Thursday, August 11, 2016

Forbes uses TWO of my beer photos without my permission (updated)

Gonna cut right to the chase here, folks. Forbes, the financial magazines and website, used two photographs of mine in this ridiculous listicle "The 13 Best Craft Beers in America" by Karla Alindahao.

Screen capture of their website:

forbes
And here's the same photograph that's been sitting on my website for just about three years now. Notice any similarities?

mine
And here's another:

forbes2
And my original:

mine2

I thought my photos on their site might've just been embedded from my site, but if you right-click on either of them you'll see that the photos have been uploaded to Forbes.com:
http://www3.forbes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/3-Mastermind-Fiddlehead.jpg
http://www3.forbes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/9-Lunch-Maine-Beer-Company.jpg.

I'm flattered that a company like Forbes would consider my photos good enough to use among their content. I'm not a professional shutterbug, so it's odd they'd use amateur material like mine. In fact, if you do a Google image search for Maine Beer Lunch you'll see some pictures that look way more professional than mine. Though looking through the listicle, the photos range in quality from very obviously professional to some-schmuck-with-a-smartphone.

I know Forbes uses the photos and graphics they do to make their content more appealing and nice to look at. Good content = more traffic = more ad revenue. They're an online magazine, so they make money off clicks (I do too, but it's mostly a pittance). So if my photos are helping them to generate revenue, aren't I entitled to a cut of that?

The irony is, if Forbes had just asked if they could use my photos I probably would've said yes (on the condition they credit me, of course). And I'm not accusing them of theft since they don't seem to be outright claiming these photos are their original content, and also because it's impossible to steal intellectual property, anyway. They just used it inappropriately.

Looking over this listicle, it appears they didn't credit any of the photographs. That's just unprofessional editorial direction. I don't entirely blame the writer Kayla Alindahao, either. I messaged her on Twitter and she seem shocked to find out that this had happened. She is bringing this to the attention of her editors, so hopefully they'll contact me soon. In the meantime, I can't help but wonder if how many of the other photos in this listicle were pilfered without permission and if their creators are looking for credit.

And to those of you who actually read this listicle - I agree, it is an absurd list since the majority of the entries are from Vermont and the New England states. Lost Nation Gose #1?!  You gotta be kidding me.

UPDATE 8/19/2016
Forbes has responded:
We have looked into the situation and it appears that the photos in question were used in Karla Alindahao's craft beer story by mistake. (She was not responsible for their use.) As soon as you made us aware of the error, the photos were removed.

I am very sorry for the error and appreciate that you brought it to our attention.

If you have any more questions or concerns about this please feel free to contact me. I will be back in the office next week.

Sincerely,

Michael Solomon
Editor
ForbesLife
 
Uh huh. "By mistake," right.
How do pictures just get magically uploaded to a website without any editorial oversight whatsoever? I guess Harry, Ron and Hermione are of drinking age now and this was their idea of a prank.