November 16, 2004
Other people using Brian Micklethwait photos!

Incoming email yesterday, from my friend Amoy:

Hi Brian


Hope all is well.

That would be a bit of an exaggeration, but, to answer what you mean rather than what you say: yes.

[… personal stuff that is not BCB business …]

I reply, ditto. Then …

I have been keeping a bit up-to-date with your life through your culture blog. All of us here at Londoneasy love it and I must say, you've become quite good with that camera – so many of your photos lend themselves to a thousand stories, which is absolutely brilliant. …

Well, yes, indeed, thank you thank you.

… I am sure you know this though.

It's good to be told again, even so.

A few months ago we launched a new Features Section within Londoneasy. I have a team of four who write daily articles. They are very much in the same vein as yours – short, quirky, anecdotal. We look for stories that try to capture Londoners' preoccupations with the city.

And occasionally profound. Don't forget occasionally profound.

Last week one of my journalists had the cheek of borrowing two of your images for articles we have online: one titled Home Truths, and another titled Culture: Empire in the Capital.

We have given you credit for the images. This has only just come to my attention so apologies for not asking in before using. If you are not okay with this, I will take them down ASAP.

Seriously, and as I said to Amoy in my email back, this is fine. My line on other people using my photos is: go ahead, but please give me credit for them, as Londoneasy did. Also, please do, if you are making tons of money, give me a tiny crumb – to encourage the others and all that. If not then don't bother. I leave that to you.

The photopostings here that Amoy is referring to are this one about Foxtonspersons, and this one about Bomber Harris.

My plan for personal global domination includes people using my photos for free and me becoming a world famous layabout instead of the mere layabout that I am now, at which point, then, well, I'll take it from there. I'm just another blogger in other words. So copy away.

Besides which, what Amoy is apologising for having done is what I do anyway, namely not ask permission, give credit, and stand ready to take them down instantly if there is any problem or objection. This seems to be emerging as the blogosphere norm. So far, despite numerous featurings of other people's photos, I have had no grief whatsoever from aggrieved photo-posters.

A final thought. Although I did get credits from Londoneasy, I did not, because that is not how they do things, get any links back to my original postings. Fair enough. But, not problem. Ruminating upon this circumstance, I once again found myself being grateful that my name is Brian Micklethwait, rather than something more like Brian Smith or John Smith. Google for John Smith, and the problem is, of course: which John Smith? Suppose you are seeking the John Smith who, during the Peninsular War, married a Spanish Bride (to quote the title of Georgette Heyer's most amusing novel about that gentleman and lady), who ended up being immortalised, or so I recall reading, in the name of the city of Ladysmith in South Africa. But suppose instead that you get deluged with references to a drearily dead Labour politician. You see the problem. But if you google Brian Micklethwait, you get me and only me. Hurrah. (Caution: if you google only Micklethwait, you get a lot of stuff about my Nth (as N tends to infinity) cousin John Micklethwait.) This means that if Brian Micklethwait gets credited by name for a photo, then that, from the point of view of me building my reputation, is sufficient. No need for a link, because google will quickly find you those blog postings anyway.

Are lots of people even now changing their names from John Smith (or similar) to John Cratchetweaver (or similar), or even to Themistocles Cratchetweaver (just to be sure), for this one reason? It would make sense.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 02:36 PM
Category: PhotographyThe Internet