Copyright vs Free, Colbert vs Lessig

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Here’s a good clip in which Lawrence Lessig and Stephen Colbert square off on copyright:

Photographer John Harrington makes a good point in his analysis: it’s a lot easier to be permissive about open copyrights and making your work available for free after you’ve already made your money from it.

This is something I struggle with in my own photography; I’d like to be able to share my work, see people do cool things with it, and theoretically have that circle back to me in the form of more business. But as a business, it’s tough to justify giving up those rights and income without proof or confidence that there will be a return from freeing it.

Perhaps there’s strength in the idea of hybrid businesses that implement both sides of Lessig’s hybrid economy: a protected avenue of content that generates income, and an open, possibly parallel avenue of content that fuels artistic expression, community-building, and personal branding.

Ethics and the $500 Blog Entry

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Last week I received an unusual offer: $500 to remove a blog entry that a company didn’t like customers seeing in search results for their name.

Don't tread on meIt gave me a brief pause, but was a pretty quick decision: I simply felt it was unethical to take payment in exchange for my right to free speech. One of the nice things about this being my personal blog is that only that argument mattered, with no trade-off against management, advertiser, or investor considerations. If I have one goal here, it’s to share information of interest to the audience, however small it might be.

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My First Photo Gig

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

50 yearsShooting a 50th anniversary party recently was my first bona fide, fully paid photography gig, and I’m pleased to say setting it up went fairly smoothly and by the book. Here’s a summary of the business process for those looking to get started on their own:

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Apple: Too Bad We Suck, How About a Power Adapter?

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Needless to say, I was pretty bummed when my MacBook harddrive failed and I found out TimeMachine had failed to backup my unpublished photos in Aperture. Since everything involved came from Cupertino, Apple deserved at least a letter asking for a hand.

Taking a page from Consumerist, I looked up the executive responsible for applications and sent him a polite snail-mail letter detailing the situation and how the undisclosed limitation had impacted me. Since two Apple applications were at fault, I asked for a $328 refund of their combined price.

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Getty Taps Flickr for Microstock

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Home Depot artThe biggest photo news of the week isn’t another new DSLR camera, but the announcement of Getty to License Flickr Images. It’s been getting lots of coverage in photography blogs, but I’d like to throw in my own thoughts as a photographer and member of both Flickr and Getty’s iStockPhoto site.

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Netflix 2007 Annual Report

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

The red envelopeNetflix is one of the few annual reports I bother to read as an investor. Last year’s has some interesting bits.

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CEO Pay - Cash vs Stock

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Mark Cuban makes an interesting argument in My 2 Cents on CEO Pay: pay CEOs entirely in cash, making their salaries just as transparent and and subject to cash-crunch cuts as regular employees’. As an employee and shareholder, I’m all for more transparency and efficiency throughout the ranks.

It also prompted me to look at how much of Icon’s executive compensation is cash and stock. The Exectuive Compensation section under our last SEC filing reveals 4-5% share compensation for the chairman and CEO, and 18% for the CFO. Those numbers seem low, but they’re probably options priced at one half to one quarter of the stock’s current value (based on those same executives’ currently outstanding options).

Curiously, we peons have no company-endorsed way to buy stock, even with our own money. I picked some up anyway, but I guess I’ll have to keep climbing the corporate ladder to get in on the options game.

My Second Dollar

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Gazebo on Claytor LakeI sold another photo print today! It’s the first to come through my Gallery2 & PayPal ordering system. There’s a certain thrill to seeing a PayPal receipt in your inbox that represents income for your own business. The photo is actually an older one from a park near my brother’s home in Blacksburg, Virginia.