Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Case of the Purloined Photograph

About a month ago, I was in Laurel, and I decided to do a little waymarking. One of the sites I visited was Laurel Tavern Donuts, which falls into the category "Independent Doughnut Shops."

Here you can see me behind the store with my bounty of donut holes held aloft in triumph.

Last week, I read a Washington Post blog item about Laurel Tavern Donuts' inclusion in a "Zippy the Pinhead" comic strip. I thought about posting an image of the comic strip to the waymark page, but I decided that it would be a potential copyright violation to do so. I figured, however, that "fair use" would allow me to clip out part of the strip for illustrative purposes.


After posting the above clip, I looked at both the waymark page (linked above) and the Washington Post blog page (also linked above). If you look carefully, you notice something. The pictures of Laurel Tavern Donuts are...identical. Down to the reflection in the glass door. (I would post the image here, but the irony of doing so in a post about copyright violations would be overwhelming. I'll resume violating copyrights in a future post.) I e-mailed the creator of the photo to ask if the Post had gotten his permission. They hadn't.

He's been trying to get in touch with someone at the Post to check on this. He hasn't heard back.

I think in the loosey-goosey world of blogging, lifting the picture would probably be considered OK (if perhaps of questionable legality) if the Post had credited the picture. But taking the picture and reposting it without permission...the Post should do better than that.
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