Appears? APPEARS?!


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:

My 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: [email protected]

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.)



  1. Sharon M says:

    Oh my goodness.. my mom has been a subscriber to their magazine for ages and I will have to pass on this information to her as to how this publication practices…

  2. lizzie says:

    Suzanne, I am going to email them and make a call tomorrow, I got a post card in the mail today wanting me to subcribe to Back Yard Poultry, I DON’T THINK SO!!!! So very sorry this has happened to you, let us know how its going. GO GET EM!!!

  3. Jen in ID says:

    WHAT is with these “editors” (and publishers) of these magazines??? Gosh, I’m livid just hearing of his response! Go get them, and I hope you get what you deserve AND THEN SOME. If you’re interested to research any of your other images they (or others) may have stolen, try This is just SO WRONG!!!!

  4. CindyS says:

    Suzanne– Talk about adding insult to injury … appears?? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, even without a copyright symbol, it’s still a duck! Your photos (along with your words, of course) are what make CITR special. I wouldn’t back down on this fight, either, and I would be highly insulted to be talked to like this!

  5. bonita says:

    Suzanne, thanks for not letting this slide by. I emailed DGJ and CSP about the ‘apparent’ thievery. What burns me is that the DGJ site is copyrighted. Bet they wouldn’t take kindly to someone lifting photos or text from their site. You’re right, anyone can tell—even a city gal—that goats just don’t form a photo op line when they see a camera. Someone waited and waited and coaxed and cajoled to get that photo. “Appears,” he says? Methinks Belenger should meet the same end as the troll under the Billy Goats Gruff bridge!

  6. Diane says:

    Go Suzanne!

    I’m going to email DGJ and give them a piece of my mind. As a former graphic artist I am too familiar with the attitude that it’s OK to steal from artists.

    I don’t know what DGJ was thinking – no, I know exactly what they were thinking. “Great photo! Let’s use it. Who is this Suzanne woman? We don’t need to bother with the credit. She’ll never know. And if she does, she won’t have enough money to do anything about it.”

  7. Sirje says:

    I wrote to them. My husband is a lawyer and owns a creative agency, and he spends HOURS every week tracking down proper credit, purchasing photo, text, and artwork rights. It is entirely unethical that these jerks feel above doing that, and disgusting that they don’t even feel sorry. I hope you sue them! If you weren’t in a different country, I’d offer my husband to represent you.

  8. Rose H says:

    I entirely agree with your anger Suzanne. :hissyfit:
    I know how you must feel, my neice is a photographer and has been in the same position…she’s on the warpath too.
    I’m sure you will have a good conclusion, just hope it’s soon.

  9. Glenda says:

    Stay with it Suzanne! Professional magazines/businesses know better; they just assume no one will pursue them .

    Teach them a lesson.

  10. Ruthdigs says:

    Ooh this makes my blood boil. ‘Appears’??!! Look at the flowers, and dandelion clock in the background – there’s no way it could not be the same photo. Good for you on fighting this – keep it up and let us know what happens! You have my support.

  11. leavesofthefall says:

    YOU GO, GIRL!!! :shimmy:

  12. Debi says:

    Well, I canceled all three of my subscriptions! :hissyfit:
    When they asked why, I told them it was because I could not support any publication that resorts to theft. Sited your case in particular, hope you don’t mind…
    You go get ’em girl!

  13. Mary says:

    When I was a medical writer, we acquired a website through a purchase of another business. Even though we were new to that medium, one of the first things we did was to establish a process, legal forms, and a budget to obtain image permissions. I’m an RN and have zero training in journalism, and at the time was new to publishing, but even I knew I couldn’t just use anyone’s image I felt like.

    A few years ago I got a call from a representative of a zoo in Texas. She had seen some of my pics (of my godchildren playing with goats) and wanted to use them for banners and posters promoting their new petting zoo. After getting permission from the children’s parents, I let her use the images for free (it was a good cause, and my ego was thrilled over my first published images) in exchange for a copy of their zoo newsletter featuring the image, and pics of the banners when they were done.

    Asking nicely goes a long way. Also, Dave Belanger should have been taught as a child that admitting it when you eff up goes a long way too. His ego made the situation worse.

  14. Karen Anne says:

    I am so glad you are suing them.

