AP Denied Access to LPGA Tournament


KAPOLEI, Oahu, Hawaii -- The Associated Press was denied credentials to cover the LPGA Fields Open tournament Wednesday in a dispute over new restrictions on use of its stories and photos.
AP reporter Jaymes Song was not allowed on the course during Wednesday's practice rounds or in the media room to cover Michelle Wie's pretournament news conference after refusing to sign the credential form with the new restrictions. Freelance photographer Ronen Zilberman also refused to sign the form and was denied a credential.
The tournament begins Thursday.
Without an agreement, AP sports editor Terry Taylor said the AP will not provide photographs 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 news-gathering access, but were 'designed to maintain and protect the LPGA's existing rights regarding images used for commercial purposes unrelated to news coverage.'
The AP, however, said the proposed regulations would limit its use of stories and photos after a tournament ended and would give the LPGA broad rights to use that material for its own purposes at no charge.
'Any stories and photos produced by AP staffers belong to AP,' Taylor said. 'We cannot accept this attempt by the LPGA to put such severe limits on AP's editorial use of its own work, and we can't accept any demand that AP provide free use of its material as a condition for being allowed to cover an event.'
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.'
AP also would be prohibited from licensing the image to editorial customers for use in golf-related books or magazines, Tomlin said.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Fields Open in Hawaii
  • Golf Channel Airtimes