PSP's New Photography Policy Places Strict Limitations on Photographers
Social Paintball

PSP’s New Photography Policy Places Strict Limitations on Photographers

It’s a sad day for freelance photographers within the paintball industry. Due to a recent quarrel between PSP’s Chief Operating Officer, Lane Wright and freelance photographer Skip Hickey; there will be strict limitations on photographers at all future PSP events.

For several years, photographers have been allowed to photograph players during tournament matches. The only requirement to photograph divisional and professional games was a Press Badge, which was easy to come by for freelancers. Now, the PSP organization looks to make the opportunity to film/photograph their events more exclusive. Lane Wright had this to say, “We will hold the copyrights to all photos of the events. We will license the photographers to sell these photos on their websites. But we will maintain the right to use the photos of our events in any manner we choose.”

Without the possibility of paying a freelance photographer to take pictures, this of course sheds a dark cloud over divisional teams that do not receive top notch media coverage from official PSP photographers, as professional players do.

The full quoted statement from Lane Wright:

[quote]This is to let all photographers know there will be a new policy released very soon regarding how PSP will handle photograhers at our tournaments.

Today we were threatened with legal action over a photo taken by a photographer and supplied to a players Facebook page. The player gave us the photo to use in an article about his team. The photographer claims we “took” it, owe him for “damages”, and started quoting copyright laws and threatening court dates.

That’s just too much for me.

We will now be allowing far fewer photographers at the events. Far fewer!! We will hold the copyrights to all photos of the events. We will license the photographers to sell these photos on their websites. But we will maintain the right to use the photos of our events in any manner we choose.

For the few photographers who are given access, you will have a very captive client base. It will be much easier for you to get good shots. It will be much easier for you to recoup your expenses. The sidelines will be less chaotic. The photographers will be less likely to interfere with players, referees, and the running of the games.

For the magazines and websites that cover the events. PSP will now provide you with all the pictures you will need of the events. We will provide them to the genuine promotional outlets for free or at most for a nominal amount to cover our cost of providing them.

For the teams – Do not book any photographer for the event until they appear on the PSP approved photographer list. You do so at your own risk. No matter what they may tell you, they are not granted access until they are on the PSP Approved Access list that we will generate prior to the events.

I have tried to put aside my disdain for the self righteous and cavalier attitude of amateur photographers posing as the “media” in paintball. Most only take pictures and sell them on their website. Once they start to threaten legal action for our using a photo of a player provided to us by this player, things have to change.

To the few photo guys out there with genuine interests in the sport, I apologize. I tried to maintain the silliness for as long as I could. But when these PhotoMob guys start to threaten lawsuits and court dates over a photo on a website promoting a team on a webcast that I’ve spent $350,000+ on and give to the community for free, and his photo buddies want to champion his litigious behavior, I have to go another direction.

It will take a week to sort out the details. When the details are sort WE will get in touch with the people we WANT on the fields. There is no need to start sending emails. They won’t be responded to.

I hate that it has come to this. But I have more important things to deal with than being threatened with civil action by a damn photographer. Again, I apologize to the few of you that are good guys. We’ll try to include you in the new access policy.


To view the discussion, please visit:

  • Austin

    As a photographer, this is so annoying. I could understand if the photographers owned the right to their pictures, and allowed the leagues to use their photos, however this is just going to lead to the tournaments hiring their own contracted photographers to keep everything in house which may actually lead to the destruction of freelance photography.. Sad day indeed.

    BTW Byron, love the articles you write, keep up the good job man!

    • Stacy Slaughter

      Byron, I love the articles I’m extremly proud of you….Keep up the excellent work!

  •!/profile.php?id=1791401045 Joshua Phillips

    First of all, I can understand the reasoning behind this move; however, it seems as if the new rules would make actually getting photos out there for websites and players will be much harder. Anything shot by an approved photographer should be the property of said photographer. Once they give the photos to somone else, as long as they are properly credited, there is no reason they should not be able to be used for articles, advertisements etc. I shoot almost all the photography taken at my local field, post theem to our facebook, and tag the players – I have never recieved compensation for my work simply because I love doing it and I want to help grow the sport in our area. When people loose sight of the original goal it is truly saddening.