    I wonder if there could be a website exposing thefts of this kind.

    I wonder if the BBB could help.

  15. twiggityNDgoats says:

    I have cancelled my subscription to DGJ with an explanation why. Go get’em Suzanne!

  16. Eve Davis says:

    I am glad you are taking a stand, my son has a web site he created years ago, all by himself. He took time away from family so that he could create it, he has folks trying to steal his stuff all of the time. He has folks helping him watch for those who do steal from him. Heck they even try to steal the website name! Sorry you have to deal with thiefs. I do not care for thiefs or liars.

  17. Cindy says:

    My husband is a musician. So far we haven’t run across any internet swiping of his stuff (yet) but years ago one of his songs was stolen.
    By a church.
    Good luck taking on the big guys.

  18. Lisa says:

    You go, Suzanne! I wish I were a lawyer so I could represent you pro bono. This crap infuriates me.

  19. jean says:

    Can I just say I love you even more today! You are taking a firm stand with these people yet you still manage to make me smile. You used such appropriate photos in this post. Thanks.

  20. patrice says:

    No whimp took her children and moved to the “slanted house”. You’ve done so much because you’re a strong lady. I know you can handle this one. I have faith in your abilities. Go get ’em, Suzanne!!!

  21. Angela p says:

    You go girl! I dont blame you one bit! Stealing is stealing. How rude of that man, he got caught and his comments were so la. la la…….Id be apologizing like crazy, if I were him!
    Another topic worth stating. Im so proud of you for standing up for whats right! We will support you Suzanne, you and this web site mean so much to me, more than I could ever say.

  22. Kelly Myers says:

    Wow. I am sorry this has happened Suzanne. My emails will go out today and I hope the magazine people are reading your blog now because I want them to know that as long as they continue to not make this right with you, I will no longer financially support them! My money doesn’t come easy but I lovingly and freely use it. I don’t complain very much about the prices of things. Instead, I am grateful for having money to buy the things I need and some of the things that I want. I find joy in having that attitude. BUT- I reserve the right to NOT support wrong doing.

    There are many scenarios that have played through my head as to how this could have happened. None of them really matter at this point though. All that matters is that a mistake in judgment was made, it has been brought to the attention of Countryside Publications, and they should apologize and step up to do the right thing.

    I really hope they settle this. I really will miss several of their publications if they do not.

    Really? That has always been one of my favorite pictures on this website. When I look at it I think that you were either very lucky to have gotten that shot or that you spent days trying to get it. If I would have seen it in the magazine or on line I would have said, “Look! Suzanne’s picture got published in a Countryside Publication magazine!”, and would have sent you a comment of congratulations. Seriously? Please! Time for someone to step up…

  23. Rah says:

    You go, girl. It APPEARS they have messed with the wrong woman! Wrong is wrong. It was never their picture to use. period.

  24. Rah says:

    p.s. I absolutely LOVE that picture. It speaks volumes.

  25. tinamanley says:

    Unfortunately, unless you registered the photo with the US Copyright Office, you cannot sue for punitive damages. (Maybe you did register it?) You can sue for usage and I would really hit it to them. My contracts have a clause saying if the photo is used without credit, I get triple the normal fee. Since they didn’t even ask but stole the photo, I’d ask for ten times the normal fee! These appropriators need to learn a lesson the hard way.


  26. hershiesgirl says:

    Suzanne I am GLAD that you are taking a stand on this. I’m like you, had the Editor said, “I’m sorry, I’ll fix it, and re-train my employees in hopes this won’t happen again, how can I compensate you?” it would have been one thing.

    But since he didn’t? I’m glad you are putting on your mud boots, and goin’ after them go-guns! They deserve it. Then you can blog about it. Maybe the ‘publicity’ will hit ’em where it hurts most. 🙂

  27. Heidi says:

    Oh gosh Suzanne! I’m so angry for you right now. I hope you don’t have to take them to court, but if you do I hope you get the maximum allowed. It’s not OK for any of these publications to rip off the little guy.

  28. Kris7 says:

    It wouldn’t hurt to send them a cease and desist letter or email. Maybe that would get your photo off their website even before lawyers get involved.


    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Kris, at this point, I don’t actually want my photo off their website. 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.)

