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Copyright Infringement

Yesterday, I got a bizarre email, with the above headline as the subject. I’ve never had anything like it before. I was using a random photo I found on the internet to illustrate a point about a certain product or service we PAs use all the time.

Now, it’s not my photo, and the owner of the photo has every right to decide how the photo is used. I believe in copyright; it’s the only reason I have a job.

But here’s the thing– the copyright holder of this particular photo actually offers the particular product or service1 I was writing about. You see where I’m going with this?

They could have said, “Hey, if you’re going to use our photo, at least plug our company, while you’re at it.” It would have been easy: photo courtesy of [company]. And a link, too.

What is wrong with [company]? I’m not torrenting a TV show and calling it “free publicity,” like some people do. This was actual, native advertising. People reading that blog post wanted to learn more about this product or service.

Oh, well, their loss. On the bright side, I’m apparently popular enough to get take-down notices, now. That’s new.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. I’m not going to say what it is, because I don’t want to give away who I’m talking about.
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