Ross Luippold & Carol Hartsell of Huffington Post used a photo of mine in their allegedly humorous feature, Eight Rejected Prom Themes.
How dare they!
I publish my photos on Flickr under a Creative Commons attribution license. All they have to do to be legal is give me credit. They don’t have to pay me. They don’t even have to ask me. Just give a little credit. But they couldn’t even do that. How pathetic.
In case you’re wondering, here’s what a proper attribution might look like. This could take different forms depending on context. This was generated via OpenAttribute, a tool I use daily which “makes it ridiculously simple for anyone to copy and paste the correct attribution for any CC licensed work.”
See how easy that was? I think it took me two seconds.
Notice they even went to the trouble of cloning the lattice to make it fit their aspect ratio. Here’s the original if you want to compare.
So they did a fair bit of Photoshop work to set up their gag, but they couldn’t take two seconds to give proper attribution.
Unfortunately this is a pattern of behavior with HuffPo. Within seconds of posting this on Facebook, I heard from my friend Rachel W. who has been similarly ripped off. And I’ve actually been hearing of such shenanigans for a long time. It’s the kind of stuff I’d expect from a amateur blogger like myself, not a venture that was purchased for $315 million earlier this year.
Just so it’s clear, perhaps I should spell it out in no uncertain terms. Taking someone else’s stuff without permission is thievery. I’ve tried to make it easy for people to use my content, but when they violate the terms of the license under which I’ve published it, that’s thievery too.
All I required out of the transaction was to be given credit. Deny me that, and you’re stealing.
What to do? My friend Kelly S. (an attorney herself) recommends: “They deserve to receive some strongly worded letters written by an attorney willing to go further, if needed.”
Do I have any lawyer friends out there who feel like shooting off a C&D?
PS: Thanks to my old friend Kevin K. for spotting this.