Open Letter to Dave Belanger


Having noticed that my stolen photo was removed from the online edition of the current Dairy Goat Journal, I called Dave Belanger, head of Countryside Publications, which publishes Dairy Goat Journal, Backyard Poultry, Countryside & Small Stock Journal, and sheep! Magazine. Speaking with Mr. Belanger (who made no apology to me), I told him that part of my requirement for credit for the photo was that the photo must remain in the online edition, with a credit to me including my name and my website link, because the online edition is the only link to the print edition of the November/December Dairy Goat Journal, which is already published and in circulation without a credit to me.

Dave Belanger said, “Your requirement? Goodbye, Suzanne.” And he hung up on me.


Dear Mr. Belanger,

Had you asked to use my photo in your magazine, I would have gladly donated it for no other cost than my credit and a link to my website. However, you didn’t ask. You stole.

My charge for this photo now is an industry standard $350, per use (print and internet), tripled, per reasonable industry practice, as an up-charge for the unauthorized, uncredited use, bringing the charge to $1050 per use (print and internet). That is a total of $2100.

I also require a statement in the editor’s column of the next Dairy Goat Journal including an apology, a credit to me for the photo, my name, and my website address. (In the January/February 2011 edition, if possible. If not possible due to publication deadlines, no later than the March/April 2011 edition.) The photo must also be permanently reinstated in the online edition with the credit of my name and my website address (with link).

Suzanne McMinn

P.S. I will email my address to [email protected] so you can put the check in the mail. If I don’t receive the check within 7 days, you will hear from my attorney. Thanks!


For those of you who may have missed what’s going on, please read my post here. My photo was published without my knowledge or consent in both the print and internet publication of the November/December 2010 Dairy Goat Journal, which is published by Countryside Publications. (They have now taken it down from the online edition.)

Dairy Goat Journal photo:

My photo:

Please make anyone you know who subscribes to Countryside Publications aware of this situation. I have no idea whether or not other stolen photographs appear in their magazines, but based on my experience, I wouldn’t be surprised. Spread the word! Please share this post on your Facebooks and Twitters and any other way you have available to you. When a publisher of four magazines dismisses a photographer after stealing their photo, I have to fight, not just for me but for everyone else who has ever had their work stolen. Please help me fight them.

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.

P.S. The “Love, Suzanne” in the above letter is intended for a little humor amidst the drama.

See an update on this story here.

See the resolution of this story here.


  1. Jo says:

    BEWARE, Dave!!No one likes to see a friend treated so shabby.

  2. judydee says:

    The world is watching.

  3. Miss Becky says:

    WOW, not only does he not care, he’s also rude! I hope this problem is resolved to your satisfaction Suzanne, and I recommend putting a watermark on all your photos to prevent this from happening again. That’s something I’m currently learning how to do in a photoshop e-course I’m taking.
    I will be writing (politely) Dave Belanger myself. Hang in there Suzanne. He’s made me angry now. :devil2: :devil2: :devil2:

  4. Ramona says:

    Keep us posted. Will be out for a few days, will have to catch up with everything next week.

  5. Deanna says:

    I cannot believe that they not only took your photo, but he was rude and hung up on you! Good luck getting the credit you deserve, and of course a nice check from them.

  6. skippymom says:

    Consider it done Suzanne.

    Dear Dave,

    You have made a serious error in judgement. Your business practices are faulty at best.

  7. lady under the oaks says:

    :snoopy: oh i love it! i am so glad when we as a community catch and hopefully inundate large corporations for their wrong doing…i have enjoyed some of their stuff in the past but this really puts a new light on the subject. Wonder how many other people all this involves over the years!

  8. Rhea says:

    I sent him an email. He needs to take responsibility for the actions of his publication and respect your rights and your art. Unbelievable! Mistakes happen, but now he needs to make it right.

  9. Tow Lady says:

    Ah, lovely corporate BS. Dave, I hope you’re proud of yourself. Suzanne, get a good lawyer. They’ll love it when they have to pay your fees plus the fees of your lawyer, also. That’ll wipe the smirk right off of his face. Come one, Dave…is it so hard to apologize and admit that you were wrong? Someone needs a time out…

  10. Ashlee M says:

    If that letter doesn’t let him know you’re serious, I’m sure a conversation with your attorney will convince him that you know what you’re entitled under copyright law! I hope it doesn’t have to come to that and he decides to do the right thing on his own. You would think the head of four professional publications would be more…well, professional!

  11. Melissa Marsh says:

    Email sent, Suzanne! I can’t believe how rude he was!!!

  12. Alison Simpson says:

    Not very professional, Dave.

    This incident is actually the FIRST I have heard of your publication. I am not impressed with your ethics or practices, although the photos are great. I would be much more impressed if you adhered to the letter of the law and professional ethics. There is still time to make it right, and move on.

    Alison Simpson

  13. CATRAY44 says:

    Sent a letter and posted to FB. What an unwise move on Dave’s part, publicity wise….

