Shot

'Conman'claim

A photographerfalsely claimed that images taken by professional photographers were Ws, in orderto gain contracts, according to a BBC investigation. BBC One West claims that Mark Stothard, 40, passed off many of the shots on his website as his own, though they belonged to

Committed to defending your photographic rights!

Committed to defending your photographic rights!

Rupert Grey Lawyer
Lawyer Rupert Grey sets out three key pieces of advice for photographers (see right)

ON 16 February 2009, the right to take photographs in a public place was further restricted when the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 came into effect, writes lawyer Rupert Grey (pictured).

The Home Office's claim that it will not change anything is nonsense (see News, AP21 February). Under the existing law (Section 43, Terrorist Act 2000) the police can stop and search a person 'whom he reasonably suspects' to be a terrorist; he can also confiscate anything which he reasonably suspects may be evidence of terrorism.

There is an additional power (Section 44 of the 2000 Act) for a police constable to stop and search an individual - and confiscate an article - whether or not there are grounds to suspect a connection with terrorism, provided prior authority has been obtained. The authorisation must be confined to a geographical area and length of time.

The new offence created by the 2008 Act (see box above) affects photographers in particular: it is now an offence to obtain or attempt to obtain 'information' about a police constable that is 'likely to be useful' to a terrorist. Photographs in which police constables can be identified are information. The Act is silent on whether Police Community Support Officers are included.

Presumption of guilt

There is a possible defence: the photographer has to 'adduce evidence' that he/she 'had a reasonable excuse' for taking the picture. To put it in plain English, you are guilty until you have proved yourself innocent.

This is a radical departure from the basic principle of

English Law: that you are innocent until proved guilty. Until the new Act took effect, you did not need to have 'an excuse to take photographs'.

It is difficult to envisage what a valid excuse might be. A holiday snap7 To illustrate an article' For fun? Because it's a free country?

Plainly, the Government has to respond to threats of terrorism, none of us has a problem with that. But to do so in a way that directly impairs an important freedom is handing victory to terrorists.

Danger signs

The new wording creates three dangers: the word 'excuse' is condemnatory in itself. Shifting the burden of proof from the state to the individual is a dangerous tactic. It is exactly what the Convention on Human Rights was intended to prevent.

Second, the question as to what is a 'reasonable excuse' is left hanging in the air What is reasonable? How do you prove it? Vague phrases make bad law.

Third, it places power in the hands of the rank and file of the police without putting in place the controls necessary to prevent abuse.

There is no doubt that the stopping of photographers by the police is an increasingly frequent occurrence.

In practice, citizens who are prevented from taking photographs, or whose images are deleted, lack the time, money or determination to take the matter any further.

Rupert Grey is an expert on photography law at Swan Turton Solicitors, London • Visit www.

amateurphotographer.co.uk for a transcription of a recent BBC Radio 4 interview with Rupert Grey about photography in public. It was recorded while taking photos in central London photographers signed upto the Corbis agency. Stothard, of Minehead, Somerset, told the BBC that it would be inappropriate to comment owing to ongoing legalaction.The British Press Photographers' Association told AP that Stothard wasthrownoutwhenheused other photographers'photos to gain BPPA membership.

Price shocker

Thesinking value of the pound has had a colossal effect on Sigma's monster 200-500mm zoom lens, which now costs £8,000 morethan it did in January. Last month, the devaluation of the pound against theJapaneseyen forced the independent lens makerto raise its prices. The 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DGHSM now carries a recommended retail price of £23,999-50% higher than its £15,999 launch price.

'Fake'blog

Canon has declined to comment on a report that the firm ordered the closure of a 'fake' website blog purported to be written by Canon US's technical adviser Chuck Westfall. A report in 'The Inquirer'said the blog uses Westfall's'name and likeness and Canon's trademark without authorisation'.

120 release

From next month, Kodak's Professional Ektar 100 colour negative film will be available in 120 format. The film-first announced in 35mm format at last year's photokina - boasts 'the finest, smoothest grain' of any film of its type. A price has not been announced. Visit www.kodak.com.

News

Canon unveils film scanner

THE £119 CanoScan LiDE 700F is Canon's first scanner designed to deliver an optical resolution of 9600x9600dpi when scanning 35mm film frames.

Superseding the CanoScan 4400F, the 700Fcan scan prints at 4800dpi and includes a dip-on unit for film scanning. However, Canon tells us that the 700F is designed for 'occasional scanning' as it is only able to scan one frame in a single scanning session.

The unit, which is due out in April, includes a 180 lid hinge and is powered by connecting it to a computer's USB port.

