How Ted Koppel and ABC TV Tried to Steal my Life Work

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By Nate Thayer

December 8, 2013

I am banned by legal agreement to write the following: ABC Television/ Disney Corporation, after seven years in court, where they attempted to bankrupt me and ruin my reputation for objecting to them stealing fifteen years of my life work, buckled and paid me. They have the legal right to take back the money they finally paid me–which actually all went to lawyers and taxes–if I open my mouth.

Fuck them.

Good luck getting blood from a stone while trying to attempt to muzzle a free person in a free society while claiming you are an icon of the free press and free speech

So here goes…..

http://natethayer.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/how-ted-koppel-and-abc-tv-tried-to-steal-my-life-work/

Thx, Julian

There Are 4 Comments On This Article.

  1. While the internet has made stealing so much easier and commonplace, it has also made it harder to get away with it. If Thayer had done the story today, and posted the content to a personal blog that people knew about and followed, he’d have a much easier case to sue and get a jury award like Daniel Morel did.

  2. The blog post describes that Koppel “flew to Bangkok to view the video and signed a written contract for “North American video rights only for 7 days.”

    Past reporting of this describes a *verbal* deal between Thayer and Koppel:

    “Thayer…now accuses ABC of breaking verbal agreements, stealing his story…”
    http://ajrarchive.org/Article.asp?id=2282

    “Ted Koppel of ABC News flew to Bangkok from Washington, and he returned home with a copy of my videotape. I gave it to him in exchange for his strict promise that its only use would be on “Nightline.” ”
    http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/101508/Freelancers-Vital-Role-in-International-Reporting.aspx

    “Thayer claims he never received a written contract and was not paid his fee until 10 months later…”
    http://www.theguardian.com/media/2002/nov/18/broadcasting

    Whether the agreement is in writing or verbal, of course, does not excuse a broken agreement, but it does have a profound effect on the lessons we should take from this and how we should read Thayer’s account of events. If there was a written contract signed by Koppel, no fuck-the-establishment tell all is complete without posting it.

  3. I wish more people would be getting the real moral of the story, which would be to ALWAYS demand to get paid upfront before releasing images to big news agencies/corporations/ad agencies or any client for that matter (who have the ability and means to transfer large amounts of money very quickly – ever hear of a wire transfer!). We as photographers have created this standard of ‘photos now, payment later’. Shame on us! We have no one to blame but ourselves for creating and feeding the beast we now all complain about. Lets be the change we want to see and create a new standard of payment. NO MONEY = NO PICTURES. If Thayer were smart he would have contacted ALL of the media outlets and let them create a bidding war over his work. Photographers don’t realize how powerful we really are. When you hold the only copy of something it’s the simple law of supply and demand. Photojournalists have the power to leverage the news media in their favor – they just don’t.