Think before you yoink

Alpana Singh with grapes, photographed by Jim Newberry

OK, so I found a photo I shot of Master Sommelier Alpana Singh on this MTV blog. The photo was used without permission from me, and–more annoyingly–without a photo credit. Below the blog post, a reader commented that she loves the photo; too bad there’s no way for her to know who shot it (if she had wanted to buy a print, or ask permission to use the photo, or hire me for a shoot, etc).

After a bit more looking, I found that same image on another blog. This blogger was conscientious enough to run a photo credit, but he must have found the Singh photo on the aforementioned MTV blog, because the credit he gave was to MTV, not me. I don’t blame him for the mistake; he was doing the right thing in running the attribution. But this kind of thing is bound to happen when you yoink a photo from the Internet and post it on your site without permission and credit.

I think it’s nice to share, and that copyright laws can be problematic. But it’s really difficult to make a living as a photographer these days, and it doesn’t help when a profitable corporation uses my content without paying or crediting me. Remember, vee have vays of finding unauthorized use of photos. So please, support creative people. Don’t run a photo if you don’t know where it came from. If you see a photo you like on another site and want to use it, ask nicely. Many of us will be happy to let you run a photograph on your non-commercial site if you include a link and a photo credit (I have often). And if you have a commercial site and want to use a photo, kindly cough up the usage fee.

The Singh portrait was originally shot for the Reader, shown below.
Alpana Singh Reader cover by Jim Newberry