Sunday, June 02, 2019

Photos and Copyright

While thumbing through a recent flying publication that I receive, I noticed a picture that looked very familiar. Sure enough it was a photo I took while in flight. 

Let's step back and take a look and when and where. Mary and I were returning from BACFest 2011 in Ithaca New York. I had been handed off to Wilkes-Barre approach and given a descent for six thousand, back into IMC conditions. We finally broke out of instrument conditions north of Allentown Pennsylvania.  
I found it a bit odd that a publication wouldn't ask permission or at the very least give credit for the source. Acknowledging credit would have made all this a non-issue.

I'm not sure what bothered me more, using the photo, or labeling it as "unexpected LIFR conditions".

So, on Thursday, May 30th, I sent the editor a brief email.
Subject:      Picture used without consent

Message:      Reading through my ____ subscription I noticed a picture of mine was used without my consent.  The article is  - ___________  by _________, on page _____, top left, of the June 2019 issue.  
My picture was taken on my way home from Ithaca NY on October 2, 2011. At the very least there should have been a request for permission or acknowledgement given.
This morning I received a return email in response to my inquiry. I appreciate the reply and offers to remedy the issue.
First, Gary, let me offer my apologies.
I've conferred with the author and he doesn't remember where he got the image. I'll accept without argument your statement that it's one of your photographs. My guess is that, as incestuous as the Internet is, the author found it on some web site—perhaps not even where you originally published it—that didn't carry a clear copyright notice, which is a common source of photographs for us.
Be that as it may, I can offer one of the following remedies.
a.       I’ll spank the author, again advise all our authors that images from the Internet need to be carefully reviewed for rights, again offer my apologies, and we move on.
b.      Pay you for the rights. Unfortunately, photos are cheap and our budget is shallow. Our standard fee to photographers for file photos is $30.
c.       Print an after-the-fact photo credit in the Readback section. While I’m willing to do this, it’s somewhat awkward and really wouldn’t look right. If this option is attractive to you, I’d probably print a short note ostensibly from you, a short apologetic reply saying it was an innocent mistake, and I’d reprint the photo with your credit.
I’ve been at the helm of _____ for nearly seven years and we’ve never encountered this problem before. I only mention that to further try to reassure you that we don’t make a habit of grabbing photos without the rights. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
It’s your choice, Gary. How can we make this right for you?
Maybe I'll ask for my annual subscription to be updated and call it even. At least they took the time to respond to my email, and I do appreciate that. Mainly, I just wanted to bring attention to the issue, and hopefully the next time the author thinks about using pics from a source without giving credit.


Anonymous said...

I would thank them for the response and let it go. we as readers of the internet world of flying wouldn't want to lose valuable input that could help other flyers.

Gary said...


My email response to the editor:

Thank you for the reply, it’s very much appreciated. I have read ___ for a number of years and enjoy the publication. I’m attaching a link to the blog post from my flight back in October 2011 that has the picture in question. BACFest 2011

Reminding the authors is always a good thing, the internet makes things so easy at times that we lose track of a person’s property and rights as they seem to fade into cyberspace. I also agree that printing an after the fact photo credit takes away from the publication and wastes space that should be used for ___ articles that continue to benefit the pilot community. I would like to extend my subscription instead of collecting a fee for the photo. If that’s acceptable to you, I’m happy.

Continue providing a good publication that helps pilots think and keep safe.