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So, I Got Published in TechCrunch Today…

UPDATE: I answered some of the folks who found multiple other publications of this photo via a Tineye search below, in the comments. #WelcomeToMyLife

I was trolling my RSS reader today during a break and saw a post containing one of my photos -- a golden egg shot originally done for J. D. Roth over at Get Rich Slowly.

Funny, I don't remember being asked

The photo was not listed on Flickr as Creative Commons, and they just lifted it anyway. In younger days I would have immediately gone apeshi berserk at that kind of thing. But instead I left a reasoned comment on their post. I also dinged them Twitter. Because Twitter and dinging were made for each other.

You might guess what happened next.

A gazillion RT's (even PDN picked up the ball) and the whole thing turned into a light-speed kerfuffle, with the general refrain being to sue the rat bastards. Granted, TC founder Mike Arrington has at one time or another pissed off everyone on the entire internet. So that is the usual response.

As it happened, TechCrunch was merely running the photo that was supplied by the guest author, Semil Shah, who searched on Flickr without clicking the "Creative Commons only" button. He is not a publisher or a photographer. He is a tech entrepreneur. He immediately (and sincerely) apologized, and I believe it was an honest mistake.

Could I have gone after TechCrunch? Yes, I could have. But even though it was their responsibility, it was really just a series of unfortunate events.

What is more important to me (than a usage fee for a photo in a blog) is keeping the issue of photographers' out in the open. And besides, I am a big fan of TechCrunch. And in a way it would kinda be like going after a favorite sports team or something.

Don't get me wrong. I will (and have) released the hounds in a situation like this. But just because you can go for the jugular doesn't mean that you always should. It is your choice.

And as it happens, I first met J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly under the same circumstances. And the professional relationship that came from that incident has been far more valuable than the blog usage fee would have ever been. Not saying to be a doormat about this. But sometimes, if you approach things things in a cool way you can make it a win/win -- and keep your blood pressure below 120/80 at the same time.

Related: On Assignment: Nest Egg


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