On Thursday June 5, 2014, I noticed in my Flickr statistics that an image of mine had a visitor from Finnbay, a controversial site that hit the spotlights in the spring of 2014 (Yle: Finnbay’s English-language news reporting under scrutiny).
I usually check any interesting incoming links, and so I did with this one too. I soon discovered that there was a photo of mine in one of the galleries on Finnbay. Your Pictures Of Finland, May ’14 the gallery was called. Upon further investigation I noticed that another image of mine had been on another Finnbay’s gallery, Your Pictures Of Finland, June ’13, for more than a year.
My images on Flickr are distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 license (in short CC BY-NC-SA). This means that the images may be used free but not for commercial purpose. Finnbay has a paywall, which means that you have to pay to see the content. This constitutes as commercial use. People have to pay to see my picture. Clearly Finnbay is using my images against the CC license.
In addition to this Finnbay does not, as Flickr requests, link back to the photo page on Flickr, which is in violation of Flickr Community Guidelines.
And as if this wasn’t enough, Finnbay also claims on their gallery pages that the pictures are “sent from FINNBAY’s readers.” This is of course complete and utter bullshit at least concerning my images since I have never ever sent them any pictures to be used in any galleries. It is also complete bullshit concerning a friend’s photograph, which I happened to notice in one of Finnbay’s galleries. This leads me to believe (I cannot be sure, but I can speculate) that none of the images in Finnbay’s galleries are sent in by any reader, but plainly stolen.
On Friday June 6, 2014, I contacted Finnbay. I sent them an email explaining the same thing as I have written here. I included screenshots. Also I included an invoice. Since they had used my images in a commercial purpose, I find it only just that they also pay for the images. I got no answer. The mail didn’t bounce either, so I presume it found its way to their firstname.lastname@example.org address.
As I write this on June 26, 2014, Finnbay has failed to answer my mail. The site advertises one free read per week and that used to include the galleries, but after they were contacted about the usage of the images, Finnbay closed the galleries. That is the only reaction I’ve got form Finnbay. They haven’t payed the invoice (due June 20, 2014) either.
I do not have the resources to deal with unpaid invoices or engage in a struggle against an anonymous mass media firm, as Finnbay calls itself. The only thing I can do is to bring this matter into the public – to write about the dishonesty of Finnbay. And that I have now done.
I can only wonder how much content Finnbay is using for their own commercial gain unauthorised and without any compensation. Also I can but wonder what else they’re lying about. Surely if you lie about little things, such as fake readers sending in photos, you easily lie about bigger things too?