On Tuesday I posted a review of the new Fitzroy cafe called Felice’s. By Thursday morning Three Thousand had stolen a photo from my post, paraphrased my text and published their own story by editor Penny Modra.
Neil from Melbourne Metblogs commented on my Felice post about the use of my image on Three Thousand. It’s a cropped version of one of my photos. When you place it over my original there is no doubt it is my image – it fits exactly. The exact position and angle I was standing in to take the photo cannot be replicated. No permission was given for its use.
A screen capture of Three Thousand made on 11 June 2009 at 12pm
The original image from my post
I called their office and left a terse message for Modra to remove my image and to return my call. When I got back from lunch the page had a new image, but I did not have my call returned. When I got home, I found an email from Modra dated 1.09pm. It states:
Cropped image and source image attached. Taken on my iPhone at 10am this morning.
All the best,
That’s it: no acknowledgement, no apology, no promise not to do it again. Pathetic.
A screen capture of Three Thousand made on 11 June 2009 at 3pm
Three Thousand know that they have done the wrong thing because they previously demonstrated they knew how to do the right thing. I gave Modra permission to use one of my photos on their story about Smith St restaurant Rice Queen in exchange for an attribution after she contacted me and made a written request. That was a one-off: we have no ongoing arrangement.
I would have given permission if they had asked me again, so their failure to do so when they could have been confident of success is puzzling. The dismissive email suggests that they neither understand nor care about the real issue: respect. This is not about money; it’s about ethics and professionalism.
Three Thousand is a commercial site and I grant permission for my work to be used on commercial sites on a case by case basis. So far my work has appeared in Three Thousand, Grid urban maps and the Melbourne Leader (where my work was used without attribution). I took News Ltd to the Australian Press Council and won. News Ltd was forced to publish an apology.
Not every social media entrepreneur does the wrong thing. In one example of outstanding copyright management one of my images was reposted without consent by a user on a commercial coffee review site. The user included a link my original post. The site owner noticed this, informed me and asked me what I would like done. I asked for the image to be removed and it was. I thanked him for his professional management of the situation.
Unfortunately there are numerous other cases where entrepreneurial social media parasites seek to exploit the work of non-commercial content creators. Last week I exposed how the News Ltd news site The Punch is misusing content created by Flickr users.
Corporate media types have an obsession with turning the service of delivering information into a coercive for profit business and furiously uphold their intellectual property rights. The irony is that while legacy media blames blogs and social media for copyright theft and the collapse of their profits, they are busy stealing the intellectual property of non-commercial content creators.
Flickr user Bootload (Peter) wrote about a another case where his images were used without permission on a site called Weekend Notes. I did some searching to help find the offender and posted the information on Flickr as a comment:
Weekend Notes says “Copyright © 2009 On Topic Media PTY LTD”. At www.orble.com/about/ it says “Orble is owned and operated by On Topic Media PTY LTD, an Australian company based in Sydney. On Topic Media’s founder and CEO is Dr Jon Deutscher.”
Commercial media parasites like Modra and Deutscher can fuck off to the gutter where they belong. They’re either too stupid or too greedy to be trusted.
I criticised Three Thousand in my review of local review publications and suggested that they should be posting a lot more. If I can do two posts a day on Fitzroyalty (which is run as a non-commercial hobby) while working full time and maintaining a busy social life, then a media business like Three Thousand should be able to do much more.
No one publication can get the scoop every time. Three Thousand wrote about Cibi before me, for example, and I got to Felice before them. The difference is I didn’t steal their photo or barely rewrite their text to avoid plagiarism in my review: I went to Cibi and did some original reporting. The people behind Three Thousand are lazy, greedy and unethical and their product is not worth reading.