The Union is painting itself as a hero amid charges of copyright infringement involving a giant centerpiece photo it ran on the front page on Tuesday without crediting the photographer, with a headline “Thanks to John Daly for one stunning shot.”
In fact, the newspaper was the goat, having put itself at risk legally as a commercial venture — and on top of that, it omitted all together how the controversy arose in its own watered-down version of the incident — an episode that was slap in the face to local artists.
“As rain came to an end and clouds parted from this weekend’s storms, Nevada City photographer John Daly headed down to the Highway 49 bridge and captured both the natural beauty and ferocity of western Nevada County’s beloved South Yuba River — beneath a double rainbow, no less,” reads the article this morning by Managing Editor Brian Hamilton (on an inside page; the photo was on page 1).
“Daly shared his stunning shot with the community through The Union, which published the photo on the front page of Tuesday’s edition. Unfortunately, proper credit was not provided to the photographer in the print edition. The Union regrets the error, as Daly certainly deserves recognition for a piece of art so well received by our readers.”
“Unfortunate?” That’s an understatement — both on ethical and legal grounds.
“Daly’s South Yuba shot drew rave reviews on The Union’s Facebook page,” the article continued, “where by noon Tuesday more than 1,700 people had viewed the photo — of which 90 had shared it elsewhere, reaching an unknown total number of Facebook users — and several expressed their gratitude for Daly’s work:”
But here’s what The Union left out: — sharp criticism involving charges of copyright infringement, including from the photographer himself — on another Facebook page, “Nevada County Peeps.” It’s a very valid concern, based on routine journalistic standards.
“It is nice to have the photo on the front page of The Union Newspaper in Grass Valley, CA,” the photogropher wrote in the “Nevada County Peeps” page on Facebook. “But The Union is well-known for being unreliable. I gave them the photo on the proviso that I would have credit on the photo and they even said they would mention my photography exhibition in Nevada City. They did none of this. They literally stole the photo by simply saying ‘submitted photo,’ no mention of my name. . . . This is Copyright Infringement.”
•”That’s why we don’t get the local paper,” wrote one reader on the Facebook thread, which generated 33 comments.
•”Glad I didn’t send my photos there..I wondered whose photo it was. A lovely photo indeed!” wrote another.
•”The Union’s policy on giving photo credits is highly irregular,” wrote another reader. “As someone who has submitted dozens and dozens of photos over the years, I’ve learned they usually will not credit the photographer. I have no idea how they get away with it, but they do.”
•”The Union unfortunately does not serve the people or the community – only business, and even that is questionable,” said another.
•”Yes, there have been many askew articles printed in The Union and it has been very disrespectful and like most media had a huge influence on people’s opinion — true or not “as they read it in the paper,” said another. “Add on the typos and the grammatical errors over the years, I gave up subscribing.”
•”John, I’m really sorry to hear this,” I wrote after noticing the controversy. “As you know, we were glad to pay for your large-size photos of the Yuba River and give you credit by name in the current issue of our FoodWineArt magazine and on the companion http://www.SierraCulture.com website. We’re also going to restock Java Johns with our magazine that carries your photo and credit, and we have publicized your show at Java Johns on our Facebook page. Be assured that the journalistic standards in our community are not all the same. Have a great day and thanks for such a lovely photo!”
When the Facebook posts and comments appeared in droves, Daly did hear from The Union:
•”OK, The Union just called me and apologized for the mistake,” Daly wrote. “They are going to republish in tomorrows paper with full credit and pay for the photo. And mention my Photo Exhibit currently at Java Johns. I will have to print this photo and put it up in the Exhibit.”
“Wondered how that happened- glad they took responsibility,” one reader reacted.
What remains unanswered is:
1. How did such an egregious error happen in the first place? Copyright infringement puts the newspaper at legal risk — well beyond “doing the right thing” to credit an artist’s work in a giant front-page photo.
2. What are The Union’s practices and policies when it comes to photo credits? Why wasn’t the photographer paid in the first place (instead of as an afterthought)? Is anything going to change?
