***UPDATE: The owner of Roxolana emailed to apologize and said that my photo was set to be used on Yelp by mistake, and that he had uploaded it before the first incident. ***
Some of you may be familiar with the incident where Ukrainian restaurant, Roxolana, in Pasadena used my photo without permission or credit for their Groupon deal a while back. I asked Groupon to take the photo down, and emailed the owner which resulted in a ridiculous email exchange (documented below).
Well, I thought that was that. But NO! This morning a fellow blogger told me that she saw my photo used by Roxolana yet again, this time for their Yelp deal! Here's a screen capture of the deal page:
This was my photo on flickr, uploaded in July 2011
The photo on Yelp was apparently uploaded by an "Alex R." who has no review and 3 uploaded photos, all of which are of Roxolana. I mean, seriously, once was annoying enough, but to do it AGAIN??
This used to be a post about tasting Ukrainian food at Roxolana Restaurant in Pasadena. Well, not anymore.
I woke up to one of my photos of their food being used without my permission, and without credit, for their Groupon deal. The thing is, I'm really usually pretty nice. If they had asked me for permission, and say they can't afford to pay me and promise to credit me for it, I probably would've let them use it for free. But I don't appreciate a rude awakening.
So I sent the restaurant an email, saying I noticed they used my photo without permission and to please take them down or discuss a compensation plan. I admit, I was expecting an apology. Maybe they didn't notice the copyright terms on my Flickr account. Apparently I was way wrong. Here is their reply:
"I could say same to you [sic]. You took pictures of our products without notifying us and posted on your web site for public viewing. Do you want to discuss a compensation plan?
I'm glad you keep tracking us though."
Wow. OK .. now they think I should pay them for taking photo and giving them free publicity (however little) via my blog? Did they complain when I was taking the photos? Or when I first blogged about it? No, they were happy enough to link to it in the Groupon deal. Did they complain when Pasadena Weekly wrote about them? Or Tasting Table? I think not.
Imagine if paparazzis have to start paying movie stars for taking their photos, or if LA times have to start paying restaurants to take photos of their food. Who does nature photographers have to pay?
Well, I'm certainly not about to pay them. And that's why the old post is GONE.
They just lost me as a customer, and for better or worse, lost my review.
Oh, and bloggers and Yelpers, be warned. If you don't want your photos to become their properties or have to pay them, don't take photos of their food and don't write about them.
2:11 PM UPDATE: Noticed Groupon finally replaced my photo with another one!
MORE UPDATE: So they emailed me again after seeing my new post, and I think I should reply in case anyone else in the future thinks they can grab my photos and post them without my knowledge.
"you didn't have any restriction notices on the review page. How do I know it is restricted to use your pictures? How do I know you have your rules posted on Flickr???"
Not true. On the right side there is an "All rights reserved" that shows up on every page.
And, really, I think it's common ethics and common courtesy to ask.
Also, they said:
"It's weird why before today our review had only 2 comments and nobody else was interested in us, but now there is a bunch after a "scandal"."
Well, not really my problem here, but just saying that post has gotten over 250 page views, not counting the day it was on the main page which probably adds another 100, before the "scandal". Comments doesn't necessarily correlate with exposure. Oh and it's not weird at all. It was never a well known restaurant so not many people look for it and people love scandals and gossip.