US Embassy Guyana’s Photo Contest Creates IPR Controvery, Facebook Contest/Discussion Page Now Missing

Guyana mappaImage via WikipediaThe US Embassy in Guyana is organizing a photo competition through its Facebook/Flickr page, http://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassyguyana.  No photo has been uploaded in Flickr so far.

The photo competition was announced in its Facebook page (currently with 2,928  fans) but the announcement is not displayed anywhere else in its official website.

The Guyana Chronicle Online reported that the entry rules have sparked an IPR controversy.  The intellectual property rights controversy steams from a paragraph appended as a note to the embassy contest rules:

Notes: The Photo Contest is sponsored by US Embassy Guyana. The US Embassy Guyana reserves the right to use, reproduce, distribute and display all images submitted to the contest. By submitting an image, the participant agrees to give all rights, licenses, and permissions to use the image. The photos, like all images on the US Embassy Flickr site will be posted under “Creative Commons License” meaning they can be reused by any party. The organizers of the contest and the panel of judges reserve the right to reject any image, including any that contain political, sexual or violent themes.

Link to “Creative Commons License” is here >> http://creativecommons.org/

One of the embassy’s 2,928  fans helpfully points out that — even photography contests have Bill of Rights — which apparently had been launched in 2008 in response to those photography contests which have “the intention of claiming perpetual and irrevocable usage rights of the submitted entries, even in some cases copyrights and waiving of moral rights.”

US Embassy Guyana Public Affairs in Facebook linked to the Guyana Chronicle article then writes:

Guyana Chronicle picked up on the IPR discussion on our Facebook page. Myparkphotos.com runs a competition with rules similar to the ones here. Their rules say:  “MYPARKPHOTOS.COM and its Partner sites are accessible to anyone with Internet access.” The rules state the photographer understands the photos will be used to create promotional materials.”

So we went looking:  Its FAQ also says “Photographers retain all rights to their photographs after registering them with MyParkPhotos.”

Details about the US Embassy Guyana Public Affairs photo competition and rules are available on the Discussions page: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=140708899279090&topic=176 

The page contains the back and forth about the contest but is now missing. We did super-copy those yesterday when we were drafting this post so they are below – republished here so you can read the concerns of a foreign audience and how the PAO’s response appears counter-productive:

 about a month ago
    *
      Nikhil I think you should make it clearer that you are acquiring all rights of the photographer merely by virtue of entry to the competition.
      It seems unfair and unnecessary that you would seek to acquire all the rights of the photographer when all that would be required for the purpose of your challenge is perpetual right to display or use in promotional materials.
      Have a look here for the Artists Bill of Rights with suggestions for fair competition terms: http://www.pro-imaging.org/content/view/177/153/
      about a month ago
    *
      Dwayne i’m going to buy my own underwater digital camera, Flipcam camera or photography book and stay away from this fraud.
      about a month ago
    *
      US Embassy Guyana Public Affairs Photos from this competition will remain on the US Embassy Flickr site for use by competitors in the website design competition which will follow. All photos on the US Embassy Flickr site, including photos by award-winning journalist and professional photographers are IPR-free, available to all small businesses, NGOs and anyone else who wants to use them to promote Guyana.
      about a month ago
    *
      Dwayne Sorry, but this poor third-world country has people who are not all stupid.
      about a month ago
    *
      Nikhil Even for the purpose you state, acquiring all of the photographer’s rights is unnecessary. While it may be easier from an administrative standpoint, as opposed to acquiring only those rights you need, it is surely unfair for the contestants who may not realise what they are giving away.
      At the very least, I think it is important to emphasize more than you have done, that you are acquiring ALL the rights of ALL the photos entered in the competition, whether they win or not.
      In return for acquiring all the rights of all the entries, only 6 people are going to be compensated in any way. In my view, that is quite unfair. Even the worse of the competitions I have seen tend to acquire the rights of the winners only, not all entries.
      about a month ago
    *
      US Embassy Guyana Public Affairs Which rights do you think would be necessary for anyone to be able to use the photos for any purpose?
      about a month ago
    *
      Nikhil If you want photos to use for any purpose, then you should open your wallet and buy them. What you are doing here is taking WITHOUT compensation ALL the entries of ALL the people who enter and don’t win. I have nothing more to say on this issue, if you still don’t understand the moral implications of taking people’s property without compensating them (and without warning them clearly what you are doing) you never will.
      about a month ago
    *
      Dwayne “By submitting an image, the participant agrees to give ALL RIGHTS, LICENSES, and PERMISSIONS to use the image. The photos, like all images on the US Embassy Flickr site will be posted under “Creative Commons License” meaning they CAN BE REUSED BY ANY PARTY.”
      Maybe someone should take any of the existing photos on the embassy’s flickr site and reproduce them commercially and we’ll see how that goes down with the embassy. Any image.
      about a month ago
    *
      Dwayne 500 years later, and some things remain the same: recall the “discoverers” of the New World giving a few trinkets to the Natives in exchange for gold. How appropriate in this month of September in Guyana.
      about a month ago
    *
      Dwayne Terms and conditions like these for this competition (for Guyana) could never fly in the USA. I recall while doing a course with the New York Institute of Photography during a lesson on entering photo competitions, students were warned about entering competitions that have these same kind of rules – namely the giving away of all rights. Stay far away from those competitions was the warning from the USA’s oldest photography school. How ironic that the US Embassy in Guyana is writing terms and conditions like they have for this photo competition.
      My opinion is that maybe the embassy has decided to irritate Guyanese because of our country’s general ignorance of, and indifference towards intellectual property rights.
      I’d say finally thanks but no thanks.
      about a month ago
    *
      US Embassy Guyana Public Affairs The purpose of the photos is to develop tourism and small business opportunities in Guyana. If anyone would like to use photos of the Embassy’s Flickr site to make T-shirts, coffee mugs and sell them, please, by all means, go ahead.
      Let’s improve the economy, job opportunity and attractiveness of Guyana for tourism.
      about a month ago
    *
      US Embassy Guyana Public Affairs Dwayne, I LOVE your profile photo!
      about a month ago
    *
      US Embassy Guyana Public Affairs The photos being posted by Facebook fans look great! Keep ’em coming!
      about a month ago
    *
      Quacy i understand the tourism concept of this promotion…i was a bit excited when i asw the add in the news papers..because i have some beuatiful pictures of Guyana and im talking rare pictures…but after reading through all these comments i was force to reconsidered paticipating because its is true …
      .what happens if im to loose? ,
      what happens when people would start using my photos for there own personal gain (t-shirts, cups etc.)
      the point is that my photos caused me time and money and i should be compensated for them regardless cause i know for a fact that the viewers will love them
      please for a response for my concern
      you can run through my profile and u’ll get an idea as to what kind of photos im talking about
      about 3 weeks ago

