We're Flattered, Square Books

[UPDATE 9/1/09 :: Lyn from Square Books was kind enough to contact me regarding this snafu, and all has been resolved... I also told her she has 100% permission to use the image, assuming they're still interested (as we think it looks great on their site). We're big big fans of Square Books, and would be honored to be associated with their site & business.]

A few folks contacted me regarding Square Books using an image we took over July 4th this year, and I thought I’d simply respond here for simplicity..

Here’s the story, in a nutshell.

Over the 4th of July Weekend in Oxford, we grabbed {what we considered} a neat panoramic photograph of South Lamar & Van Buren, with Square Books as the center anchor in the picture. After the initial shots were taken, and digitally stitched together, we added our small watermark attribution to the right corner, and posted on the site (original post here).

Mini-version of the original below:

I intentionally left the original photo quite large, as I found myself more drawn to the larger scale..

Fast forward to August 2009.

The local, world-renowned independent bookstore – Square Books – implements a new website design, and decides to “borrow” our panoramic photograph and use as their main header image. Borrow it without asking. Borrow it and remove our OxfordMississippi.com attribution watermark (ouch).

>screenshot below<


Most folks were crying foul. But as I sat back, and thought, you wanna know what I realized?

I was cool with it.

Lemme explain.

I ain’t here to police all my images with an iron fist. I’m here to chronicle my passion and admiration for this fine city. And in doing that, if it can help Square Books grow, prosper, and hell, save a few bucks on site design rather than outsourcing to some designer who might charge them $5k for the same services, then so be it.

And you wanna know what? In some ways it justifies what we’re doing here. On a small scale. Helping out. Sharing.

Now, could they have simply shot me an email asking to use it? Sure. And I’da let them.

Am I pissed that they didn’t? Nah.. Hell, it looks great on their site.

Now, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed our watermark was removed (or wasn’t disappointed any credit/linkback was given for that matter)…

But in the grand scheme, who cares.

You wanna know what makes me feel good? That Square Books visits our site : ) And that they liked our photograph so much they decided to use it as the main image on their homepage.

Just consider me the Oxford version of The Giving Tree , which I’m sure is available for sale at Square Books or Square Books Jr.

: )

(but note, to be entirely clear, it’d be a different story had a major news outlet grabbed this and used without permission, and/or some clown reproduced and started selling for profit. And this is only my opinion on my own shots. Mort might feel a different way.)

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  1. I can see Square Books not realizing their error (or meaning to do harm)… prob an intern who grabbed it and posted .. but you def (and wisely) took the high road..

  2. Congrats on doing the right thing.

  3. @Karl @ SuperDude

    - thanks guys..

  4. I am unbelievably embarrassed that we took your photograph without permission and without attribution and am trying to get it fixed as soon as possible. We have lots of photographs of Square Books that staff have taken for us and I simply assumed that this was one of those. Nevertheless, I should have asked about the source. I am very sorry and do appreciate your “taking the high ground.”

    • Thanks so much Lyn.. please understand you have my 100% permission to use – I had no intention to make you feel bad or embarrassed..

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