“Pro” Photography Must Die

The tyranny of professional “Cap-P” photography has finally reached oblivion. It is irredeemable and we should let it burn.

Pathetic. Midnight legislation, snuck through on an unrelated spending bill during the holidays. They act as if something has been won. Nothing has been won, except the seeds of their own demise.

That it was attached to a COVID relief bill is just gross. I’m ashamed to have ever been involved with ASMP.


Giving the copyright office Internet police powers and binding judgement is… I’ll just say it, it’s fascist. I do not use that word lightly. We cannot let what remains of the open web to be governed by IP and the copyright office, nor should we trade in our right to privacy, to bailout corporate content holders.

ASMP members think they can rescue their obsolete model by attaching themselves to a corporate rear guard action, that seeks to enclose the digital commons. It won’t help “pro” photographers much, as it seems mostly designed to benefit a narrow group of intellectual monopolists and bureaucracy. ASMP and other image makers were used, again.

It goes beyond media. Corporations who “own the rights” to fruit and vegetable seeds, for example, are likely patting ASMP on the head today. Same for pharma executives, who wish to mark up prices 1000%. Many will continue to underpay corporatist photographers or force bad agreements that strip them of their copyright, by the way.

Association photographers are blaming random users for their own failures, and for the sins of corporate media. Emerging photographers sucked into this and who went into student debt for something that’s now learned free elsewhere, won’t make their money back with this.

They won’t win respect or mainstream relevancy with this, either. Respect is earned. What’s relevant is fickle. For “pro” photographers, the golden age was many yesterday’s ago. Photography, like a bar, is the wrong place to look for love, anyway.

An individuals intellectual monopoly – this includes corporations, with their “personhood” status – was never meant to scale globally. It can’t, even with surveillance and strong enforcement, which is what deluded globalist photogs now demand. And to think it should, somehow, was always naive or oppressive.

Given that reality, how is the CASE Act applicable or even remotely enforeable on a global scale, where a bulk of infringement occurs? Hint: It’s not. Attempts to do so will be rightly seen as the digital version of colonial aggression. It will barely be enforceable here in the States.

21st Century technology has never been compatible with 20th Century IP norms


I would warn that you should be careful of what you upload, download, and stream. Because white male photographers – most of what ASMP is unless much has changed – feel entitled to lord over a democratic medium, and are out for blood.

At most, they’ll entangle an innocent or ignorant grandma and small businesses, because corporate infringers have enough money and attorney power to avoid this silly bit of desperation theater.

Akin to the RIAA’s aggressive tactics, it will backfire. Similar to how alcohol prohibition failed miserably, file sharing will continue. But the sad thing is, innocents or the naive will either have to fork over money they don’t have or lose internet access, without fair trial or right of appeal. If this sounds unconstitutional to you, you’re right.

Proponents of this monster will say they’re only going after people who seek to profit from infringement. But as the linked cases above show, reality is different.

As for so-called “pirates” who have any modicum of sophistication, they will continue to do what they’re doing:

VPN + Tor. Encryption. Mirror and onion sites. File to China, India, or Pakistan. Pay BTC to a programming wiz to strip DMCA from the file. Write content tracking blockers, etc.

Indeed, using IP addresses to identify people is a broken methodology, anyway. ASMP flunkees and their copyright office buddies would have been wise not to try.

Those of us not “infringing”, someone like me and who once had a moderate view, but who now find copyright intolerable and a threat to a sustainable future, will continue to migrate to open source systems. So more brain drain from the legacy system.

Abolish copyright. It’s the only sane thing to do now.

ASMP, as a former associate member, I know that you’ve been in decline for years. Portland chapter meetings were like group therapy sessions. It was sad. End your denial and pull the plug already. Stop wasting membserhip dues, by lobbying for a digital dystopia. It’s painful to watch you do this to yourself. This is bad for photography, too, supposing that you actually care about that.

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