Getting Credit Where Credit is Due

Nov 29, 2013 © Brian Stechschulte Category: Copyright
Update (12/4/13):

I’m happy to report that after reaching out to the editor of the New Brewer I received a prompt reply and apology, which I really appreciate. The magazine’s art director misinterpreted the Creative Commons license, which is not surprising. There are many different types of licenses designed for varying degrees of usage. Understanding how each applies to a given set of circumstances can be confusing, particularly when it comes to what constitutes commercial purposes. For those of you who wonder “Why go to this type of public extreme?” It’s a matter of principal and education.

New-Brewer-Magazine-November-December-Issue

Finding my photos published online without permission or proper credit is unfortunately pretty common. Seeing them in print under the same circumstances has never happened, until yesterday, when I was casually flipping through my latest copy of The New Brewer.

The New Brewer is published by the Brewers Association (BA), which is the largest and most recognized trade group in the craft beer industry. The magazine is delivered to BA members and copies can be purchased online. They claim readership is 15,000 and deliver it to 30 countries.

I took the photos seen above for a story I published on the San Francisco Brewers Guild website about fresh hop season, and uploaded them to the guild’s Flickr account. That’s where they were downloaded. All of the photos I take on behalf of the SF Brewers Guild are available for use by anyone under the terms of a Creative Commons license, which is displayed on Flickr. My license type requires attribution, that the picture not be used for commercial purposes, and no derivatives can be distributed.

The Brewers Association didn’t technically have to contact me for usage permission, although that would have been nice, in addition to a thank you. No photographer should accidentally discover his or her work in a print publication. It’s disrespectful.

The BA does great work on behalf of the industry, so I would have granted permission to use the photos at no cost, even though the magazine serves a commercial purpose. In this type of situation, all I ask for is proper credit, and that’s where the BA fell short.

Their photo credit appeared on the next page, was placed in magazine’s gutter (fold) where it’s barely noticeable, it didn’t identify which images were mine, and on top of that, didn’t even include my name as the copyright holder. Instead they marked it as © San Francisco Brewers Guild, even though every photo on the SF Brewers Guild Flickr account is clearly marked with my name.

It’s disappointing that a magazine supporting and celebrating the creativity of brewers, did a poor job of properly recognizing people that support the industry in other creative ways, especially when benefiting from their efforts.

This is the second time the Brewers Association has used one of my photos without asking and bad attribution. A month ago they used another one of my hop photos for a story they published on CraftBeer.com, which they also operate. A credit did appear at the bottom of the story, but was also misattributed as © San Francisco Brewers Guild. Here’s how it looked on their homepage.

CraftBeer-Dot-Com-Hop-Photo

I got their attention on Twitter about the issue and they sent me a direct message saying, “sorry for snagging your pic w/o credit. We’ll remove it if you’d prefer, but have added credit to the bottom of the post.” I responded, “No worries. You’re welcome to use my @sfbrewersguild pics anytime w/credit, hence CC license. Please add my name after ©.” They changed the credit. Unfortunately the same can’t be done in print.

I don’t make a living selling photos, but I wouldn’t mind picking up a few jobs and building a reputation, which is hard to do when you don’t get proper credit where credit is due.

  • Jason Braddock

    Considering the industry standard is $459 – $918 for a half page photo in a magazine of that size and circulation, you would think that companies like this would put a little more effort into being respectful of following a photographers stipulations when they are running it for free. And that price is for one photo. It looks like they may have used more then one.

    The New Brewer magazine makes $2,625 off of the advertisement on the back page of that one issue. You can see the rest of their ad pricing here http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/advertise/advertise/the-new-brewer The reason they charge that much is because they have built up a large and international circulation. They were able to do this because of the quality of their magazine. The quality of the magazine is directly related to the pictures and articles that they publish. Magazine companies need to remember that they have a symbiotic relationship with photographers.

    • AllOverBeer

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for the support and response. Yes, the BA’s financial savings are pretty dramatic, which is another great reason they should be courteous and appreciative, in addition to the quality of the images they’re using.