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Author Topic: BLM work - Interpretation panel  (Read 3880 times)

MattBurt

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BLM work - Interpretation panel
« on: April 05, 2016, 02:57:49 pm »

I got a message from someone at the local BLM office today asking if I'm interested in them using an image of mine (not specified) of our local recreation area. I replied asking if they were looking for a donation or if there is a budget for this and haven't heard back yet. I have a feeling I know the answer.  ::)

Have any of you done any work for the BLM or similar organization? How did it go? I know another photographer who has sold images to the NPS for this exact purpose so there is precedent but the BLM has also asked me for free images for their web site in the past (which I declined) so there's that too.

Just looking for input and maybe an example I could cite if that might help. Thanks!
The area is a wonderful place and I go there to recreate and shoot often!
Here's a shot from a year ago today.
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MarkM

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2016, 03:11:17 pm »

I've shot (quite a lot) for federal agencies and I've also licensed a couple images to the NPS. Here's what I can tell you:

They have a budget. The BLM's annual budget is over a billion dollars.
Nobody working there, including the person making the request to you, is working for free. They're all getting paid and would quit if the paychecks stopped.
Nobody else working on this sign — the designer, the manufacturer, the installer — are working for free.

It's also very unlikely that anyone there really knows what a fair license fee for this use is. You should decide what a fair market value is and tell them.

Good luck. It's a nice shot!
 
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Colorado David

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2016, 03:46:48 pm »

I have a beef with some federal agencies that administer public lands.  I was on a shoot in the Hart Mountain Nat'l Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. They require you to buy a professional photography permit.  Their fee was $100 for an annual permit (just for that location) but would waive the fee if I would donate images that they could use forever for any purpose in any media.  I was on a shoot in Southeast Alaska and was told I need to buy a professional photography permit.  Their fee was $100 per day.  The general public can photograph anything they want anywhere that is open to the public for free, but if there is some chance that you may sell your image, whether or not you actually do, then you owe the fee.  The Southeast Alaska people told me that in their spare time they review magazines and television shows looking for images that might have been shot without the professional photography permit fee.

That is a beautiful image, Matt.

MattBurt

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2016, 04:49:34 pm »

I've seen the NPS want to charge like that but not the BLM yet. Anyway I got the clarification:

Quote
Thanks Matt, I'm looking for a donation and just need a great landscape for the backdrop.  I'm attaching the draft of the sign so you'll see what I need.  I want to replace the current photo with something different and BETTER!  This is a 24"x36" sign so photo quality is key. 

I have a couple of anthropology students from OU putting this together.  The sign will be placed next to current map kiosk at top of Kill Hill.  Let me know if a donation is possible,

I replied with this:
Quote
I'm going to have to decline.
My photography is my passion but it is also a business. I already give a lot to Gunnison Trails to help promote and protect the area.
I imagine you are compensated for designing the sign and others are for building it. Shouldn't the photographer be paid as well? I hope you understand my position. I'm sure you can find plenty of free images for your use but if you want a professional image it's going to cost something.
If the BLM would like to discuss licensing an image like my others clients do I'm happy to have that conversation.

Thanks for the photo comments. The area really is fantastic for photography all year long and it also has a great trail system. It's certainly close to my heart and I work extensively with the non profit dedicated to preserving it for public enjoyment.

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MarkM

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2016, 06:04:32 pm »

I have a beef with some federal agencies that administer public lands.  I was on a shoot in the Hart Mountain Nat'l Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. They require you to buy a professional photography permit.  Their fee was $100 for an annual permit (just for that location) but would waive the fee if I would donate images that they could use forever for any purpose in any media.  I was on a shoot in Southeast Alaska and was told I need to buy a professional photography permit.  Their fee was $100 per day.  The general public can photograph anything they want anywhere that is open to the public for free, but if there is some chance that you may sell your image, whether or not you actually do, then you owe the fee. 


I'm curious David, how did they know you weren't part of the general public?
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JoeKitchen

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2016, 08:02:25 pm »

I have a beef with some federal agencies that administer public lands.  I was on a shoot in the Hart Mountain Nat'l Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. They require you to buy a professional photography permit.  Their fee was $100 for an annual permit (just for that location) but would waive the fee if I would donate images that they could use forever for any purpose in any media.  I was on a shoot in Southeast Alaska and was told I need to buy a professional photography permit.  Their fee was $100 per day.  The general public can photograph anything they want anywhere that is open to the public for free, but if there is some chance that you may sell your image, whether or not you actually do, then you owe the fee.  The Southeast Alaska people told me that in their spare time they review magazines and television shows looking for images that might have been shot without the professional photography permit fee.

That is a beautiful image, Matt.

Not that you would want to, but if something like this went to court, I doubt the court would rule in their favor.

I shoot architecture and I can tell no building owner has ever been successful in suing a photographer over the use of a building.  (They have been successful in suing if a trademark is on the building, not counting building if it is trademarked.  All buildings are copyrighted, just photographs, at creation, so copyright is not an issue with buildings either.)  So I kind of think land or a natural landmark would be the same way. 

