Something for bird-photographers to note

Subject: Something for bird-photographers to note
From: Craig Williams <>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2005 17:49:57 +1100
An extremely interesting topic under discussion here.  So perhaps it's
time to get stuck into the truth, and associated nuts and bolts of real
policy.  I would suggest anyone concerned take a look at the following
link to NPWS policy on the matter.

Oh, and of course there's the argument that WE THE PUBLIC ALREADY PAY
FOR TAX-OFFSETTING available to businesses who wish to source images in
national parks: I reckon the cost implications of any NPWS policies on
commercial photography can be minimised - see your accountant for more
information!!! If, as a commercial operator, you have to pay $200 for a
licence in order to make your income, then you can claim it as a tax
deduction.  In any case the costs for small scale photography are
minimal: here's a quotation from the relevant policy document:-

"What does it cost?
An Annual Photographic Licence costs $275.
The cost of a Licence can be reduced to $110
where agreement is reached between the photographer
and the DEC for the limited use of some
of the photographer's images in not-for-profi t
Depart-ment of Environment and Conservation
public-ations (eg park brochures; annual report).
This arrangement is only available where the
photographer holds copyright over images which
are of interest and potential use for DEC
publications. The needs of the DEC will vary but
it is unlikely that wedding photos will be
required. The agreement is negotiated on a case
by case basis between the photographer and the
Service Film and Photo-graphy Coordinator.
Copyright remains with the photographer and
the use of the image(s) by the DEC (ie
publication) is generally restricted to a period of
no more than two years from the date of
receiving the images. For full terms and
conditions refer to the Standard Conditions."

Note that the annual licence fee includes the cost of park entry!!!! 
Altogether a super deal so far as I can see.  Certainly not a convincing
reason for any "commercial"/"entrepreneurial" type to go on a rant about
the harm done to wildlife because they can't, officially at least, get
free access to public resources.

The story is naturally somewhat more complex for major film production
activities; in NSW, consider the
Filming Approval Act 2004.  My impression is that the NPWS is not
draconian in its articulation, administration and enforcement of film
and photography policies: in other words it is, quite appropriately,
just like any other commercial context where prior negotiation is

And my rant: just because we ALL pay for these places does not mean,
necessarily, that we are willing to allow anyone wanting to make a fast
buck to exploit national parks as their own free resource park. And, of
course, many of us will be aware of the risks to wildlife from
intensification of certain human activities of any kind, photography
included.  I've even heard it said that lists such as this one can pose
risks to wildlife and sensitive locations: some innocent/naive person
out there might think a posting about a rare bird sighting is
appropriate, well and good, but specific detailing of locations has led
to situations where suddenly thirty people arrive at a previously quiet,
secure location and set up camp, disrupting the birds and, therefore
assorted others who are not there to capture images, but to quietly
watch without snapping shots.  Sometimes there are more photographers
shooting or trying to shoot painted snipe at Ash Island than there are
painted snipe.  

Get the picture.

cheers all

Craig Williams

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