This is an exciting time to be a photographer in America!
Just a few days after Inauguration, the Obama Administration quietly created the Presidential Digital Imaging and Photography Commission. This blue ribbon panel of industry experts was tasked with devising market incentives, rather than bailouts, for the photography industry, in an effort to keep major camera companies from bankruptcy. The Commission made public their plan this morning, and the Obama Administration has put all recommendations of the commission on a fast track, scheduling a special session of Congress to enact the new laws in time to benefit those who have not yet filed their income tax returns. From President Obama, in London to attend the G-20 meetings:
“Tough economic times and crisis call for creative and aggressive solutions. Today, the DIP Comission, which I formed two months ago expressly to save the photography industry during this financial crisis, charted a new path and created new tools with which photography professionals can do their part to rebuild our economy and avert the crisis.”
Some notable elements of the DIP Commission’s plan are:
Tax credits. New tax incentives are now established for the purchase of digital imaging equipment, retroactive to January 1, 2008. Specifically, purchase of digital cameras, lenses and tripods can take advantage of a 45% credit on 2008 and future income tax returns. This means that, if you have not yet filed your 2008 tax return, you are eligible for a tax credit equal to nearly half the purchase price of new camera equipment purchased in the last 16 months. Unlike some tax credits which are gradually phased out with income, this egalitarian credit is available even if you did not owe any taxes in 2007 or 2008.
Travel vouchers. Expenses for photography-related travel will now be reimbursed through the Congressional Office of Tourism and Travel. “In these difficult times, we in Washington understand that it is difficult for struggling photographers to afford both quality equipment and the travel expense required to make fine photographs. The federal government is stepping up, doing its part and becoming a partner in the photography travel industry. If you’ve got a camera, we’ll get you where you need to be to get that once-in-a-lifetime shot!” said Gilsten Marsten, assistant deputy vice director of the Office of Tourism and Travel. To apply for reimbursement up to $12,500 per trip, a traveler needs to provide copies of receipts along with the COTT reimbursement application. A one-time exception to the receipt requirement is permitted whereby travelers can simply provide a letter of participation from their workshop leader.
DIP-STOCK, a New Internet Stock Photography Agency. The DIP Commission, along with the U.S. Copyright Office, is forming a new stock photography agency “DIP-STOCK”, inspired in part by the “Hope” poster, the Obama campaign graphic created by innovative and original leading edge artist Shepard Fairy and some photographer. The essence of this innovative new plan is to leverage new and innovative copyright regulations to form a innovative, expansive and worldwide stock photography agency positioned to compete in innovative ways with industry giants such Gettty Images. Effective April 1, 2009 and retroactive to January 1 2008, all images posted on the internet are eligible to be represented by DIP-STOCK. By posting images on the World Wide Wide (invented by Al Gore who has now ceded majority control to President Obama), all rights to the image are implicitly transferred to DIP-STOCK. Licensing revenues based on these images will be used primarily to expand the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) in coming months and to facilitate employee retention at such strategically crucial companies as AIG and Madoff Funds. (A small portion of each photo sale will be placed in escrow to cover legal representation for certain, i.e., most, of the Administration’s Cabinet members.) DIP-STOCK’s automated search bot, DIP-Finder, which has been crawling the internet acquiring images for the past two months, has slurped full rights to 73% of the images currently on the internet.
Kevster Glossten, director and CEO of DIP-STOCK: “This is indeed an exciting time to be a photographer. The Administration has developed new copyright tools that allow us unprecedented opportunity in this time of crisis. By simply posting an image to the internet, perhaps on a blog or as part of an online photo collection with Flacker or Yophoto, photographers automatically become ‘members’ of the largest stock photo agency in the world. If you have a website already, your images are already in place in the DIP-STOCK library. Photographers continue to retain the right to print their images on their home inkjets, as they always have! DIP-STOCK will now handle all other bothersome licensing matters using industry-accepted emerging market microstock pricing models. And, as a special value-added service for professionals, there is no need to update records for images already registered with the copyright office — rights for these images were transferred to DIP-STOCK automatically last week. By granting DIP-STOCK exclusive rights to manage the licensing of all of their online photos, photographers are now contributing to the economic recovery. And sometimes photographers receive a photo credit! It is a win-win situation for everyone, and helps to fight the economic crisis.”
Further information about these and other exciting developments in the federal photography funding and acquisition initiative is available on the Presidential Digital Imaging and Photography Commission’s website: www.dip.gov.
No guarantee, warranty or trustee is offered for the truthiness of this release.