First, Let's Shoot All the Photographers

The Lane Hartwell photo controversy is becoming a Venus morontrap. In the comments on TechCrunch, Robert Scoble flew into its maw and is being broken down into his constituent parts and digested by enzymes:

I think it really is lame to take pictures of people (who don't get a cut of the profits) at parties, without being commissioned, and then send in invoices for that work when it gets used in a parody video.

If photographers are getting paid to take pictures of me, why shouldn't we get a cut too as subjects? I didn't sign a model release for commercial work when Lane and other people take pictures of me at parties like she did of Owen Thomas. Did Owen sign a model release? Did he approve for his photo to be used for commercial purposes?

I think that when I do an event or party I'm going to only let photographers in who freely distribute their work without expectations that they'll get compensated for its use.

Photo of photojournalist Lane Hartwell taken by Brian SolisHartwell is a photojournalist who contributes to Wired News, San Francisco Magazine and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She takes pictures of Silicon Valley notables as a member of the media and was working for Wired News when she took the picture in question. Scoble, who attended journalism school and spent the past 18 months shooting news video for PodTech, doesn't appear to understand the difference between a news photographer and a wedding photographer.

Scoble's comment rated an "extremely well said" from TechCrunch staff writer Duncan Riley and an attaboy from CrunchGear contributor John Biggs, two journalists who should put Scoble's logic into practice and begin sharing a cut of their earnings with the subjects of their reporting.

Credit: The photo of Hartwell was taken by Brian Solis and is available under a Creative Commons license.


Actually, if you shot all the photographers you'd find - in this age of UGC - that the photos kept on coming in. Its a complete commodity today, and artificial pricing barriers won't work for long.

When the content creators came for the acapella groups,
I remained silent;
I sing accompanied by a piano.

When they started shooting the photographers,
I remained silent;
The battery in my Canon won't re-chrage any longer, so, I've been sidelined.

When they came for the bloggers,
I did not speak out;
But I did deleted anonyous wordpress blog (

When they came for the Web 2.0 Executives,
I remained silent;
I still worked for a Fortune 100 company.

When they came for me,
I started singing,
took their pictures (without permission),
wrote a quick blog entry on a new blog site,
quit my day job

and asked:

"How is the food at the Gulag?"

(apologies to Pastor Martin Niemller)

"some of my best friends are photographers"

All I know is that when I read Scoble, I should get paid.

"All I know is that when I read Scoble, I should get paid."

I had a job like that once... a had to clean the rotten meat out of the bottom of the display cases at a butcher's shop. I had to quit to protect my love teenage love for ground beef as a steady diet.

It's is a basic fact of commerce that most of the economy involves someone exploiting someone else for gain. Lan'e exploits the "techno-famous" to get shots that she can sell to Wired and she won't let a non-profit singing group exploit her to make us laugh with a simple home-made music video.

It's likely that she sent them a bill for $10,000 since they got a million downloads (a penny a view?) Imagine their surprize. It probably won't go to court. They could ask for contributions to make things right all round.

Maybe Dave Winer will step up and cover the bill... sure, he's a big Lane fan. He expoited her cleavage once for a photo he took and "published" in his Flickr account and pointed to on his blog:

Incredible shot. Dave's an avowed "feminist"... uh-huh.

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