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.)