  14. Gen-IL Homesteader says:

    Oh, Suzanne! I have subscribed to Countryside for 15 years or so. I absolutely LOVE the magazine, and have had a few articles/letters published there myself (with my approval). What a disappointment to hear that they did this. I will definitely write a letter expressing my disappointment as a loyal reader to their publication and to yours.

  15. BuckeyeGirl says:


    It is not alright to stomp on the rights of others just because you are larger than they are.

  16. Nancy says:

    You go girl! Shame on him!

  17. Mz E says:

    Such unprofessional and unethical behavior on their part! Hold your ground Suzanne and make them accountable. Please keep us posted.

  18. Windflower says:

    Done. Called and left him a message in his voice mail. “Not back at his desk yet…” Really? Suggested that he accept your terms before punitive damages are added by the courts.

  19. SandyCWV says:

    Part of my letter to Countryside Publications:
    Mr Belanger hung up on your worst type of enemy.
    Suzanne is someone who has the ability to inspire people to put a chicken coop in their yard or a goat in the field.
    I am one of those people.
    People like me subscribe to magazines that can help us learn about things i.e. chickens and goats.
    I don’t like stealing. I don’t spend money on stolen things.
    How many people will I tell?
    The only thing she asked for was a credit and a link.
    Have a little respect.

    Sorry you have to deal with this Suzanne. Every day is something new isn’t it?

  20. chickensohmyagain says:

    Suzanne, good luck. You are completely right to pursue this and have a 100% chance of winning! There is your Christmas money! I think the readers of his magazine would also be embarrassed by his high-handed rude behaviour.

  21. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I linked this to my facebook page, I hope other friends of mine will see it and do the same.

  22. Windflower says:

    Also made one of those “please repost” status messages for Facebook that will hopefully propagate.

    “THEFT!!! If you subscribe to any of these: Countryside Publications, which publishes Dairy Goat Journal, Backyard Poultry, Countryside & Small Stock Journal, and sheep! Magazine. Please call to protest the outright internet theft of images used in their print publications, by cancelling your subscription! If you don’t have a subscription, call and let them know they’re wrong anyway! All the info is in the link.

    Please repost this so as many people as possible can see it!”

    This really gets my “need for justice” juices flowing, :devil2: .

  23. nataliecyphers says:

    Suzanne…he is just WRONG for not giving you credit for your excellent picture….how hard would it have been to apologize and give you credit?! I guess he will see papers from the attorney and I am sure he will regret being stubborn! Best of luck! 🙂

  24. Kelly Jo Kirby says:

    Dear Suzanne, I love you to death but could I make a suggestion on the letter? You might want to take out Love, Suzanne and put in Sincerely, Suzanne for a business letter. Hope you don’t get mad at me.

  25. Betty says:

    I think this man is about to experience the power of theinternet. You go, Suzanne

  26. Larissa says:

    Dear Dave-

    Though I have only heard one side of the story, rudeness (even perceived rudeness) is unacceptable in any sort of professional situation. Rarely does it solve conflict, nor does it deter future problems.

    Please reconsider your decision regarding the picture Suzanne took. She is a talented individual who deserves your respect.

    Thank you!


  27. Becca says:

    I’ve emailed him and will again if this continues. I can’t believe in this day and age people think they can get by with stealing images off the internet. I’ve also asked him to institute procedures that will prevent this from happening again.

  28. Barbee' says:

    “Love” ??! was my thought when I read the letter. I hope someone lets them know that in the month of Oct. Suzanne’s website had 600,000 page views. Sorry I forgot to mention that, maybe someone else will.

  29. Melanie B says:

    WOW!!!! I can’t believe this!! OH he will be hearing from me as well! That’s not right, and then to cut you off with out even an apology! Send the goats after him, bgetter yet the chickens. FIll his office with them…LOL Ok, all in seriousness though, that’s right. I hope this is dealt with!!

  30. auntbear says:

    what p o’s me is the utter lack of respect.

  31. bonita says:

    Did you notice that on the CS website they state, in part:
    COUNTRYSIDE features reader-written personal experiences and photos straight out of family albums, making each issue just like a long letter from friends who are living the good life, beyond the sidewalks.
    Well, yes CSP. it is a photo straight out of a family album, BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO ASK TO USE IT!
    Sent emails to editors of other CSP mags as well as to Elaine Belanger andAnne-marie Belanger Ida.
    Also sent fax to Dave himself. (Bcc’d you on emails)
    We’re behind you Suzanne, it’s a shame you have to take time (=money) away from your normal activities to pursue these thieves.

  32. SandyCWV says:

    Facebook update done and Techdirt, who has covered some of these situations lately, is also aware.
    All they had to do was add a byline. :pirate:

  33. Michelle says:

    Suzanne, I have left a message for Dave Belanger, and submitted this situation (and the broader problem of internet theft) to NPR as a story idea for “On the Media.” Go get ’em!

  34. Rick says:

    Wow. The disrespectful jerks will be hearing from me as well.

