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A while back I was contacted by someone who wanted to use a picture I’d taken and posted online. I’ll call her RJ. Here’s the picture that caught her eye:

Oyster Po Boy

It’s an oyster po boy from Domilise’s. It seems that RJ was working for an advertising firm doing a campaign for Mastercard. They’re building a website at that has a “favorite things” theme, and their celebrity guest — one Peyton Manning — had identified Domilise’s as a favorite. So they wanted to use my picture.

I said, no problem. In fact, I pointed out, they don’t even have to ask for permission, as most of my photos are under a Creative Commons attribution license. Just provide a link to my personal site at — that’s all I ask.

RJ replied that they couldn’t provide a link, and could I please sign a bunch of release forms?

Sorry, I said, no linkee no love. Links are the currency of respect on the net, and if they can’t throw me that bone I simply have no motivation.

I thought that would be the end of it, but RJ got back to me. How about if they paid me $150?

Suddenly my motivation picked up a little. I signed the damn forms and the other day I got my check in the mail.


The final irony is that when I check, I see a picture of Domilise’s all right — but it’s by somebody else. But I don’t care. I’m laughing all the way to the bank, and we sure could use some laughs around here.

I’m sure there’s a good Priceless parody here, but I can’t work up the energy.

Footnote: Apparently Miguel Pereira was contacted in the same fashion, with less favorable results but some interesting discussion regarding the implications of all this for photographers.

Published inPix


  1. lono lono

    I just looked at the site and now it’s your photo complete with your copyright in the corner. They must cycle through different shots.

  2. Dang. That looks delicious! I love Dom’s. I can taste that sauce right now.

  3. I just noticed this pick on the site:

    Two things wrong with this. One, they misspelled Camellia Grill, despite the fact that a picture of the establishment is part of the multimedia presentation. Two, Camellia Grill has not re-opened since Katrina.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous

    Haha! It’s all priceless!

  5. chrissieroux chrissieroux

    Sweet. $150 buys a lot of oyster po’ boys.

  6. I recently got an e-mail from Open Source (part of NPR) telling me they used 2 of my Flickr pictures for a story about insurance companies and Katrina. They used them without asking, but my Creative Commons license says that’s okay as long as they give me attribution. I didn’t mind since it’s a story that needs to be told. Anyway, they used 2 of my pictures. Here’s the link:

  7. Sam Lasis Sam Lasis

    Professional Photographer? Priceless.

    Thanks for giving Domilise publicity. I’m related to her thru marriage and she is a very hard working, nice lady. And, it’s one of my favorite places to eat.

  8. dental ben dental ben

    a post about pictures and poboys…priceless.

  9. Ray Ray

    I’ve been asked a few times. Sometimes they just want permission to use it, one time they offered me $50. Once I got an email from some woman at one of those “Funniest Videos” TV shows offering me $100 for permission to run a video I had up on YouTube of Liam dancing to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. I said sure. She says, OK, send me the video at such-and-such an address, Los Angeles, 92666. I said, well, there isn’t a video, it’s just an AVI file and it’s small, why don’t I email it to you.

    She said, no, I should burn it on a disk and FedEx it because she needs it right away.

    Riiiiiiiight. Like I’m made of time.

    At the moment everything I have on Flickr is “All Rights Reserved”. I’m being dickish about my content because of these people. Looking forward to suing one of them some day.

  10. Old Ad biz + New Media = Unnecessary, awkward, but nonetheless welcome $$$.

  11. Oh wow. Haven’t seen anything that good looking since I moved to Atlanta. My mouth is watering. Seriously.

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