Fellow explorer Mark Elbrecht alerted me to this. The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce has a website promoting their Festival of Flowers this June. On the page promoting tours of Cokesbury College there was a familiar photograph – mine! The problem was that they had not asked permission to use the image.
Normally I don’t mind if folks use my images on their sites as long as they use the proper embed codes that Flickr provides, which link back to my original photo, or if they credit the photo properly. Technically, they don’t even need to ask my permission since I leave the embed codes available to anyone.
What ticked me off about this image usage was that A) they re-hosted the image on their own site, cropping the image in the process, and B) the statement at the bottom of the page stating, “Copyright © 2011 – South Carolina Festival of Flowers. All rights reserved.” That would imply that they are claiming copyright to my photograph. I sent the Chamber of Commerce an e-mail listing conditions for continued use of the photograph.
For the record, here is the original photograph, with the proper link back to its Flickr page…
Here is the proper way to do it…
Blogger JC used the embed codes from Flicker, and provided a link and credit for the photo. I scanned through his blog, and I see that he does that for all the images on his site. Kudos, JC!
I try to do the same thing here, by providing at least a link back to the source or within the context of my blog post. I may miss occasionally, and having blogged for nearly 10 years I’m sure I’ve got some offending posts somewhere, but I try to make a conscious effort to give credit.
But, back to the Cokesbury incident…
Mark found the photo by doing a Google Image Search based on the image on the website. Here’s what that search turned up:
The first two hits are my Flickr pages, and the third is the page for the Festival of Flowers.
Unfortunately, image theft is all too common. I often do image searches on my most popular photos just to see who links to them, and how they are used. The results can be surprising. For example, I found that the same image JC had used properly in his blog…
…appears in a video with part of a recitation of the Quran…
…as well as other Islamic sites.
…is my highest viewed photo. The photo has gone viral, and now appears on lots of “20 Worst Church Signs” collections. I’ve had some question its authenticity, thinking it was created with one of those sign generators. It’s real. I took the photo while driving back from a kayaking trip on the Tyger River in Union County. When commenting on the photo, I often provide this alternate view as proof:
I know the file has been copied repeatedly, and has been re-hosted many times. I think it’s even been in a couple of YouTube videos, too. There’s not much I can do now.
I value the free exchange of ideas. I like sharing my photos on the Internet. However, I don’t like people stealing my stuff. I guess those two are irreconcilable, no matter what I do. The best thing I can do is to continue to try to educate folks about the proper way to share and exchange images.
So, I guess that’s all until the next time someone steals one of my photos, and I feel the need to rant again.
UPDATE: I had a good conversation with the Chamber of Commerce this morning. They say that someone had sent them the image to use. Regardless, we were able to work things out. The image is still there, but does credit me as the photographer. All is cool.
2 thoughts on “Published again, without permission”
Send the Chamber an invoice for, say, $2,500.
I have found several of my images being used across the web. Cropped, no credit, etc. I will usually send notification to the offending page owners – take it down or pay up (if it is an image I am selling on my website or fineartamerica.com. Otherwise, you must add a credit AND link the photo back to my website.