  29. ladychef says:

    The internet today makes it so much easier to illegally obtain other people’s work. But it certainly does not make it any more right! I will always stand at the side of those hardworking individuals who deserve to be asked and then compensated for having their work used. Stand strong Suzanne! We will stand next to you and hold you up.

  30. Charlene says:

    I emailed them strongly urging them to do the right thing right away. Good for you for standing up to them!

  31. jojo says:

    Suzanne, as creative as you are you would do a great job at preparing a video of your animals (sort of like what you did above with the photos), and then show a picture with BIG words across it STOLEN and then the name of the place that did it.

    Then post the video on YouTube with a catchy name that will catch the attention of millions of people. Give contact information of the bad guy to folks so they can help you.

    You may never have to spend a cent if they get enough bad press that tv stations start picking it up. I’ll help promote it as well.

  32. auntbear says:

    stay on ’em Suzanne :hissyfit:

  33. Barbee' says:

    Still too sick to comment, but am composing an email to the offenders. 😥

  34. Karen in Ohio says:

    Do not back down, Suzanne. My husband is a photographer, and he has prosecuted theft of his work. It’s not easy, but you have to draw that line in the sand. Your creative work is all you have, and this is like stealing your very essence.

    Good luck!

  35. Karen in Ohio says:

    Tina, that is not true about registering at the Copyright office. ANY creative work is subject to copyright laws, regardless of whether or not it is registered.

    Geez, if every photo was required to be registered the Copyright office would be completely submerged in paperwork.

  36. Lcapers says:

    This is deplorable!! Sent an e-mail immediately. Don’t let them get away with this!

  37. IowaCowgirl says:

    go for it. we’re all behind you.

  38. Cindy says:

    Another thought–as a seasoned publisher, Belanger probably knew enough not to admit guilt. He most likely immediately contacted his lawyers. I imagine he gets lots of people claiming stuff like this all the time and has learned to tred carefully. Not that that excuses the theft or his dismissal of your claim off hand; I’ll be interested to hear about the next move in this dance.

  39. Lori says:

    I’m a first-time visitor to your site, but your work is obviously lovely and definitely worth protecting. It’s shocking to think how often these low-budget magazines must be blatantly ripping off other people’s work. Good for you for standing up to them.

  40. Tricia M says:

    Bravo! Too often these days, people feel that an artist can just hand over their work because “it did not cost much to produce”. My son is an artist and photographer. He has a BFA from Pratt. People are always asking him to just give them things – or they take it and do not pay him. One sketch took many years of work to get to it and lots of materials and angst. It is not to be freely given with out something in exchange. Artists have expenses. He was a photography major and the amount of money that went into supplies for him was astronomical in comparison to what my other son spent for books and paper in college.

    People – please realize that artists need to be paid. They have bills too. Their supplies are not cheap. They do not use the same paper, pencils, crayons that kids do. Photo supplies are very expensive.

    You do not work for free and neither should anyone who works in any of the art fields.

  41. tinamanley says:

    I’m sorry, Karen, but it is true. Yes, your image is copyrighted the minute you push the shutter, but no lawyer will take a case for punitive damages unless you have registered the image with the copyright office. From the copyright laws:

    “If copyright registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.”

    You can now register on-line but there is a $35 fee. I make my living doing this and am on the board of directors of the American Society of Media Photographers.


  42. Zusiqu says:

    This is the email I sent them:

    Suzanne McMinn is a well known and recognized writer. Those who follow her blog and view her photos RECOGNIZE the animals in the photos. Suzanne doesn’t just take pretty pictures. She tells stories about the photos she takes and personalizes them. When you steal a photo from Suzanne, it isn’t an ‘oopsie’ moment where you can claim you thought the photo was public domain. You are a thief, plain and simple. There is no hiding from this. There is no explaining this away. No one is questioning your morals. We already have the answer to THAT question.

    Take responsibility for your theft.
    Apologize PUBLICLY for your theft.
    Pay Suzanne, including the damages for unauthorized use of her photo.
    Give credit to Suzanne (with link to her site) in your online edition that features the goat photo.
    Never steal pictures again.

  43. Joy says:

    There’s GOT to be one of your reader’s that has the printed copy of this particular magazine with your picture in it. Does anyone? You could mail it to Suzanne.

