I learned something yesterday afternoon that's been eating at me a little, and I want to talk about it here. However, I am reluctant to name names, because I'm not sure there's anything to be gained from making too big a fuss about this matter, which means this entry is going to be a little... vague. Sorry about that. I hope you'll bear with me.
There's this place I know that's very unique and very scenic, and it makes a nice destination for a Sunday afternoon drive. The place has an interesting history as well; it was quite an endeavor to bring it here to Utah and get it into its current condition. The Girlfriend and I first visited this place a couple years ago, when it was novel and exciting. I took a lot of photos that day, and seeing as how it's the 21st century and all, I posted several of them to my Flickr photostream. And then I pretty well forgot about them.
Yesterday, Anne and I returned to this place with her parents, and we saw that the owners are now offering a commemorative book for sale. I flipped through the sample copy, thinking it was nicely done, if a bit expensive for what you're getting. Then, toward the back, I ran across something that looked very familiar. I asked Anne if she saw what I thought I saw, and she agreed with my suspicion. I should've asked to speak with a manager right then and there, but her parents were already out the door, and I tend to be pretty non-confrontational in person. So I waited until we got home and then I fired up Flickr and confirmed what Anne and I both already knew.
I'd seen one of my own photos in that book. There was no doubt. It was my photo... The owners of this place that I've supported and enjoyed and enthused about right here on this blog ganked my bloody photo without my permission and stuck it in their $55 coffee-table book and are making money from it. And the more I think about the situation, the more it bugs me. I even had a Creative Commons copyright on the picture, all rights reserved; fat lot of good that did me, eh?
The irony here is that if the people behind this had bothered to contact me, I would've given them the picture for free. I don't have any aspirations to make money with my photography. It's strictly a hobby for me. But it's the principle of the thing, you know? My photos, like the words I string together here on this blog, are my work, representing my creativity and my skills (such as they are), and I don't think it's unreasonable to want some credit for them. I didn't have the chance to pore over every page of the book, but I'm willing to bet my name isn't anywhere in it. I know photos get passed around the Internet without attribution all the time. Hell, I'm guilty myself of stealing things and reposting them here on Simple Tricks. But I'm not profiting from those little acts of piracy, am I? I think publishing somebody's work in a book that you're selling at a considerable mark-up is kind of a different animal.
The question is, what am I going to do about it? I don't have the money or the stomach for a lawsuit. As I said, I don't want to make that big a fuss out of this. But I also don't want it to pass without any mention either. It's bullshit, and somebody owes me an apology at the least, if not my bloody contributor's credit. All I know is, my affection for this particular place has taken a major hit, thanks to the dishonesty of the sneaky bastards who own it. The gall, the sheer gall of what they did...
Arg. Reason # 34,567 why life in the 21st Century sucks...