They WILL take your photos and they WILL use them and you WILL like it.
This is hardly a tragic story and it's not even a good photo, but it's interesting because it happens a few times a year. Perhaps it's happened to you! (Share in the comments)
A buddy noticed a story in Business Insider Australia that was picked up off Reuters called "Microsoft says they've disrupted a global cybercrime ring responsible for $500 Million Theft." It was syndicated to OZ by Business Insider US who pulled it from Reuters, and it seems they each pick their own illustrative picture.
And apparently they did it in my damn office. That's my big head, my three monitors and I am, in fact, hacking on CoffeeScript in this picture, not fighting cybercrime. How do I know? Because I was there when this photo was taken by Rob Conery. We used it for my Speaking Hacks educational video.
Rob Conery and I made a video called Speaking Hacks...here's a screen capture.
It got used on a post a CoderWall.com where I describe my system setup. I love that they crop the pictures they so carefully Google Image Search for.
I try to use search.creativecommons.org for my image searches on this blog. Raphael Rivera turned me on to this and reminded me of the importance of respecting image copyright. Just googling for a picture and slapping it on your blog isn't cool.
Usually when this kind of thing happens I'll just email a kind note to the owner of the site and mention it and it gets handled. (I've just emailed Business Insider now) Most people are very nice. Folks at Gizmodo and LifeHacker almost always have a real human behind their stories with a real Twitter account and they've always been accommodating about little things.
Ah, but sometimes it's not just a nameless-faceless newspaper but it's a nameless-faceless newspaper article originally published by Reuters on "put on the wire" which means it can spread literally everywhere, and fast.
Do I care? Not really, but it's the principle of the thing. I mention it because it's a teachable moment for us all.
When you put an image on the Internet, it's on the Internet.
It can be used for anything, anytime, by anyone. You can assert copyright, but usually depending on how big the site is (or how obtuse their Contact Us page is) you'll be lucky to find a human, much less a nice one.
At least I have my hair. So far.
Think about signing that Photo Release
It matters to me when it's big and public and involves my kids. Some friends were driving down the freeway recently and noticed something. They called and said "Is that your son on a billboard off I-5?"
This was my reaction: O_o
Turns out that years ago in our school's day care we signed a photo release. I assume we thought it was for their blog, or a pamphlet, but in retrospect even that was a bad idea. We never thought my kid would end up on a 30 foot paper billboard advertisement, with little recourse. Fortunately in the billboard case, the head of the school wasn't aware either! Their marketing folks were just pulling the photos from a shared folder, treating them as stock images. In the end, the school was extremely accommodating and apologetic and it's since been handled. Still, a wake up call to us, and I hope, to you, Dear Reader.
This email showed up literally as I was/am writing this post.
Thanks for getting in touch. I’m the editor at Business Insider Australia.
I’ve removed that image, which was syndicated from the US edition. I’ve also alerted them to your complaint.
Hope this addresses the matter for you.
Awesome. And sometimes your kind letter reaches a kind human and gets handled. Thanks Paul, much respect!
Now, about this NEW picture...;)
(Yes, I realize the thick irony of me blogging it, and thereby putting the image "back out there" but it's for educational purposes.)
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Thoughts on the etiquette with that sort of thing?
But I can also give some credence to an argument that goes something like: Most of the general public assume email is private and confidential (most of their email footers even have words to that affect) so emails shouldn't be re-published without consent.
Release forms are a nightmare from the Photographer point of view too - you really need to do them to cover your backside, but so many people are wary (and rightly so) of signing anything, although some of the stock ones are quite good these days because they have quite clear sections where you can agree/disagree with what the image can/can't be used for (photographer promotion, non-commercial, public showing etc)
When your images being used, its good to realise you have rights of personality, alongside copyright. How much of that can be signed away(case in question, your son) I don't know, and may differ from state to state. More on rights of personality is, as always, on Wikipedia, which my phone currently makes impossible to paste a link to.
As a last note, have you ever considered releasing your blog under a free license? CC-BY-SA should be a pretty good fit.
I think the paragraph that begins with "I try to use search.creativecommons.org" is displayed twice in the post. The one in a blockquote tag is the one duplicated.
Great story anyway! :)
I will take extremely care with anything like that from my kid's school from now on.
I was wondering your reaction (and to the folks with you) when you noticed that!
