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Plaintiff/s Brief, Dallal v. New York Times (Relevant passage on P.17)

New copyright fees


Updated Editorial Photographers Business Forms

NPPA Independent Photographers Toolkit

Advertising Photographers of America Resource page

Common Cents Column On The Cost of Doing Business

Editorial Photographers Cost of Doing Business Calculator

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Portions of this column were originally written for the June 2006 edition of News Photographer Magazine.

Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.

The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.

June, 2006
By Mark Loundy

"No degree of knowledge attainable by man is able to set him above the want of hourly assistance"

— Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

The Clock IS TickingAt the risk of repeating myself, knowing your Cost of Doing Business (CDB) is the single-most important thing any independent businessperson can know. Washington, DC-based photographer John Harrington recently did the math for shooters who may be tempted to work for one of the spec companies like Brightroom, etc. where you shoot major running races and blast away for hours-on-end shooting every single runner.

Typical Fee $250
Wear and tear on camera body $50
Mileage/Travel $10
General Overhead* $20
Taxes $80
Remainder $80
*Insurance (car, health, equipment, etc), equipment depreciation, etc.

The above assumes that you're using a top-end camera like a D2x where it's economically practical to replace a blown shutter. If you use a lower-tier camera such as a D70 or 30D you would replace the entire camera when the shutter dies. That increases the camera wear and tear figure to $150. That would leave you with a remainder of about minus $10 after taxes. That can't be good.

After charging yourself $10 per hour, you would then have to turn yourself in to the authorities for violating the laws against slavery.

The Good
BulletYou can create your own "Good" by adapting the updated business forms presented by the good folks at Editorial Photographers.

The Bad
BulletThe Lewiston (ME) Sun Journal for its clumsily constructed rights-grabbing contract.

The Ugly
BulletMaxim Magazine's zero-fee-for-all-rights agreement for its "Hometown Hottie" feature.

Please let me know of any particularly good, bad or ugly dealings that you have had with clients recently. I will use the client's name, but I won't use your name if you don't want me to. Anonymous submissions will not be considered. Please include contact information for yourself and for the client.

  • If you thought that the Tasini case was the end of the New York Times unpermissioned use of freelancer material on the paper's website, you might want to take another look. According to a sworn deposition by Jim Wilson, the #3 picture editor at the Times, the paper routinely reused contributors' images on the paper's website in direct contravention of the Tasini decision. The Times is being sued by photographer Thomas Dallal for copyright infringement after the Times continued to use Dallal's images on the Times website despite Dallal's repeated verbal and written objections.
    Court filings also show that the Times destroyed relevant records in the case after Dallal requested that they be preserved. More to come.
  • It's not just gasoline... Fees are going up in July for most copyright registrations from $30 to $45.
  • In my March column I talked about the dangers of working on spec - that is, without an assignment. Now you can educate your clients with the resources at You can even download a No!Spec logo to display on your own website.