  35. Andrea the Kitchen Witch says:

    heres what I sent them
    It has come to my recent attention that your publications has used a photograph that they were unauthorized to use. It is also known that Dave Belanger knows about this and has treated the photographer rudely and unfairly. I am not now, nor will I ever be a subscriber to your publication if this is the type of business practices you use. Shame on you for stealing other peoples work. Shame on you Dave Belanger for not caring. Shame on you all for your rude stance in this matter. Accidents happen, mistakes are made. Adults should be adult enough to admit fault and apologize to the people they wronged. You were wrong to use Suzanne’s goat photo with out giving her due credit and financial compensation for her work. Please correct your error and reprimand Dave Belanger for his extraordinarily poor display of business ethic as well as general rude attitude.

  36. 52 says:

    To Barbee’——-I did.

  37. Amy says:

    I hope this helps, Suzanne. You really do need to follow this through. Don’t give up! And keep us posted!

    Dear Mr. Belange,

    As I’m sure you are now aware your publication violated U.S. copyright laws when you published a photo owned by Suzanne McMinn without asking her permission. Her contact information is clearly available on her website, along with this:
    “Entire Contents © Copyright 2004-2010 Text and photographs may not be published, broadcast, redistributed or aggregated without express permission. Thank you.”

    I notice that Dairy Goat Journal also has something similar posted at the bottom of its page, “Copyright 1998 to present by Dairy Goat Journal. All rights reserved.”

    If this were a simple mistake made by someone outside the publishing industry that would be one thing but you, of all people, should understand the importance of U.S. copyright law. You must compensate Suzanne, apologize publicly and make every effort to never allow this to happen again. Perhaps your editors need further training and education. I look forward to updates from Suzanne concerning this issue. If you have not already you really must visit her website. I look forward to reading her updates about Clover and Beulla Petunia and the rest of her brood. My bet is that once you get this whole issue squared away you will also become a loyal Chickens in the Road reader. Please, make this right!

  38. Lisa says:

    I shared this story on FB, and I encourage everyone else to do the same. Plagiarists, much like the common wood louse, are most comfortable operating in dark and secret. If we shine the bright light of day on their activities, it will become much more difficult for them to continue to steal creative content.

  39. ladychef (Gena Denham) says:

    Email to DB sent this morning. Link on my facebook account done now, with my explanation. We WILL stand by you Suzanne! Just keep letting us know what we can do next.

  40. lizzie says:

    Well it sounds as if Mr. Dave is a bit GRUMPY today!!! very rude man, lets hope that he is put in the little yellow chair in the corner for a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time. You would have thought that Mr. Belanger would have had just a little more class then that! GO GET EM! :sheepjump:

  41. Landodixy says:

    I feel better now that I have sent my letter to Dave! As a subscriber to Countryside magazine and a vendor at our local Farmers Market, I felt it only fair to remind him that bad business practices impact us three-fold that of good (often more). The saying that you’ll tell 3 people about a good experience, yet you’ll tell 10 about a bad experience is SO true!

  42. Kelly Jo Kirby says:

    Now I get it, I hope that you get everything you ask for. Sqeeze them dry!

  43. Minna says:

    He actually said that? He’s really glutton for punishment, isn’t he? :devil2:

  44. Drucillajoy says:

    Could you contact the media in the town in which he does business? The hometown folks might like to know what he’s doing…just a thought.
    Also, $2,100.00 really doesn’t seem like much money for something that is a crime…maybe you should have a lawyer handling this right from the beginning.

  45. Melanie says:

    Go get ’em! That is unethical!

  46. Betty says:

    This Dave guy just does not realize what he has done has he?? Am almost feeling sorry for him when it is realized how many people this has reached and what this will do to him…..hmmmm…wonder if he will be looking for another job pretty soon….and it probably will not be in journalism… going to be interesting…..

  47. Melissa says:

    So sorry you are going through this. As an editor, he should know better.

  48. Barbie says:

    I just sent off an email to Dave Belanger. I can’t believe that he is so ignorant. Keep at him, Suzanne, you have all of us out there on your side!!!!

  49. Lori Skoog says:

    Perhaps we should all contact “Dave” to let him know that we support you and do not condone stealing.

    He blew it when he hung up on you. No mercy now!

  50. KarenAnn says:

    So, Mr. Belanger has dug himself into a deep deep hole. His professional response should have been to say that he is looking into the situation and will get back with Suzanne asap. It’s no excuse that Countryside Publications is a “smaller” publishing company. They shouldn’t have been taking shortcuts in order to save time, money, or man hours. I would hope that heads will role, but they probably won’t. They need to do the right thing and compensate you as you requested. And, Mr. Belanger, If you read these comments, you need to gather your staff for an emergency meeting and demand that everybody start complying with the copyright laws.

    Go get ’em Suzanne!

  51. Lori Skoog says:

    I’m back…I sent the following to the contact address for the Journal.
    To Dave Belanger or whomever is getting this email….

