posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 05:30 PM
I would like to comment on Kevin Leininger’s column of 7-15-08. Given the amount of material and limited space, the article for the most part was
accurate. The US Supreme Court as well as Federal Courts has ruled numerous times that photography/videotaping is protected free speech. Anyone has
the Constitutional Right to photograph/videotape ANYTHING that can be seen from public property. However, even though you have the right to do so, you
may not have the right to sell it. In order to sell an image, performance, dance, choreography, etc, one must obtain the permission of the owner. In
the case of Northrop, they needed the written permission of every singer, dancer, musician, the owner of the music song during the show and any
copyrighted material used.
What Northrop and Huntington Media Services did was to sell without permission the performers work/property. In simple terms they pirated the
property of others for personal gain. The video contract did not give the Videogropher exclusive rights.
When entering Northrop there were no visible signs. The signs were on the doors to the gym and auditorium that were either too far away, blocked by
people waiting to enter or the doors were open facing another door to be seen. I walked in with a camera case and tripod clearly visible. No one at
the admittance table said a word to me about no videotaping until after I had paid and walked a third of the way across the commons.
A volunteer said they were recording the performances and that I was more than welcome to buy a DVD. I replied “we will see about that.” A
performance was taking place. I waited with my mom. Sgt. Glock came up behind and said “If I catch you videotaping I will arrest you.” He did not
provide his name or badge number and did not know if any release forms had been signed. The doors to the gym opened, my mom went in front of me and I
followed. I did not push by anyone. Mr. HARTZLER, volunteer, in his deposition stated “There was no physical contact, but his demeanor indicated
to me that he was, seemed angry to me. I mean, he seemed agitated, but other than simply brushing past me, you know, he didn't make any kind of
aggressive move towards me, other than to, you know, dismissively push past me.” "They don't have the right to record my daughter's image," and
continued on into the gym.”
I sat down, placed the tripod and camera case on the floor under the chair. Neither my wife nor I had signed a consent and release to sell my
daughter’s property rights. With about five minutes before the next show was scheduled to begin, I got up to speak with a Northrop official.
Kevin Demerell’s deposition states I asked “Where did we have permission to video tape his daughter? Where had he signed off that we had the
right to use his daughter's image for this tape that was going to be sold?” Damerell first stated it was probably part of the application to
compete; then it was the choir director who authorized it; then it was you can remove your daughter from the show. The fact is Damerell did not see
the video contract until August 2007 and the application to compete has not been found. Why did Damerell keep trying to BS his way? Why not just say
“I do not know, but I will try and find out and get back with you.” Damerell says there were never any raised voices, “Speaking for a number of
minutes, he was not combative, he was just argumentative.”
No, we were merely having a question. He was, as I read this over, he was, I guess, trying to find legal loop holes as to "Where did I give
permission for my daughter's image? What gives you the right?" I did write, he was making comments that he would sue us, which my reaction has
always been, we kind of talked, if somebody wants to contact an attorney, feel free. We are not going to change our actions because you are
threatening us. “
Best Regards William R. Larsen