3. Why did The Union omit how the controversy arose in the first place — in social media on a page created by a grassroots effort in the community, called “Nevada County Peeps.” Was it embarrassed to give the full account?
Daly concluded: “I am glad this has developed such a lively and needed debate in our community. Thanks for all your support.” Amen to that!
34 thoughts on “Facebook thread prompts The Union to address charges of copyright infringement on front-page photo”
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Jeff.
Yes Jeff, thanks. Yet another reason never to buy, advertise in or allow friends to buy or advertise in the Union.
I’ve made my share of mistakes as has everyone else.
Boycotting The Union is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. It is providing a valuable service. Kudos to Daly for moving on with this. In the end his show will have gotten more publicity than otherwise. I plan to go see his show now. So all is good.
Especially with the advent of the new editor I suggest we give them all there a break over there and wish them Merry Christmas.
One important point here is that John’s exhibition at Java John’s is fantastic. People should go have a cup of coffee and check out his work.
Absolutely Great Photo! As a whole, just awesome. When disected, there is a whole lot going on, Mother Earth in rare form, onlookers in sunshine, power and beauty-
My guess it was a pure accident but it shows yet another symptom of shoestring budgets that overload workers, which in turn creates very unnecessary mistakes.
I second Max’s suggestion and go support Java John’s instead of going to the Starbucks drive through. Please support local shops and restaurants this holiday season.
I’ve always been amazed at our tolerance for mediocrity in our community. I’m sure it stems from “wanting to get along” in a small town. Sometimes it’s a “good old boys” network. But it also holds us back, and it sometimes embarrasses us, like when the Sacramento Bee puts us on the front page for one problem or another. Over the years, I’ve noticed that Truckee is more results oriented and less concerned about whether you are like minded or not.
We’ll have to continue to agree to disagree on this issue for the time being. The windmill is still enjoying your tilting, of that I am sure.
The Union made a huge mistake here. Hopefully under the new management they won’t do it again. I heartily applaud John Daly for pushing back, and hopefully this incident will result in a clear policy of reciprocity going forward.
If not, I will join you at the tilt.
Sharon Rose made a cogent point. And without social media, it never would have surfaced. Need I say that “You’ve lived here too long, Michael”? 😉 Go team, go!
You always say that Jeff. And I always reply, “I have not yet lived here long enough.”
You and the Union will someday come to peace. It will have nothing to do with me.
It’s not about coming to peace; it’s about competence, as Sharon and all the others who commented on Facebook pointed out. My business paid John and credited him from the get-go, as I pointed out. And John thanked me for that. There’s a more professional way to go about business in our county, and it should be embraced. We are “stubbornly backward,” as Judith Lowry once pointed out here.
I was personally very pleased to see the conversation and strong feeling regarding this photo in The Union. I think Jeff is correct in pointing out the tolerance for mediocrity in our community. I have seen this demonstrated again and again. Honestly, it makes me itch. I
especially notice it in local politics. There seems to be a fear of self expression and a tendency to follow group-think to “get along.” My goodness – watch out, since you may be judged by others! I say you’re going to be judged about every little thing anyway, so why not shout out what you believe to be your truth, take a strong stand, and be fearless?
jeff, I think it is less about acceptance of mediocrity and more to do with the understanding our limits on certain professions/ subjects. That is why I respect your opinion on media and journalism.
Although I disagree with Russ Steele opinions on global warming I respect his point of view and the knowledge base approach he takes to try and debunk human contribution to the phenomena. The same goes for George Rebane. Both of those guys problem in my opinion is they feel they win by forfeit because they have the highest levels of education on specific issues. The problem lies with the fact they both abandon critical thinking skills for their ideology. The try and shape their knowledge to match their ideology and it doesn’t work for those who have the ability to identify and fact check information put forward.
Here is where Todd J is going to agree with me. I know the same is true in New England where those from Boston come up into Vermont and Maine with their Bachelor degree and nest eggs built up from urban careers. Many come with the arrogance of thinking they are intellectually superior in all subjects. A degree in physics doesn’t give a person any real insight into what professional journalism means or demands but they will put forward opinions like they are some sort of expert. I know plenty of college graduates who couldn’t yank a carburetor, rebuild it, and put it back in and have the engine start back up. Intelligence isn’t in a degree but comes with time, energy, and a capacity to learn.