    Hanging up on Suzanne McMinn was a bad idea. Now, her letter to you has been published on her blog (which, by the way, had 600,000 pages read in October) and I’m afraid it reflects badly on you and your Journal. I hope that you plan to rectify the situation. Helping yourself to someone’s photographs without permission is a violation…particularly when it is clearly stated that this is inappropriate. I would imagine that you will be hearing from many, regarding this situation….time to stand up and do the right thing.


    Lori Skoog

  52. SandyH says:

    Suzanne, You are not the only person this has happened to. Another blog that I read was talking about an article being lifted. I hope you sue and win.

  53. Grammie Earth says:

    :eating: :eating: :eating:

    Initially I thought it would be good to chew ’em up and spit ’em out…but now???

    Spit that out! Quick!!!

    It APPEARS Dave is without manners of any sort. Quick! SPIT again! You don’t want to accidentally ingest any of ‘that’

  54. Betsy says:

    Another email sent…

  55. Denise says:

    Go get him!!! I despise people stealing anything from others, and he and his employees deserve whatever they get!!!!!

  56. Darlene in Ks says:

    Just sent my email. How sad this all is. Wonder who hired this “Dave”. If you know who the top man or woman is let us know and we can start emailing them. Now that would be fun!

    Let us know when the Today Show calls for an interview, lol.

  57. Patty Norton says:

    I too e-mailed Mr Belanger and requested that he rectify and compensate you for the theft

  58. Kathi N. says:

    I hope you pursue this all the way. What a rat. . .

    We’re behind you!

  59. Laney says:

    Suzanne, I have sent the following:

    Mr. Belanger,
    I have been a daily reader of Suzanne McMinn’s website, Chickens in the Road, for several years. I have come to know her as a kind, smart, strong and talented woman. She supports her family and her farm the good old fashion way: through hard work. HER hard work. She writes, she photographs and she publishes on her own blog. She is also a published romance writer. When I found out that one of your magazines used HER photograph without permission or credit to the photographer (i.e. Suzanne McMinn) I became disgusted with not only The Daily Goat Journal’s shifty publication practices but also with the fact that it appears you are disregarding Suzanne and her property outright by refusing to offer her any type of apology and compensation for the use of HER work. How can The Daily Goat Journal’s website place a copyright notice on the bottom of the site and NOT give FULL credit and compensation to the rightful owner of the contents used in the article? You are a hypocrite. You are a publisher. You should know better.
    I WILL NOT be subscribing to any of your Countryside publications. I WILL NOT be purchasing single copies of any of your publications and I WILL be letting everyone I know about your illegal use of someone else’s property.
    I hope that you will do the right thing and apologize to Suzanne as well as compensate her for the use of her photograph. In the future, all it takes is ASKING someone to use their work along with giving them full credit and necessary compensation. Again, as a publisher, I would think this would be something you are already familiar with. I suppose I must be giving you FAR too much credit.

    Laney Clark
    Self employed metal artist
    I hope it helps.

  60. Kelly Myers says:

    What? What! O.M.Goodness. This is getting even more interesting and frustrating!

    Maybe he didn’t read my email? Or maybe this one isn’t very bright?

    Geeze Countryside, apologize for using the picture without permission (or, you can plain admit it was stolen) and give Suzanne her payment for using her property!

    Suzanne I will gladly sent a donation if these scoundrels force you to go the attorney route- the least I can do for the hours of enjoyment your blog has given me! This is a stand that needs to be taken. Wrong behavior should not be tolerated!

  61. Diane says:

    From Purdue University’s Copyright Office:
    Copyright infringement is the act of violating any of a copyright owner’s exclusive rights granted by the federal Copyright Act. There are three elements that must be in place in order for the infringement to occur.

    1.The copyright holder must have a valid copyright.
    2.The person who is allegedly infringing must have access to the copyrighted work.
    3.The duplication of the copyrighted work must be outside the exceptions.

    The legal penalties for copyright infringement are:

    1.Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.
    2.The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
    3.Infringer pays for all attorneys fees and court costs.
    4.The Court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
    5.The Court can impound the illegal works.
    6.The infringer can go to jail.

  62. kathy holmes says:

    Done: I called, left a very nice message, “Please do the right thing”
    Left my name and number, lets see if he responds!
    Mom to chickens, kitties and airedale terriers

  63. Kelly Myers says:

    Continuing… I do not understanding why Countryside doesn’t care about me? Or any of us? Or any of their consumers?

    My home is supported by a husband in sales. He could give Dave some lessons. My husband cares a lot about each and every potential sale. Countryside doesn’t care if I buy their magazines anymore?

    Suzanne thank you for the links you have provided in some of your posts. I would not worry about them driving traffic to Countryside. This link you provided –
    made me furious and even more resolved to follow your story and do my part in spreading the word to not financially support Countryside until Countryside makes things right. The man knows better. He may have had no idea your photo was being lifted but he knows now and continues to treat you like a bothersome fly.
    Well, Mr. Belanger, it looks to me like you are the one getting swatted at. And yes Mr. Belanger, Suzanne is sharing her requirements now as no one politely asked her permission to begin with.

