You Know How Sometimes Businesses Like to Go On Flickr Trying to Score Photos for Free?

Aldo's

Dear Thomas Hawk,

My name is xxxxxx xxxxxxx and I am an editor at xxxxxx. We are currently compiling a self-guided walking tour to Bakersfield, CA, USA that will be published on out site xxxxxxxx as well as in an iPhone application.

We hereby seek your permission to use one of your photos of Aldo’s on Flickr.com as part of the tour guide in question. The photo we need is:
www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/4959547641/

Naturally, we intend to credit you fully for the authorship of this photograph.

I thank you in advance for your permission and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,
xxxxxx xxxxxx
Editor
xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Hello xxxxxxxx,

Would there be compensation associated with this request?

Best,

TH

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Dear Thomas Hawk,

If you give us your kind permission to use your photo we’ll provide a link back to your flickr page and credit you fully for the authorship of this photo.

Best regards,
xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx

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Dear XXXXXX,

This deal sounds very intriguing to me. So technically then I could tell people I was “published” then right? Do you also provide press passes for this sort of use? Would I officially become an employee of your organization?

TH

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Dear Thomas,

Unfortunately you can’t become an employee of our organization, but you will be able to tell people that you are published. When the tour is complete I will give you the link so you could see it in place. Will you give us your permission on these terms?

Best regards,
xxxxxx xxxxx

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XXXXXX

Would I be able to eat at Aldo’s for free or get some kind of free meal out of it?

TH

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Dear Thomas,

Unfortunately I don’t really know if they have such promotions for their visitors.

Best regards,
xxxxxxxx

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Dear xxxxxx

It would be cool to tell my friends that I’m now a published author.

Two additional quick questions.

1. How do I know this offer is for real? I know nothing about your company.

2. Would someone from Aldo’s be willing to actually sign the image in your book to authenticate it’s use? It could also make my own copy of the book more valuable if it was signed.

TH

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xxxxxxx,

Would you guys still like to use this image?

TH

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Dear Thomas,

Yes, we still need your kind permission to use your photo of Aldo’s. Sorry for a late reply. I would also like to make one thing clear, we don’t publish a book, we make applications for iPhones. Please visit our web-site so you could better understand how we’re going to use your photo. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions and if you give us permission to use your photo of Aldo’s.

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,
xxxxx xxxxxx

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Dear xxxxxxxx,

ohhhh, I get so confused sometimes, I *totally* thought you were talking about a book.

I used to have an iPhone but I switched to Android after getting such crappy service from AT&T. So I’m not sure this would really apply to me. It’s iPhone only?

I can’t imagine a lot of people in Bakersfield have iPhones if you know what I mean.

Would I need to buy an iPhone prior to submitting a published photo?

Also are you also including Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace in your calendar app?

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Dear Thomas,

Please confirm whether you give us your permission to use your photo of Also’s or not. You shouldn’t have an iPhone to give us your permission.

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,
xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx

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I was just kidding about the iPhone. It’s close to Christmas though and so I just thought maybe if you wanted to get me something (hint, hint).

Would this permission need to be permanent, or could I just give permission for a period of time, like say 6 months or 1 year, or something?

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Dear Thomas,

This permission need to be permanent, but we’ll use your photo for our tour guide and iPhone application only. We use photos under Creative Commons license. You’ll remain the copyright owner.

Best regards,
xxxxxxx

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Dear XXXXXXX,

I hate asking this a second time, but my friend (who technically took the photo while I was driving — but don’t worry it was on my camera) wanted me to ask again if we could get paid for this.

He told me that Aldo’s is a very popular restaurant with lines down the block half the time and assured me that they’d be good for $50 at minimum.

He told me sometimes restaurants will do an all you can eat for 2 weeks only sort of thing as well. He told me to warn you though that he can eat like a Sumo Wrestler and was kicked out of the all you can eat sushi place down the street last July.

I don’t mean to ask twice but I promised him I’d try one more time.

He told me also that I need to be careful because sometimes if you give permission your photos will be used in video games. He said this happened to a friend of his once with a very popular skateboarding game. I’m not saying which one but it’s a very popular game (hint, hint, my last name).

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Dear Thomas,

Unfortunately we don’t pay for photos. We never steal them or use in video games as well. In general we need photos to help the travelers who have our applications to find the places they need and that’s all.

Best regards,
xxxxxxx

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Dear xxxxxxx,

If you used the photo would there be a possibility of putting one of those sort of “donate now” paypal button things (in red) next to it so that people could donate directly to my paypal account if they wanted to? I’m not saying I’d charge for the app or that they’d be required to donate or anything, I’m just saying maybe a donate now button might send a bit of coinage my way if you know what i mean. cha-ching.

If the app got popular this could be a win-win for both of us.

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Dear Thomas,

We can only provide a link back to your flickr page and credit you fully for the authorship of your photo.

xxxxxxxx.

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Dear xxxxx,

How do I know this isn’t “stock photography?”