    I have been a subscriber to Countryside and in fact, had their re-subscription paper in my pile to send off a check . Not doing that now!!!! And letting friends know who also subscribe to it what’s going on.

  44. Cliff says:

    Interestingly the other image on that site has been lifted from the International Atomic Energy Agency site at

  45. Larissa says:

    Suzanne- I am so proud of you. Don’t back down!

  46. Betsy says:

    My email is sent!

  47. The Retired One says:

    This guy is unbelievable!! YES, they ALL need to be held accountable..we need to keep the pressure on them..and thank you for not backing down!!!!!

  48. MNStacey says:

    Kick their sorry butts! :devil2:

  49. Ramona says:

    They should make amendment for wronging you.

  50. DragonLady says:

    Suzanne: I’m with you all the way and I’m in the process of leaving the chief-thief a message. I hate it when bad things happen to good people! :yes:

  51. tinamanley says:

    Definitely, Suzanne! Go for it. I hope they learn their lesson. You will be doing all photographers a great favor!


  52. becki says:

    Nail them Suzanne.

    I followed your link to their web site. Then got worried. What if all your readers did the same. Would that boost web traffic stats for those terrible, no-good, very bad goat-picture stealing rascals?

  53. Julia says:

    This is terrible.

    Have you thought about contacting their advertisers? They may not want their names associated with stolen property, and might encourage the publisher to do the right thing.

  54. Mary Kellogg says:

    I subscribe to Small Stock Journal!

    This sort of thing is so prevalent on the internet. I think you need to hire an attorney specializing in intelectual property.

    Go get ’em!

  55. Bev in CA says:

    Suzanne, it upsets me that this is happening to you. Yes! Follow it through. Your pictures make this site so special. Have you ever gone into Google Images? There are uncountable images and I am sure a lot were stolen from people who have not given their permission. It is time to safeguard your pictures and fix it so they can not be used without your permission! I am sure I am speaking for a great many of us who read you everyday! As an afterthought, have you ever considered making greeting cards of your beautiful pictures?

  56. Melissa says:

    They should pay you a minimum of $350.00 for your photo. It is much cheaper than a lawsuit.

  57. Wendy Curling says:

    You go get’em girl, I’m behind you 100% What’s wrong with people! I am a photographer, too and have probably had more photos than I care to know about stolen from me. They truly don’t realize the work, the hours, and you said it PASSION, that goes into getting remarkable shots like yours. I LOVE that you are going after them. You are standing up for all of us……Suzanne for President!!!

  58. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I’ve linkied this post and yesterday’s post on my facebook page, and commented about it. Facebook can be annoying, but if enough people see it, it might give them some grief.

  59. Cheryl LeMay says:

    Get a lawyer Suzanne. It sounds like this guy is going to try to jerk you around. I think he’ll only take you seriously when he speaks to your lawyer. Don’t worry about the lawyer’s fee – you can make HIM pay for that.

  60. Gini says:

    Emailed em. They should know better and I’m surprised they haven’t reacted more swiftly to this, even if it was an honest mistake from the beginning. They still need to fix it, RIGHT NOW.

  61. Christina S. says:

    Looks like the photo is down from their online article.

    Go get ’em, Suzanne. You’ve got lots of supporters!! 🙂

  62. Luann says:

    I just checked out the link to the article again today, they took down your picture that was there yesterday!

  63. Kelley says:

    I am so sorry this is happening to you~it is so very wrong!
    I can’t believe they are being so rude and uncooperative 🙁
    It is sad state of affairs when people won’t do the right thing in the first place but then after doing the wrong thing and not making it right well…*sigh*
    I am just so sorry!

  64. ALF says:

    Wow. And this after the Cooks Source fiasco? Obviously they are not paying attention to the news…

    You take beautiful pictures, and have the right to be paid for them, so good for you for following through on them! Good luck! I sent them an e-mail about internet theft, yours in particular, with links to all the nice recent articles.

  65. judydee says:

    Suzanne–I checked and the photo has been removed from the on-line edition. I have sent another e-mail asking that they comply with your requests as you stated. I also informed them that I will continue to follow. Wanted to let them know that you are not standing alone.

  66. Cheryl says:

    Shamey, shamey, shamey on them…get ’em Suzanne!! I went to the website and didn’t see the picture. Did they take it down?

