A few weeks ago, a TechCrunch writer used a photo of a HP logo by a Nigerian freelance photographer for an article about HP being more reliable than Apple, based on the number of “rescue calls” it has recieved, citing Rescuecom.

The photo (which appears above) was taken in August 2010 by iamniyi on Flickr and has since been viewed over 40 times (to date). The photographer obviously didn’t realise his photo was being used by one of TechCrunch’s blog networks, CrunchGear, until another Flickr user (-Scipio-) commented on the photo. (See below).

According to Flickr’s Help page,
“Our members share an incredible amount of amazing work on Flickr. If there is an image you’d like to use, look for the “Request to license” link near the license on the photo page….Not all members have this enabled. If you don’t see it you can also contact the member directly.”

It is obvious that the CrunchGear writer, Nicholas Deleon did not contact the owner for permission to use the photo and did not provide proper attribution for the photo on his article. Instead, he wrote flick’d with a link to the owner’s photo on Flickr.

Here’s his response to the photographer (unedited):

Hi there.

Yup, that was my mistake, I thought your photo was under Creative Commons. It’s taken down now. Very sorry!


Come on, Nick, you can do better than that!

While his reason is somewhat excusable given the speed at which bloggers/writers tend to churn out posts without waiting for permission to use content such as photos, as well as the usual snag of finding the right photos to use, I’d say that Nicholas shouldn’t have assumed that the image was under Creative Commons.

After all, it’ll only take 2 seconds to check that, right?

I’m not sure if the owner of the photo intends to sue TechCrunch for this violation of his copyright ownership of the photo, but I’m just wondering what the case would have been like if it was a Nigerian technology blog violating such a copyright.

TechCrunch should know better.

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11 Responses to TechCrunch Writer Uses Photo By Nigerian Freelancer Without Permission

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by James Holmes, Loy Okezie. Loy Okezie said: TechCrunch Writer Uses Photo By Nigerian Freelancer Without Permission: A few weeks ago, a TechCrunch writer us… [...]

  2. aging says:

    What can I say other than “You’ve done the rigth thing today by showing this to us”

  3. segebee says:

    honestly loy, i think u’re makin much ado about nothing. As a blogger, u cant tell me u have d license for all photos u use! The photographer shld be glad, wonder how it pays him now that its been removed. I’ll call this link bait :) . Thanks for sharing sha

  4. Loy Okezie says:

    @segebee – You don’t have a valid point. I think you’re just looking for attention.

    The blogger messed up! Period! He ought to have checked (just 2 seconds) if that photo was copyrighted or not.

    I don’t always need a license for the photos I use, cos I look for photos under creative commons.

    If I’m making much ado about nothing, then what’s the role of the media?

    What if the photographer sues TechCrunch, will he be making much ado about nothing?

  5. Mike Butcher says:

    Question: Would the photographer make more by suing TechCrunch once, than he would by using the link to his photo (now taken down) as a way to build great traffic to his work in the long term (many times over) and greater reputation? Imagine if TechCrunch, which has million of readers, linked to your work constantly? Would that help your career?

    • UPNEPA says:

      mike. the point is you misused the image. If he was a more popular photographer sure you'ld have asked for his permission. 'Cos you're a big company, you think you can get away with such things….. you cant.. im reblogging this.

  6. Loy Okezie says:

    @Mike – So in TechCrunch’s editorial guidelines, it is right to use a copyrighted photo without permission?

    Does it also say: ‘Cockingly’ remove the photo cos the photographer doesn’t appreciate TechCrunch’s generousity?

  7. In my opinion, the owner of the image should have asked Nick to link back to him. I really do not think this is a big deal considering the type of picture. If it was an image that was really exclusive (one that could not be taken again), then it would be a big deal.

    Can we see the mail sent to Nicholas that got that reply?

    @Mike: the bigger news is how come you have -55 as your reputation score? have you been trolling secretly? ;)

  8. Segebee says:

    Mike, I so agree with you! A link from techcrunch is great for a CV :-) .

    Loy, yes I was seeking for attention….for this article and blog. A techcrunch staff, discussions on twitter, oothenigerian… I would have loved more attention though :-) . OotheNigerian, as said it all…its not a pic that's so special.

    I wonder if he can afford to pay the legal fees to sue techcrunch…much ado bout nothing abeg.

    Oo, na reputation u dey check baba? How u dey? :-)

    PS: Comment was supposed to come a long time ago

  9. UPNEPA says:

    If you’re gonna put anything up, you should remember to add a creative commons license. Sometimes, there’s just no enought time for a user to contact you before they redistribute your contend.

  10. UPNEPA says:

    Kay, i just checked the guys flickr page.. he did have a creative commons license.. now that’s just plain wrong of Techcrunch to do that….

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