To Tag or Not to Tag

That is the burning and rather important question for today.  Id say not.

I’m talking of course about the wonders of tagging photos on social media sites.  I tag my mates on my personal photos but I also tag artists and bands through the page I have for gig photos.  It’s not an overly amazing page but its mine and I tend to it fairly regularly – give it a hoover, lick of paint now and a again, you know how it is.  So, reason for my new reluctance to tag my photos is that, and I believe this is a technical industry term, got royally fucked over by a PR Company lately and one of my images finally made it into ‘national’ press – Scotland anyway.  I doubt anyone reads this paper south of the border but I could be wrong.

Anyway, I’m away for the weekend with the family and having a peruse of the popular social network sites where I see a photo of an article in a Scottish newspaper for that day.  A cracking bit of exposure for a band I’m a big fan of and who are really really starting to head towards the big time.  WTF ??  That image on the article looks distinctly like one of mine from a recent Inverness gig they played.  Quick check as best I could without access to my storage and I find that it’s on this here ‘blog’.  Shit – it is mine.  Left a wee comment to that effect – polite like, aye I’m nae a bad bloke – and immediately received a message from band member to say nothing to do with the band.  Their PR people – this is crucial – have a stock of press shots which they use.  We all assumed that the paper had lifted the photo from either social network or this here stream of pish I call a ‘non-blog’.  Cue instant meltdown and nippy tweets to the newspaper involved and by the end of the day Id made a right twat of myself. Stupid, I know, but I was fucking raging. Other photographers and bloggers got dragged into it as well as the band getting involved to a certain extent.  Transpires that the paper DIDNT have anything to do with it – they published an image supplied to them by a PROFESSIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS COMPANY based in London and Glasgow.  Cue lots of apologising on my part for offence caused to all involved.

Now you may ask, why are you getting your knickers in a twist about this. Youre image got into the paper.  Well, I’ll tell you – its simple.  If anyone wants to use my images for any reason – web, print, dartboard, line a budgies cage – I like to be asked first.  In fact I ASK to be asked.  It says so on every page or site they exist on.  Ask me first then we can talk about what you’re going to do with it.  Thats not too much to ask is it ?  Fairly standard Id have thought.  This or something very close to it appears where my photos end up.

“All of the drivel, images and general shennanigans that appear on this site are copyright © Al Donnelly / houdi unless otherwise stated.

Copying, displaying, manipulating or redistribution of my images without permission is strictly prohibited


This is where the tag or not tag issue comes in.  After a few emails back and forth with aforementioned PROFESSIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS COMPANY representative it turns out that a member of the band had used this particular photo as their profile pic on their personal social network site.  The PR person took it from there and because of the crop on the profile pic my logo was omitted from the image so they hadn’t realised it was mine.  They admitted this had been a mistake on their part.  What boiled my pish about this was that they must have knew it belonged to SOMEONE.  I assume they didn’t even ask the band member if they could use it as, remember, they told me that they and their representatives had their own press shots which they use so wouldn’t have to take from the web.  I requested to be credited on the web version of the article and the PR company organised that and I received an apology for a genuine mistake.  Quizzed them further about how something like this could happen and found out about the profile pic situation.  I wanted to know for my own peace of mind how this happened and what I could do to combat it in the future and I suppose I also wanted to make them squirm a bit – I forgot this was PR and they don’t really give a fuck about the likes of me or that’s certainly the impression I got.  The matter is resolved now go away.

Anyone else I spoke to cried ‘INVOICE THE BASTARDS’ or ‘SMALL CLAIMS’ and other phrases (I wouldn’t know where to start) I’m just one guy who loves to take photos and, when I can, further the wonderful thing that is Scottish Music in all its shapes and forms. One guy who only ever asks for common courtesy from people.  Ask me for images and 9 times out of 10 I’ll say ‘Sure, no problem‘ – it’s up to me what happens with my photos.

I got fucked over by people who should know better, who were lazy and, in my opinion, actually did the band a mis-service by stealing a shitty low rez profile pic and giving it to a ‘national’ newspaper to use as an article header.  I hope they apologised to the band for that – bet they still got paid for their services though.  I got fuck all – not even a wee credit.  I don’t even have a copy of the paper – haha !!  Thats the real rub – THIS WENT TO PRINT.  Not just a website – its out there and cant be undone.

Anyway – I’m just venting.  A spot of catharticism (is that a word – it is now).  I feel better now.  Dunno if any of that makes much sense – I just needed to type it all into my writey machine and post it.

BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TAG, TOGS.  That’s all I did and I ended up feeling like I did something wrong by asking why a shite version of an image I took the time to take, post process, watermark with my logo and upload to the interweb ended up in a newspaper without my knowledge or permission.

Now be on your way. As Dave Allen used to say, may your dog go with you (or something like that).

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