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Site Updated: 5/22/09
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Article: Legal Issues adding video to Pro DSLR's?

Posted 1/12/09 by

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Some people love having video in DSLR's, some hate the idea. With the recent announcements from the memory card makers about bigger and faster cards, they are certainly betting video is here to stay.

There are also many pro photojournalists who will embrace video, especially with the advent of YouTube, along with many traditional newspapers struggling with their print editions and focusing more on their websites. The ability to post a short video of a covered event or news item, natural disaster, riot or war-zone would be invaluable. Many sites are already publishing short videos made by their readers with cell phones, so having the ability for your photographer to also come back with some short HD video clips for your website is a huge advantage.

However there are other considerations, as pointed out in a post on today. The rumor is about the potential launch of a new pro Canon body in the near future. There are always rumors of new gear, however what makes this rumor potentially interesting, is the fact that a pro photographer bringing a DSLR with Video into a sporting event may have legal implications the example cited in the post is that Canon is waiting to hear back from FIFA to see if allowing DSLR's with Video would infringe on the television rights and contracts with broadcasters before they can release the camera. Presumably FIFA isn't the only organization that may have issues in this regard; in fact this could apply to any pro sporting event.

If this is really an issue, this could have major implications for the next generation of DSLR's. Adding video to a Nikon D3 is clearly something an important segment of the market wants, but not if it means pro's can no longer use that camera at sporting events. Does this mean Nikon would have to release 2 cameras, a D3 without video and a D3v with video? Will major sporting events start banning pros with certain DSLR's? As lines between still and video cameras blur (Red is going the other way, adding still capture to their video cameras), it also means contracts relating to broadcast rights and image publishing rights will have to be rewritten or revised to address a new reality. It also has a major impact on the future pro DSLR line-ups from all the major manufacturers.

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