Photographers,Viticulture,Wine,Wine Business,You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Aren’t We All Just So Funny?

This blog posting “Variety Leaves ~ A Photo Shoot at K-J’s Demonstration Vineyard” involved a really interesting Email to me from a New York City based marketing firm.


I was wondering if you would be able to send me hi-res versions of (some or all of) the wine variety leaf pictures on your blog…

The pictures are great!

I told Jose about the Email, because I was a bit shocked by the naivete. He just chuckled and said, “Aren’t we all just one big Web sharing family? Isn’t everything on the Internet still for free?”

Well, not really. When I want an image that I haven’t yet taken, I go to others and purchase them. I suggest to anyone wanting an image from someone else, be kind enough to offer to pay for it. Perhaps the person will be willing to share for free, but don’t be naive enough to presume that a compliment is the price of admission.

My response to the query from this graphic designer from a professional marketing group, mind you, was this:

Sorry, these leaves are part of my livelihood/intellectual property, and aren’t free.

It was simply proven that this person wanted my work for free, because she didn’t respond to this Email. If she was really serious about wanting these leaves, she would have responded with something like, “I was actually intending to purchase your work. Please tell me more about what it would cost to have one or all of your high res images.”

Not surprisingly, this Email never came. Even if I had been kinder with something like, “I’m delighted that you appreciate my work, and each high res image is $100/each or $1000 for all 22 of them,” I wouldn’t have heard back from her.

This entire Email thread got me to thinking about the days of free clip art, which began our journey into enhancing our promotional materials in the late 1980s. We’ve come a long way from those days, when all things used to be free, and we used simplistic clip art to enhance our work.  Over time we’ve evolved to realize that clip art is unprofessional, and photographs are the way to go.

Also, there is a way to make money on the internet through image sales, if someone else finds our work desirable. There are now plenty of Web sites where we can purchase and post photographs for sale.

After coming up with the idea for this grape leaf library, it took a couple days of my life for travel, work, processing, etc. They’re on my blog in low resolution, as all images on the Web should be. (High res images will slow down your Website from loading. I only write this, because I’m still finding occasional high res images still on some sites.)

This person asked for my images in high res. This is what a marketing company needs in order to design print materials for a client’s promotional designs. It’s not only for the marketing company’s financial gain, but it’s also for the client’s financial gain. And yet, this person assumed that my images are just public property, and I’d be ever so magnanimous as to simply hand them over?

Totally amusing!

This request continued to remind me of how funny we all really are.

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9 Responses to “Aren’t We All Just So Funny?”

  1. Jo Diaz says:

    This is a behind the scenes question, but it’s a really great one, so I’m going to share in the next comment box:

    [Q] I try to take all my own pics, but when doing a post like this one (I’m omitting the link), I obviously cannot take my own photo…so I just go to Google Images. Furthermore, I just assumed that because I use Blogger for free, that my posted photographs will ultimately end up on Google Images. Am I wrong in my assumption? Should I be doing anything differently?

    I would be interested in your thoughts on this.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    So… My answer:

    Google images are gathered by Google, and Google has assumed that it’s NOT copyright infringement.

    However, the letter of the law says that they’ve infringed on the rights of others. I find my images there all the time, without my permission. At the bottom of my Website, I have written: Copyright © 2010 Wine Blog All rights reserved.

    This means what it means… Google is ripping us all off, if we have a copyright.

    What really got me going – twice – was to find that other people had not only taken my images (One Jose had taken, the other I had paid for – and signed off on a limited use licensing), but in both cases, they also were taking my bandwidth.

    In other words, instead of just copying the image, they were taking it directly from my site’s location. This reduces my available space from my server. Yes, I’m paying every month to have bandwidth, but not for the use of others. It’s like paying rent and having someone else move in with you, unannounced and squatting.

    If I didn’t have a Webmaster for a husband, I wouldn’t understand all of this. Jose is a programmer/IT guy.

    In both cases, when my images were stolen, I didn’t get mad, I got even (old rocker that I am). With one, that had stolen an image called “leftovers,” I replaced it with a huge cow. It stayed on that site for a long time before they realized what I had done. (Meanwhile, I was laughing my tush off.) The other had stole my image/bandwidth and was putting me in jeopardy by using an image from my site elsewhere without permission to do so. So, I replaced the “fires of California” image with a huge snowflake image.

