LPGA policy fails to make the cut
The organization wants control over all stories and photographs that come out of its events
Today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin does not include photos or other news coverage of Michelle Wie or other golfers at the LPGA Fields Open in Hawaii tournament because of new restrictions put in place by the LPGA.
The Star-Bulletin, along with the Associated Press and other news organizations, has refused to sign a credential form with the new restrictions on stories and photos.
"The LPGA would require us to let them use our photos forever, for free," said Frank Bridgewater, editor of the Star-Bulletin, "and we would have to ask its permission if we wanted to use our own photos in the future."
The LPGA would also be able to use the paper's stories at no charge forever, he said, and would force the paper to gather all releases needed -- covering such areas as copyrights, trademarks, right of publicity and right of privacy -- whenever the LPGA chose to use Star-Bulletin material.
"We will not sign a form that places limits on how we can use our own photos," Bridgewater said, "or that allow others to have any control over our stories."
The pro-am tournament was held yesterday, while the Fields Open starts today.
Without an agreement, AP sports editor Terry Taylor said the AP also will not provide photos or other news coverage of LPGA events but will carry final scores.
The LPGA said the restrictions were in line with other pro sports organizations and would not limit newsgathering access, but were "designed to maintain and protect the LPGA's existing rights regarding images used for commercial purposes unrelated to news coverage."
Dave Tomlin, the AP's assistant general counsel, said the LPGA was not addressing the issues.
"While the LPGA's revised terms don't limit access, they severely limit our use of our own photos," Tomlin said. "If we ever wanted to use an AP photo from an LPGA event for anything but illustration of a news story about that particular event, we'd have to ask for permission. I'm not aware of any other league that has demanded such a condition for obtaining credentials. And LPGA's demand for unlimited free use of our LPGA photos and stories is just as unprecedented and just as unacceptable. We want to cover LPGA events, but not at this cost."
Tomlin said the AP had no objections to limits on commercial use of its coverage, which all leagues forbid, "but the LPGA credential still limits our editorial use to illustration of stories about the event actually depicted in the image."
"If a golfer is photographed at the Fields Open, for example, and two months later is involved in a boating accident or is otherwise in the news, use of the Fields image to illustrate that subsequent story would require LPGA permission."