Cafe Witness

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lan Bui vs. The Public Mindset

As you may have heard, West Coast podcaster Lan Bui had some concerns about Podtech using one of his photos on a commercial advertisement for the Vloggies without proper accreditation OR compensation.

He tried to settle the issue through the proper channels, including invoicing Podtech for the usage of his photo. Three months later, he's still awaiting closure on the matter.

Having now blogged about the issue, he's brought the subject to the public. The comments on his blog typify the real problem that he -- and the rest of us -- face in trying to obtain respect for our work.

The podcasters who stopped by were all supportive. Then came the (as always, anonymous) trolls, whose statements include:

you are being a cry baby. get over it the net is about free content


from a paparazzi perspective, yeah... that's your picture of casey mckinnon and you perhaps deserve some kind of compensation, I guess. but I wouldn't make a big negative stink about it. this company that has money clearly likes your work and by acknowledging their oversight you could probably leverage doing some work for them... why be a cranky self-righteous photographer.

This is exactly why podcasters aren't making money: no one outside the fishbowl respects web content (yet). They don't respect the time, effort and talent it takes to produce quality content, and they don't believe that investment is worth the creator being paid -- at the very least, not by them, the audience.

It's telling that the second commenter suggests that Lan shouldn't be upset because a company "that has money clearly likes your work," and he should be thrilled at maybe approaching them for some legit freelance. After all, they did "steal" his work, so that's a validation worth enjoying, right?

Since when did being ripped off by a corporation become a cause for celebration?

Sorry, anonymous trolls, but someone pays you for what you do, and someone should pay the best of us for what we do as well. It's capitalism. Surely you understand that, right?

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  • "Leveraging future work" doesn't make any sense when "work" has already been done (indirectly) for the company, and they don't want to pay for it.

    Personally, I don't see what the holdup is, being that everyone's seen the picture of the advertisement that has Lan's picture on it. It's not like there's anything to dispute.

    By Blogger Bill Cammack, at 10:26 PM  

  • To me this is business 101. PodTech, as a leader and promoter of new media, is in a great position to support the creative work of independent producers. I have spoke to Lan about this directly, and there is more (it's ugly) to the story than he politely relates on his blog post.

    Who knows what is going on with PodTech, but it leads me to wonder, "Are they running out of money and the shell game is about to be exposed?" "Have they misappropriated other work and they don't want to set a precedent?" "Are they more arrogant that we would hope?"

    One of the things I find distasteful about so many of the valley startups is their very traditional use of lawyers/TOS/business practices which are in direct contradiction to trying to create new paradigms. The business idea may be new and innovative, but the execution as far as the lawyers are concerned, is sooo last century. "Me, Myself, and I."

    If you have VCs who are expecting 4x to 10x in a few years, it seems you just cave to "business as usual." I find that so boring, and wonder where the "new paradigm" VCs are??? Or is that an oxymoron, in that they are only interested in the money. Period. End of discussion.

    Any investors want to weigh in on this? PodTech?

    By Anonymous Rox, at 11:00 PM  

  • I do stock photography and you get paid before the use. The rate is set for the type of use and/or the size of the files depending if you are royalty or royalty free.

    The standard is to bill triple fee when your work is use without payment and/or approval.

    I do other work in CC too. This is why I like CC, it helps make it clean what is free to use and what isn't.

    It sad to hear this issue come up in the podcasting world. Justin is so right, if we don't value other work, podcasting will never be valued.

    By Blogger Doug, at 11:52 PM  

  • from the orginal blog post Lan was never hired by the company. The net is about sharing and linking and that is how people are discovered. The fact that the company pick up his photo off the net is a complement to the photographer not a diss on PodTech. Amateurs like this guy Lan will never get paid for prom photos unless he uses ad sense. Does every blogger have to get paid when another blogger links to him/her

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:53 AM  

  • Justin, thanks for blogging about this.

    Anonymous - You do not understand how CC works. Please educate yourself about it before you talk about it. Also, I'm sure you are referring to my flickr photo stream when you say I am an amateur. FYI, professional photographers take snapshot photographs too.

    By Blogger Lan Bui, at 12:00 PM  

  • It's kinda like if WalMart only had self check-outs with no one watching.

    "Maybe they won't notice.."

    By Anonymous Justine, at 12:22 PM  

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