  67. Helen says:

    “Appears”…? But of course he’s not going to concede that it is your photo (in other words, not concede to the legitimacy of your claim) because that is not is job…his job is to stone-wall you in the hope that you will go away, or not have enough money to hire a lawyer to fight for you. It really bites because he has time and money on his side, and he knows it, and the corporation’s lawyers know it, too. But don’t give up, Suzanne. They have wronged you and they deserve to pay for it.

  68. Valerie says:

    I’m so sorry that happened to you. How horrible. I’m not sure why people think that using someone else’s work without paying for it or giving you credit or simply ASKING for your permission is permissible. Dave Belanger should have immediately apologized, explained the situation and offered to compensate you for your work. He should be embarrassed! We all make mistakes but it does not sound like he made a simple mistake or trusted the wrong person to do his leg work. Sounds to me like he stole your work and is now trying to cover it up to avoid legal hassles.

  69. Amber says:

    Suzanne, have you contacted the EFF ( I believe they have a program and a fund set up to help people in situations like this.

  70. Wendy B. says:

    I briefly worked for a small publishing company that produced agricultural based magazines. I hate to sound so cynical, but all they cared about was the advertising dollars, the content/articles in the magazine were the bottom of the barrel on their importance scale and as a result often was the equivalent of a pile of crap tailored to support their advertisers! I don’t think they care about your photo being ripped off (as has been my experience and their inaction here speaks to support that), until it begins to threaten their pocketbook. I’d have an attorney draft a letter explaining their crime and the compensation that you expect immediately! I’d also tack on an additional daily rate charge that the photo remains on their website without credit given. I’d also make the compensation large enough to cover any/all attorney fees. Just sayin….

  71. Helen says:

    You don’t sound cynical at all Wendy B. I stopped subscribing to all magazines years ago for the very reason you site…that the content was crap and that the magazines were nothing but thinly disguised advertising rags.

  72. Windflower says:

    A question: Is there a reason that you do not watermark your photos? Personally, I find that if the watermark is part of the photo enough that it deters theft, it also detracts from the photo. I try to watermark my photos at the bottom where it doesn’t detract as much but it would look awkward if it was cropped out.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Windflower, watermarks DO detract from a photo, and I believe would also distract from the flow of stories I tell with my photographs. I would hate to have to start doing that. I am considering it. (I can’t go back and watermark the thousands of photos already on my site, however, so that wouldn’t really solve much other than as pertains to newer photos.)

  73. NorthCountryGirl says:

    I read your post today. Followed the link and the picture was not there. I went into their site another way and the picture is not there. Do what you have to do. I can’t believe the nonchalant attitude these editors have over stolen property! Wonder if it was the other way around if they would be so blase’.

  74. ellie says:

    Buckeye Girl,

    Thanks for the link to the copyright alliance blog. I’ll be sure to share that link as often as possible.

    Best of luck, Suzanne. I have emailed the editors twice in hopes they’ll have a change of heart/.

  75. Cathy says:

    Hi, Suzanne. I accidentally came across your site, as I’ve been following the Cooks Source fiasco lately. I wanted to let you read an email that I’ve prepared to send to Mr. Belanger, just to make sure that I have everything okey dokey!

    “Mr. Belanger,

    I am writing you regarding the photo in your publication Dairy Goat Journal, in which you included a photo of 3 goat bucks, taken by Ms. Suzanne McMinn. You didn’t ask permission from her to use this photo, nor did you ask permission of the people who actually own those bucks. I don’t know where you’ve been this last week, but have you not heard about the Cooks Source scandal going on regarding the “lifting” of individuals’ work without their permission? Shame on you. Remove the photos (I use the plural because I feel that you’ve probably lifted more than just one), apologize to her on her website (, PAY her what you legally, morally and dutifully owe her, and then: DON’T DO IT AGAIN!!!!! Also, never, ever be as rude as you were to ANYONE else, no matter who they are. It sounds like you may be getting some retribution for your behavior, and not in a good way, such as cancellation of subscriptions, emails from Suzanne’s supporters to others, comments on Facebook, etc.

    Good luck with all that.”

    If what I’ve written is accurate, then I shall send it forthwith!

