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Demand Link Credit When Newspapers Use Your Photos or Info

Published: 30/05/2010
By: larry

I did a post on in March about how Russ Freeman's great twilight front shoot helped Russ's listing agent customer make a quick sale of a San Clemente home. Russ told me yesterday that the Wall Street Journal was running his photo of this San Clemente home as the center piece of an article on luxury homes.

Russ gave the WSJ permission to run the photo as long as he got "credit". Seeing the way the Wall Street Journal "gave him credit" really gets me worked up! Come on! On a web site just putting Russ's name in text is like no credit at all. Does just a name "Russ Freeman" by itself mean anything. No, how difficult is it to link to Russ's web site? It's trivial, and a link from a page rank 8 web site like WSJ.com is worth hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in traffic, referrals and potential business.

This really pisses me off! This is the same WSJ.com owned by News Corp who's CEO Rupert Murdock doesn't want Google indexing his sites and "stealing" his content. It works both way's Rupert! You are "stealing" people's content (photographs) without any payment of any kind. At least link to the photographer's site that created the content that you are using for free.

I happen to be extra sensitive about this issue of newspaper sites being adverse to linking to external sites in the text of their articles because my neighbor Burt and I have gotten some media coverage recently because we made our HOA back down on it's solar power restrictions. In the process, I've been battling my local newspaper site StatesmanJournal.com and the USAToday.com who both recently ran articles on our solar crusade but were reluctant to link to our neighborhood site where we promote our project. To get our local newspaper to link to our neighborhood site I had to argue with the digital editor of the paper and finally got her to put a link to our site, but it was NOT in the text of the article, it was external to the article and hard to find.

I was not as successful with the USAToday article that referred to our renewable energy efforts. Partially because I didn't know in advance that they were running the article and in large part because I had my permission and linking discussion with the reporter that wrote the story and not the digital editor. I also was not pushy enough. You have to really get in their face to get their attention. No link, no permission!

So here is the bottom line: Whenever you give a newspaper site, or other site for that matter, permission to use a photo or do a story about you or your business it is important that you get hold of the managing editor or digital editor and insist that permission for using your information is contingent on a link to your site in the text of the article. As I found out with USAToday, a discussion with the reporter is NOT enough. You have to make it clear that no link in the text, no permission! They are basically in the mind set to take advantage of you and use your photos and information for free, on their terms. And for some reason, which I don't totally understand, newspapers have and aversion to linking to anything but their own site. It's like they don't understand that hyperlinks are a form of payment. Newspapers are used to taking advantage of the fact that everyone wants their name or photograph in the paper. Don't let them get by with this nonsense!

11 comments on “Demand Link Credit When Newspapers Use Your Photos or Info”

  1. Also, make it clear that the photograph can ONLY be used for that specific article/write-up. Often at times, once you have given permission to use the photograph, you are essentially giving them the permission to keep a digital copy of it in their archives for later use as well.

  2. Hello to everyone and LARRY, a special thank you for your help too. I have learned a lot in the past week, as now I know to CALL the Manager Editor to make sure they post with a live "link" to our web site for the photo credit.

    I did send instructions for photo credits on the original note sent to WSJ person writing the article, my name & web link, though that would be enough, but as the printed material shows, Larry is right, now I know to PUT IN A PHONE CALL FIRST, before the e-mail "photo high res file" is sent, to make sure in writing between the newspaper & myself what exact credits will show.

    I learned from this one, hope everyone else will learn a lesson too from my blunder.

    This will still be a good advertisement spot for us, on my blog and next e-mail blast out, telling about the WSJ photo op, but not with the same punch as a web link for international clients would of done !!

    Again, special Thanks to Larry for helping with the follow-up on this.

    Rusty @ MLS Photo Pros dot com

  3. It may be that newspaper organizations like WSJ and USA Today and other newspaper sites have a policy of NOT linking out. Believe it or not many newspaper sites don't want you to link to their articles.

    After some googling on this subject it appears that I'm not the only one that has a problem with linking policies of newspaper sites:

    http://kristinelowe.blogs.com/kristine_lowe/2009/03/why-we-need-the-link-manifesto-more-than-ever.html

    Kristine Lowe is proposing a link manifesto for newspapers.

  4. It goes way beyond the fact that they didn't provide proper credit.

    This goes back to the fact that some of today's photographers would allow anybody to use their photographs for free. A credit line does not pay your bills, a properly licensed image does.

    If you allow a newspaper, magazine, or website to use your images for free, you are not only doing yourself a a financial disservice, but every other professional photographer on the planet. Allow it once, and it now becomes the standard that publication expects from you.

    Have enough pride in your images to charge for the use of them!

    That is what being a professional photographer is all about.

    George

  5. I agree that this is total b.s. You should retaliate by not linking to the wsj site from this site! I betcha you've created a few clicks from here to there just from this article. Why give them any referral clicks??

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