency code for each event or assignment. Assignment fees will be paid by Agency on a monthly basis based on such Agency codes. The assignment fees include basic expenses for local area assignments. For clarity, Agency will pay to Photographer one (1) assignment fee for any assignments that have multiple events in the same day, such as a baseball double header or basketball tournament.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is basically an allotment of $100 to cover your parking and mileage as well as a meal, as all of this is a part of the $100. Further, unlike most other organizations, if there is more than one sporting event you get paid extra, USPW/Gannett will not. This seems unreasonable on it’s face, but I am sure that there will always be someone who will say yes, no matter how bad the deal is.

ii. Photographer acknowledges and agrees that the assignment fees shall be paid to Photographer in lieu of any compensation for the use of Images or Stock Images by Agency’s editorial subscription based customers worldwide where applicable and in the Agency’s sole discretion. This does not include licensing proceeds for any commercial use or editorial a la carte sales.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This means, as it is written, that anything you have had in the USPW archives may well not generate income for you, as this “new deal” where they pay you for assignments, covers whatever you might have earned off stock licensing. Of course, for the rare commercial or a la carte sale, you still generate revenue, however those are few and far between, at best.
iii. In the event any additional expenses are required, reimbursement must be pre-approved in writing by assigning editor and agreed to in advance by the Photographer. The pre-approved expenses must be submitted on an Agency expense reimbursement form and submitted to the assigning editor for review and approval within 30 days after they are incurred.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a reasonable clause to have in.
b. Editorial and Commercial Licensing Fees.

i. Agency shall retain a commission from the fees collected from the licensing of any editorial or commercial a la carte Images and Stock Images, in accordance with the Commissions Schedule set forth on Exhibit A attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference. Agency shall deliver to Photographer the net balance of the fees collected from the Images and Stock Images in accordance with Exhibit A, along with a report listing the origin, description, and amount of sales. Agency will deliver all reports and make all payments to Photographer on a quarterly basis, during the month following the quarter and only after Agency receives the fees from its customers for the Images and Stock Images.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Aside from the ridiculous notion that a “commission” is a figure is in excess of 50%, this concept is reasonable. The challenge will be how they define “net balance”, because they can attribute all manner of expense to the marketing of an image.
ii. Photographer's share of any fees collected from the Images or Stock Images will not be paid until Photographer’s account equals at least One Hundred dollars ($100.00); provided, however, if there is a lesser amount in the Photographer account and Photographer makes a written request to have the lesser amount paid, Agency will pay the amount currently due Photographer. In the event that no fees have been collected from the Images or Stock Images, Agency will not deliver a report or make a payment to Photographer. In the event that Photographer is no longer submitting Images or Stock Images to Agency on a regular basis, or the Agreement is terminated for any reason, Agency will pay Photographer's share of any fees collected from the Images on an annual basis, commencing on the first anniversary of the last date that Photographer submitted any Images to Agency.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a reasonable clause.
iii. A la carte fees licensing fees and quarterly reports of Images or Stock Images shall be paid in addition to the assignment fees set forth above.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a reasonable clause.
7) Unauthorized Use of Images. In case of damage, destruction, loss or unauthorized use of any Images by any customer who lawfully obtained Images from Agency, Photographer hereby grants Agency full and complete authority to make claims or to institute proceedings in Photographer's name to prosecute such unauthorized use. In no event, however, shall Agency be liable for such unauthorized use nor shall Agency be required to take any action to prosecute such unauthorized use. Any recoveries shall be divided between Photographer and Agency 50/50, after deduction for the costs of any such actions incurred by Agency, including, without limitation, legal fees or other expenses. All settlements shall be made in Agency's sole and absolute discretion. If Agency chooses not to pursue any legal action, Photographer reserves the right to do so after notification from Agency.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: So, if a publication infringes your copyright, you are not allowed to sue – only the Agency – if they decide to, at their sole discretion. However, if they do, and win, they get half . So, all the legal fees get paid (or attributed by in house counsel at out-of-house rates) and then whatever is left over, you have to split with Agency. Only after Agency opts not to pursue a matter, can you – if you notify them. That said, you would still be required to split whatever you won, as this clause is written. What would be fair instead would be that agency has the first option to sue, and as long as they don't exercise that option within X months of the notification, you then have the right to sue and keep 100%.
8) Term. This Agreement shall commence as of the date first set forth herein above and shall continue for an initial term of five (5) years, unless sooner terminated by Agency, or otherwise terminated as provided herein. Upon the expiration of the initial term, this Agreement shall automatically renew for a term of five (5) years, unless written notification is given by either party to the other at least sixty (60) days prior to the termination date. Agency may terminate this Agreement at any time, with or without cause and for any reason or for no reason at all, upon ten (10) days prior written notice to Photographer. Agency will pay Photographer's share of any fees collected from the Images or Stock Images after the termination date on an annual basis, commencing on the first anniversary of the termination date.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a lengthy term, and it should be a year, at most two.
9) Return of Original Images. Upon the expiration or termination of this Agreement, if requested by Photographer in writing, and provided the Images have been in Agency's custody for at least five (5) years, the original Images and Stock Images will be returned by Agency to Photographer, and digital formats will be removed from Agency's database within one (1) year from the date of the written request. If Photographer requests faster retrieval, Photographer agrees to pay Agency its cost of labor necessary to perform the removal, retrieval and return of analog Images or Stock Images. Agency is not obligated to return any digital formats to the photographer. Notwithstanding the foregoing or anything to the contrary herein, nothing in this Agreement will require any of Agency’s third-party customers that license use of the Images from Agency to remove the Images, at any time, from any archived editions of the media properties through which such customers had the right to distribute the Images pursuant to a valid license from Agency.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: The notion that you could produce 4 years of images and then have your relationship end, and then the Agency not be liable for the return of your Original Images is unreasonable, at best.
10) Confidentiality. The contents of this Agreement are confidential in nature and shall not to be shared, copied, distributed, discussed, either whole or in part to any third party by Photographer during the term of this Agreement or after the expiration or termination hereof. At any time any other information, proprietary technology or any company business or operational information, including but not limited to discussions with Agency management or personnel is made available to Photographer, be treated as “Confidential Information” and shall not be shared with or to any third party anywhere in the world. Furthermore it is acknowledged by the parties that any violation of this provision will do irreparable harm to Agency and its affiliates.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This type of clause has often been struck down by courts. Further, when you get some “amendment” document, the original contract, and the amendment, become confidential. As such, it will be no problem for USPW/Gannett to say “oh, we’ve made changes to the contract for the better…” and they can’t comment on it to anyone (publically or privately).
11) Miscellaneous.