    Please Mr. Belanger, man up and make this right!
    In Love and Peace, Kelly Myers

  64. bonita says:

    I suspect you’ve already thought of this, but just in case: the American Society of Media Photographers
    would be a good place to find a lawyer who specializes in stolen media. Just a thought. Sent a complaint to the BBB in West Allis WI, the office that serves Medford WI.

  65. Rebecca says:

    I just sent:
    “Dear Editor,
    As a daily follower of the Chickens in the Road blog, newsletter, and anything else Suzanne McMinn does, I am writing to express my dismay over the theft and publication of Suzanne McMinn’s picture of three goats.
    Your magazine has clearly violated copyright laws and instead of asking for permission, infringed on Suzanne’s ability to earn money.
    And to top it off, when she attempted to address this issue with you. you were rude. Didn’t anyone ever teach you the importance of acknowledging bad behavior and the power of an apology?
    I don’t think you understand the Chickens in the Road popularity, the number of dedicated followers, or the power of going viral on the internet or you would have attempted to make this right when you were first contacted.
    PS. You could have had an amazing source for future pictures for your publication but you must be slightly dense as well as a cheat and a thief. Shame on you,

  66. Kirsten S says:

    Well Suzanne…I love you and your blog! Maybe this happened for a reason (more hits on your website, more readers, broader exposure on the internet?)…just trying to stay positive in a bad situation. I think what they did to you was so wrong, and how you were treated afterward was worse. I hope this all works out for you. I reposted this to my local mommy group (where you have quite a few fans) and to Facebook.

  67. Pony! says:

    I read of your situation on Homesteading Today, and it just frosts my flakes that Mr Belanger has seen fit to 1.) steal your photo, and 2.) deny it.

    Hardly ethical or professional behavior.

    I used to be a regular subscriber to Countryside, but dropped my subscription after J D Belanger wrote a tirade after the world DIDN’T end in 2000. (He wanted people to have to deal with a world falling down – really scary.)

    It’s a shame the magazine hasn’t turned around ethically. I was actually looking at the postcard for their poultry magazine and considering a subscription.

    Not any more.

    I will, however, be contacting Countryside to let them know that thieving, plagiarism, and lying to cover one’s posterior are unethical and unprofessional behaviors.

    Best of luck to you in your battle to maintain your rights to your property!

  68. Linda Segerson says:

    I guess I better watch more carefully over my photos on my site just in case some other magazine or someone wants to steal them. I would be just as upset as you are, they need to learn a lesson and pay up, and they owe you a real apology!

  69. Carmen says:

    Oooo, a complaint to the BBB! Great idea! But… can we readers submit complaints, or does it have to be Suzanne, as she’s the one ‘sinned against’?

    If it can be anyone, then I vote we flood the West Allis BBB website with complaints about DB.

  70. Gini says:

    I emailed them this morning. You go git em!

  71. Carmen says:

    Has anyone noticed that, as of 2:00 this afternoon, Dairy Goat Journal now has Suzanne properly credited and a link to CTR given under the picture in their article? I’m not sure whether to applaud their taking a step in the right direction, or to assume that they’re just trying to do the minimum and sweep the whole mess under the rug. Any updates, Suzanne? 😕

  72. Yvonne says:

    Dave, is quite simply, an ASS. Good luck Suzanne!

  73. Kim ( Foodin new England) says:

    I would NOT be impressed, love the “love” LOL

  74. farmershae says:

    Yes, I saw the photo reposted too, with credit to Suzanne and the CITR website link. It seems they are doing at least part of what was requested…

  75. Elaine says:

    Suzanne, I am so sorry this is happening to you. I have sent an email to Dave Belanger and bcc’d you. It is important for the good of everyone that property rights, including intellectual property rights, are respected. Like others, I can hardly believe a publisher would be so stupid right after the Cooks Source mess.

  76. Phyllis says:

    I am so sorry that you were treated so rudely. Apparently no one told him that the customer, or any caller should be treated with respect, told he would look into your complaint, take you number and make things right. The poor man did not realize the reaction of your fans. Hope he is beginning to regret his actions.

  77. Larissa says:

    Heck hath no fury like a chicken lady scorned?

  78. patrice says:

    That’s my girl!!!!!!!!!!!

  79. bonita says:

    @ Carmen #70: I described the situation in the third person to the BBB. It was clearly a 3rd party complaint, but I guessed because it is a matter of, 3rd party was okay. I hoped Suzanne wouldn’t mind. Inundation from multiple fronts is a useful strategy. I was going to go on to the Medford Chamber of Commerce, but I’ve already received this reply from BBB:

    This message is in regard to your complaint submitted on 11/10/2010 2:30:43 PM against countryside publications. Your complaint was assigned ID 8397254.

    Your complaint has been sent to the business for their response. Once they have responded to the BBB, we will contact you again. In the meantime, if you have further dealings directly with the business, please send us a message to inform us.