  76. Bob Mueller says:

    Yowch. We used to subscribe to Countryside, several years ago. TO me the attitude is worse than the offense, really.\

    I spent much of last weekend watching the destruction of Cooks Source magazine over their copyright infringment; at one point, someone had amassed a 160-entry spreadsheet showing possible infringements, including NPR, Paula Deen, and Martha Stewart as victims. I’ve tweeted about your situation using the #buthonestlymonica hashtag, so maybe you’ll get some traffic out of that. If so, watch out!

    Best of luck.

  77. Cathy says:

    You are most welcome! It’s incredible that your situation should come up right after this whole Cooks Source debacle, and that Mr. Belanger hasn’t heard of it! It also completely annoys me when something like this happens. Good luck to you, and I’ll continue to read here. I enjoy your pictures!

  78. Cathy says:

    Oh, and here’s something you’ll enjoy:
    You might have started another media blitz!

  79. Windflower says:

    Suzanne, you could actually watermark everything pretty easily if you have one folder that holds all of your photos. You would simply import them into Picasa (that’s the free software that I use) and then export them all with a watermark.

    I agree completely in that I’d hate to see your photos conspicuously watermarked because it would really detract from the flow of your stories and from the photos themselves. Perhaps you can find a compromise that you are happy with that would be much more subtle (the more subtle, the harder it is to remove) but would still give you a bit of protection. It’s kind of like making your house the one with the yard light and thorn bushes in front of the windows. A thief could still break in, but other houses would have a much easier escape route.

    The whole thing is so sad in that you have to resort to changing the way you want to be creative just to keep people from stealing your stuff. I’m really sorry you have to deal with this stuff, but know you’ve got a whole community of people that have your back.

  80. Judy McCormick says:

    As someone who has worked in photography (and some newspaper) for more years than I (want) to remember, I can say without a doubt, someone (probably all) knew these had a copy-write.

    That’s a foundation in this business. Even working in a photo lab for some years, we would NOT touch a photo that we even suspected belonged to someone else.

    Good for you, you are fighting a battle for more than just yourself.

  81. Judy McCormick says:

    Lets Try Copyright – my spell check changed it….

  82. Kelly Myers says:

    Letting you know my email is sent. I can’t believe this hasn’t already been rectified. Do they really want the blog blitz?

    I will be following for updates and will not give Countryside Publications anymore of my money until there is word from you that all was made right with you (as this is what I promised them in my email).

  83. farmershae says:

    I emailed yesterday with a firm tone, throwing around words like ‘integrity’. But the more I think about it, the more disgusted I am. I am not renewing my DGJ magazine (maybe I’ll start my own when I move to the farm – I’ll be the goat magazine that people can trust.) and I’m going to cancel my new subscription to Backyard Poultry. I’m really hoping they resolve this whole issue soon, or I will have to cancel Countryside (And that is my favorite magazine in the world…) and I WILL do it if I have to! Stay strong, we are all behind you!!! :hug:

  84. Bev in CA says:

    Suzanne, I agree with Windflower about the watermark, but isn’t there a way to set it up so your photograph when right clicked on ends up blank? They can try getting your photo but it won’t work.

  85. Langela says:

    I sent an email asking them to man up and do what is right. Keep us posted. BTW, I LOVE that photo!

  86. Beth says:

    I know I’m late in checking blogs today, but I just looked at their site and it has “Courtesy of Suzanne McMinn” under the photo. Yay! It does help to raise your voice a little! :snoopy:

  87. Brenda says:

    Just sent an email to Countryside- I have been a subscriber for years; told them that and that if they do NOT compensate you adequately, I will not be renewing. I said I would be following this story; please keep us updated on how this turns out. I really mean it- I do not intend to support a business that is profiting illegally off of other people’s work.

    Good luck, and keep up the good work. Love your blog!

  88. Wendy B. says:

    BTW, beware of the “free” subscription magazines if you think the magazine is trash. Publishers do this to increase their circulation numbers and thus can charge a higher rate for their advertisers. (At the publishing company I worked at all the employees were sent the magazine at their homes without permission, which was ridiculous since we all had access to the magazines at the office! Then we figured out it was to inflate the circulation numbers!!!) Remember its “all about the money! If you don’t want to support magazines that have no integrity, tell them to cancel even free subscriptions!

