I remember the day this photo was taken as if it were yesterday. It was May of 2008. We’d been living in our new farmhouse only two months. I’d just hatched out our first chickens in an incubator. I visited a nearby goat farm, dreaming of goats of my own. I didn’t have Clover and Nutmeg and Sprite and Fanta and Mr. Pibb and all the gang. I just had a few “teenage” chickens. I wanted more. I wanted a real farm. We visited all the girls (does)–they were pregnant and we were waiting. Eventually, we bought Clover and the two babies that were born to her that spring. We went to visit the buck yard. Though we weren’t in the market for any bucks, I found them fascinating.
This photo didn’t fall into my camera. I took ONE HUNDRED photos of the bucks that day to get this one photo.
To get them to line up like that, perfectly, wasn’t easy. You can’t give goats instructions. You just have to wait–and work–and keep taking pictures. I knew that photo when I took it. I showed it to Missy on the LCD screen on my camera. It was the one. It just took a hundred photos to get there.
You don’t get a photo like that off a stock photo site. You get a photo like that from someone who was passionate enough to take the time to put in the work to take it. This photo wasn’t stolen because it was a “stock” photo. It was stolen because it was a passionate photo.
You can see that photo and the original post from May, 2008 here.
You can also see it in the November/December 2010 issue of Dairy Goat Journal on page 13, and in the online edition here (unless they’ve taken it down). In both instances, it is stolen creative property and copyright infringement. (See yesterday’s post: Stolen.) My photo was published without my knowledge or consent in both their print and internet publications.
Yesterday, I had a brief phone conversation with Dave Belanger, who is the head of Countryside Publications. Countryside Publications publishes these magazines: Dairy Goat Journal, Backyard Poultry, Countryside & Small Stock Journal, and sheep! Magazine. He had two things in front of him: A copy of the November/December Dairy Goat Journal and my website on his computer screen.
He said to me, “It appears to be your photo.”
I said, “It doesn’t appear to be my photo. It IS my photo.”
Dairy Goat Journal photo:
He never conceded that it was my photo.
He also made the (preposterous) suggestion that Pete and Missy must have given permission to the magazine to use the photo. My photo appears on their website here, where it is used with my permission and my credit, right next to their contact information.
1. Pete and Missy were never contacted by Dairy Goat Journal.
2. If the publisher of four magazines doesn’t know the proper procedure for obtaining permission to use a photo (as in, asking permission from the OWNER of the photo), I have to wonder how many photos in Dairy Goat Journal, Backyard Poultry, Countryside & Small Stock Journal, and sheep! Magazine are stolen photos.
Have they published this photo of Mean Rooster in Backyard Poultry?
Or this picture of Annabelle in sheep! Magazine?
Or maybe they like this pretty picture for Countryside & Small Stock Journal?
Clover: “Why didn’t they steal a picture of me?!”
Or maybe all those photos and more are already in Countryside Publications. Who knows. I don’t subscribe to any of their magazines.
I also left a voice mail for Jennifer Stultz, the editor of Dairy Goat Journal. She has yet to return my call.
Am I going after Dairy Goat Journal? Yes, I am. I won’t excuse them for stealing because they’re small. Dairy Goat Journal has been in publication since 1916. Whether they do, or don’t, have much money is of no relevance. I have no idea. I don’t have much money. Do I not deserve to be compensated for the use of my work? Is it okay to steal if you’re poor? If they had asked me for a “donation” of my work, I would have gladly given it to them for free in exchange for a link. THEY DIDN’T ASK. THEY STOLE IT. They knew they were stealing it. My credit was (is) on Pete and Missy’s site, and my copyright is on this site. Wherever they lifted it, THEY KNEW THEY WERE STEALING. That is not okay. Even if you’re poor. It’s not okay if the editor stole it herself. It’s not okay if a lowly underling stole it. It doesn’t matter who stole it in the hierarchy of the magazine. The publisher and editor allowed it to be stolen, either by purpose or neglect, and the responsibility is the same. There is no excuse.
I have asked them for a reasonable settlement–an industry standard fee for my photo plus an up-charge for unauthorized use. I will update as this situation continues. I will not back down. I will take them to court if necessary. I am that resolved. Will it be difficult for me to go after them? Yes, it will. But every instance of theft on the internet that is ignored leads to more theft. I want to do this not just for me but for every writer and photographer on the internet. We all need to stop taking it, for ourselves and for each other. It’s time to take a stand.
I’m tired of having my work stolen. Today is the day, and whether they like it or not, Dairy Goat Journal stole my work at the end of my rope.
THANK YOU to those of you who contacted Dairy Goat Journal with your feelings about internet theft. If you haven’t contacted Dairy Goat Journal, please contact them!
The editorial email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call Countryside Publications toll-free at (800) 551-5691 and leave a message for Dave Belanger.
My photos are here because I TOOK THEM. Creative artists cannot survive if we allow theft to continue unabated. It has to stop…. Or all the beautiful works on the internet will disappear behind closed doors of protected pay-per-view websites. Protect the free internet by protecting the creative people who make it. Thank you.
P.S. As of this morning, my photo remains in the online edition without my name and credit. The publisher, Dave Belanger, has known since yesterday afternoon that it is my photo. While the print edition can’t be pulled back out of mailboxes all over the country, the online edition would take one minute to correct.
P.P.S. (In response to comments.) I don’t actually want my photo off their website at this point. My photo in the online edition is the only link to the printed edition, where the credit can’t be corrected (except in a future edition). I have asked for my credit to the photo, my name, my website name, and website link to be placed in the editor’s column of the next edition as well as placed on the photo in the online edition. I intend to insist, in fact, that my photo remain in the online edition–with the correction. (This correction could have, and should have, been made yesterday, asap, in the online edition.)
UPDATE: SEE THE RESOLUTION HERE.