Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009
Written by Walter Pierce
I’m lodged between the proverbial rock and hard place or, literally, between Independent Publisher Steve May and a photographer imbued with the media-relation skills of a half-used roll of toilet paper. The first half.
Let me back up: About two months ago we innocently and without malice aforethought used in the LivingIND section of the paper a tiny, postage stamp-size detail — a face, specifically — from a photograph of a musician. We obtained said photo from the musician’s MySpace page. MySpace is a social-networking Web site that ran out of cool two years ago. We used the photo to help the kid out — to throw him a bone as it were. The method of obtaining such photos is known technically as lifting, copping or grabbing. Legally it’s known as stealing. A quibbling point, I know. But the eagle-eyed shutter bug who took the pic ’bout blew a lens cap. “I expect to be credited and properly compensated for the use of the photo,” he snipped in an e-mail that was forwarded to me, a managing editor who failed to fully grasp the exotic range of bull crap he would be managing upon taking the job.
My employer, whose expertise in publishing weekly newspapers is rivaled only by his accuracy in squirting gasoline directly onto fire, was kind enough to answer the frantic photog’s missive: “Having exposed us at The Independent for the thieves we obviously are, I’m sure you’ll have no trouble confirming my view that this will be the one and only time [your photography] will ever appear in our pages. It will no doubt be a tragic loss to the future of photojournalism in Acadiana.” Seriously. That’s what he wrote, and he was kind enough to direct future communications from the now-properly and fully inflamed fellow to me.
That next communication was a letter from a law firm in Alexandria. It wasn’t threatening a lawsuit exactly, but letters from law firms tend to be portentous and to promote a clinching of that unmentionable area of the midriff. Now I was incensed and clinched, and it was a cinch to write the law firm back: “We suspect our publication is in fact a secondary party to any violation of United States copyright law that may have occurred, in light of the photograph’s penultimate origin. However, in the spirit of community relations and best practices, and in consideration of the literal dimensions of the reprint, we are willing to offer $5 for compensation.”
All who think a lawyer’s going to accept five bucks for his client raise your hand. What’s one-third of five dollars? It’s sufficient to say the barrister rejected my offer: 50 Washingtons, 10 Lincolns, five Hamiltons or a Franklin after gastric bypass — that was his firm and final offer.
To make a long story 603 words, re-enter the august Mr. May, his wit sharper than a chemist at a hog-calling contest and his willingness to use it celebrated, which hasn’t done me any favors so far. Feigning outrage that a photographer of his caliber “places so little value on his work and considerable professional reputation that he would ask for such a paltry sum,” our esteemed leader cuts the lawyer a check for $75 — $50 for the egregious use of the photograph and $25 for the photographer’s purchase of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, and “some small insight into a professional skill of his that might need just a little tweaking.”
I doubt the guy will actually buy the book, but I found it in paperback on amazon.com for $7. I’m ordering a copy. For my boss.
The Lafayette Parish School Board's mishandling of its insurance selection process over the last two years has caught the attention of the FBI.
Kids under 18 will have to pursue skin cancer the old-fashioned way.
The illustrious Ragin' Cajun alumni will receive the university's prestigious SPARK Award as part of the 10-day arts celebration.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette Parish School Board member Kermit Bouillion says he will defend his District 5 seat in the upcoming election.
The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity sent the pledge request to all 144 lawmakers in February.
The 5-foot-10, 203-pound former second-round pick has gone to three Pro Bowls in his five seasons.
The state argues that if they identify how they're getting the drugs, they could have trouble buying more because companies don't want to be known as helping in an execution.
The enrollment period ends this month.
Newsy tidbits for the fam
Irish style is smiling
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, March 12, 2014:
Abshire has rejoined the Lafayette Bar Association, where she previously served as marketing coordinator under longtime Executive Director Susan Holliday
Home-grown Baton Rouge market/deli heads to Lafayette.
Deadline for submitting noms for annual competition is March 15
Whitney Bank officials have confirmed that the downtown branch will cease to exist when it relocates its regional headquarters to River Ranch at the end of May.
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Downtown Lafayette restaurant launches new concept near Le Triomphe
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Yeah, it's smoked venison sausage stuffed in a suckling pig stuffed in a lamb and roasted over an open fire.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Reamco founders Brent Milam and Ashley Lane now shareholders in acquiring company and part of its management team.
Low heels, high style
The board hopes to recover all fees paid, plus one-half, along with what could amount to hundreds of thousands in additional penalties.
Oh, the irony... or something like that.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.