Now On NBCLA.com: My Photography
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Plagiarism, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
As some of you can imagine, my blog post about the above flier has received a great deal of attention. In fact, the above image has shown up on a number of web sites: Gothamist, Gawker and New York Magazine, to name a few. All the previous were professional enough to acknowledge from whom this item originated: me. Today I learned of another entity that has seen fit to use it: NBCLA.com. Yes folks that is “LA” as in Los Angeles, California.
In fact, they based a whole news item on my find. Did they bother to cite the source for it? No, they didn’t. Without further ado here it is— along with a few annotations by yours truly. Enjoy!
In a day and age when you have such notables as Rupert Murdoch calling bloggers parasites, this act of intellectual property theft begs the question as to whom is feeding off of whom. Just as the above video states the peeps at Channel 4 would like to hear from you. I would like to humbly suggest, dear readers, that you take a moment to remind these professional journalists that using someone’s work without permission (or not even bothering to give credit where it is due) is frowned upon in some circles.
UPDATE, MAY 21, 2010: I sent a missive to NCBLA making them aware of my “issues”. It read as follows:
Yesterday it was brought to my attention that Channel 4 ran a “feature” about a flier in which a woman berates her former live-in/free-loading boyfriend. Among other things this missive noted that (the— ed. note) chap in question cheated on her with women in her apartment and did not use a condom.
Your anchor person notes that the above-mentioned item was featured “on a lot of blogs”. This, is in fact, true. I know because I am the person who found this item and posted it. I have seen the incoming links from sites which have seen fit to feature it. Gawker, Gothamist and New York Magazine’s Daily Intel number among others have seen fit to give me credit for my work (which is only fair). Your institution, however, did not. This begs a number of questions:
1. Why did you see fit to use— but not credit— my image?
2. Why is a station in Los Angeles featuring a flier which hails from Brooklyn, New York?
3. How, in any manner, can this be construed as “fair use”?
Regarding question #1: I am going to assume your reporters tracked down the source of this flier, winced at the url, deemed it unsuitable to mention on television/online but decided to feature it anyway. If this is in fact the case I find it curious given the subject matter of said flier. If a screed mentioning “nasty sex” (without a condom, no less) is suitable for your audience, I seriously doubt the word “shitty” is going to be an issue. Regardless I have a mirror site with a much less objectionable url (www.thatgreenpointblog.com) for just this purpose. You see, I have heard just this excuse from other media outlets before. A lot.
Let’s presume for a moment that your staff did not do their research as to where this flier originated. That strikes me as being very bad reporting. Which brings me to…
Regarding question #2: As distasteful as I find having my work uncredited (and it happens quite frequently) it would have at least made sense had, say, some media outlet in New York City/the tri-state area “featured” it. Why Los Angeles? I found it of particular interest that no mention of this flier’s origin was made whatsoever on your broadcast. This implicitly suggests it hails from Los Angeles. This is not true. Was this due to a lack of due diligence on your part or was it deliberate? I’d really like to know.
Regarding question #3: Lest the tone of this missive has not made it clear already I am very unhappy. Think about it from my point of view: would you like it if someone used your work without giving you credit and (undoubtedly) garnered a great many “clicks” (which usually translate into revenue) from it? I don’t think so. In fact, I would wager you make a legal issue of it. This is something I— a person who lavishes a great deal her of time on her website for virtually no compensation— am, in fact, considering.
But the fact of the matter is the genie is out of the proverbial bottle. What I want to know is where do we go from here? I have outlined my grievances with your organization. You can do one of two things: either attribute that image to its rightful owner (me) or remove that broadcast from your site. Otherwise I will be forced to seek legal redress. The choice is yours.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you as to how this problem will be resolved.
P.S.: One last piece of fact-checking for your edification: I was the person who blurred the gentleman’s (?) face on that flier. The creator did not. This was a moral, ethical and legal decision on my part. While— if in fact true— what this chap did was thoroughly reprehensible he need not have his life ruined over it (although this is clearly the mission of the woman who created it).
Here’s what I got in return.
So let me get this straight: they (being NBCLA) sees fit to cull material from a blog in Brooklyn, New York and broadcast it without giving me credit. But since I am not a “local” (I’m a Greenpoint resident and damned proud of it) I am not entitled to give feedback about a photograph of mine— from Williamsburg Brooklyn, New York— being used without my permission or being credited by NBCLA. That’s really cute. I’m sure wherever Franz Kafka is he is laughing his ass off.
UPDATE, 7:23 p.m.: We have a response!