I took the photo you see up there.  That image is copyright Tom Wright-Piersanti, 2008.  So  how did it end up that I got a call from my friend Cromwell informing me that he had seen it on the front page of Digg.com?  I may never know the whole story… but from what I can tell, it’s Michael Moore’s fault.

Cromwell was on the other end of the phone. “Go to MichaelMoore.com right now,” he said.  So I ran to my computer to see what was up.  On his home page, I saw this graphic:

Both of those green boxes are links to two separate photo sets on my Flickr account.  They are both (one, the other) photos of the Iraq War protest that took place yesterday at Rutgers, which I “covered” as a photographer.  I was really just there shooting for fun, I never intended for anyone to pick up on the photos.

*(An interesting note: That blue box is a link to a story we wrote on this blog a while back about Michael Moore wearing a Rutgers hat in SiCKO, and I’m pretty sure he has no idea that he linked to the same guy twice on two different sites.)

Cromwell told me to click on the story, so I did. Here is what I saw:

That’s my picture! On Michael Moore’s website!  And… it doesn’t seem to have any sort of photo credit?  Really?

Michael Moore used my image, which is not under any Creative Commons license.  It is my property.  I mean, I wouldn’t charge him anything for using it.  But you need some sort of photo credit at the very least.  Usually, people message me on Flickr and ask my permission (one of my photos is used in some BBC learning website, for example, and another is on some interactive map or something).  But he just used it.

I’m going to e-mail him after this, just asking to put my name on there.  I’m not asking for money, and I’m not mad or anything, I just want the credit.  I do appreciate the links, though.  Got me at least 50 views on all the photos!

But, the story doesn’t end there.  I wondered how Cromwell had seen my stuff on there, since I didn’t think he frequented Moore’s homepage.  “It’s on Digg,” he told me.  Sure enough, there it was.  My photograph was on the front page of Digg, a website whose sweatshirt I was wearing when I took the photo.

Oh what a sweet, cyclical world we live in. If someone had wanted to know where they could have seen the photos I was taking at the time, all they would have had to do would be to read my shirt.

On top of that, the photos being featured on Moore’s site got me a message from the guy who runs Tent State’s website (it’s a student activist group), asking to use my pictures.  I don’t think he had any idea that he had already asked me yesterday at the rally, we had exchanged emails, and he even talked me into following the rally for the last half hour or so. Just like Mike didn’t know he linked to me twice within about 20 pixels of each other.

I think it’s awesome that Moore is throwing some traffic our way, as well as driving viewers to my photos.  But I just wish he had stuck my name underneath that photo. Still, I have to admit; this might be one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me.

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