Monday, November 26, 2007

Photographers from five newspapers barred from high school football title games in Illinois

A few weeks ago, we reported a lawsuit filed by the Illinois Press Association and others challenging new credential policies limiting secondary use of sports photos taken at high school athletic events, a recent issue in several states. The IPA withdrew its suit on Nov. 16 after a compromise was struck with the Illinois High School Association for media access at the state's football championships. But when photographers from five newspapers showed up in Champaign to cover the games this weekend, IHSA officials told them to stay out, the National Press Photographers Association reports. These were the five newspapers that refused to sign an agreement pledging not to sell images from IHSA events, reports The Pantagraph of Bloomington.

"Staff photographers from The Pantagraph and four other newspapers were told by IHSA officials that their newspapers had violated the association's policy regarding secondary sales of images from state tournament events, and therefore they were banned from having access to the field," NPPA reports. (Read more) The other newspapers barred were the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, the Northwest Herald of Crystal Lake, the State Journal-Register of Springfield and the Peoria Journal Star. The IHSA said the newspapers were informed ahead of time about the ban, but a report from The Daily Herald said the newspaper did not receive such notification. The article went on to ask readers, parents and fans to send their photos to The Daily Herald.

The Panatagraph had come to cover Bloomington’s Central Catholic High School in the Class 4A title game, and its Web site includes a photo gallery from that game. Its story on the IHSA ban does not say how the paper's photographer gained field access. For a story by Steve Bauer of The News-Gazette of Champaign, click here.

IPA attorney Don Craven told the Pantagraph that IHSA officials “want to use the market that community newspapers have built over the last decades on high school sports and use it for their own benefit. The thought of anybody controlling the use of a newspaper’s photographs — other than the newspapers themselves — is not something that Illinois newspapers are willing to put up with.” For the IPA's detailed take on the issue, click here.

IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman replied, While the Illinois Press Association has indicated its willingness to compromise on this matter, its actions have spoken much louder than its words. We asked the IPA to have its members refrain from selling photos of our events while we continued to work to resolve this issue. We presented the IPA with a proposal nearly two weeks ago and they have yet to respond.” (Read more)

One newspaper finessed the issue. See its comment below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We found a simple way to get around our state's prohibition - we give the championship photos away to people who bought from us during the regular season (which is not regulated). It builds goodwill with readers, plus cuts into the association's take. A win-win, you might call it. And we don't lose all that much revenue anyway.