I don't like this general view of "it is on the internet, so I can anything I want it with it". I don't know where it come from, since we do not have something like "it is on the bookstore, so let's use it because it is public". It is just too egoistic and sounds like people never heard about words like "ethic".
That's why every photo I post on the web has it's copyright REGISTERED first! $15K/Violation. Ironic that an article on cybercrime is committing a cybercrime, n'est pas?
There is a photo on Flickr of me screaming into a headset (it was taken as a joke). The photo was posted under creative commons and I let Business Insider use the image when they asked. It's now become regularly used when an 'angry nerd' is needed for an article. Since they've correctly attributed it to me, it's now one of the top image search results for 'Ian Muir'.
For me personally, it's not a problem as I find it funny and they have both asked for permission and correctly attributed to me. However, it has come up in job interviews since, and I can imagine the some people would find it embarrassing. If you don't want to be associated with an image, don't let sites use it, the Google knows it was you.
I was at the same time angry that my work had been taken without attribution and excited that I was helping even more people.
However the photo they used show's horrible handling of a firearm to boot.
I wonder if that is a stock photo or one that was pieced together from images on the web.
Scott (real Scott) sometimes you can be sooooooooooo nice about stuff. Your blog article has 0 venom or bile. You were not even upset! These guys should have (mis) used the picture of a more "effervescent" person.
Thanks for reminding us about what we put out on the interwebs.
In fact, there is much more info in that email snippet than in your photo; Paul at Business Insider Australia is pretty unambiguous (unless everyone in their office is named Paul, which is unlikely) whereas the back of your head doesn't say much at all. In any case my comparison about how much information is leaked is an aside.
The key issue is that privacy is privacy - in your response to the other Scott you rationalized your decision to post the email, but you have no idea what concerns the sender might have, or what circumstances might be in place that could make such an action harmful. As there is even a sliver of uncertainty regarding this, the sender should be asked for permission before posting.
You'll find it's also posted here in a Chinese blog about people's workspaces - posted one year ago:
Google reckons - roughly:
"Sometimes you need to monitor the progress of many projects. "Jedi lightsaber must create their own, do not you?" He is called Scott Hanselman, hacker said. All the things that are on the table of his own design, including two powerful computer."
The page is titled: 国外黑客工作场所探秘：很清新很文艺
[=Foreign Hackers Workplace Quest: Newest and Artiest]
which is probably because he nabbed it from https://coderwall.com/p/fgtlba in which the photo is tagged 'hackerdesk'
How NSA spooks spaffed my DAD'S DATA ALL OVER THE WEB
I am certainly appreciative of you sharing your experience as it provides a forum to draw attention to this problem to an even wider community, and I suppose it is good that you posted about this even though you were not necessarily personally hurt by it.
The bigger picture is as you say in the middle of your post:
It is the principle of the thing
Yes, theft is still theft, even if it is digital. It is a serious problem that far to few take seriously.
This is the perfect quote:
Raphael Rivera ... reminded me of the importance of respecting image copyright. Just googling for a picture and slapping it on your blog isn't cool.
There are a few billion people who I wish would follow your lead.
When you put code out there you don't care what it is used for and you feel good that someone is using it. However when they take your images you send them Take Down notices ?
FWIW, Microsoft Office a few years ago had a CD with about 2000 photos; AFAIK, they can be used for any reasonable purpose (IANAL); that CD shipped as part of Office Premium if my recollection is correct.
BTW, Scott, thank you for pointing us to http://search.creativecommons.org.
Copyright law is very complicated and varies from country to country ~~ the fundamental principle of "fair use" is itself debatable.
i'm guessing the following conversation could have happened (i'm putting words in to Rob Conery's mouth and yours as well):
Editor Paul: "May i use your photo?"
Scottha: "Yes, but only if it's okay with R.C."
R.C.: "No problem".
Which is the bottom line, imho: we need to learn FIRST to ask permission as a courtesy (rather than after we've been outed).
P.S.: you look great from the back but is that really you? Your hair looks much tidier than your gravatar. B-)
As for Creative Commons or any other org offering 'free' images, or even images you pay for that are supposedly copyright free: be wary of their promises. People do offer images they don't own to these licensing orgs. Then anyone who uses them is subject to takedowns etc, the same as if they'd infringed it.
Thanks for posting about this, I can imagine how it made you feel!
Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to
help other people.
I'm trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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