TechCrunch Caught Stealing Images Again

by Ben Cook on July 21, 2009

Update: It appears TechCrunch has pulled the offending image and replaced it with another one. They still don’t provide any attribution so I sure hope they didn’t just replace one stolen image with another.

Just for those of you who happened to missed seeing the stolen image being used on the site, I’ve included a screen capture below:

TechCrunch using the stolen image (which they've since removed)

TechCrunch using the stolen image (which they've since removed)

While the popular blog TechCrunch is known across the web as a leading source for tech related information, they’re also cultivating a reputation for using copyrighted images without attribution or permission.

Unfortunately for the popular blog, they’ve been caught red-handed yet again, ignoring copyrights.

Image used by permission of Christian Montone

Image used by permission of

In one of TechCrunch’s recent posts I noticed an interesting image of a record collection obviously painstakingly arranged. Knowing TC’s proclivity to steal other people’s images, and noticing their complete lack of attribution for the image, I decided to do some digging.

Thankfully, it didn’t take too long to figure out where the image had come from. After viewing the image source, I did a quick Google image search for montone records and sure enough, the first result was the very same image TechCrunch used in their post.

Just to make sure I wasn’t falsely accusing TC, I dropped the blogger/photographer, Christian Montone a quick email asking whether he held the copyrights to the image and if he’d granted TC permission to use the image.

Surprise, surprise, surprise, not only had Christian never heard of TechCrunch but he CERTAINLY hadn’t granted them permission to use his image.

Christian responded with the following comment on the offending post:

Hi Milo,

My name is Christian Montone and I am the photographer of the image you used above WIHTOUT permission. I understand that life in the blogosphere comes with the caveat that folks can copy-paste-edit-repost your images at any given moment and I am glad to have any and all folks enjoy the images I shoot, paint or draw. It is, however, a bit disconcerting that I was NOT asked permission for inclusion of my image (nor was I even given a photo credit). IT IS COMPLETELY EXPLICIT AND CLEAR on my blog that I am the author of the images I post (and in fact that image was shot in my home). In the future, when using the personal images made public by myself or others, could you PLEASE employ the common professional courtesy of asking permission of the author of such an image?

Respectfully, yet a bit perturbed…

–Christian Montone

While the comment has been published, TechCrunch has issued no response to Mr. Montone’s comment or his similarly messaged email.

Much like the episode with Digg, a mistake like this would be forgivable and maybe even understandable if it were the first time. People are human, we all make mistakes. However, this is yet another influential website, willfully and arrogantly abusing the rest of the web with complete disregard for our rights.

I would certainly hope TechCrunch’s advertisers and sponsors don’t condone this type of behavior. However, by their continued support of a website so well known for their disregard for copyrights, it would be easy to assume that Microsoft and Media Temple among others are complicent if not supportive of this kind of behavior.

It’s time the rights of bloggers, photographers, and any other content producer is honored online.

Image source: Christian Montone

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Christian Montone July 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Ben,

Thanks for letting me know about the unauthorized use of my photos. It was a pleasure to contribute to your topic and to communicate with you about this. Hopefully, others in the media will be alerted to the inappropriateness of this growing trend… and I hope that those who do utilize the images and intellectual property of others on blogs and commercial websites will do the right thing.

All Good Wishes,
–Christian Montone

Reply

john andrews July 22, 2009 at 2:37 am

Nice research… I don’t know how much hope there is if it isn’t that easy to document, tho. As more people assume it is acceptable behavior to steal images, we see more and more of it. Without any repercussions, it’s just a game of swap until no one complains.

Reply

Anony Mouse November 15, 2009 at 11:20 am

I agree.. It’s becoming all too familiar for people to leech, steal, and plagiarize their way through content development. Could you imagine the shock, the horror, or the repercussions of the New York Times publishing a story from someone’s blog without permission, or giving credit? It would be disastrous, and would diminish the legitimacy of the institution.

Anony Mouse

Reply

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