Since I don’t have any great insight on journalism I have little expectations from our local paper. I wouldn’t have even noticed a thing like not giving proper credit for a photo. Not because it doesn’t make sense but because it isn’t even on my radar to look for such things.
Thanks for pointing it out so I know to look in the future.
I’ve said it before, Ben, and I’ll say it again: we have personal histories which seemingly have much in common — while still respecfully disagreeing on other issues. Today, your insight recognizing the arrogance and the aura of intellectual superiority emanating so often from monetarilly successful urban professionals who do shine in their particular area of working experience and have gained a degree of expertise worthy of respect, almost always — IMO — feel success as, say for example, becoming a highly paid corporate pilot (w/o any college; simply through their own dogged determination) or toil for years in the garment industry of NYC then win the lottery — so to say — by setting up a factory in China to make a product with a proven, profitable USA track record and become millionaires in an instant — kinda like Dubya after the Arlington Stadium/Texas Rangers deal which would probably landed any of us in prison. It is often felt that that this success is transferable to every subject under discussion and the garment tycoon is as knowledgable about 20th century Soviet policy, Stalinism vs Marxism, or differing theory and dynamics of various types of government. I think the Tea movement personifies how a group — each member with a certain skill set, capable of doing productive tasks beyond the ability of a writer or reporter or any trained professional w/o hands disfigured with grime ingrained in hardened callouses and jagged fingernails — can elevate the lesser angles of man’s nature to undeserved and dangerous heights. Spiro Agnew epitomized this type of illogic. And, locally, Rebane may be in high demand, speaking on topics connected to the disipline of his Doctorate but when I’ve read his posts — which isn’t often — devoted to non-engineering topics, I find much of his ideas, analysis, solutions, etc., ludicrous and merely a path leading only to failure and disappointment. Rarely I read Steele because I don’t find his insights useful. And Todd’s poisonous screeds are as intellectually nutritious as a bowl-ful of shredded cardboard sprinkled with fire ants instead of sugar. Always accusing others of not answering his questions, receiving a reasoned reply from him is as rare as not being called a communist, moron, or anything meant to raise one’s hackles.
He may be expert at preparing a challenging lot into a suitable building site, and often doing so can be very dangerous, even life threatening–but his draw as a blogger, IMO, is similar to choosing a movie to take one’s spouse or girlfriend; Will it be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or something like A Beautiful Mind, or Invictus. Judging by the ethos of the Dragon’s hiss, the chainsaw would win, methinks.
In Texas, ’84 to ’86, I worked for a friend in commercial Real Estate after selling the Vermont condo project. It was the tail end of the boom and the beginning of the public’s awareness of the “Savings and Loan” scam. In the office, I was the only guy who was a liberal (and only one who was a reading fanatic) and usually kept quite. It was much like the Billionaires Boys Club and so many guys under thirty were millionaires, but knew very little about the essentials which come with a classical education. Joel Grey in Caberet expressed them, singing, Money, Money, Money. The motto, I heard over and over, was “Fu+k em and feed em fish-heads.” Mean-spirited, ugly, self-centered Ayn Randish clones convinced they knew it all until that bubble burst and jail was the fate of many. Just as so many tea people I’ve encountered know next to nothing about our or any country’s history and think the Constitution has a single, valid interpretation; that which validates their own opinions.
I think the main difference in opinion I have with you and many self proclaimed liberal progressives that vote for the Democratic Party is the level of responsibility the party leadership has in our current predictament of our government, economy, and culture. I feel that we need to show the party they can no longer win by default but by having to represent the needs of the people to earn our vote. Unfortunately we find ourselves over the barrel due to the absolute rigged system against any form of democracy or choice. I encourage all voters to read “Grand Illusion” by Theresa Amato on the suppression and outright oppression of independent parties that challenge the power of the big two. Here is the intro to the book.