    Susan Martin
    Trade Practice Consultant
    [email protected]
    Better Business Bureau

    . Now that the photo and attribution are in place on web, perhaps we can assume that Dave ol’ boy has seen the error of his ways. We’ll know when Suzanne posts again. {Although I bet he’s just chalking this up to a bunch of clucking hens with nothing else to do but harass him!}

  80. JOJO says:

    MR BELANGER: (I am sure you are reading these posts)
    Have you heard the song that is sung about the grinch in HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS? If not, listen to it–it is describing the kind of people that do the sort of thing you have done with Suzanne’s material, how does a person like you shave in the morning–or do you?

  81. Jane says:

    I am really surprised at his response! I am also sorry for offending you with my comment yesterday. I did say they were small, as though that made a difference to what they should recompense you as the photographer. Your post today is 100% on the money, and I was wrong. I wish you the best, and I hope that it doesn’t have to go so far as to court, but if it does, the law is on your side, as are we all.

  82. Quietstorm says:

    52 / Suzanne – has anyone mentioned to Mr Belanger “the power of the internet” that Suzanne generated last yr around this time with the Sam-E contest?

  83. Heidi says:

    Suzanne, I just looked and your photo is now back up with credit and a link back given to you. Small victory, but maybe he realizes he was wrong.

  84. Cameo Wood says:

    Congrats on getting the link and credit added to your photo. I hope he does correct it with a mention in the print edition. I know it’s too little, too late, but at lease he didn’t Griggs you out of your due credit.

  85. Sara says:

    What a putz. This guy isn’t going to know what hit him. Published my comments and will be sharing on Facebook.

    This guy has messed with the wrong person!

  86. William Cross says:

    Heidi, it may be a small victory, but the words too little, too late come to my mind. As an internet marketer, I can assure you they are not going to be happy with how this goes. After participating in the cooks source efforts, I can assure you that the property stealing magazines can be brought to task rather easily on the net. As with cooks source, lists are being compiled of other people they have done this to, as well. Once a story like this gets public, lots of others have the light shone on them as well.

  87. Denise says:

    Good for you Suzanne! We’re all behind you!


  88. joycee says:

    and she put on her boots, spurs and gun and went to town ready for a fight! You go girl! I cannot believe he hung up on you…

  89. LisaAJB says:

    Suzanne! So glad you’re standing up for yourself and not letting him walk all over you. Dave, you’re a disrespectful thief! Go Suzanne Go!!! :woof:

  90. Denise :) says:

    Ditto; I sent out an e-mail pronto after reading yesterday’s post. Though I don’t expect to hear back from them, I’m very glad to see your photo back online with proper credit. 🙂

  91. leavesofthefall says:

    It will be interesting to see if / how long he leaves your photo credit & link to this site up… sneaky as he seems to be.

  92. pdelainey says:

    I’ve sent Dave an email.
    Hopefully they will get everything fixed to your satisfaction soon.

  93. Joyce says:

    Suzanne, that is a wonderful photo, and it’s a shame you weren’t credited for it. As a fellow blogger who posts photos that may or may not be worth stealing 🙂 I hate the idea of having to embed copyright marks and distract the viewer from an otherwise nice photograph. I hope others who might be inclined to steal from bloggers will take note of this and respect the owners’ rights.

  94. Connie B says:

    I have a class to attend tonight, but tomorrow I’ll send a strongly worded email to Dave. I was a long time subscriber of Countryside, but, unless they provide Suzanne with appropriate compensation and damages as well as an apology and credit in the next print issue, they’ve lost my business.

  95. Russell G. Brown says:

    Suzanne, I don’t know if anyone mentioned this in the prior posts, but if one of your many followers (or your local library, or one of theirs) gets the print DGJ, I’d suggest going with the “hit them where it hurts” strategy — get the names of all of the advertisers in that issue of DGJ and send them a copy of your posts. Or better yet, get one of your loving followers to do so! I’ll check our local library (or have my wife do so) tomorrow.

  96. Ashlee M says:

    Good to see you’re photo is back up on the website and credited to you! Now, let’s hope that check is in the mail as well…

  97. Jenn says:

    Well Suzanne, I just clicked over to the online article and they have finally fixed it so the photo is there with your credit and the link to this site. At least it is a step in the right direction.

  98. lizzie says:

    I also called, of course my call was sent ot voice mail, but I did leave a message. Go GET EM!!!

  99. Ruth says:

    I read another web site that told the story(TRUTH) of her husbands presentation that was stolen from him by a LARGE office products company and used it in a TV AD. She put it out to the internet world and this large company has compensated them for the use and I think pulled the ad. Thanks in a large measure to the campaign waged by the readers of her blog. (Angry triplet Mom’s). Theft is theft and when what you have is intellectual property to sell just because they THINK they can get away with it doesn’t mean they CAN.
    Good for you Suzanne! Tsk Tsk ethics is ethics…Huh?

  100. Janus says:

    Oh, Zarquon! Doesn’t this Dave person have even the slightest clue what has been happening on the Internet the past week with the Cooks Source firestorm? Does he really want this to happen to him as well?

