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Exclusive: Skip Hickey’s Personal Response to the PSP

Exclusive: Skip Hickey’s Personal Response to the PSP

We’ve received a personal statement from paintball photographer Skip Hickey, in regards to a recent debacle between himself and the PSP organization.

In our previous article, Lane Wright (PSP’s Chief Operating Officer) announced publicly that he will be placing strict limitations on all future photographer requirements at national PSP events. These uptight photographer requirements were believed to be the result of Hickey’s threat to take legal action regarding a photograph the PSP organization used without Hickey’s permission. In his own words, Skip looks to provide further insight toward exactly how and why this dilemma escalated in such a way.

Skip Hickey’s Personal Response:

[quote]This letter is in regards to the recent controversy regarding the PSP (Lane Wright) and the freelance photographers, more specifically myself. I want to settle some of the confusion and correct some of the misinformation that is floating around out there.

First and foremost I want to make it very clear to everyone that at no time did I write a letter, call, or email the PSP or Lane. Nor did I mention his name or the PSP in any letter, call, or email. I cannot say at what point or why Lane got involved in this matter but that lead to some majors errors in information and communication. If the last email I wrote was the first one passed along to him then I can understand how it was received as a quick escalation. But unfortunately we will most likely never know at what point Lane got involved or what pieces of information he received as again I never sent him anything. Instead of responding personally and asking what the deal was there was no contact made and the rest is now history.

I would now like to go through my timeline and what lead up to this internet explosion.

– A couple weeks ago I see my picture being used on a website that did not pay for the photo, have the rights to use it, or even give me credit.
– Not knowing who the owner or operator of the site is I send an email to the contact on that site, info@paintballaccess.com. That email returns a few times as unable to deliver.

– I move on to the Whois information for the website and try to contact them by email on March 8th.
– I get no response from that individual so the following week I try to call their office phone number.
– The call goes to voicemail where I leave a message and never get a response.
– Finally on Tuesday the 13th I receive a message on Facebook suggesting who I should contact about the situation.
– I email those people and again never receive a response.
– Lane posts on Facebook and PbNation claiming “we were threatened with legal action”
– I have still not received any response to any of those emails or calls other than what Lane has posted publicly.

In my final email I did say I would be seeking damages, as I was frustrated with the situation and the fact that no one was bothering to respond to me. Maybe it was because they didn’t take me seriously or maybe they were just “too busy”. Either way I needed to get their attention and needed them to understand the gravity of the situation.

Somehow people seem to think that photographers are the enemy and are “self-righteous” for flying to events, sweating on the fields 12 hours a day, getting ourselves and thousands of dollars in camera gear shot up constantly, all while losing money. Somehow we are the bad ones for knowing our rights and wanting to protect our property when it is used without payment or even credit. There is a massive problem within this industry in regards to how media/ photographers and their work are handled. No matter how ugly this incident has been, if this situation has shed any light on that problem then it is a good thing. The community as a whole really needs to recognize this issue as a real problem and work to correct it. Every photographer I know has been calling for tighter restrictions on media passes for quite some time now. If the PSP needed a scapegoat in order to implement this new policy then that’s fine because it needed to be done, I have moved on and moved to Alaska.

I have yet to respond to any of the posts or accusations as I’ll be the first to admit that my PTSD from fighting in Iraq sometimes gets the better of me and I wanted to wait to respond with a level head, unlike others have. In this situation though I believe I did what I had to in order to get the attention of the people using my photograph. I tried to keep the problem private and handle it professionally by not posting anything publicly. I even wrote to them that “If you are willing to settle this outside of the legal system we may be able to do so”, leaving it open ended so that they could respond to the situation in a way that they saw fit. Instead, no one has yet replied to me or addressed my concerns personally and the whole thing was brought to light publicly by a person I did not contact, or name in anything. I would consider their course of action (or lack there-of) to be a less then professional reaction to a legitimate problem.

Many companies and teams that support the PSP have personally shown me that they understand the value of the product photographers bring to the table. I would like to thank them for their support over the years and hope that they can continue to get all of the photos they need with this new policy in place. I would like to thank Ninja, Understood, GI, Vicious, Aftershock, Upton 187, Sly, KM, Social Paintball, Propaintball.com, Paintballerschoice.com, Paintballdelivery.com, Atl Breakout, REVO, D Meyers, Avarice, Monstars, Static, Fluffy Bunnies, CFP, EDGE, Pr1me, and anyone else out there I have shot for, and who values a photographer’s work, but who I can’t remember off of the top of my head.

– Skip Hickey – [/quote]

All photos used with permission from Skipspics.com/Skip Hickey and GDT Photography.

Byron Woodfork

Born and raised in Chicago, IL. My life consists of a balance between college and paintball. When my head is not buried in overly expensive textbooks, I'm training to be the best competitive paintball player I can be.

  • Michael Wise II
    March 20, 2012

    Well worded Skip, I would have been a lot less understanding. You never once mentioned the fact the for years the PSP has charged photographers for the right to photograph events. It is so funny to see how once the line was crossed they blame the photographer instead of accepting responsibility for thier actions.

    The PSP has the right to change the rules when it comes to photographers when ever and however they like. That I do not have an issue with, the fact that a spokes person for the league has thrown a temper tantrum publicly is an imbarasment to the sport.

    I choose to stop photographing paintball all together due to how the PSP and NPPL treats photographers and how they have made it a business (by placing a price on photographing an event instead of it being earned) instead of a promotional tool.

    I will miss shooting the sport I love.

    Michael Wise formally of chrono300.com

    • Cameron Hagen
      March 20, 2012

      I would defiantly have to agree with you, I am considering other options when it comes to photography because of this issue. I am disappointed with the way it was handled, but we all will move on and see what comes of this retaliation.

      Good luck to all the photographers who enjoyed shooting PSP and NPPL events. And good luck to PSP and NPPL as well.
      I have enjoyed meeting people along this rather short journey, but it has been fun.

  • Cameron Hagen Edwards
    March 20, 2012

    Nailed it on the head Skip!

  • Justin Michael Miller
    March 21, 2012

    Glad to see the other side of the story! Sad to see such situations come up, but sometimes they need to for change to occur. Now to just hope for appropriate, respectful change…

  • Jacob Haycraft
    March 20, 2012

    couldnt of said it better myself

  • Jamestwdm
    March 20, 2012

    awesome pics and article

  • Michael Gilling
    March 20, 2012

    Was great to hear the other side of the story. Very well written and professional letter. I have never shot at a PSP or NPPL event but have always wanted to and still hope there is a chance in the future to do so. Looking forward to see what comes of the situation, that is if anything changes from what has been said so far.
    I applaud Skip for trying to be professional but in these days where an email can be read in ten different ways it is often hard to get the message across you were looking to.

  • Zach Hall
    March 21, 2012

    I have not followed photography throughout paintball over the past years, but it is a shame to see such childish behaviors when dealing with business situations. I hope this feud is settled in the near future for the benefit of PSP photographers, and the teams trying to gain more exposure!

  • Zach Hall
    March 21, 2012

    I have not followed photography throughout paintball over the past years, but it is a shame to see such childish behaviors when dealing with business situations. I hope this feud is settled in the near future for the benefit of PSP, photographers, and the teams trying to gain more exposure!

  • Kevin Moncayo
    March 22, 2012

    excelent story

  • Steve Kaltenbach
    March 24, 2012

    Great story

  • Stephen Gibson
    March 24, 2012

    They make a living too, and use without permission isn't any different than illegal music download, photos are someone else's property.

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