So people have asked for updates as my saga with Thisweek Newspapers, ECM Publishers, Inc. progresses. Normally I would have thought that any upstanding business and its staff would have recognized that a problem exists in their organization and set about ensuring that a problem would be solved quickly and properly. Unfortunately, in this instance, both Thisweek and ECM Publishers, Inc. have taken the very low road and have decided that even though they made a mistake and used my property without my permission, they get to decide what to pay me. That’s not how the world works people.
To recap quickly:
1. This photo taken by me back in February is used as the header for a post about Rosemount’s problems with the MVTA and how I believe them to be wrong.
2. At the end of June I pick up a copy of Thisweek’s newspaper from my front step and immediately recognize my copyrighted and Creative Commons licensed photo on the front page, above the fold. I didn’t give Thisweek Newspapers my permission to use this or any other photo of mine yet there it is on the front page of their newspaper which has an audience of about 18,633 people.
3. I submitted an invoice to Thisweek Newspapers for $300 for the unauthorized use of my photography in violation of my copyright and Creative Commons licensing. Another user on Flickr mentions that copyright violations are worth three to four times what is normally charged for photo use.
4. I made a decision to stop linking to Thisweek’s content as there is no reason that I should give credibility or visitors to a corporation that prides itself in such poor ethical behavior.
5. On July 10th I receive a partial payment and one sentence apology from Larry Werner the General Manager and Editor of Thisweek Newspapers. This partial payment of $50 is 1/6th the total. With this it’s obvious that Thisweek Newspaper and ECM Publishers, Inc. does not take copyright claims for stolen photos used without the authors permission seriously and feels that photography, used above the fold on the front page is not worth more than $50.
6. Another invoice is sent out on Monday July 13th for the remaining $250 that has not yet been paid.
I am appalled that journalists who adhere to a high ethical standard are happy to sit idly by while their own company happily stomps all over the people they are supposed to inform. It’s a little difficult for me to understand how the community is supposed to trust an organization to do the right thing when it comes to covering topics of local importance such as businesses or local government screwing the little guy when they do exactly that themselves. This matter is a cut and dried case and one that Thisweek Newspapers and ECM Publishers, Inc. obviously agrees was wrong but yet don’t feel that my work is worth the money that I rightfully deserve.
What do you think of the Thisweek Newspapers, ECM Publishers, Inc. saga so far. Do you believe that it was right for them to not only steal my image but feel it was right for them to only pay 1/6th the invoice instead of the full amount? Whatever you feel about this topic, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say!