Saturday, February 24, 2007

UPDATED: Getty Infringement

Ok, so, just as I hate it that people are stealing Microsoft's Windows, and Adobe Photoshop, I too get upset when the Galactic Empire's IP gets (allegedly) stolen. Worse yet, it's by an organization I really admire -- The Consumerist.

To the right, you see this story about CompUSA closings, and the Getty Images watermark. Here, I am writing a commentary about the (alleged) theft of the image and the story, and, as such, it is fair use, however, The Consumerist is using the photo to illustrate the story, something Getty should be paid for. Getty's browse results return images with the watermark, and images for which a fee is paid and license granted have the image available without the watermark.

Now, perhaps, this is a diabolical scheme whereby Getty opts not to pursue the infringement, because it's a free ad on a really popular site whereby their name appears prominently, or, perhaps they are allowing for the free use because the watermark is so prominent....hmmmm...


Ok, so, one of you intrepid readers took the bull by the horns and called our friends at Consumerist on this, and, according to what I can only presume is a true/complete transcript of the dialog with them, reveals that there may well be some diabolical relationship, or, perhaps, it's just an oversight on the part of the good people of Consumerist.

If that's the case though, then why is this now the article? It's the same article, but the photo has been removed entirely, not replaced with a non-watermarked one.

On the heals of that photograph however, comes a bit of history. A search of The Consumerist yields these results showing that, somewhere, the image is in a cue/database/archive, and is still in there, with the watermark, yet when you click on it, the above article appears, sans photo.

It gets potentially more diabolical looking....
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joshwa said...

Here's another variation on the same theme I found at consumerist, wherein the same Getty Photo had a license paid for by Gizmodo, was stolen and posted on Flickr, whose unwatermarked version was posted as a thumbnail on consumerist, whereas another site (coolhunter) posted the watermarked version instead.

I tried my best to educate the reddit commenters as to the issues involved...

Anonymous said...

The consumerist just recently finished a round of issues with snagging flickr photographs in general without attribution. They ended up apologizing publicly for it and went back and re-did the linking on it.

I'm still torn on how i feel about flickr. i've been putting some of my photographs up there, with all rights left reserved for the moment. The number of times that I see photos on streams that I know for a fact aren't the work of the stream owner, and yet the stream owner selects "all rights reserved"...

Some days I think i need to be more aggressive in watermarking what I put up. Other days, I think I should worry about the quality of what I put up, first : )

Anonymous said...

So, in true Consumerist style, where they show IM exchanges, here's mine with them as it regards your blog entry about their site, where I e-mailed them about it:

APPhotographer (12:55:40 PM): Ben, just sent you an e-mail since you were offline.
benpopken (12:56:37 PM): Did you write this entry?
APPhotographer (12:56:53 PM): No, I read it daily tho.
benpopken (12:57:08 PM): ok
benpopken (12:57:25 PM): We have a deal with Getty
APPhotographer (12:57:27 PM): (I also ready yours daily, if not more so.)
benpopken (12:58:09 PM): I'm glad this person is concerned for Getty's well-being, but everything is above board, I assure you
APPhotographer (12:59:08 PM): no worries, just saw a blog and you guys, both of whom I read/admire, and thought it best to make sure everyone's playing well in the sand box.
benpopken (1:01:23 PM): Cool
benpopken (1:01:30 PM): I'll leave a note on their blog
APPhotographer (1:02:29 PM): ok. Thanks, and keep up your great work. I feel empowered when I see the likes of all-manner of Corporate America being forced to treat us common folk with some modicum of respect.
benpopken (1:02:54 PM): I'm not sure whether the official a-ok was pushed to my account so that's why the watermark appears
benpopken (1:03:01 PM): Thanks!
benpopken (1:03:11 PM): That's what we strive for
APPhotographer (1:04:43 PM): Thanks. I am now off to my weekend projects.
benpopken (1:04:52 PM): ciao

What I then find interesting is that they've since taken the photo off their article. Your thoughts, John?

Lock said...

Gawker Media has a comprehensive licensing arrangement with Getty that covers Consumerist, Gizmodo, and all the other Gawker sites.

I'm not sure why this would have run with a watermark -- we're looking into it. Thanks for the heads-up.

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