You shouldn’t have to have journalism training to know that when you present somebody else’s artwork that you credit them for it. And god forbid, pay them.
You are 100% correct but my point is most people like myself wouldn’t have even noticed because it isn’t on our radars. To you it is second nature to look for the credit of photo where to me it is a picture that accompanies the story and I just assume the photographer is fairly compensated either through a paid position or as freelancer and paid per submission. Basically I am saying thank you for looking out for workers in the media who can get short changed.
All this fusing and fuming would lead you to believe The Union has done something to outrage the community, like criticize the NU football program.
Alas, all it did was make a simple, dumb mistake, the sort of mistake every publication makes on occasion. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal managed to screw up the by-line of one of its reporters, and a couple of month ago the New York Times–that would be the august New York Times–misidentified the president and speaker of the House in a picture caption. Heck, I’ve even read in a certain local magazine that Yo-Yo Ma is a violinist, something that would surprise his many fans.
Like I said, this stuff happens. I’m inclined to agree with Ben Emery (I can’t believe I just wrote that) that this is more about an understaffed and overworked copy desk than a caviler attitude toward the standards of journalism.
As for getting paid: Every freelancer should ALWAYS have a clear understanding about pay and credit before giving a publication permission to use his material. Duh!
Incredible to liken copyright infringement with any of your other examples.
Point of clarification: if you put something original on Facebook, is it automatically copyrighted, or do you have to specify the terms in advance?
Here’s some background re: Facebook: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/1935920/facebook-users-unknowingly-breaking-copyright-laws
BTW, when it comes to copyright infringement at newspapers, the law is clear and well established. That’s why The Union published this correction: ” Unfortunately, proper credit was not provided to the photographer in the print edition. The Union regrets the error, as Daly certainly deserves recognition for a piece of art so well received by our readers.”
This is both an ethical and legal liability for any publisher.
Thanks for the link.
I was going to let it go, but finally decided a reply was necessary. Labeling me and others as “self-proclaimed liberal progressives who vote for Democrats,” reeks of subtle insult. Numerous times I’ve said I’m about defeating the extreme right and I’m an Independent. Ben, I don’t give a damn what Theresa Amato theorizes. What you fail to understand is that this third party you feel will be the savior of democracy wll be composed of people not susceptible to the temptations that turn all those Democrats who start out with pure, honest ideals, into the corrupt S.O.B.s you insist they all are.
Some dynasties lasted centuries, then some died out slowly, others just keeled over and died quickly. I doubt if any of the founders or the country they crafted approach the purity you seem to think is possible.
My post wasn’t about our disagrements just because I acknowleged some exisited, as is natural. About 90% of the post was on what we agreed on.
The insult goes both ways. To agree on basically all issues but to be labeled irrational and rigid when it comes to the only real power a individual has at choosing who represents our interests in our government is the biggest insult. I don’t tell people you can’t vote for anybody but tell people to vote their conscience. I on the other hand am told that I am voting for Romney if I don’t vote for Obama or Bush I if I don’t vote for Clinton. I didn’t vote for Obama in 08′ or Clinton in 92′ and I sure as hell didn’t vote for either Bush, McCain, or Romney. This is the disagreement. I believe the entire system is corrupt and rigged. The only way to change it is by putting people in office that aren’t beholden to the leadership of either party. If you don’t like Theresa Amato how about Mickey Edwards.
My thing is civil liberties/ human and democracy, without them everything else doesn’t matter. The Obama administration is just as bad and even worse in some cases than the Bush II administrations. In good conscience I could not vote for a second term of kill lists, oppressive policies on whistle blowers, torture, drone bombings, military action in sovereign nations without any form of debate in congress, TSA, homeland security, drones spying on Americans, Patriot Act, and the federal gov. ludicrous war on drugs. The issues I listed fall under the powers of enforcement of the Executive Branch not the corporate media issues of an all powerful President who can change Social Security with an executive order. As an electorate we are forced to hear about issues that have little relevance to do with the Executive Branch other than the power of a veto and the bully pulpit during election season. Bradley Manning wasn’t mentioned once, Patriot Act wasn’t mentioned once, the illegal drone bombings were an afterthought, Guantanamo Bay never came up, and so on. The reason why these issues didn’t come up in my opinion is there is very little difference between the parties in their actions on such issues. The media has to force to believe there is some huge difference between the two major parties. There is differences on social issues and in rhetoric but in practice what the two parties agree on is frightening but rarely talked about in the complicit corporate media that keeps the status quo chugging along.
