Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Someone Is Using My Photographs

Trailer Train In The Tehachapi Mountains - Bealville, California
After a blog post of mine went sort-of viral, I decided to do a Google search of my name to see what might come up. It turned out to be an interesting exercise.

One thing I found was that The Bakersfield Californian newspaper used one of my photographs on their website. They didn't ask for permission, but they didn't have to. You see, several years back I submitted some photographs to potentially be published in a book. As part of that, in the fine print of the agreement, I gave The Bakersfield Californian the right to use the submitted photographs without any compensation.

The lesson here is to be sure you know what you are agreeing to. There might be something in the fine print that you disagree with. In this case, I really don't mind.

If you are wondering, the photograph they used (which is seen at the top of this post) was not selected for the book. However, a handful of my other images were published in it.
Westbound California Highway 58 - Tehachapi, California
I found a different website that also used one of my photographs. They didn't ask for permission to use it. I didn't give anyone permission to use it. It was, in fact, stolen. At least the image was attributed to me.

I don't necessarily mind that the photograph was used, but what I don't like whatsoever is that nobody asked first. That is common courtesy.

The article that the photograph was used in was interesting, except for some inaccuracies. Here's a quote that accompanied my image:
"Like a scene out of a modern-day western, nothing goes down California's Highway 58 anymore except for tumbleweeds and dust devils. To be fair, it's nothing but an empty highway with nothing but desert and mountains surrounding it anymore. There used to be the occasional gas station, but after the highway proved to be less efficient than others surrounding the area, it was left to waste away in the desert heat. It's still easy to access, but make sure you have a lot of gas before heading out that way" --Matt Teaford
Those are beautiful words, no doubt. But it is quite obvious that the author has never been anywhere close to Highway 58. The highway is alive and well! A significant portion is freeway, and it is one of two major routes that connect the Central Valley with southern California.

To be fair, there is a section of the highway that goes between Highway 99 and the Pacific coast that's not necessarily a busy road. It's a one-lane-each-way highway that twists through the coastal mountains. But, beyond that, Highway 58 is a major thoroughfare.
Forgotten Highway 58 - Mojave, California
There are a few small sections here and there that have been abandoned due to realignments. The part of Highway 58 you see in the photograph above (which is the same image used by Matt Teaford in his article) is an old alignment that is found just north of Mojave. When they made Highway 58 a freeway through this area, they moved it a little to the east and bypassed the town, leaving this small section to slowly be swallowed by nature.

Oh, and the gas light in your car could be on and you'd be alright--there are several gas stations just a few miles to the south of this location.

I guess the moral here is don't believe everything you read on the world wide web. There's so much nonsense. Even people who seem to be on the up-and-up may not be.

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