Sweet, Sweet Validation

In the era of the internet, when the bar to entry is low for artists, writers, and photographers, how does one know if what they are producing is any good?

Well, one quick way to tell comes when your stuff gets, uh, how shall I say…appropriated…by a respectable institution.

Recall back on November 3, 2010, I uploaded this photo from the San Francisco Giants World Series Parade:

This is Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell celebrating on a trolley car on Market Street at Powell:

Note that I put a copyright on the photo because I had a feeling this was going to be a popular shot.

Last evening I was sitting on the couch looking through my Twitter timeline and saw that @SF_Giants (a Twitter account affiliated with the actual Giants organization) was posting some fun Valentines Cards.

That’s when I saw this tweet:

And when I clicked the link for the image, I saw this:

Then I gasped.

That’s my photo. My copyright watermark has been cropped off and the beer cans have been pixilated out, but that’s my photo.

So I was a little at a loss as to how I felt. Was I mad? Not really. I mean, in a way it’s kind of cool. Was I happy? Not really. I sure would have liked a photographer credit on a photo viewed by their almost 30,000 followers.

In the end, I decided I was just going to be sanguine about the whole deal. While it may not have my name on it, my image was blasted out from the Giants twitter account. I made a photo that was good enough for an MLB organization to borrow!


I Tweeted on my own account about how that was my photo and posted the original. Soon after, they sent me a direct message:

“Good shot! We found the picture on Google. Go Giants.”

Go Giants indeed.

I can’t stay mad at my favorite team.

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  • Ken

    They owe you at least a pair of tickets.

  • Elise

    I could definitely be mad. Creative product is worth paying for. When its treated as if it’s not, expensive educations, jobs, and careers are devalued.

    The San Francisco Giants stole your creative product and used it in their advertising. Do you have any idea what Getty Images, etc., would have charged them for even royalty-free use of a similar image? They do. And they didn’t feel like paying it. So they “found something on Google.”

    Cheap, thieving fucks.

  • Ephraim F. Moya


    See this: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-infringement.html

    It’s not enough to just put a sign on your work, you must also register it. You still have time to do that. (Three Months)

    The whole thing may just serve to make you mad but not be worth pursuing. I would send them an invoice for a small amount and see what happens. If they feel that they owe you something they’ll sic a lawyer on you. Then you’ll have them. Else if they do nothing or offer you some tickets take their offer, write them a document that says that you and they entered into this transaction and then FORGET THE WHOLE THING. It’s not worth a minute of worry.

    The licensing document is for your future. If you’ve actually sold something it strengthens your position the next time.


  • Karen Fayeth

    Ken – Yeah, probably….

  • Karen Fayeth

    Elise – I’d actually wondered your thoughts on the matter given your background and no need to delete. I hear ya. The way the stuff works on the internet these days, it’s just hard to know what to do.

    If they’d used it for a full on marketing campaign rather than just a one day off off thing, I’d be raising holy hell. For now, I’m just going to get all zen like and let it go.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Ephraim – To be fair, my Flicker let’s me list the license on the photo and I kept it “all rights reserved” meaning that they had to ask first. They have no license. I didn’t license it under Creative Commons as I do here on the blog as I knew that photo might be popular.

    That said, I appreciate the information.

  • Natalie

    I live with a professional photographer and I work for FedEx Office and make copies, most of which I tell customers I cannot duplicate without permission from the copyright owner. And those customers get damned mad when I won’t do it.
    My partner just said, “I would be calling my lawyer. It’s $160k per infringement.”
    And this is why Getty started working with Flicker…
    Just something to think about.
    It is flattering but it is also against the law.
    And this is why I must, freakin’ daily, exercise my fiduciary responsibility to my *deep pocket* employer because ppl WILL sue and have been VERY successful at it.
    Just sayin’!

  • cube

    I understand you wanting to be Zen about the whole thing, but it’s using your property without attribution. They wouldn’t have used it if it wasn’t a great shot and they have plenty of lawyers who know the rules. They should at least toss a few crumbs your way or, at the very least, some free publicity.

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