It is a redundant but easy read, Grand Illusion. Redundant because it goes through meticulously the pointless lawsuits other than to eat up funds, time, and energy. The number one obstacle in our current system is it takes butt loads of money to run for public office. Independent candidates unless extremely wealthy like Ross Perot spend much of their time and energy trying to jump through hoops to qualify instead of campaigning like the extremely wealthy established big two parties do. It is a first hand account of the suppression and outright oppression put in place by the Republican and Democratic parties. Check it out and I guarantee you will have a different perspective on how our government representatives are determined.
“Until you have run, as I did, outside the two major parties, it is impossible to imagine the
injustices of the two-party-tilted electoral process. Theresa Amato masterfully exposes the horrors faced by third-party and Independent candidates seeking the chance to compete and provide political choices for the American voter.”
—JOHN ANDERSON, FORMER INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND CHAIR OF THE CENTER FOR VOTING AND DEMOCRACY
Ben, my second vote for President in my life was for Anderson. I did not vote for Carter a 2nd time. I thought my protest vote would be worth something. It wasn’t. Reagan went on to win two terms.
I thought Reagan was bad; but then came GWB a decade later. Now I always vote for the party candidates at the federal level, since the game is rigged. I vote for alternative candidates as protest votes in state and local elections, but only if that vote doesn’t harm my own best interests.
This broken system will collapse one of these days, so please just keep doing what you’re doing.
I’m sorry guys, but the two party system, which has been with us since the Federalists versus the Democratic-Republicans in 1791, is a function of designing a political system with checks and balances, where the executive and legislative branches compete with each other, and the two houses of Congress share power and compete for power. Although Washington warned against it the two-party system was inevitable. And because the electoral college rewards the organization of parties until other reforms occur, we have a two-party system. To change it now would take a bicameral legislature and an elimination of the electoral college, which is virtually impossible, since one only needs to win 12 states to win the Presidency. So much as I love the idea Ben, it is fantasy. I love the idea of getting more third party candidates elected to local office, more power to you Ben, because reforming the system will take 50 years of electing third party candidates to local office, and ensuring that they keep their values once they get there.
Ooopsy…that should read “unicameral” legislature….sorry. And perhaps I should elaborate on the electoral college barrier….because small states are disproportionately represented in Congress and the EC and it takes a 2/3 vote in Congress and 3/4 vote of the states to amend the constitution, it is highly unlikely that the EC will ever be changed (ever being relative)…..this means that to win a majority of electors in a state, and take a state for the purposes of the national election, the system inherently rewards those who affiliate in parties.
We don’t want to miss the point, Steve, that the foundation of Democracy is an educated electorate, regardless of the number of parties etc. This is the problem today. It is the law of the harvest. We are reaping what has been sown over many years of a dysfunctional educational system: ignorance.
You nail the problem but then audible away from it to our existing paradigm. It is the two party system that I want to change not abolishing either of the big two. More choices not replacements. This is where I end up arguing with like minded people because they are talking about replacement with another party and I am talking about more parties participating.
The only thing standing in the way of such reform are the two parties that control the laws. We could set such reforms within existing law that wouldn’t take constitutional amendments. I think the number is up to 12 states who have written in to their state constitution they will turn over their Presidential electorate votes to the popular vote winner when enough states have adopted the idea into their state constitutions. Electoral elections without an US Constitutional Amendment have been abolished or reformed. The problem is no large institution such as the two biggest in our country the Republican and Democratic parties will every legislate away their power. It is up to the people to demand this reform and the only language the big two understand is votes. Don’t vote for a party that doesn’t embrace electoral and two party system reform. If people actually knew how bad and oppressive both parties are towards outside competition they would be horrified. Why do the Democrats ignore the voter ID laws and electronic voting until election season? It has been going on for 14 years with the electronic voting at least. Why do independents hold the majority of registration in the US but nothing changes? Because we are conditioned not to rock the boat and to accept the two party system is the only option. Slavery, women’s right to vote, labor unions, civil rights, and so on were to big to change at one point as well but until we publicly force the conversation we will continue to play the victim card and say we have to choose from the least worst candidates. I think it is a cop out and intellectual laziness so people can sit in front of the blue glow and watch their reality tv shows.
