The Huffington Post has now twice used a photo of mine without permission, attribution, or compensation. The use isn’t obvious – in neither case does my photo appear in the actual post. However, the website specifies a thumbnail image to be used when the pieces are shared via Facebook. In two cases now, these have been copies of my images (complete with original metadata intact). My photos are great, and they are being used to drive traffic that I in no way benefit from. I have thus written the following comment to the latest piece, about Marktown, and reproduce it here:
I am thrilled to see this travesty getting attention beyond the local level. Hopefully this will help secure the future for the parts of Marktown that remain. Readers who want to learn more and see the specific buildings that are being demolished might want to see the extensive piece I wrote about them on Chicago Patterns (http://chicagopatterns.com/marked-for-demolition-in-marktown/).
I would, however, like to ask for some clarification about Huffington Post’s image attribution practices. None of my photos appear within the body of this post, but the image that appears when it is shared on Facebook (http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1791326/thumbs/o-MARKTOWN-INDIANA-facebook.jpg) is one of mine (https://www.flickr.com/photos/reallyboring/14115558515) for which I have received neither credit nor compensation.
I probably wouldn’t have pointed this out, except that the exact same thing happened with a story last year: the post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/21/places-in-chicago-inspiring_n_4277343.html), the Facebook photo (http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1463978/thumbs/o-OSAKA-GARDEN-facebook.jpg), and my photo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/reallyboring/3499140581/).
That this has happened twice now with just my photos suggests that the Huffington Post needs to review its image usage practices, and offer either credit or compensation (as well as the right of refusal to use) for images that are used in this fashion. I am happy to have my photos used in both of these cases, and would have agreed if asked – with the caveat that I receive recognition. I ask that this oversight be corrected, and that the Huffington Post review and make the necessary changes to its image use practices.
I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @EricAllixRogers if there are any questions. I look forward to a prompt resolution of this matter, and I thank you for your ongoing coverage of important and interesting news in the Chicago area.
Update: I got an email back from AOL’s copyright team tonight, alerting me that they “corrected” this by adding a credit to the post on the Huffpo Chicago Facebook page. If the credit had been there when it was posted, this would have made me very happy, but it seems a bit piddling now.