  89. Helen says:

    COURTESY OF Suzanne McMinn :shocked: ? Is it just me, or does that seem to imply that Suzanne GAVE them the rights to the photo, gratis? In a way, to me at least, thats even worse than the way they ripped her off to begin with.

  90. Angela Parson Myers says:

    The photo now appears to have been credited to you at least.

  91. William Cross says:

    I would say that even with finally crediting Suzanne, we should, every single one of us, keep this story going on all social networks, until the story is finally picked up by the mainstream news (it would be if there were enough of a rampage), the same as the Cooks Source story was picked up this past week. They now have lost almost all their advertisers as well as any credibility they once had.

  92. LisaAJB says:

    Suzanne, this is the email that I just sent off.

    Ms. Stultz

    I am writing to you to express my extreme outrage and disappointment in your theft of photos off of the internet to use in your magazine. I am a huge fan of Suzanne McMinn and daily read her blog at It is there that I learned of your theft of her photo of three goat bucks.

    Ms. Stultz, I teach a 7th grade language arts class. I teach my students that taking anything from the internet without proper citation will have negative consequences. If twelve-year-old authors are capable of not plagiarizing, then why ma’am, aren’t you? What you did is outright theft. I hope that this incident teaches you that you cannot use others works without their permission. I hope that your magazine chooses to take the high road by apologizing to Suzanne, paying the fee that she deserves for her photo, and never stealing photos again.

    Lisa Bell

    Hope it helps.

  93. Vicki in So. CA says:

    Hmmm. Yes, the photo has been re-posted with credit: courtesy of Suzanne McMinn. Just thinking – doesn’t “courtesy of” imply “with permission?” That’s how I read it. From “offered or provided free by courtesy of the management…” It looks to me that he has no intention of apologizing or compensating you.

    If I’m right, the do-do he’s walking in will be getting deeper by the minute. Your predicament, and his unprofessional (not to mention illegal) behavior has practically gone viral, and continues to do so by the minute. He’s hoping this will go away by itself, but we all know it won’t. I’m thinking he’s read your comments on this. You said you are committed. I wonder how long it will take him to realize you are a woman of your word.

  94. Deb Flynn says:

    I will miss my Backyard Poultry but it is mpre important for these publishers to do the right thing and the LEGAL thing. You are doing the right thing as are all your supporters. I will not be subscribing again unless they make it right for you.

  95. maryann says:

    I posted this reply in your open letter post also. At this time you are credited under the picture along with the link to your site. I guess it showed him how well loved you are. 🙂

  96. Miss Judy says:

    I sent my comment in to Backyard Poultry and let them know that I could not do business with a company that had such unethical practices. I then signed it…Sincerely,(my name), A Nonsubscriber.
    Suzanne,they have no valid excuses.They should give you what you have the right to demand.If you let this go on they WILL do it again to someone! Make them do the right thing!

  97. elfpix says:

    I hope you had the image registered with the Copyright Office. If not, you can’t really get much through a IP proceeding. If you register it now, it’s basically too late, but do so anyway.

  98. Senta Sandberg says:

    This magazine should be paying you to write and take photo’s for them maybe the could sell some magazines. I see you have the credit now.

  99. mschrief says:

    Please cancel my subscription to Countryside and Small Stock Journal immediately.

    I am appalled that your magazine, Dairy Goat Journal, blatantly commit the theft of intellectual property of Suzanne McMinn. The photograph in question is Ms. McMinn’s property and she should be compensated and credited for the photo. Simply, she deserves an apology from you.

    Ms. McMinn is one of the most beloved bloggers in the rural blogesphere. She deserves compensation for the use of her work.

    You can apply any remaining funds from my subscription to a fund to PAY MS. MCMINN for her work.

    Expect a flood of emails and Facebook/Twitter posts about this.

    Again, CANCEL my subscription.

    Mary Kellogg

  100. Jersey Lady says:

    Cooks Source Magazine recently published a blog they took from a website without permission. When the author contacted them, the editor said everything online is free for the taking and she should be glad they did not charge her for rewriting such a poorly written article! Can you believe it? I guess you can since it has happened to you too.

  101. Kelly M :-) says:

    How ridiculously horrible! Will people never learn?
    I will say I love the picture of Clover, and the “group” shot reminds me of the looks I get when I come home from work at night. How sweet. Your photos are all awesome, hopefully this’ll all be sorted out soon.

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