A while back I was contacted by someone who wanted to use a picture I’d taken and posted online. I’ll call her RJ. Here’s the picture that caught her eye:
It’s an oyster po boy from Domilise’s. It seems that RJ was working for an advertising firm doing a campaign for Mastercard. They’re building a website at priceless.com that has a “favorite things” theme, and their celebrity guest — one Peyton Manning — had identified Domilise’s as a favorite. So they wanted to use my picture.
I said, no problem. In fact, I pointed out, they don’t even have to ask for permission, as most of my photos are under a Creative Commons attribution license. Just provide a link to my personal site at b.rox.com — that’s all I ask.
RJ replied that they couldn’t provide a link, and could I please sign a bunch of release forms?
Sorry, I said, no linkee no love. Links are the currency of respect on the net, and if they can’t throw me that bone I simply have no motivation.
I thought that would be the end of it, but RJ got back to me. How about if they paid me $150?
Suddenly my motivation picked up a little. I signed the damn forms and the other day I got my check in the mail.
The final irony is that when I check priceless.com, I see a picture of Domilise’s all right — but it’s by somebody else. But I don’t care. I’m laughing all the way to the bank, and we sure could use some laughs around here.
I’m sure there’s a good Priceless parody here, but I can’t work up the energy.
Footnote: Apparently Miguel Pereira was contacted in the same fashion, with less favorable results but some interesting discussion regarding the implications of all this for photographers.