The 700F can scan documents in portrait and landscape formats. It can also scan documents by dropping them into the scanner when it is in an upright position.

For details call Canon on 0844 369 0100

Recession hits photographers' fees

PHOTOGRAPHIC agencies that supply pictures to national newspapers are fuming over cuts to freelance photographers' fees sparked by the recession.

News International, owner of The Sun and The Times, wrote to contributors saying the cutbacks were needed to stay competitive in the 'current economic climate'.

Chris Johnson, treasurer of The National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA), is angry that newspapers went ahead with the cuts without consulting agencies.

Johnson told us the fees are reminiscent of rates paid in the'mid-1990s'.

The reductions, which are said to be up to 40%, took effect on 9 February.

Contributors say they were told The Times, for example, would cut the rate for a news picture, measuring 0-1 Osq in, from £90 to £54, while the fee for an ll-25sq in picture would drop from £130 to £90

Photographers were notified of the reductions at the end of January - less than a fortnight before they took effect.

However, a spokeswoman for The Times told us it only imposed a '10%' reduction, though this appears to be the rate for journalists' copy, not pictures, according to a letter from the newspaper seen by AP

AP understands that 30 UK picture agencies recently attempted to resolve the dispute by individually approaching News International. However, this tactic was met by a disappointing response from newspaper chiefs.

One agency boss, who did not want to be named, told us: 'They [the newspapers] seem to have chosen to forget that they are the customer. 'In any normal transaction the supplier, not the customer, sets the price.'

He warned that, in the age of the internet, newspapers would be 'writing their own death warrant' if they ignore the 'supreme importance' of paying a fair rate for 'quality content'

In a statement, The Times told us: 'The Times has reduced the rates it pays to freelance photographers. This reduction is specifically related to space rates, not commission rates. The new rates have been implemented following the redesign of the paper.'

The newspaper's Saturday edition was redesigned on 24 January.

We understand that NAPA plans to discuss the issue with the Bhtish Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies, and the National Union of Journalists, before deciding on its next move in the dispute.

ClubNews

AP's weekly round-up of club news from all over Britain

Accrington Camera Club

Kempston Camera Club

Guildford

Photographic

Society

The club tells us it has now gone international' thanks to the 'World Wide Web'. One former UK-based member, who now lives in France, is able to submit images for the club's monthly competition via the internet. Meetings take place on Fridays at 7.45pm at the Rishton Primetime Centre, Norden High School and Sports College, Stourton Street, Rishton, Lancashire BB14ED. Tel: 01254 887 462.

The club will host a talk by photographer Derry Brabbs on 18 March. The event takes place from 8pm-IOpm at The Church of Transfiguration, Bedford Road, Kempston, Bedfordshire MK42 8DW. Entry costs £6. For details call 01908 560 864. Visit www.kempstoncameradub.co.uk.

The group holds its Nature Print of the Year competition on 30 March at Burpham Village Hall, Burpham Lane, near Guildford, Surrey GU47LP. Tel: 0207 7311700. Visit www.guildfordphotosoc.org.uk.

Members host an exhibition of 'fine-art' photography from 8-19 April (including weekend demonstrations on digital imaging) at The Landmark Arts Centre, Ferry Road, Teddington, London TW119NN. Entry costs E1.Visitwww.rtps.org.uk.

Send club news to: [email protected]

Richmond & Twickenham Photographic Society

Amateur Photographer

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AP's'special correspondent ¡«Belfast'reports on tee hugt clamour for an event attracting interest akin to a visit by a 'popular actor' or 'great political demonstration'. Crowds were drawn to a lecture on 'The New Photography' by Dr Cecil Shaw MA, hosted by Ulster Amateur Photographic Society. The venue was besieged by visitors for over an hour before the doors opened. The report added: 'Interest evinced by the public was so great that, before the date arranged for the lecture, the sale of tickets had to be stopped. Within a few minutes after the opening of the doors, the unreserved portion of the lecture hall was uncomfortably packed and the outer hall and corridors crammed with people without tickets, hoping for admission, whilst hundreds had to be turned away.'

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image O Nicholas Goodden

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Nicholas Goodden's London Eye image was taken with Tokina f/3.5-4.5 AT-X DX 10-17mm fish-eye zoom.

British Journal of Photography

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Photographer Nicholas Goodden says, "Photography is a way to see beauty in almost anything surrounding me.

You notice a lot more the world you live in when you can pause it. It also brings me total freedom and creativity.

With the amount of photographers out there, the unusual angle of my Tokina Fisheye lens helps me achieve a fresh look and make a better impact."

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