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Dear Thomas,

Maybe you should visit our web-site to understand that we aren’t a stock photography agency?

Sorry, but I must leave now so I won’t be able to continue our discussion for a period of time.

Best regards,
xxxxxxxxx

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my existing license does allow for non-profits to use the image. Just a thought but is your organization non-profit? Just trying to think creatively out of the box so to speak here.

Would this be for all languages or just English?

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hello

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hello

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40 Comments

  1. kendrick says:

    Schmap??

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    haha, not Schmap.

  3. Rob-L says:

    You are hysterical! Some of my favorite lines:

    “Would I be able to eat at Aldo’s for free or get some kind of free meal out of it?”

    “I can’t imagine a lot of people in Bakersfield have iPhones if you know what I mean.”

    “Would I need to buy an iPhone prior to submitting a published photo?”

    “He told me to warn you though that he can eat like a Sumo Wrestler…”

    “If you used the photo would there be a possibility of putting one of those sort of “donate now” paypal button things (in red)…?”

  4. Gary says:

    Love it Thomas…

  5. kevlar says:

    Of course the next step would be the release for the cowboy in the doorway… 🙂

    Free iPhone app or paid?

    What is the exact mechanism they propose for linking to your image from within the app?

  6. troy holden says:

    LOL.

    I got one of these this morning from France. I think I might have a little fun when I get home tonight.

    Good stuff, TH. You kept them on the line a bit longer than expected when I started reading at the top.

  7. Josh Derr says:

    Interesting. I wonder if it’s from the same guide that contacted me for a photo recently. Asking for permissions for non-commercial use of an image is one thing, but when they fully expect to make money off from its publication but only offer you “credit and a link” like they’re doing you a favor…

  8. Karen says:

    Make ’em pay! Get that coinage. 🙂

  9. […] Thomas Hawk » You Know How Sometimes Businesses Like to Go On Flickr Trying to Score Photos for Fre… This entry was posted in Asides, Photography. Bookmark the permalink. ← Why AP is publishing photos of US war dead […]

  10. Rory says:

    Classic.

    The problems is that while I enjoyed your ‘dialog’ and would love to use it many times myself, I wonder if we miss the chance to ‘educate’ potential clients in situations like this. Maybe it is a lost cause and it is best to satisfy our (photographers) own amusement but I wonder if they learned anything. Hopefully any photographers who may have ‘worked’ with them if the opportunity arose have read this and learned.

    Sucks to get serious on a funny (but not) post. Of course, it all depends on whether this is a true story or based on a collection true stories.

    Reminds me of stuff over at 27Bslash6 – http://www.27bslash6.com/p2p2.html.

    Either way thanks for sharing it, I will pass it on.

  11. Tim Abbott says:

    Haha! Brilliant. I love how you kept pulling another angle out of the hat to keep the correspondence going. You’ve got to hand it to the guy – he’s patient! He must have really wanted your picture.
    I had one of these recently.
    http://timabbott.typepad.com/timabbott/2010/11/royalty-free-photo-request.html
    They had the gall to tell me they did have an image budget but they’d spent it on acquiring 30000 images and now they wanted to use mine for free. Don’t these people understand Creative Commons?!

    Keep up the good work.

  12. RowdyReptile says:

    Thomas, great job!

    Rory, I was thinking the same thing. I halfway expected Thomas to offer a photo of a seven-legged spider instead!

  13. Absolutely hillarious.

  14. markus says:

    Haha, thank you for the good laugh, that ought to teach them =D

  15. jimmy brown says:

    Haha,you just made my day Thomas !

  16. Miikka says:

    Brilliant Thomas. At least they will be paying by the wasting time.

  17. Andreas Guther says:

    Well, one must admit, the person left with a very good closing line as well:

    “Sorry, but I must leave now so I won’t be able to continue our discussion for a period of time.”

  18. Mickey says:

    I thank you in advance for your kind permission.
    Cheeky fucker.

  19. Had a similar request for a print magazine recently. Only wanted to give credit and link to my site from theirs. I sent them a note askimng which pictures they were interested in and asked to review a copy of their standard release contract. Never heard from them again. Good way to weed out the unprofessional people out there.

  20. Tommy says:

    Someone mentioned getting a release from the cowboy.

    How about the person coming towards the cowboy. Appears to be a cop. Looks like a remote microphone antenna over his left shoulder area.

  21. Lee says:

    The editor sounds very polite and professional even after it was painfully clear you were feigning interest and just pulling their chain. Your CC license offers the following: “Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.” The editor is doing exactly that… which is the correct and polite thing to do. He’s not attempting to steal your work or take advantage of you. He has an offer and you could have just rejected it. But you didn’t do this…

  22. Thomas Hawk says:

    He’s not attempting to steal your work or take advantage of you. He has an offer and you could have just rejected it. But you didn’t do this

    This is true Lee. And as a disclaimer no animals were harmed in the production of this blog post.

