Earlier today I noticed that two of my photographs had been downloaded and posted to the front page of the IndieCade website without my permission. Normally this would not bother me, but the decision by the gaming festival had followed an email exchange in which their staff reached out to me, requesting the use of my work for their pamphlets.
In this exchange, I specifically asked that the organization credit photographers like me for our contributions. It seemed like a reasonable request, if IndieCade preferred to use my images over those of a photographer hired for this purpose. I had even been ensured, with an exclamation point for emphasis, “We will absolutely abide by your wishes!”
Not so. As it turns out, my request was ignored in favor of simply copying my photographs from flickr and displaying them prominently on their website’s front page. Clicking on the banner marked “show your work,” takes you to my file, copied to http://www.indiecade.com/images/news/ny_show3.jpg. There is no credit or link back to the source.
Sensing that this might be part of a larger pattern, I quickly discovered a third photo of mine on the “New Games” page. I then sought out IndieCade’s tumblr. Sure enough, there too a photograph of mine had been posted without my permission, uncredited and not linking back to the source. The post was dated several months after IndieCade staff had promised to “abide” by my request to credit me for my work.
Here is the original email I received from a festival organizer, following IndieCade 2011:
I was wondering if we could use your pictures for current and future IndieCade promotional material? They’re really great! They capture the spirit of IndieCade!
Yes, please go ahead and include the pictures so long as “Photo by Jeriaska” or a similar credit is visible beneath each photo. Very small type is not a problem and I will not expect compensation where credit is given.
“We will absolutely abide by your wishes,” was the reply, exclamation point. It was not until today that I realized the original request was in fact disingenuous. They would use the photos without mention of the source, whether I liked it or not.
I’m flattered that IndieCade would rip me off (even against my explicitly stated wishes) but why not just credit me or assign the job to a hired professional? In 2012 my flickr set from Anime Expo reached over thirteen thousand views, and I was happy to see blogs like Kotaku giving me kudos and linking back to my homepage. Why should IndieCade not do the same?
If you are a photographer covering IndieCade in New York this weekend, inform the staff to credit you if they wish to use your images. Otherwise, they are taking undue advantage of your work in place of hiring someone to contribute this service. You can check out my original photos below, via flickr, and their corresponding file addresses on the IndieCade sites.