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Portions of this column were originally written for the June 2015 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.

October 2015, Volume 141
By Mark Loundy

"Let me see if I've got this straight: in order to be grounded, I've got to be crazy and I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I'm not crazy any more and I have to keep flying."

— Alan Arkin as Capt. John Yossarian in Catch-22

This won't be the last time I write about Getty Images, but, as they say, "I can see it from here." The world's largest image agency has remade its financial self repeatedly over the years. It's shopped itself around. It's been purchased, sold and reported to be nearly out of cash. In August, the financial ratings bureau, Moody's, characterized Getty's search for more credit to be "credit negative." Moody's basically believes that Getty risks bankruptcy or a forced sale if it extends itself further financially.

Catch-22 That means that Getty is in a classic "Catch-22" situation. If it doesn't extend its credit line, it will run out of cash. If it does extend it, its cost of borrowing will go up and that will increase the company's cash burn rate.

Into this Kafkaesque saga, drops Getty's newly named CEO, Dawn Airey, a refugee from the rudderless media company, Yahoo. What Airey expects to get out of associating herself with Getty is beyond me. She sure as heck isn't going to rescue it. Maybe she's hoping to get a media pass to the inaugural ball in 2017.

And with $1.85 billion in loans coming due in 2019, Getty just might be covering its last presidential election.

The Good
Bullet No Good. Can we change that next month?

The Bad
Bullet I'm sure it's out there, but I haven't heard about it, this month.

The Ugly
Bullet PRCA Properties' Pro Rodeo agreement. Indemnity clause, individual release requirement and worst of all, the clause, "Licensee understands and agrees that photographs will in no way cast a negative light on professional rodeo, its members or its events."

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.

  • One of the few scholarly studies of the photojournalism profession shows that the typical photographer is self-employed, male and makes under $30,000 per year. Oxford University, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, in association with World Press Photo released the report in September. The report drew from 1,556 responses to questionnaires sent to entrants in the 2015 World Press Photo Contest.
    Photographers from more than 100 countries took part in the study. One of the most disappointing non-economic findings was that 25% of the respondents admitted to manipulating the content of their images (other than by cropping,) at least sometimes.
    A non-intuitive result (at least for me) was that women faced increasing levels of physical danger, as they got older, peaking out at ages 40-49. Men faced decreasing levels of danger throughout the age ranges. You can download the entire 76-page report at

  • Photographer Todd Bigelow likens himself to a dinosaur; old, out-of-touch and doomed to extinction. In other word, he takes copyright seriously. Bigelow blogged about changing attitudes about what is and is not OK to do with online images. He also notes that in one (admittedly unusual) week, he recovered $4,000 from infringers.

  • Extortion plots aren't always perpetrated by big guys wearing overcoats and fedoras, with ominous bulges under their suit coats. Sometimes they come from somebody posting negative reviews on business ratings sites. That's the scam that's hit a number of photographers across the country. It plays-out when a photographer is contacted to pay a "reputation management fee" to have (usually false) negative reviews about their business removed.

  • The copyright infringement lawsuit filed by seven photographers against the NFL, the Associated Press and Getty Images is hanging on by a thread. In March of this year, a federal judge dismissed the suit. The same judge ruled in August that the plaintiffs must amend their complaint before filing an appeal of the dismissal.

  • CNN chose the wrong photographer to mess with when it used Alfonzo Cutaia's amazing video of a winter storm coming ashore from Lake Erie into Buffalo, New York. Apparently, CNN failed to get permission from Cutaia, who is an attorney with experience in intellectual property law. Oops.