We used the photo under Fair Use provisions. We do so with thousands of pictures per year. If you’re the snapper, be advised: if it’s on the net it’s fair game.
Obviously, this is not exactly the case, especially if the site in question is making money, which, of course, The Truth About Guns is. Fortunately, Farago realized he was on the losing side of this particular argument, per this update from Harry McNally (who, I guess, knows the photographer, Benjamin Toombs, who runs an awesome site):
Got an e-mail about ten minutes ago from Robert Farago with the subject line "Jaunted image removed" stating that he has "removed the image under dispute to avoid further conflict between [Farago] and its originator" and that he "meant no o…ffense by using it and apologize to anyone who objected to its use on TTAG." That should be that, right?
Not hardly. Next step should be a public apology, an admission of wrongdoing, and an explicit promise to never do anything of this sort again.
Maybe even on essay on what Fair Use actually friggin’ means.
And that case of beer.
Reportedly (I do not grace TTAG with my traffic), the apology has been made (though the majority of it was apparently written by Nick Leghorn, another author at TTAG, and amusingly included yet another copyrighted image that they reposted without permission – apology FAIL), but, in my mind it is completely meaningless. Why?
Unfortunately, this falls under "Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action." By my recollection, this constitutes the fifth time Robert Farago or one of his employed authors have stolen other people’s intellectual property, wholesale or in part, often without providing so much as a "hat tip" link (two entire posts from Tam, my misappropriated Graphics Matter image, SayUncle’s AmericanRifleman.org image, and now this picture from Miso Studios), and that does not even count the number of pictures Farago has… "borrowed"… from Oleg Volk just to lampoon and ridicule. In at least one of those incidents, Farago apologized and promised never to do it again, and here we are again… On the other hand, in at least two of those incidents, he reacted as he first did to this particular incident – bullheaded, rude, and obnoxious.
And then there is that whole "using a copyrighted image in your apology about infringing on copyrights without the permission of the copyright holder" problem… Apologies typically only count when you are not doing the thing you are apologizing for in the actual apology.
I’m a writer on the internet (huzzah!) and was approached by Robert Farago to write for TTAG. I did end up writing a few articles for the site, but he and I never clicked. Our email exchanges were rather stupid, with him always asking for my writing to be more confrontational or asking me to make it different in abstract ways, by using buzz words and meaningless adjectives.
I’m not happy with the way this was handled. I’ve contacted RF (the editor) and let him know that unless he straightens things out and makes them right with these guys I’m quitting as a writer for the site. I won’t be associated with people who steal content from the creators and claim that they’re in the right. I hope we can resolve this, I really do. Because if you ignore the "spats" that have popped up the site produces some fantastic content and I’d hate to see that go under from something as simple as a pissed off copyright holder.
Both go into further detail over at Reddit. Coincidentally, rubberbarron’s comment echoes some of the sentiments and observations Weer’d Beard passed on to me after meeting Robert Farago and seeing how he handles his authors in public (I will let him tell that story if he is so inclined), so that part does not surprise me greatly, and I would argue that Mr. Leghorn has the best signal-to-noise ratio of any writer at TTAG, which might explain why Farago decided to take the image down.
Offhand, I would say it is time to follow the suggestion that we get in touch with TTAG’s various advertisers and sponsors, alert them to the rampant intellectual property theft transpiring on the site, and inform them that we are not in the habit of frequenting companies that support such behaviors.
Jesus may have said it better, but the honest truth is "Don’t be a dick" is a pretty simple, easy-to-follow rule for getting along with other people; however, it also leaves you in the unfortunate (in Farago’s case) situation of having to succeed – or fail – on your own merits, rather than on the basis of whatever controversy you can manage to drum up through your dickery. One can only hope his lacking traffic numbers will keep him warm after he successfully alienates most of the gunblogging community.
And this is all without delving into the blatantly heinous opinions Farago holds – that if your firearms are stolen from your locked home, it is your fault for not securing them enough (ala "she wore a short skirt" "defense" for rapists); that only "high risk" individuals need to seek training and everyone else should be ridiculed and demeaned for doing so; that anti-rights cultists should be given free reign to malign and personally attack pro-rights activists on his site, even as authors; that firearm owners are largely worthy of disdain; that stealth-edits are a wholly acceptable way to manage comments; etc. etc. If you want an outstanding listing of various pro-rights weblogs that are generally not run by dicks and typically do not fall prey to the above idiocy, though, I know a great place to look (Amusingly, said place would never have existed if Farago had not whinged about it… before it existed. Take that, all you zombies.)
Speaking personally, being a hobbyist photographer and weblogger, I try to go out of my way to give credit where credit is due for everything I copy-paste here from other sources; however, if you feel I have exceeded what you feel to be morally or legally acceptable, please feel free to contact me and I will make it right. For me, this is not a particularly difficult or problematic course of action, but that is because, unlike Robert Farago, I understand at least a glimmer of how intellectual property and the ownership thereof works.
(You can read Weer’d's take on this most-recent idiocy here.)
(Also, "snapper"? What the hell kind of colloquialism is that?)