Wednesday, January 9, 2013

May I please—oh, bite me.

I would like to observe that hunting down potential copyright holders so that I can request permission to use their images in my book is really fucking annoying.  Is this is an aggravation for most other disciplines, or even for other pseudologists?  As it happens, most of the images I want to reproduce are publicity photos of one kind or another, some of them created by companies that may no longer even exist, for all I know.  And all of them, I'm willing to bet, don't expect to earn one red cent on those photographs.  The photographs aren't the product; they advertise the product.  I didn't even get these photos from any original source — I downloaded them from the internet.  They lack absolutely any identifying data in most cases; I'm lucky if I can even determine the parent corporation behind any particular image. 

The whole stupid business feels like looking for a needle in a haystack.  But in my case, the needle may not actually exist, the haystack on which I should be focused might have been eaten already, and the farmers who own the relevant haystacks don't give a good goddamn about me and my book anyway.  Oh, and since some kinds of images can be reproduced without formal permission as fair use, I should add that I could find out by the end of the hunt that I never needed the fucking needle in the first place.

Can't believe I have wasted an entire workday dealing with this idiocy.



  1. Isn't there someone at the publisher who can do this sort of stuff for you? I had to get permissions for pictures all the time when I was working for a scholarly journal. We didn't ask our authors to do that. You should spend your days doing something a lot more productive!

    1. Aaaargh, if only! The contract clearly puts this obligation on my shoulders. In my case, the assumption may be that the sources are way too obscure and even ephemeral for anyone but the author himself to identify. I would think there's a relatively clear body of Shakespeare-related images by now. :)

    2. Hmph! It seems like conditions in this professor business get worse all the time. When I was a TA during my master's program, I didn't even photocopy my own stuff. The secretary did it. Now, I do everything myself. Mope.

      Hope you can sort this out in a jiffy. There are syllabi to write and research thingies to do.

      By the way, one of my colleagues gave a talk about birds that are going extinct today. I had never even heard of an ornithology, and now I've heard it twice in two days. Weird.

    3. "an ornithology"? I wish I were trying to be funny. Sadly my typo can only be attributed to several days of sleep deprivation.

  2. DH regularly has to do this sort of thing for his articles. He's in STEM. They're picture-intense.