Sunday, December 03, 2006

[copyrights] How much for that kitty on the website?

At Sam's suggestion, I'm moving my query regarding photo rights to a new post so it doesn't get lost within a longer comment thread.

Here's the semi-short version: A photo I posted last February on Belly Timber appeared in the Friday edition of my local paper. I'd uploaded the photo onto Flickr, and up until quite recently all my photos on my Flickr were listed as "all rights reserved." Just this past week or so, I changed that to a Creative Commons license that allows only for non-commercial, non-derivative use with attribution. Needless to say, the Oregonian didn't ask, didn't attribute, and didn't pay.

I'm now trying to figure out just how much to ask of them along with my request for a printed attribution/correction in next Friday's A&E -- as the Friday A&E is where the photo appeared, and it is one of the most popular sections of the paper.

Further information: The paper's weekday circulation is, I believe, about 350,000. The photo is in B&W and is just under a quarter page. (There's a scan of it up on Belly Timber now -- it's a cat picture and I couldn't resist a snarky response from my cat for Weekend Cat Blogging.)

In the Serious Eats comments thread, Nika mentioned a useful resource: the Stock Photo Price Calculator at photographersindex.com. This gives me a good ballpark to start with, but I'm also interested in hearing if anyone else has gone through the same thing and how their, ehmm, "negotiations" with clueless print media types fared -- because, frankly, it stuns me that staff members at a paper this large should still not get something so basic as the utter wrongness of stealing photos off the web for a for-profit publication.


This Post was written by MizD from Belly Timber

20 comments:

nika said...

Your kitty has so much personality! I adore that letter he wrote.. the plan B one.. I think your kitty should consider writing his memoirs (sorry if he is a she..just dont know!)

kitchenmage said...

shakes head in amazement Gee, weren't we just talking about image copyright...

From the Oregonian's permissions page: "For photos, the fee for an 8.5x11-inch color or black and white photo print for personal use is $50 for the first copy and $30 for each additional copy."

So to use their numbers, which are "The Oregonian's circulation is 325000 daily" ...counts on fingers... 50 for one + (30x248,999)...crud, I need more fingers!

Wow! That's just under 7.5 million bucks! That would take care of an amazing number of things! Angry cat might want to give them a discount for the bulk purchase, even if they didn't negotiate it upfront. evilGrin

Kalyn said...

Kitchenmage, I love the way you think.

Mrs. D, I say go for it. Bill 'em.

kitchenmage said...

crud my math was off... it's actually 9.75M... damn, now there's a photo!

mrs d said...

I love you guys. :-)

SusanV said...

I'm shaking my head at the coincidences that allowed you to find out about this. It really makes you wonder how often this kind of theft happens and we don't ever know.

I'd start with a letter/bill followed by a phone call. But I've found that in situations where an individual is up against a large corporate entity (or university, in my case), nothing gets their attention until they get a letter from an attorney.

Kate Hopkins said...

Every Newspaper has a standard fee for which they pay for photographs. Contact their photographic editor and ask what are their fees. Once you have that information, you can determine on how you can proceed. Do not let the editor know what has been done until you have that information, because they were most likely involved in some way, and this can very well cost them their job.

I wouldn't take this too lightly. In short, what they've done is the photographic equivalent of plagiarism.

mrs d said...

Susan, I wondered that too. I'm certain they had no idea at all we're local.

Kate, I like your suggestion, but trouble is, Dave got on the phone right after seeing the photo, so alas, the A&E editor already knows about it. Still, I can call (without identifying myself) asking for their standard fees.

I'd love to send a letter from an attorney, but I'd need to find one who'd would be willing to do this for free. (I'll check around locally though I really haven't the foggiest notion where to start!)

McAuliflower said...

Quick off the cuff reply- check with Creative Commons on help pursuing infractions of your licensing agreement. Here is the wiki entry for CC. CC licensing is *real*... its is amazing that the Oregonian didn't act better. This is the perfect instance for an editor to get called on their lack of review.

I really think this is worth pursuing- it isn't you being spiteful. I'm thinking of the previous comment- referring to all the unknown instances of this happening: make use of the fact that this is a known instance. And ask the Oregonian to run a feature on the history and terms of CC :smirk:

nika said...

Write a letter yourself.. tell them they have two choices.. pay $100 (or what ever you determine is standard) or meet they will you in small claims court where you will sue for $2,000. Let them know that if you have to file, with a lawyer of course, they will have to pay the $100 plus lawyers fees to keep the small claim from proceeding. Your case is clear cut. They surely will not want the bad will that will follow from this.

If you do have to bring in a lawyer, do what ever you can to pass that cost on to them .. burns my biscuits to think that the lawyer is the only one to profit. (i know thats life)

Owen said...

I'd also go into it knowing what you want (aside from apology and correct attribution).

In other words - do you care if they hate you forever or not. If you might like to write/have photos published/etc in the future then you should be firm and gracious and not too aggressive. If you don't care then drop the gracious and go for more recompense.

I would probably ask for apology, correction, proper fee paid and some fee to compensate for them not asking in the first place. If you would LIKE the photo use if done right, then creative thinking could go so far as to say that the recompense is that they use a further four photos of yours in the next year - with proper fee. Then invoice them immediately for the full set of photos.

nika said...

Forgot to add.. one aspect of an improperly used photo like this is that you have now lost the ability to sell the photo as an exclusive licence.. that can amount to many 1000s of dollars lost.. cat fancy may have been in negotiations with you to use this image and now you would have lost the deal (one good reason to not put your pics on the internet huh?)

Cate said...

Honestly, you'd think of all places, a newspaper would know better.

mrs d said...

Wow, everyone has been just fantastic with the suggestions & support -- thank you!

Mcauliflower, I checked out the CC site, and though they indicate that they are unable to assist in legal battles, they did point me toward StarvingArtistsLaw.com, which I swear must have been designed with me in mind! :-) I am in email contact with the Oregon lawyer on the list, so thank you TONS for pointing me down that path!

Owen, me personally, I don't care for our local paper so if they hate me forever, that's fine. In fact, I'm thinking I'm going to send something about this whole incident to The Mercury -- our local alternative paper-- because they just happen to love dissing the "Big O." Heh).

Nika, that Cat Fancy what-if is an excellent point (and excellent ammo) -- thanks!

And now, I think I'll keep any further responses (as to what I'm doing next) short and vague, since I will be talking to an arts lawyer this afternoon.

Thanks again, everyone!

Rachael said...

Umm...why not just call and ask nicely if they will attribute it and send you $50?

They really are just people too.

(And while that might sound naive, I am speaking with a bit of athority, since I have dealt with them professionally)

nika said...

i think that was already tried, no?

chrispy said...

An interesting fact is that the article online does not include the picture even though it is a feature.

I would get so mad if my local paper or others used my pictures. Of course right now they are not the greatest so I would have to laugh if they stole pictures taken by my crap digital camera.

McAuliflower said...

Rachael- is your experience with the Oregonian?

Rachael said...

My (extensive) experience is with them in particular and most other editors nationwide. And what I am usually contacting them about is far more bothersome...yet, they are always open to at least hearing me out. I guess I just think its off that people jump right to hiring a lawyer instead of simply stating their grievences.

SusanV said...

She did not start with a lawyer. She said they called the editor right after they saw the photo. I was the first one to mention hiring a lawyer, and I suggested doing so only if calling and writing them did not work.