    I did some Photoshop work behind the scenes, and let them try to figure out how I could control their site, after they had taken a piece of mine away.

    I’m honestly toying with putting a copyright on all my images. It’s an extra step, but it tells it like it is. I’m all for sharing, as long as someone asks. It’s that simple.

    However, I’ve been burned more than once from people who have taken my content, as well as photos – with absolutely no getting back to me to tell me or say that I’m the author, and put it onto their own sites. Imagine finding the image of the typewriter that your grandmother gave you and the first camera that your grandfather gave you… and the story of how it all came together… one someone else’s site… No link, no name, no nothing, and putting HIS name on it as the author!? As I said, this type of infringement has happened several time to me.

    It’s just wrong, and the Internet laws will evolve as people begin to sue. I’m less likely to sue, unless someone just won’t stop, and it’s a continuance. These other sites come up to gather money from Google ads… It’s all just wrong.

  3. Excellent blog and just as I was getting into the same issues. As someone who has been in advertising with my former employers, high res images are necessary to publishing.

    In my new life, I also take a lot of photos that are wine industry related in high resolution for my own and customer’s use. Copyright law still exists and if you aren’t careful to do what you did and say so on the site as well as watermark your photos posted on the net or block copying from your site, anybody can take them and figure it’s OK.

    In my last job as a corporate warrior, I spied a competitor who stole one of our images and used it in their promo materials. In response, our attorney said it would be hard to prove it was ours and expensive to prosecute. WHAT!!!?? They sent a letter and asked to have it removed, which the competitor did not. It seems the web somehow has muddied the law or perplexed those practicing it.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    It’s definitely done both, Tom.

    It does take money to fight whomever, regardless of the issue.

    I had a contractor really damage some drainage, while constructing other drainage, and our cellar then filled with water, when he was done and gone… All because of his faulty work. My lawyer told me that it was going to cost a lot to prosecute that this contractor lived in court, and he never paid anyone the judgments in others’ favor.

    Lesson, pick your battles and your contractor wisely.

    Now, reporting the firm to Better Business as a company with shoddy business practices… That black eye would be harder for them to take ;^)

    Unfortunately with the Internet, people seem to care less… the price of a growing population.

  5. Wine-Know says:

    Protecting intellectual property rights is difficult and expensive because, sadly, the onus is on the owner of the intellectual property. Owning a patent simply means that if somebody violates the patent, the owner of the patent can sue the violator at the owner’s expense. The same is true for copyrights and trademarks.

  6. Mike Duffy says:

    If you’re serious about keeping Google from taking your images, you can use robots.txt. They even tell you how:


    And you can check your server logs to see if others are linking directly to your images (the “referrer” field), essentially stealing your bandwidth. You can ask nicely, or simply serve a different image in its place:


    I hope this helps a little.

  7. Jo Diaz says:

    Mike, great info for blocking Google from taking my images. I’ve forwarded this info to Jose, who is my Webmaster for anything that has to do with code. He didn’t know about this yet, and we’re both very excited about this one.

    Also, I’ve slowed down anyone who steals my bandwidth, too, by replacing the images they’ve stolen that’s also attached to my bandwidth.

    First, I’ve had to take my original image, rename it, upload that to FileZilla, then change my code for that image… a bit of work. Then, I’ve replaced the original jpg with things like a cow image that I have that I’ve put a seat belt around (replacing “leftovers”), and a huge snowflake replacing a firefighter image. The cow one didn’t work (they just didn’t take it down), so I replaced that one with a gorilla sitting on the pot. That one finally was taken down.

    I didn’t even bother to go the nice route. I was too infuriated at the concept. Jose being a Webmaster, and having taken a semester of HTML (just basic code, but a code of ethics went with that course), I know the difference between right and wrong. I didn’t take the time to educate someone with niceties. I went for letting them learn the hard way.

    Maybe I’ll be nice the next time… write the code of ethics and spread that around when the need arises.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Helpful post you have here. I have just realize that those High resolution images I have found on the net are really for profit. Anyway the experience you have there seems to be naive but I think that you have just made the smart move. You don’t have to give them all for free because every single bit of your properties I mean your very own trade secret is produced by your sweat and personal struggles in life. And I think that you will never give those that way.

  9. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Luke.

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