Yeah, we live in bizarre world of copyrighted conflicts… It seems like someone is always trying to exercise control over “their content” and using copyright as their bludgeon.
First, let me clue you in to a secret. I’m a car nut. More precisely, I love the engineering of cars – and once delighted in documenting esoteric details of engines, transmissions, and chassis on Wikipedia. I still delight in seeing unusual engines, and have been known to take the odd photograph of them, too.
Others also suffer from this engine fixation. Witness the regular “Engine of the Day” feature over at Gawker Media’s popular auto blog, Jalopnik.
I love reading these stories, but today’s entry (on Ford’s bad Windsor V8 engine) seemed awfully familiar to me. Or rather, the photo did. See, that photo was taken by me, but you wouldn’t know it from reading Jalopnik. It’s ripped off from Wikimedia Commons, where it’s licensed GFDL and CC-by-SA. This means that professional publishers like Jalopnik can’t use my image without attribution.
Now, some people might be flattered by this kind of use. In fact, I was flattered by this the first time it happened. But this isn’t the first time Jalopnik has used my photo without attribution. It’s not even the second time. No, this is the third time Jalopnik has used a photo I took without attribution. I bet Gawker wouldn’t be happy to have someone use their copyrighted content without permission or attribution, but it seems just fine for them to do it! I even offered these photos for free use as long as they attributed me, but even that wasn’t satisfactory…
I previously wrote about my experience with photos used by a German newspaper who used one of my car photos, as well as a well-known Linux hacker who ripped off an article I wrote for his book. This stuff happens all the time, in fact.
What can we do? I’m not sure how to fix it, but one thing I will say is that I’m certainly not happy with Jalopnik or Gawker Media. If anyone has a suggestion on how to deal with this situation, I’d love to hear it.
Update: Murilee Martin, writer of these three entries, has added attribution to me for two of them after I emailed him, Ray Wert, and Nick Denton. Will they do a better job in the future? We shall see…