    • Aaron

      For quite a while I was taking photos at the local fields and posting them online for free and letting people do what they wanted with them, even taking hours to edit the exceptional ones that everybody enjoyed. But now photography is my profession and it’s not the same case.

      For a lot of people it is just a passion, but for others, like myself, not only is it a passion, but our profession and we need to make money just like any other person with a job.

  • James Kilburg

    Unfortunately when it comes to the almighty dollar people sacrifice principals for cash. I feel bad for Lane and the photographers that actually did their part to grow the sport with awesome pictures and graphics. Though unfortunately it was bound to happen. Good thing now is that you weed out the elitists who think the photos belong to them.

    Also if I am not mistaken of every person you take a photo of you need some sort of photo release waiver otherwise those photo were taken illegally (In theory).

    Good job photographer guy… Hope the photo was worth it.

    • James Kilburg

      I suppose I should have waited to see what other people posted to get a full understanding.

      I suppose I am pulling a Benedict Arnold on my position here but I do have to agree with the photographers. Based off of a few of the commenters a photographer’s lively hood is taking pictures. If you remove that right then you remove their chance to profit.

      Unfortunately the situation could have always been managed in a different way to not bring around these results by either discussing it before bringing it to litigation. However it seems to be to late for that.

      Unfortunately what this does as a whole is stain paintball. The sport is based off of having fun and enjoying the sport but now with the boost in popularity it has become a torrent of egos battling one another.

  • Aaron

    The fact that an organization like this, who works closely with the media outlets in the paintball industry, didn’t think to check with the copyright holder before hand is beyond me. Now they’re coming down on every photographers head, because of a mistake they made themselves.

    “We will provide them to the genuine promotional outlets for free or at most for a nominal amount to cover our cost of providing them.” Now they just wiped out a perfectly good market for photographers to be able to profit off of their own photos by marketing them to the major media outlets.

    I could easily go on about almost every other comment Lane made, but I’ll hold off. I just hope this whole thing blows up in their face and not a single photographer shows up at their events until they change things for the better.

  • André Garrido

    Sorry for asking this… but isn’t the photographer right?
    His work is used by a huge paintball firm… Shouldn’t he be paid?

    He can give permission for one person to use but that doesn’t mean that everyone else can use it!!!

    Shouldn’t PSP asked for permission?

    I don’t get this mentality where the worker should give all the work for free…

    “We will hold the copyrights to all photos of the events. We will license the photographers to sell these photos on their websites. But we will maintain the right to use the photos of our events in any manner we choose.”

    And after that:
    “We will provide them to the genuine promotional outlets for free or at most for a nominal amount to cover our cost of providing them.”

    So… they get the pics for free but after that they can sell them to magazines for the work? And the work of the photogapher?!?!?!?!

    Come on…

    • Aaron

      The photographer was 100% correct in this situation. He gave consent for the individual and his team to use the photo, but he would have had to give consent separately to those within the PSP to use the photo as well. The fact that they did not have permission makes them 100% at fault for what they did.

  • Sqyire

    Video is just a series of photos.. wonder if this new policy will cover videographers as well??

  • James

    This really disgusts me. I’ve shot NPPL and PSP events, they used to be fun. Now both leagues are instating ridiculous media policies and trying to basically steal our work by holding the copyrights. I for one will be boycotting the PSP and NPPL until policies are put in place that don’t involve theft.

  • Dustin Holst

    Kinda depends on the situation, is PSP Charging more media pass? if they are they have no right to the pictures inless they are being paid for. If Access is givin free of charge, stipulation could be the free use of the images. Any time an image is published, The photographer Has to be given credit for his work! I am paintball photographer, have shot at many events in Canada, and a few international events. Normally I do not charge for my work, but still credit is due when deserved!

    • bob

      Fascism has now reached paintball. GO AMERICA GO.

    • steve davidson

      I don’t know the details (looking into them right now) – but if a photograph taken by ANY individual (professional or not) was used in a commercial video by the PSP without asking permission to do so, it is indeed copyright infringement.

