Friday, 19 November 2010

Ownership of stuff on-line

Fess up those who abuse copyright...

I'm not very happy at the moment to find that a certain James Russell, blog writer and 'author' of 'The Naked Guide to Cider' is using one of my photos both on his blog and (apparently - because I haven't read it) in his book. Now I'm an open minded and dare I say, helpful chap, giving up lots of time to help folks learn about and become confident in making their own cider - and for all the hours I help people I don't charge a penny. Most of what I do is of course on groups such as The Cider Workshop (the real one; not the sub-standard clones generated by ukcider's empire-building activities) and in particular as an Admin member of the Cider Workshop Google-group . I am also helping a number of folks local to me here in Nottinghamshire and across the border into Derbyshire with help vie email or at the end of a phone.

I was surfing those blogs with stuff about cider when I spotted a link to an article about my good friend and fellow cider-maker Rose Grant, when I stumbled across one of the photos that I took in 2006 during a visit to Rose's wonderful Dorset cider-making emporium (shown left). The photo showed no acknowledgement of the photographer. After contacting Rose, I am told that the same photo appears in James Russell's book for which I assume he is getting money. Again, it would appear that the photo has been used without checking whether he has the right to use it from the owner of said image (me) who I would assume still owns intellectual and moral rights to the image...   

I don't blame Rose, she just passed over some images; as she says, she doesn't take photos of herself. Rose asked if she could use the image on her own blog and of course, I had no objections. But I am not happy that the person who now uses these images for profit did not check fully that he had the right to do so. Let's make it clear as well that I don't want any money out of Mr Russell's pocket; judging by all of the mass email onslaught and on-line 'presence' being generated to publicise his book, he should be making a pretty dollar out of it? However, if I started copying stuff out his blog, book(s) or whatever and started making money from it, I'm quite sure he wouldn't be very happy.

I have tried to contact Mr. Russell via his blog and via a direct Twitter message to ask him about why he is using my image without my permission or acknowledgement, but he hasn't responded. Maybe he's out of the country...?

If anyone spots him at one of the events to publicise his book that he pushes via Twitter and Facebook, maybe you could let him know that I am trying to contact him? Or perhaps ask him on my behalf whether he is certain that he has the right to use all of the content in his book with the permission of the copyright owners?