A New York State bill, currently in committee in the Senate and Assembly, is designed to protect the estates of deceased celebrities by making it more difficult to use their images for commercial purposes. The problem, according to the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), is that the bill is so broadly worded that it could make the use of stock photography featuring any dead person illegal — even if the subject signed a model release while alive.
As Stock Asylum sums up the issue:
The existence in state law of distinctly separate legal provisions involving living and dead people could create a nightmare scenario for stock photographers who often lose track of models they have hired for shoots…
[T]he legislation goes far beyond the rights of celebrities and includes “any deceased natural person who died within seventy years prior to January first, two thousand eight.”
The ASMP is urging photographers to take the following action:
If you live in New York, contact your state senator and state representative. If you live elsewhere, write to the sponsors of the bill: Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (email [email protected], fax 518-455-5752) and Senator Martin Golden (webmail www.senatorgolden.com/send_email.asp, fax 518-426-6910). Express your concern as a commercial photographer and interested party, and point out that this legislation would affect everyone who does business in NY, not just NY residents.
[tags]stock photography, ASMP[/tags]