I doubt that they could make the case that public land is somehow copyrighted or trademarked to a certain group of people. 

However, as with most cases, it is easier and cheaper to settle out of court then to go to court, which is probably why it has not be challenged yet. 
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Colorado David

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2016, 08:45:46 pm »

Mark, my client requires that we check in with National Forest or National Wildlife Refuge administrators before starting to shoot. In the past some photographers had their equipment confiscated and the client wants to avoid any of that.  The permit fees are all over the place from the annual permit for $100 to the $100 per day fee, sometimes more.

Joe, National Forest and National Wildlife Refuge rangers have law enforcement powers. You can't cross them.  I am a member of a couple of professional associations that are working to establish a single permit that would be a fixed amount and would cover all public lands.  This has been going on for several years.  The current permit fee is not law, but regulation.  Congress tasked the land managers with developing a fee structure that would recover the costs associated with photography, video and film production.  The managers then via regulation developed a fee structure based on a large major motion picture production with actors, grip trucks, catering trucks, everything you could imagine.  There's not any real consideration for one or two people shooting video or stills unsupported that don't require any special access.  When we first started trying to get a law passed, I called my congressman and explained to a staffer what we wanted to accomplish.  The staffer asked why did we want to impose a permit fee on ourselves at all?  Why not just ask for it to be free?  The point of the permit is that then there can't be a regulation that later denies access or tries to impose a new fee.  That was 2005? I think? The current permit fee legislation is attached to the SHARE Act which has passed the house and is awaiting action in the senate. We've gotten this far several times. It always winds up in a fight over other issues in the senate.

Matt, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to hijack your topic.  I want to get to the Kebler Pass area this fall for autumn color.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 08:50:01 pm by Colorado David »
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eronald

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2016, 09:14:13 pm »

I don't understand any of these legalities, but that's a nice picture.

Edmund

I got a message from someone at the local BLM office today asking if I'm interested in them using an image of mine (not specified) of our local recreation area. I replied asking if they were looking for a donation or if there is a budget for this and haven't heard back yet. I have a feeling I know the answer.  ::)

Have any of you done any work for the BLM or similar organization? How did it go? I know another photographer who has sold images to the NPS for this exact purpose so there is precedent but the BLM has also asked me for free images for their web site in the past (which I declined) so there's that too.

Just looking for input and maybe an example I could cite if that might help. Thanks!
The area is a wonderful place and I go there to recreate and shoot often!
Here's a shot from a year ago today.

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alan_b

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2016, 11:14:53 pm »

I replied with this:
Thanks for the photo comments. The area really is fantastic for photography all year long and it also has a great trail system. It's certainly close to my heart and I work extensively with the non profit dedicated to preserving it for public enjoyment.

Too bad - maybe you could have negotiated for an in-kind lifetime photo permit!
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JoeKitchen

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2016, 08:21:07 am »


Joe, National Forest and National Wildlife Refuge rangers have law enforcement powers. You can't cross them.  I am a member of a couple of professional associations that are working to establish a single permit that would be a fixed amount and would cover all public lands.  This has been going on for several years.  The current permit fee is not law, but regulation.  Congress tasked the land managers with developing a fee structure that would recover the costs associated with photography, video and film production.  The managers then via regulation developed a fee structure based on a large major motion picture production with actors, grip trucks, catering trucks, everything you could imagine.  There's not any real consideration for one or two people shooting video or stills unsupported that don't require any special access.  When we first started trying to get a law passed, I called my congressman and explained to a staffer what we wanted to accomplish.  The staffer asked why did we want to impose a permit fee on ourselves at all?  Why not just ask for it to be free?  The point of the permit is that then there can't be a regulation that later denies access or tries to impose a new fee.  That was 2005? I think? The current permit fee legislation is attached to the SHARE Act which has passed the house and is awaiting action in the senate. We've gotten this far several times. It always winds up in a fight over other issues in the senate.


Well, that is interesting. 

First, my comment was directed towards Southern Alaskans looking through magazines to find usage of their lands.  In that case, since the images are already captured, I can't see them being able to legally go after someone.  Of course, they can issue suit, but if it went to court, they would probably loose.  However, who really wants to go to court if all they are asking for is a $100. 

Insofar as the fee, I do know that the National Park Service is a pain to deal with.  I have shot a couple of projects on the National Park properties, but they were of buildings and we knew this going in.  However, I have done many personal projects in National Parks and never had a problem after telling the Ranger that it was just a personal project. 

With that being said, I know that the East Coast, in general, is much more business friendly than the West.  Many architectural photographer I know that work on the West Coast have to apply for permits every time they shoot a building even if they are only going to use a tripod.  I have yet to have any trouble, even with some grip on the sidewalk. 
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MattBurt

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2016, 09:41:54 am »


Matt, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to hijack your topic.  I want to get to the Kebler Pass area this fall for autumn color.

That's ok, maybe see you out there!
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MattBurt

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Re: BLM work - Interpretation panel
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2016, 09:42:42 am »

Too bad - maybe you could have negotiated for an in-kind lifetime photo permit!

Well they aren't required here so I'm not sure what that would get me!
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