The right to be paid for what you create

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on February 23, 2010

A couple of disparate, but related items:

First, there’s this article in the New York Observer about the New York Times and the Huffington Post’s moves to expand their stable of people producing content without remuneration.

Elsewhere in uncompensated journalism, The Huffington Post launched its college vertical today, complete with a call for free labor. While a Craigslist post late last year suggested that interns involved in the site would be paid, it sounds like all student contributors won't be so lucky.

Explained HuffPo citizen journalism editor Adam Clark Estes in an email:

We do have a small budget to set student journalists up with equipment and to cover costs, but they won't be paid on a traditional story-by-story basis. As with the rest of the citizen journalists at Huffington Post, we expect that the by-line and exposure offered by our millions of readers will be the best way to give credit.

That and a sawbuck will get you a latte at Starbucks.

At the opposite end of the political spectrum is Newsbusters/Media Research Center’s Tim Graham’s recent problem with appropriating stock images without paying for them.

I first noticed this happening a couple weeks back with this story. You’ll note that the image to the right of the post still bears the watermark from iStockPhoto – you get a version of the image sans watermark once you’ve bought it. An image of this size typically costs about $2 at iStockPhoto.

Today, Graham did it again. This time not just refusing to buy the stock image (this one runs $10), but also hot-linking it from the stock photo site – that is, Graham isn’t even paying the bandwidth charges on serving up the image he stole.

To prove that they don’t care about theft as long as the correct ox is being gored politically, two commenters tacitly defended the theft.

People should be paid for what they produce – whether it be political commentary, music, movies or stock images. I suspect Graham would be outraged if a publication ran his articles and columns in full without paying him – it’s no different for the artists he doesn’t seem interested in paying.


Actually, no serious person is sure what the conservative majority will do here. That's common in these politically charged cases. Meanwhile, literally nobody doubts what the *Democrat-appointed* justices will do. So who is "deeply partisan" again?

Doing some research and checked out @TheDispatchFC front page. It turns out the answer to every single one of these is "No." But one doesn't have that simple explanation on the main page. Why?

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February 2010



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