  101. Cindy says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    I’m sorry I offended you and some of your readers yesterday by saying that Countryside was a small company. I think they should be held accountable for what they did. No one should get away with a crime. And this was theft pure and simple. I only was lamenting that you might not get your just rewards if they didn’t have the $$ in their coffers. Of course I did jump the gun and say that without doing the research and I apologize for that. I assumed they were just getting by which is not consistent with the facts. I also almost never post and so I’m not used to the vulnerability that comes with writing publically. It must really be hard to put your work and heart into something and then have it used without your knowledge or permission. Especially because with theft – how can you know what they will do with what they stole?

    Good luck with everything. I really admire the restraint you showed in your letter to Dave and in what you expect them to do. I don’t know that I could have been so rational to think things through the way you did. It takes a true professional to act with dignity like you did. Something Dave did not or could not do.

    Ok – I will go back to being a reader and not a poster now 🙂

  102. claudia w says:

    I just called and left a message for Mr Bellanger to get when he gets to his office in the morning. I just basically told him how unprofessional he is.
    We are all behind you Suzanne!

  103. Patts says:

    Good for you Suzanne!

    Am I reading this right? Don’t you mean January/February 2011 instead of 2010?

    (In the January/February 2010 edition, if possible. If not possible due to publication deadlines, no later than the March/April 2011 edition.)

  104. Dee says:

    You go girl! What an *ss.

  105. Deb says:

    I sent an email to Dave this morning and was ready to send another if this was not taken care of. I just saw the photo with due credit and a link back to our favorite blog! :chicken:

    Please let us know if he follows thru with a payment for just being DUMB!

    Everyone makes mistakes – apology and make it right. A little humility goes a long way! Was all this really necessary??

  106. mountain kimmie says:

    Well, this is a bummer. I am a long time admirer of Countryside Magazine, and only allowed my subscription to lapse because money’s been short these last few years. I also subscribed to BackYard Chickens at one point. I still pick up newsstand copies of Countryside when I can afford to. Generally I’ve found this group of publications to be excellent, containing interesting content not available in too many other places, and seeming to have an ethic which supports the individual and those who strive for self-sufficiency and small farm agrarian skills.

    I found this thread when checking for developments on the Cooks Source scandal, and was really disheartened to find Countryside named in a similar situation. And once again, it is mostly the response of the editor which enrages us, even if the initial act of lifting content is not acceptable. We can much more easily forgive a mistake when it is followed by contrition and an appropriate amends.

    I will say, however, that I have a suspicion that the issue may be with Dave himself, more than with the entire publication company. As the months led up to January 1st of 2000, Countryside Magazine, edited at that time by Dave Belanger, began to take on a more apocalyptic tone, ramping up to increasing levels of hysteria and end-times doomsday rhetoric. This wasn’t really in line with the tone of the magazine up to that point, which had cheerfully advocated self-sufficiency, thrift, and a homesteading lifestyle without much in the way of creepy survivalist or radical religious overtones. But with the sudden interest in the perceived “Y2K” threat, it seemed as if either the editor felt this was the focus which would be most appealing to its readership, or else he genuinely believed the dawn 2000 would signal the downfall of modern technological society, thus throwing us back on our guns and our agricultural skills to survive. The magazine covers hosted disturbing images and grim headline messages. Dave’s editorials became bitter rants against the forces of technological evil with dire warnings about the chaos that was soon to come. Really, it seemed as if ol’ Dave had sort of run off the rails, as if he wanted the world to end.

    January 1st came and went and nobody’s lights went out. Dave’s editorial response in the next issue was an angry, petulant, bitter diatribe which certainly made it seem as if he was upset that the world *hadn’t* ended! He closed by saying that the magazine didn’t need him anymore, and he didn’t need it. I recall feeling somewhat embarrassed for him. Editorship passed to another person (I believe another family member), and the magazine shortly thereafter underwent a cover design makeover and returned to its pleasant tone and useful content. Dave remained the owner, but editorial duties for their flagship magazine had passed to other hands.

    I don’t know how old Dave is at this point, but it certainly seemed to me that after years of good stewardship of the magazines he was starting to get a bit dotty. It isn’t uncommon for personality traits to become more pronounced as one ages and moves into pre-dementia. I wondered at the time if that was what was going on. It doesn’t surprise me that he hung up on Suzanne, as that seems to fit with the crotchety person he had become the last time I read anything he had written.

    I’m hoping that cooler heads at the publication group will step in and make this right, as I certainly would hate to see Countryside publications go away. And I do support Suzanne in her insistence on permission to use her work, proper attribution and when called for, appropriate compensation. I’ll write to Countryside and let them know I’ll be watching this issue and will base my decision to subscribe again (something I’d been promising myself for some time) on their handling of this issue.

    Ps: just read Pony’s post about noticing the same weird “I’m really angry the world hasn’t ended” rant! LOL! Glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed it!

