Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wildlife photography and Lyme Disease

Deer TickAre you a wildlife photographer? Do you photograph wildlife in the Eastern half of the United States, especially in the Northeast, or along US west coast? Perhaps you're making wildlife photographs in Europe? If you photograph wildlife in those areas you're photographing in locales where Deer Ticks live out their two year life cycle.

I'm not suggesting you skip wildlife shooting in areas which have deer ticks. I enjoy more than 100 sessions each year in those areas, and in fact, after shoots, about once a year, I've found deer ticks under my clothing.

This article is intended to inform you about deer ticks and Lyme Disease, how to hopefully prevent yourself from being infected, recognize if you're infected, and if infected, what to do to minimize the effects of Lyme Disease.

Update on Taylor Swift's contract for concert photographers

Taylor Swift in Concert - Copyright © 2015 GabboTIn my article last month about music superstar, Taylor Swift, I wrote a highly critical piece about Swift and the contract she required photographers of her concerts to sign. I called Swift a hypocrite?

In late June, Swift wrote an open letter to Apple Inc. explaining why she was holding back her album “1989” from Apple Music, the new Apple streaming service.

In the letter, Swift decried Apple Music's free three month trial policy, during which they were not going to pay royalties to the musicians, writers, producers and others for playing any music. Swift said of Apple's decision,

“I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company [Apple]. …Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”

Most people in the arts including me, and the general public thought Swift was dead-on. Soon after Swift made her letter to Apple public, the company announced they changed their policy and would pay the royalties after all.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Finance update for travelers to Greece - July 17, 2015

The Parthenon temple on the Athenian Acropolis in Athens GreeceAfter the Greek Parliament passed the first hurdle, passing legislation, getting 229 out of 300 possible votes for the austerity measures, as required under the €96 billion bailout plan to start its implementation, the European Central Bank authorized an emergency loan of somewhat under €1 billion, which would help the quickly dwindling physical cash situation in Greece, but do little else.

The IMF (International Monetary Fund), currently owed about €32 billion by Greece immediately called for significant debt restructuring in the final deal for the €96 billion bailout plan, which is essential to the success of the bailout, in my opinion, or the Greek Eurozone crisis will be back in short order.

Later yesterday European Union finance ministers approved a €7 billion series of bridge loans to Greece to allowing it to make a bond payment to the ECB (European Central Bank) Monday and clear its arrears with the IMF.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Finance update for travelers to Greece - July 16, 2015

The Parthenon temple on the Athenian Acropolis in Athens GreeceThe Greek Parliament has passed the first hurdle, passing legislation, getting 229 out of 300 possible votes for the austerity measures, as required under the €96 billion bailout plan which implements the start of the bailout.

But, Greek people at work, at home, and travelers enjoying the great locales, beaches, museums and historic sights the Banks will remain closed for now, and cash will be hard to come by within Greece.

The IMF (International Monetary Fund), currently owed about €32 billion by Greece is calling for significant debt restructuring in the final deal for the €96 billion bailout plan, which is essential to the success of the bailout, in my opinion, or the Greek Eurozone crisis will be back in short order. I ask if the debt Greece has now isn't sustainable, how is adding substantially to that debt and then going down the same financial road going to arrive at a different outcome. The answer is ... it can't and it isn't.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Finance update for travelers to Greece - July 13, 2015

The Parthenon temple on the Athenian Acropolis in Athens GreeceGreece has a deal, or at least the start of a deal, a €96B bailout deal after a marathon negotiating session lasting 17 hours. They will stay in the Eurozone.

Greece wanted the IMF (International Monetary Fund) out of the agreement. The IMF is owed about €32B. The EU said no and finally Greece agreed, so the IMF is part of the deal, as are all the debt holding banks, central banks, and others holding Greek debt.

A privatization fund was set up and up to €50B of Greek assets is to be put into this fund which is like a trust fund. The money while in the fund, stays in Greece, but the money is specifically to pay down debt, pay down bank recapitalization, and there is a portion for Greek growth, which is something Greece wanted and finally got. It's perhaps the single major difference between the prior plans the EU wanted and what this agreement has in it.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

UPDATE: European Parliament vote on "freedom of panorama"

Old City, Edinburgh, ScotlandToday, July 9, 2015, the European Parliament voted to remove the proposal by MEP Jean-Marie Cavada to restrict the scope of freedom of panorama in the European Union.

The result of the vote means that while the freedom of panorama won't be extended to France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Italy, which currently restrict the freedom of panorama, that restriction won't be extended to the other European countries which have instituted it to their copyright law. In other words, the status quo is preserved and while rights weren't added for those without them, they weren't taken away from those who already enjoy them.

By the time the vote was taken, the online petition calling for Cavada's attempt to restrict the freedom of panorama to be thrown out had more than a half million signatures. There was a lot of power added to those MEP's fighting in the EP to at least maintain the status quo by those signatures.

Only 40 of the 751 Members of the European Parliament voted to retain the Cavada restrictions in the proposed new copyright law.

On her website, MEP Julia Reda, who proposed to extend the freedom of panorama throughout Europe wrote, “… most Europeans will continue to be able to post selfies online and view photos of famous buildings on Wikipedia unencumbered by copyright.

We must now continue to fight for an extension of important copyright exceptions such as this one to all member states.”

The next opportunity to extend the freedom of panorama through the European Union will occur at the end of the 2015 calendar year. While many are hopeful that the vote will be positive at that time, everyone should not assume it will as the conservative faction, particularly from France and Belgium, and others scattered through the European Union will fight the proposal with all the political power they can muster.