DMLA Letter of Opposition to Alabama SB197

April 27, 2015


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April 27, 2015

State Capitol
Montgomery, Alabama 36130

RE: Opposition to SB197

Dear Speaker ___________:

I am writing in opposition to Alabama Senate Bill SB 197, including an overbroad amendment which is being supported by the NFL Players Association. This amendment would cause serious economic impact to the image licensing industry in Alabama and unconstitutionally deprive Alabama photographers and film owners the right to exploit their property and copyright interests in their still and motion images. This amendment makes illegal the long established business practice of licensing and selling visual images to the media and to the public. This bill will cause needless and expensive litigation and will have a chilling effect on the licensing and use of photographs, expressive works entitled to full first amendment protection.

Importantly, this amendment would make the sale, license to display, distribution of all photographs depicting a recognizable person illegal. All photographs would be a replica of a Person’s Indicia of Identity.

The proposed amendment, Section 4 (b)((2), eliminates the constitutionally protected exemptions for expressive works, such as photographs and audiovisual works by excluding works where “ the use in an Artistic Work is such a replica as to constitute a copy of the Person’s Indicia of Identity.”.

Section 2(1) of the bill, defines a “Person’s Indicia of Identity” to include “those attributes of a person that serve to identify that person to an ordinary, reasonable viewer or listener, including, but not limited to, name, signature, photograph, image, likeness, voice, or a substantially similar imitation of one or more of those attributes.”

The need for permissions as required in this bill will increase the costs of licensing images. In these challenging economic times for photographers, their licensing representatives and the media industry, we should not be burdening the owners of the images and the media companies who purchase them with increased fees for previously permitted uses. The end result will be fewer images licensed, and fewer jobs in Alabama.

For the above stated reasons, urge you not to pass SB197 as amended by the Players Association.