    PPS: Suzanne, your photos are awesome, and especially like the one of the critters looking through the gate with accusing looks on their faces (I know I’m projecting, but it is perfect)!

  107. Deb says:

    I should have said

    Dave, “Everyone makes mistakes – apology and make it right. A little humility goes a long way! Was all this really necessary??”

    Suzanne you have every reason to be mad!

  108. maryann says:

    Okay looking at the mag right now it does show your name with credit for the pic and with a link to your site. BTW its 9:35 pm est.

  109. Janus says:

    I learned about your situation in a comment on John Scalzi’s blog, the Whatever. If Mr. Scalzi decides to write about this, brace yourself. It’s going to be Cooks Source all over again.

  110. Heidi says:

    15 million dollars is a drop of pee in the pond of the grand scheme of life. He sounds like a real prize.

  111. Dorothy says:

    :shocked: This all makes me think Bellanger & Co. really don’t want anyone to look too closely at their business practices. How many other photos are there in each of their magazines?

  112. Yankee Gal says:

    You go get him Suzanne! Next on my list is an email telling Dave precisely what I think of his thieving publishing practices and crummy behavior. So proud of you for taking him to task.

  113. ElizaRed says:

    Just found below acknowledgement under the photo in the online edition of the Journal

    Photo courtesy of Suzanne McMinn,

    Link to Journal:

  114. Mandy says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    I love your site, and I’m sorry this has happened to you 🙁 I’m glad he has put credit up on the website, and I hope you get the money you deserve since they published it in their magazine. I LOVE photography and I know I would be DEVASTATED if I found someone using one of my pictures with no credit or permission 🙁
    You did a great job standing up to him like that, and I’m sure you will keep fighting for what you deserve.

  115. Laura says:

    Good luck with it, Suzanne! I found your story in the comments on Scalzi’s blog and came to see what was going on. I wrote about your issue in my blog, I hope it helps somewhat.

  116. Angela P says:

    I dont know why afer dealing with so many rude people that Im still shocked! This country needs a wake up call and re- educated on ALL manners! All I can say…what a prime example of what I or we should NOT be like , so arrogant. Is it realy that hard or painful to be respectful????
    Im so proud of you Suzanne, you are standing up for whats right!
    We support you !!!!!!

  117. DragonLady says:

    I sent an email yesterday morning. That Dave is one big jerk and hopefully he will receive his comeuppance very soon!

  118. Holly says:

    Suzanne – I have linked your blog in a post placed on an art fair artists website where there is a vehement discussion taking place regarding unauthorized use of copyrighted material. I hope the ordeal you faced will bring some real word perspective to that discussion. This is stuff all photographers need to know.

    find the link here:

  119. Amy I. says:

    Suzanne – Add mine to the emails sent!

    Dear Mr. Belanger and Ms. Stultz:

    Apologize and Pay Suzanne! I’m quite sure you had no idea the can of worms you opened when you refused to pay for her STOLEN photo……but I would bet by the emails and cancelled subscriptions you are beginning to learn!

    Suzanne will not give up, and neither will her readers.

    Make a public apology, pay more than she is asking, and apologize to both her and her readers.

    Come on Dave…..”man up!” Stop blaming other people. The buck stops with you, the Publisher.



  120. Sarah Morgan says:

    My email:
    So I heard that you’d finally gave credit to Suzanne McMinn of “Chickens in the Road” for using her photo…now I’m just wondering, all those other photos uncredited on your website….do they belong to someone else, too? It was just a passing thought. But I’m sure you wouldn’t ordinarily steal others’ work as you did Suzanne’s….Please correct the situation as best as you can at this point by agreeing to her terms of use. After all, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, the power of the internet to share news about bad business practices is growing. I’d honestly never heard about her or her website, until a friend shared with me on Facebook. Gotta love Facebook; it does make it so much easier for me to now share this information with my friends as well!

    Have a pleasant day!

    (And I will admit, I’m not a one to send emails such as this…) Good luck with giving them their just dues!!

  121. Amy I. says:

    I received this response back from Countryside. Has it been resolved?????

    Hi Amy,

    Please note this issue has been resolved between the parties involved. Thanks for your input.

    Anne-marie Ida
    Managing Editor
    Countryside & Small Stock Journal
    145 Industrial Dr.
    Medford, WI 54451

  122. shirley says:

    :devil2: I’d like to see him face to face and do a Julia Sugarbaker on him! :devil2:

  123. Cassondra says:

    This is what happens when I go away and don’t read for a few days?! HOLY SMOKES! Well good luck with everything! I will NOT be subscribing to anything by this company and neither will any of my friends, family or acquaintances if I can help it!!!!!!!

  124. Laurel in Northeast Tennessee says:

    If anyone has read your blog for just a week would know that the Love piece was definately written in jest. Kick his smarmy booty!!! :woof: :yes: :woof:

  125. Jen's Farmily says:

    How insulting! I’m so glad that things worked out for you- good for you for sticking up for your photos (and it was a good one!)

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