It might seem like I’ve began a holy war against other media corporations out there, but no – I’m just trying to prove how ridiculous the media business is online and just how far it will go for a few more eyeballs. This case in my opinion is a perfect example of such an activity where certain laws become secondary. On December 6th Finland celebrated its independence day and the Finnish president invited the most successful people from various walks of life to the Presidential Palace for a gala evening. This year Peter and Teija Vesterbacka also were invited due to Peter Vesterbacka’s work as the CMO of Rovio. Teija Vesterbacka wore a red dress for the evening that had design concepts from one of the birds in the mobile game Angry Birds.
All this caused a huge stir online as a result of numerous blogs and media sites showing the dress in a photograph. It’s all good publicity for Teija and Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio and Finland except for tiny detail – all of the international outlets that published the picture of the couple walking down the isle, did so illegally.
Professional photographer Kari Kuukka wrote a lengthy post on this in his personal blog how all this went down. Techcrunch, LA Times, Dailymail and Mashable at least published the image and a story to accompany it.
The photograph was taken my Matti Matikainen and it was first published on Iltalehti. Since then a Norwegian company asked for permission and when the price of 100€ was set, they withdrew their interest to buy it. CNN has also asked the photographer to share the photo freely to their audiences as well as Yahoo who said they would link back to the website of the photographer.
Why is this such a big deal? People who create things, be it designers, entrepreneurs, developers or photographers, for that matter, should be compensated for their work. Piracy isn’t only a problem in the music industry, it’s quite rampant in photography online and has only increased in the recent years as media companies fight for pageviews.
Secondly, this event highlights a clear problem in the market; when photographs are shared instantly and blogs are eager to cover events that attract attention – what would be the new concept to license photos online for cases like this? Clearly the current model isn’t working as it should. It’s a big money question to solve, that’s for sure.
We at ArcticStartup use Creative Commons licensed photos from Flickr and always link back to the author when we do so. Those, and screenshots from companies’ websites make the most of our photo content online.