No audible, I assumed you wanted to create a multi-party system.
Perhaps I failed to explain the dynamics clearly enough. Much as we hate to admit it, politics is about gaining and retaining POWER to advance ones agenda. Whether federalists and democratic-republicans or todays democrats and republicans, people organize together to gain advantage. And that means we inevitably narrow down to two parties because competition requires it. POWER flows to the victor, and challenging POWER requires aggregating all force together to oppose it. Add to that a system that self-reinifrces the dynamic through a bicameral legislature, electoral college and checks and balances system, and you have a two-party system.
You want to change the two-party system–great, I am all with you. Until then, we live in the world as it is, not the world as we wish it to be. We need to simultaneously try to reform the system, and work within it to achieve the best outcomes possible. That’s not a cop out, it is reality.
It is kind of hokey but it is true
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Until we are willing to change and show the way nobody else will listen or follow. I chose and will continue to try to be the change I want to see in the world and hope more people who agree will do the same.
Until we get the special interest money out of our government and political parties we don’t have any real chance at any meaningful reforms.
-Step one. Get the special interest money out.
-Step two is get publicly financed elections.
-Step three is to insert a different electoral system such as Instant Run Off or Proportionate Representation like 95% of democracies exercise on the planet.
I haven’t replied only because of physical reasons and continuing problems with VA which are far from finished, but must be solved in a timely fashion.
I do not disagree with anything in the above post. My main difference is in remedies that don’t seem to account for the changes in humans — even in the most pure and noble — once their fingers clasp the scepter of power and the deep pocketed Barons of greed and selfishness Ala Ayn Rand begin their practised assault. Why would any human in a third party be immune. A study of world history, not just American, fails, in my view, to provide examples governments that remain fair, equitable and noble. I believe the most primitive and ancient pathway to becoming chief of a tribe or group of people was through brute strength/force or craftily using a much superior mind. Often life is good initially, then the norms start breaking down and the most devious, ruthless rule.
But we will never agree that Obama is worse than Bush, as you say, nor, among other things, that unless one agrees 100% on every point, they must be shunned, expelled, ridiculed or as the psychopath Stalin institutionalized, tortured and murder millions who dared disagree or just came under suspicion of disagreeing; or vanished only because it was convenient. False equivalencies make for brittle beliefs.
I read this morning in the NYT that another Al Qaeda leader was killed by a drone. Not nice, but too bad. Having grown up in NYC area, years ago I knew members of some families that died in the Towers on 9/11. Friends still living there, knew more. The speedy conquest of Arabia, then the militant subjugation of the Maghreb — begun after the slaughter of hundreds in a town square of onetime friends, the local Jews — the advance stemmed at Tours, has been the hallmark of these desert warriors. (Personally, I believe the core belief that men can totally dominate and control women is behind their quick growth and enduring popularity. It’s a man’s world.)
I’ve written more than I intended. Today I mourn the death of the man who dominates my CD collection; Ravi Shankar. Privileged to attend a small venue concert by R.S. and daughter, I truly wish the realities of the world were as pure and soothing, sparkling with the essence of that man’s heart. He was a wonder. And I’ll listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or another Sufi group. All musicians, but not the same as Ted Nugent or Hank Williams, Jr.
And instead, what we see in Michigan with the right wing legislature slamming anti-union, right to work legislation through the place like it was on fire. All funded by the Koch Brothers. And the rest of the Country is next because the rich are treating this place like a Monopoly Game in all to real time. Anti Union, voter suppression, anti women legislation right wingers have just stepped up their game.