September 26, 2007

Dear Scott,

I work for a company which is currently developing some publicly-funded educational materials, that will eventually be available freely to students across the UK.

Our client is very interested in using your image ‘Leaves’ for this project. Unfortunately, our client is adamant that images cannot be acknowleged. However, all rights would remain as is, and our client would not be claiming ownership over the image.

If you have any questions regarding the request or any element of the project, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards,


I got the above message this morning. I get messages like this from time to time, as I’m sure do many avid Flickr users. I specifically put all my photos up with the Creative Commons Attribution license, meaning you can do whatever you want with them – for free – just so long as you credit me by name. You’d be surprised at how many publishers search Flickr for free images. I say more power to them. But this Matt… I had questions.

  1. If I am not to be credited for the photo, how do all my rights remain “as is” when in fact the only right I am actually claiming is the right to be credited for my work?
  2. Publicly-funded and free though they may be, these “educational materials” will no doubt be published with some kind of copyright information. How will this information read?
  3. What company does he work for and who is his client? It’s suspicious that he doesn’t provide a single detail about this.

I thought for a bit about asking Matt these questions, but in the end, I decided simply to send this:


Your request is unusual. Typically people who want to use my photos have no problem crediting me by name. Doing so allows them to utilize the images in any way they wish, at no cost. If in your case you are unable to credit me, your only option is to buy from me the exclusive rights to the image at a price of $100 US dollars. If these terms are agreeable, let me know and I will respond with payment details.

Thanks for your interest.

Scott Feldstein


Well, I didn’t expect to hear from Matt again, frankly. But a reply did come, and quickly.

Hi Scott,

I understand the unusual nature of the request; however, our client is adamant that acknowledment cannot be given. This is mainly due to the scale of the project and the number of photographers participating.

We have no wish to purchase exclusive rights, but would be interested in using the image with the same terms as mentioned before. To compensate for the lack of attribution, we would be willing to offer a fee of £30 sterling.

Would this be acceptable?

I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards,


Hmm. £30 is like, what, $60? Whatever it is, I just have to follow this through to the end and see what happens.


I’m just intrigued enough to say yes. These terms are acceptable. How do you propose to do this? I can accept PayPal at scott@scottfeldstein.net if that is convenient.



No comments yet

  1. I have also received an almost word for word version of that message via flickr. It does seem rather suspicious as I have my photos set up only as CC Attribution as well. I have asked a few questions – i’ll see if I get an answer.

  2. More has happened since I wrote this entry, Michael. I’ll follow it up soon. Or you can email me at scott@scottfeldstein.net and I’ll bring you up to date.

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