Rather than appending to my previous post I thought I’d add this update as a separate entry.
Following my discovery that the Daily Mail had used one of my images without permission, a number of threads kicked off. I asked folks via my blog, on Flickr and on Twitter, what their recommendations were – and I was overwhelmed by the response.
My initial response was to contact the Mail and ask for attribution, but I received no response to my email. I then decided to contact the picture desk, and ended up invoicing them for use of the image based on breach of license terms. I was prepared to take the matter further had the attribution (at minimum) not been provided. They finally added an attribution yesterday – although that’s via an overlay on the image, so it’s not ideal as it’s not searchable, and there’s no link back to my original content.
It has been pointed out to me that simply retrospectively billing them may lend some legitimacy to what they have done here… and let’s be honest, unless someone had spotted the reuse of my image I wouldn’t have known about it. They hadn’t linked to my Flickr page so I wouldn’t have found it via search. I suppose one answer would be the use of a tool like Tineye. More importantly though, I think it’s completely unacceptable to use CC-licensed (or even fully rights-reserved) material in this way and news sites and other services need to learn to respect these licenses. As a result, I’ve had some other friends make contact with the Mail at a high level to make this point.
On Sunday I became aware that another site had reprinted the Mail’s story, and included my image. This time, it was a news site in Brazil. My initial approach to this was to use Google Translate to try to find contact details, and I ended up filling in a form in English. I then asked for assistance on Twitter, and @mauricioswg was able to put me in touch with a Brazilian friend of his who also contacted the site on my behalf. At first they took the image down, but they still wanted to use it and after some discussion they now have the “correct” unmodified version of the image with attribution by agreement, thus fulfilling the terms of the license.
The upshot of all this? Whilst it can sometimes be hard to locate sites that are using your images – be vigilant as far as possible, and insist on your license. It’s your material.
I’d like to thank everyone who has offered support and provided help. My Twitter and other online and offline contacts have been invaluable. Social networks FTW!