  23. JM says:

    Thomas, and those that agree with this bullsh*t:

    You are all such fantastic photographers, and oh so full of yourselves. Heck, I’m surprised and amazed you took the time from your oh so busy schedule to even answer the poor guy. Amazing. Glad you had fun with a guy trying to do his job you freakin’ idiot. And people wonder why the U.S. is in the state it’s in…

  24. Sam says:

    I had a similar request from Schmap for one of my shots and I gave it to them. I do get traffic occasionally to flickr from it. I don’t think it would be smart for a pro to give up commercial rights but I am never going to use that shot commercially so I said yes.

    Of course when they do send a ‘real’ pro a request I’m sure the fire and brimstone that come down are far more frightful than the runaround you gave em. In my own case I appreciated that they asked nicely and I thought the Schmap business model is pretty smart: find good photos from people who don’t expect to make anything off them commercially and use them to made ad dough. One pic isn’t a big deal to me but YMMV. If they asked for a pile of my pics I’d probably have a different answer, too.

  25. Weesen says:

    Good one, loved it.

  26. Serafina says:

    Yeah, not sure why you had to be a dick about this. A simple “you can use my work if you give me this in return” would’ve been better. I understand you dont like people expecting you to give away your work for free, but…. a lot of people do just that. 90% of users of Flickr are casual photographers who don’t make their living off of it and would be thrilled to see their photo on an app. I know you see him as unprofessional, but what you did was WAY more unprofessional than that.

  27. Thomas Hawk says:

    Yeah, not sure why you had to be a dick about this. A simple “you can use my work if you give me this in return” would’ve been better

    Shit, I didn’t think about that. I hope I didn’t ruin this guys Christmas or Hanukah or whatever. I hope he’s able to sleep ok. Maybe I should follow up? Do you think his feelings are hurt?

  28. […] December 6, 2010, post “You Know How Sometimes Businesses Like to Go on Flickr Trying to Score Photos for Free?” features a comic and snarky exchange regarding photo Aldo’s Night Club. An unnamed […]

  29. Serafina says:

    Shit, I didn’t think about that. I hope I didn’t ruin this guys Christmas or Hanukah or whatever. I hope he’s able to sleep ok. Maybe I should follow up? Do you think his feelings are hurt?

    Again, you’re just being a dick for no reason. That photo is available under an attribution, noncommercial license. Assuming it’s a free app, he could’ve just taken your photo without asking and given you credit, and been completely within his rights. If that photo was under copyright, then you could justify expecting money in return (I’m assuming that’s what you were looking for – you never actually say).

    Seriously though – were you expecting this guy to read your mind and just *know* what you would expect in return for use of the photo? Again – just unprofessional, and seriously dickish.

  30. Thomas Hawk says:

    Seriously though – were you expecting this guy to read your mind and just *know* what you would expect in return for use of the photo? Again – just unprofessional, and seriously dickish.

    Serafina, no animals were harmed in the production of this blog post.

  31. SaxMan says:

    Damn, I love you, Thomas Hawk!

  32. Tim says:

    Nothing wrong with this. Yes it’s the guy’s job but he also knows full well he’s trying to rip people off by getting something for nothing knowing that these photos do have financial value for commercial use. Anyway I bet he saw the funny side of it. He must get this a lot.

    If anyone should have a moral conscience about this it should be the guy trying to score free photos. He’s as bad as a nigerian spammer.

  33. lucky e says:

    Dickish or not matters not. I like partying with you, TH.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Such a dick, and all over a pretty crappy picture – you have done better by a long shot.
    It’s funny how once you realize what a dick someone is you don’t feel the need to follow their blog anymore.

  35. Jack says:

    You got far more discussion out of them than I did. As soon as I mentioned license terms the discussion abruptly ended and I hadn’t mentioned anything about compensation or money, only licensing terms.

    A note to those who think Creative Commons non-commercial licensing means that said licensed item can be used for free as long as the app is given away free – you are WRONG. The definition of commercial in this context means “of, pertaining to, or characteristic of commerce.” Commerce is thus defined as “an interchange of goods or commodities…”, the definition goes on but does not say anything about money, compensation, etc. (thanks to reference.com for the definitions).

    In the context of Thomas’s post and the Creative Commons non-commercial license of the photo in question the term non-commercial refers to conducting business (which, incidentally, even non-profits do). The act of creating an app and making it available through an app store is conducting business regardless of the cost (or lack thereof) of the app.

  36. Mike says:

    I get these kinds of requests all the time. I haven’t tried stringing them along, like this, but I did once have quite the email exchange with one of them, telling the photo editor my views of her asking to use my picture for free.

    I wrote an article, the other day, explaining how I handle it when photo editors come begging – often (but definitely not always) successfully turning it into a sale. If you’re interested, you can see it, here:

    http://naturography.com/when-publishers-request-freebies/

  37. Jon says:

    You are not being a dick. The dicks are the people who are making money while using other people’s photos, writing, music and so on for nothing.

  38. […] found funny was that photographer Thomas Hawk had posted a similiar offer from this company on his blog, so I already was aware that these folks would unlikely give any compensation for use on their […]