a. Independent Contractor. This Agreement is not an employment agreement between Agency and Photographer. Photographer is acting as an independent contractor. This Agreement does not constitute a joint venture or partnership. Neither Photographer nor Agency shall hold themselves out to any third party contrary to this understanding. Photographer possesses Photographer’s own medical, life and liability insurance at all times or agrees to be self-insured.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a standard contract term, however the addition of the sentence about agreeing to be self-insured if you don’t have coverage is interesting.

b. Arbitration; Governing Law. Any dispute arising under this Agreement shall be determined and settled by arbitration in the Commonwealth of Virginia, pursuant to the rules of the American Arbitration Association. Any award rendered will be final and conclusive upon the parties hereto and judgment thereon may be entered in any court having jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter. This Agreement shall be governed by, and construed and interpreted in accordance with, the substantive laws of the State of New York, without regard to the conflicts of law principles thereof.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Submitting – and being required to submit – to arbitration – is a bad deal in most instances.
c. Notices. Any notice relating to this Agreement shall be in writing and delivered in person, by registered or certified mail or overnight courier. Notices shall be addressed to the parties at the addresses set forth in this Agreement. Either party may designate a new address by notice to that effect given to the other party. Notices shall be deemed given (i) if by registered or certified mail, three days after mailing, (ii) if by overnight courier, the day after delivery by such courier service to the proper address and (iii) if delivered in person, the day of delivery.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause.
d. Successors and Assigns. Photographer may not assign or otherwise transfer this Agreement without Agency’s prior written approval. Agency may freely assign or transfer this Agreement. Subject to the foregoing, this Agreement shall be binding upon Agency and Photographer and their respective heirs, executives, administrators, representatives, successors and permitted assigns.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause.
e. Entire Agreement. This Agreement constitutes the entire understanding between Agency and Photographer and supersedes any prior understandings or agreements, oral or written, including, without limitation any existing photographer agreement between Agency and Photographer (“Existing Agreement”), which such Existing Agreement is hereby terminated. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any Images delivered by Photographer to Agency under the Existing Agreement prior to the date hereof shall become subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement; provided however:

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: While the top of this clause is standard, the clause also folds in all previous images into the subscriptions and pay models.
i. Prior Use. Photographer shall be compensated for any such Images licensed by Agency prior to the date hereof in accordance with the Commissions Schedule attached to the Existing Agreement; and

