tam02Still no new artwork here, because the latest issue of Bad Influence has just gone into the publishing system. And I still have three Altoids tin shrines and a tin can shrine to make before I get back to my regularly scheduled personal art time. Soon.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d rant a bit about image theft.

Today, photographer friend Tamelyn posted this image. That’s Tam, in one of her famous self-portraits against the pink wall in her bathroom. She’s done dozens of them in the years I’ve been following her on Flickr. Some of them are beautiful, and some of them are silly—and all of them are copyrighted.

So, imagine her surprise when she started getting messages from friends, saying that a local home and garden show was using her self-portrait in their ads, including this billboard. Yep. They swiped a photo from Flickr, and blew it up to make a billboard out of it. As I’m writing this, it’s also the header image on both their Facebook and Twitter pages. Just in case they change them, because a bunch of us on her Facebook friend list are raising hell about it, here’s what they used, with the name of the show blurred out, so as not to give them any more mileage:


OK, here’s why this really burns my butt:

I contacted Tamelyn in 2006, to ask if I could interview her, and use some of her photos in an issue of Bad Influence. She was very nice, and gave me an enthusiastic YES!, even though she didn’t know me from Adam, and even though I was up front about not being able to pay her. All it took was an email. It wasn’t even difficult to get in touch with her.

Now, if I can figure out how to do that, why the heck can’t whoever put together the promo materials for this home show do it?

This is just plain laziness. At this point, there can’t possibly be anyone who thinks they can just go to Google image search, find a pretty photo, and use it in their ad campaign, without permission, credit to the photographer, or compensation. Tamelyn’s images are clearly copyright protected on Flickr, and she has image downloading is disabled. Someone had to work really hard to grab this image.

Tamelyn is an artist. Her photos are brilliant. She deserves the respect and the compensation that come with that brilliance. She does not deserve to see her photo being used on a billboard without her knowledge.

Shame on whoever decided otherwise.

UPDATE: An hour after I wrote this, the image from the Facebook page header changed, and the billboard photo disappeared. Ten minutes later, the event’s Twitter profile was deleted. Shortly after that, their Facebook page was deleted. A photo of the billboard still appears on the event’s web site.