Sunday, June 28, 2009

NY Times' AME McNally 'We Apologize' Over Infringement Suggestion

In a Q&A interview, titled "Talk to the Newsroom", New York Times Assistant Managing Editor for Photography, Michelle McNally issued an apology for freelance writer Sonia Zjawinski's unencumbered advice to use Flickr's photographs for interior decorating, not providing any suggestion that the potential user confirm the photographer has granted those rights. (New York Times Advocating Copyright Infringement?, 6/26/09). When asked during the Q&A by Rod Irvine:

Q. Do you endorse the view of Sonia Zjawinski that it is perfectly acceptable to steal copyrighted images from the Internet? Do you think it's a good idea for The New York Times to seemingly endorse such views by publishing them? Or do you think it is as disgusting and outrageous as I do?
McNally responded:
(Continued after the Jump)

A. I have received a number of queries about Ms. Zjawinski's recent post on Gadgetwise, a New York Times blog about personal technology, in which she discussed downloading and printing Flickr images for use as home d├ęcor. Here is where The Times stands on the issues that have been raised about the post:
We are strong proponents of copyright protection. The New York Times does not endorse, nor is it our policy to engage in, the infringement of copyrighted work. We apologize for any suggestion to the contrary.
Interestingly, this was the last question on the last page of the Q&A, seemingly buried at the end of the discourse. In a sense, like corporations or government officials putting out bad news late on a Friday afternoon, where it will be missed by many. What is also interesting, is that McNally does her darnedest to differentiate "The New York Times", as was inquired about in the question, when she refers to the piece by Zjawinski, under the masthead of the The New York Times as being "...on Gadgetwise, a New York Times blog about personal technology..." as if to say the blog isn't really the Times.

With thanks to Tampa photographer James Broome for the heads up on this in the comments of the original post.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


Anonymous said...

Did the NY times fired Sonia yet?

Richard Wong said...

She is a freelancer so at best she might have lost them as a client.

Anonymous said...

Yea, but she probably worked for free anyway. It's like a Seinfeld episode. "I'm sorry but we're going to have to let you go" but I don't really work here, "I know, that's what makes this so difficult!" Still photography is soooo yesterday!

Richard said...

This attitude that photographs that can be viewed on the internet are in some way free for the taking is outrageous.

Photographers face just as high as danger from the exploitation of their creative work by those organisations who run photo competitions. They lure participants to enter their pictures into these competitions but in many cases unknowingly sign away their rights to these pictures. The organisers thereby are able to build huge free libraries for almost no cost.

This practice is slowly being brought to heel by Pro Imaging. This is an international group of professional photographers who run a competitions vetting scheme called the Bill of Rights.

Organisations who have already adopted their competition guidelines for fair dealing are listed and include some well known very big names. You can find more details on their home page at

Newer Post Older Post