That lengthy exchange used to be here but not anymore:
http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=140708899279090&topic=176

We understand the intent of this contest, but we cannot understand is why the Public Affairs Office has gone deaf to concerns about IPR issues from its very own fans.  Instead of addressing those concerns,   US Embassy Guyana Public Affairs writes:

If anyone would like to use photos of the Embassy’s Flickr site to make T-shirts, coffee mugs and sell them, please, by all means, go ahead.

No, no, no – that’s now how you win friends and influence folks even if you like their profile photos!  US Embassy Guyana currently do not have an ambassador and is under the leadership of career diplomat, Thomas C. Pierce.  The contest begins on September 1, 2010 and closes on October 31, 2010.

 


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Senator Menendez on Bryza hold: "absolutely nothing to do with the ethnic origin of his wife"

Robert Menendez, a Democrat representing New Jersey in the U.S. Senate was not happy with WaPo’s Sept. 24 editorial “A toxic hold” and has written to the newspaper to make clear that his opposition to Matthew Bryza’s nomination to be US Ambassador to Baku has “absolutely nothing to do with the ethnic origin of his wife.”

I am so very relieved, are you? Read on …

Why I oppose Matthew Bryza’s nomination as ambassador to Azerbaijan

Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
WaPo | Sunday, October 3, 2010; A18

The Sept. 24 editorial “A toxic hold,” in criticizing Sen. Barbara Boxer’s and my opposition to the nomination of Matthew Bryza as ambassador to Azerbaijan, cited an unsubstantiated comment from a junior member of my staff as my position. This was despite the fact that a Post editorial writer had a full conversation with my foreign policy adviser and an official written statement regarding my position, which was entirely consistent with my statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The suggestion that my office “backpedaled” is incorrect. The Post is entitled to its own opinion, but not to its own facts.

For the record, I stand by my position that Mr. Bryza is the wrong person for the job and have made public my hold in the U.S. Senate on his nomination. That position has absolutely nothing to do with the ethnic origin of his wife. It is based on information that I believe raises concerns about Mr. Bryza’s ability to remain impartial toward Azerbaijan and Turkey, including his opposition to the recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey and his close ties to individuals in both governments. Perhaps it is not so unusual for a U.S. ambassador to have acquaintances in regional governments, but when those relationships affect the ability of the individual to represent the interests of the United States, it is my prerogative to withhold support of the nomination.

Finally, at the core of my opposition to Mr. Bryza’s nomination is respect for the Armenian people. The Armenian genocide was one of the great atrocities of modern history. We should not be sending a top diplomat to the region who does not support recognition of what is considered among historians to be the first modern genocide. Nor should The Post label the Armenian National Committee of America as “noxious” simply for demanding recognition of this historical fact.