      I’m curious about a couple of things revealed by this incident: first – how the PSP is going to “take ownership” of photos taken by private individuals (mom and dad in the stands) and how the PSP intends to force private individuals to give up the copyrights to their materials: you can keep someone out of an event; you can even make them pay a fee to come in and take photosl you can ban all cameras – but you can’t seize someone’s property. Are they going to confiscate all cell phones at the door?

      The second is this question: if PSP is going to “own” all photography and video of PSP events and provide it for distribution for the purpose of either making money, publicizing their events or both – are they having every single player and spectator sign a release form prior to attending?

      I know I’d be pretty miffed if the central promotional image for the series was a picture of me playing and I didn’t see a dime out of it – couldn’t even get a copy unless the PSP decided to ‘give’ me one….

      • Miguel C

        Does anyone know exactly what happened, or can refer me to another article….

        • LP

          I have know Lane for years now and can tell you, in the heat of the moment Lane will do anything in his power to dunk on anyone hes scrapping with but at the end of the day hes a fair man. Look for this conflict to be resolved with professionalism and mutual respect. Inside industry personnel has been attacking each other for to long. Were all in the same boat here people, let all of our actions reflect whats best for the sport of paintball.

        • eric

          as far as them owning copyrights they may want to read the digital copyright law.

          As photographers, the moment you press the shutter you have taken a copyrightable image. At the moment of capture the work is copyrighted. In most cases the photographer is the copyright holder. The exceptions are employees where the company owns the work, and photographers who have signed a work for hire agreement. Since the work is copyrighted at the moment of capture, work for hire agreements are not enforceable unless they are signed BEFORE the capture of the image. The law is very clear on this.

          • Aaron

            Technically a photo or any thing you create is not actually copyrighted the moment of creation. To be legally copyrighted it has to be registered with the Library of Congress. Although it’s a cheap and streamlined process nowadays. Regardless of whether you have actually registered them though, it is still easy to have these cases ruled in your favor.

        • Asher Thompson

          This is a horrible thing to happen…. If they were intending on using the image, they should have ASKED!! I’m a photographer and I know that this should NEVER happen!! Lane, you should know better!! Just ASK and he would have probably given you permission to use it with a little bit of credit for fair share…

        • Jamestwdm

          one person kills it for everyone

        • Jake

          unfair tbh

          • eric

            i dont care if it is the first photo you have ever taken no one has the right without you giving them the right to use it,as a hobby or a pro they all are photos that fall under the digital photo copyright law.which as i said before gives the photographer copyright ownership as soon as the shutter is pressed.

            • eric

              protected under U.S. Copyright Law. The rights belong to the originating photographer. Title 17 of the United States Code, Sections 106, 106A and 107 clearly define the ownership of images under the 1976 Copyright Act. Section 504 defines the penalties of willful violation of these laws. Penalties may range from $750 to $150,000 per image. An internet gallery does not qualify as a resignation of copyright. Ripping down an image and displaying it on a different website without authorization or compensation does qualify as a copyright violation.

        • Dale Ford

          Lane being his usual charming self….

        • Steven

          Or, instead of trying to milf photographers for money, you could just put a stipulation in the press bage agreement saying that the PSP has full rights over any photos taken at their events. Then you get to shut the photographers up and you don’t ruin freelance photography in paintball.

          • eric

            you go spend your money and time doing photos all day and then you cant do anything with them,if you say that you would then the psp will use guys like you to shoot their events. it would be a cold day in hell before i would do this not unless they put me on the payroll then i would be glad to agree to those terms.

          • Aaron

            If they added a stipulation of that sort, it would still kill the market for photographers. If the photographer does not have the rights to their own photographs they are unable to market them, unless they first come to an agreement with the organization. And the hassle that this would create, with how many people would be fighting for their copyright licenses at once would be enormous.

        • Steven


        • Ben Chierici

          thats dumb

        • Craig

          I just loved when Lane said, “I tried to maintain the silliness for as long as I could.”

        • Brent

          I am a working pro photographer, Photographers have full ownership of every image they shoot. Every image I shoot is my personal property unless otherwise negotiated with a client. Whatever you decide Lane make sure its100% legal ! I would seek advisement on the legal rights of pro photographers specifically image wrights and terms of usage. I know you’l do whats right for your league.