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This should be expected.
ii. Future Use. Photographer shall be compensated for any such Images licensed by Agency on and after the date hereof in accordance with the Commissions Schedule attached to this Agreement.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a problem if you had a contract you were happy with before, as now it’s governed by this one.
f. Exhibits and Schedules. Each Exhibit and schedule referred to herein is incorporated into this Agreement by such reference. Agency reserves the right to change, adjust or modify such Exhibits and schedules with the prior written consent of Photographer, which shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause.
g. Severability. If any provision of this Agreement is held illegal, invalid or unenforceable such illegal, invalid or unenforceable provision will not affect any other provision hereof. This Agreement shall, in such circumstances be deemed modified to the extent necessary to render enforceable the provisions hereof.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause.
h. Waiver. The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any of the terms or conditions of this Agreement will not constitute a waiver of any of its rights hereunder.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause. However, if say USPW/Gannett don’t insist on you doing, for example, a second edit, you can’t decide on your own on the next assignment to not do one.
i. Amendments. This Agreement may be amended only by a written instrument duly executed by Agency and Photographer.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause.
j. Counterparts; Facsimiles. This Agreement may be executed in any number of original or facsimile counterparts, each of which when executed and delivered shall be deemed to be an original and all of which counterparts taken together shall constitute but one and the same instrument.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause.
k. Survival. The provisions of this Agreement that by their nature or as specified hereunder are intended to continue beyond the expiration or termination of this Agreement, shall survive the expiration or termination hereof.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause.




This Commissions Schedule is made an addendum to that certain Active Photographer Agreement (“Agreement”) by and between US PRESSWIRE, LLC (hereinafter referred to as “Agency” and {Photographer Name} (hereinafter referred to as “Photographer”.)

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause.
WHEREAS, Pursuant to Section 6(b) of the Agreement, Agency has agreed to remit certain payments to Photographer for fees collected by Agency for the licensing of Images and Stock Images (as defined Agreement) on an a la carte basis, and Agency is entitled to retain a commission for the fees collected by Agency for the Images.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause modifying original agreement.
NOW, THEREFORE, the parties hereto hereby agree as follows:

1) Third Party Fees. Photographer agrees and understands that Agency has entered into certain agreements with third party agencies (hereinafter referred to as the “Third Parties”) pursuant to which such Third Parties have been granted the authority to distribute the Images and or Stock Images on their respective websites and via other electronic means. The Third Parties will remit commissions to Agency from sales made by the Third Parties of the Images (“Third Party Fees”), in accordance with such Third Party agreements. Thereafter, Agency will remit to Photographer fifty percent (50%) of the net Third Party Fees, and Agency will retain a commission of fifty percent (50%) of the net Third Party Fees. Agency will remit Photographer's portion of the Third Party Fees pursuant to Paragraph 6 of the Agreement.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is horrible, because essentially, if USPW uses Gannett’s wire service to distribute a $50 photo, then USPW would only get 50%, and then you would only get 50%, or $12.50. Yet, Gannett would, through the revenues of it’s wire service and USPW, as two separate corporate entities under the one parent company, get 75%.
2) Agency Fees. Agency will remit to Photographer fifty percent (50%) of the net fees collected by Agency from editorial and commercial sales made by Agency of the Images and Stock Images (“Agency Fees”), and Agency will retain a commission of fifty percent (50%) of the net Agency Fees. Agency will remit Photographer's portion of Agency Fees pursuant to Paragraph 6 of the Agreement. Agency reserves the right to change, adjust or modify Agency Fees with the prior written consent of Photographer, which shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: Standard clause.
3) Uncompensated Use. Photographer agrees and understands that Agency may, from time to time, allow Agency's customers to use certain Images and Stock Images without compensation. As a result, Photographer may not be compensated for the use and distribution of certain Images and Stock Images. This will be for, among other reasons, the purpose of revenue generating usage commitments or for promotional trials for the customer. Photographer agrees this action can be performed in Agency's sole and absolute discretion and without further compensation to or consent from Photographer.

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: This is a horrible deal where the photographer gets the short end of the stick while the Agency benefits. For example – a prospective client says they want their first month free, and your images are a part of that, and then on the second month, when the Agency got a check, none of your images were a part of that, and so you get nothing. Or, if some other USPW/Gannett photographer screws up, and in order to make it up to the client they say that the next assignment is a freebie, clearly they won’t use the one who screwed up, so you could end up getting the call, and there would be no compensation for the customer to use your images. Further, they have the right to use your images for barter arrangements, where they collect "in kind" compensation without collecting any money, and the photographer gets nothing. The examples of how this can be exploited to the photographer’s severe disadvantage are seemingly endless.


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