(Edited, see the end)
Dear colleagues of Scanpix and Postimees -
I’m just curious how on earth you got the idea that you can publish my image on your page – or as it comes to Scanpix, how did you ever think you can sell my work (keeping a 100% royalty, I assume?) without asking me? I have not given Postimees any publishing nor Scanpix any syndicating rights.
I took the image 25 years ago- my first foreign assignment ever – and the only licensing I’ve given for that image is in connection with”Eesti Vabaks“, a documentary we did on the original Rock Summer c. two years ago for YLE in Finland.
You are supposedly professionals, you should know better. And frankly, this really pisses me off.
But I am sure you do have a good explanation? I’m really dying to hear it.
Edit 28.2.: seems like Postimees has made the mistake, adding scanpix as a credit automatically (thus also damaging the reputation of Scanpix). It is my present understanding, that Scanpix has done nothing wrong, and they do not even have the picture in their archives. Please see comments.
Where Postimees got the image from is being investigated.
Edit : Aivar Reinap, the Deputy editor in Chief of Postimees, contacted me with apologies and they have taken down the image. There has obviously been a mistake in a) using b) crediting the image. Their conduct in the matter has been very correct.
(I thought about adding a small follow-up post, but maybe I just add this here:)
This is not about one particular paper or one particular agency. It is very frustrating to have ones images nicked continuously and used with no further thinking (and obviously, without any compensation). Sometimes the copyright stamp has been cropped out, sometimes even the pictures have been scanned from a printed magazine and captions erased. Some such examples have been discussed in this blog earlier.
In general, there is way too little understanding about the copyright and maybe consequently, no respect to it exists. If more and more cases like this are discussed, maybe we start taking it more seriously. If we (professionals) do not take these matters seriously, how can be expect anybody else to do it?
In the era of the digital, more and more things of value are just series of ones and zeros – easy to transfer and easy to copy-paste. But somebody has always created those series, be it movies, music, photos, text, computer code…. And thus, somebody always owns it.
Note: we are not talking about a marginal issue here – pennies, so to speak. Immaterial rights constitute about 5% of our GNP in Finland. They are more than agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism combined (2011 figures). In USA they are the second most important product of export -after arms, of course. In the years to come, I am convinced the role of IPR will just increase. Maybe it is the time to start taking them seriously, to clear who owns and what prior to publishing, what it says in the byline… like now?