So his main beef –– “We should not be sending a top diplomat to the region who does not support recognition of what is considered among historians to be the first modern genocide.”

Good grief! Has the good senator from New Jersey been under a rock during the Bush Administration’s years in office?

NYT reported in October 2007 that “President George W. Bush and two top cabinet members urged lawmakers on Wednesday to reject a resolution describing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians early in the last century as genocide – a highly sensitive issue at a time of rising U.S.-Turkish tensions over northern Iraq.” And they did.

Remember Ambassador Evans?  He was recalled officially for undisclosed reason — the “firing” have something to do with using the “G-word” and confusing the public with his own personal opinion and that of the official position of the Bush Administration. He had to issue an official clarification — the whole thing from the informal comment he made in California to the clarification, and clarification of the clarification statement and the recall from Yerevan, followed in great detail here

In an interview later in 2007 with LA Times, he was quoted as saying, “I never in 35 years had encountered a U.S. policy that I could not at least live with.” After this incident, he was “eased out after about 18 months,” and was “basically asked to go ahead and retire.”
 
What did then Senator Obama said about this in early 2008?

“Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term “genocide” to describe Turkey’s slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915.”

Now apparently,  President Obama, had not used the word in a statement honoring the memorial in 2009 after he became president.  Foreign Policy in Focus reported in March this year that “The Obama administration, citing its relations with Turkey, has pledged to block the passage in the full House of Representatives of a resolution passed this past Thursday by the Foreign Relations Committee acknowledging the 1915 genocide by the Ottoman Empire of a 1.5 million Armenians.”

Sounds familiar?  The Bush and Obama administrations, a historian complained in the History News Network “…both sing the same old song.”

So Senator Menendez essentially found Mr. Bryza lacking for not articulating a policy position that got another ambassador canned. Can we call this an example of a no-win/no-win situation?

Senator Menendez, of course, faults Mr. Bryza for the one thing that is admirable/distressful (take your pick) with professional diplomats – the suspension of a personal opinion.  As a career diplomat, Mr. Bryza and all diplomats like him are allowed one opinion – the official opinion/position of the administration of the day.  They work 24/7, 365 days a year and they’re on-duty even when they’re off duty. Their “opinions” do not go beyond the chalk lines, that is — until they retire, and are free again to say what they really think.
  
So to ask that Mr. Bryza support a position beyond what his bosses are willing to officially articulate is quite absurd, no?


 

 


US citizen in Mosul offers $6,000,000 for "prospective role" of taking care of found money (? ) in Iraq

20 Dollars art3Image via WikipediaWe have recently received a very lucrative offer from Iraq; we feel the need to share it with you, because — well, why not?:

My name is [redacted], a US citizen, presently serving in Mosul,Iraq.I have a very urgent need for assistance, I will disclose and provide adequate proof of my identity,and also explain how I got your contact,but I must have some assurances that you will not use such delicate information against me.

I feel quite safe reaching you through this medium,although it has`been greatly abused, it still remains one of the fastest and cheapest means of communication, this is also apart from the fact that I have very restricted access to other means of communication.

However, this correspondence is unofficial and should be treated as such.I have to urgently move some money out of here to a safe country as soon as i can have some assistance, and I have discovered a secure way of doing so, I will explain the source of money to you when I am convinced that you sincerely want to work with me, but I assure you of your safety as far as this project is concerned.

Concealing this money here has been a big problem/source of distraction to me, what I require from you now is the assurance that you will honor my conditions, mostly as regards taking care of my share until I complete my service here, and preserving all information relating to this.I am offering you Six million dollars ($6,000,000) for your prospective role, but should you have reasons to reject this offer, please destroy this mail as any leakage will be too bad for us. I will continue with the details when you signify your intention to work with me.

Respectfully,

[redacted]

Cheapest medium?  Cheapskate, but he sounds almost reasonable, doesn’t he?  We were not told how much is the total amount that is keeping him distracted over there in the sands.  We sure could use the money to fund our coffee addiction, keep this blog going or buy paint to wash over the old bathroom (oh, also buy a new mansion to accommodate thousand pounds of books and junk), but we are terribly worried that this distraction could get this poor sod killed over there. And then who would they come after? See the problem? Or if they won’t get us, Mr. IRS for sure would like to know where all that coffee money came from …. so we had to write back and decline the offer:

Thank you Mr. US Citizen in Mosul, Iraq for the kind offer of sharing your wonderful bounty.  We have a couple of reasons to reject this offer, but we guess that our Uncle Sam who is going broke gambling over Iraq (and yada, yada, yada) may be happy to entertain your proposal. Uncle Sam ‘s folks (very nice folks, indeed) would be most interested in chatting with you about this delicate money project.   They have an extensive, and reliable operation, please contact any of them here to help you. They are standing ready to help.

Sincerely,
DS