Honesty is the best policy but not without Google, Lightroom and meta data

Don’t forget to celebrate World Metrology Day this May 20th. I know I will.

A Mayan girls laughs as she tends her family's fruit stand in Zunil, Guatemala.

This is for real. I’m not making this up. This past January, January 28th to be exact, I received this email:

Dear Mr Cooper,
I am a fellow American working at a non-for-profit intergovernmental organization known as the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM). We are the custodians of the international system of measurements (known as the SI) and we coordinate scientific metrology worldwide in benefit of science, commerce, health care and the environment. (You might recall our organization from your science classes in school as the people that keep the Kilogram in a vault in Paris.)

Every May 20th, we celebrate the signing of the international treaty that created our organization in 1875 with an event that we call “World Metrology Day“. This event is meant to raise awareness of the importance of measurements to daily life and the promotional material that we prepare is distribute in about 100 countries and translated into about 30 languages.

The theme for this year is “Measurements in Commerce” and as every year, we have prepared a draft of the 2009 WMD poster (see enclosed PDF file) to kick start our campaign. As you will notice, I included one of your beautiful photographs in the poster and I would like to obtain your permission to make use of it. I selected your photograph as it brings to the poster a child perspective as well as a ethnic element.
I look forward to your response and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions regarding this request.
Best regards,
Pedro Espina

OK. I had this pic on our travel blog: www.travelingfamilycircus.com and it seems Pedro found it by searching Google with the search string, “ethnic, fruit stand, child”.  Lucky for me that I attached keywords, captions and copyright info to every photo I post on line.  Even luckier for me the Mr Espina is an honest man and still luckier for me that Mr. Espina had a budget to compensate me for the image.
Now for the fun part. Pedro says the poster will be in 28 countries and 30 different languages which is kinda cool considering I just took a shot on vacation, uploaded it to my blog and forgot about it:

World Metrology Day Poster 2009

World Metrology Day Poster 2009

Then last week I’m boarding a plane for a conference and workshop in Vegas and I get a call from someone asking me about a pic I shot over Hull of the wind turbine there.  He wants to use an image he found on the web from one of my aerial shoots I did in 2007 for a permanant project at the Museum of Science.  Again, Google and meta data to the rescue.  Instead of having this image on my HD collecting dust it is circulating cyber-space.  Again I’m lucky that the crew at the MOS have morals and did not just grab it and use it.

Cape Wind turbine from 3,000 feet looking toward Boston.

Cape Wind turbine from 3,000 feet looking toward Boston.

The moral of the this story.  While there may well be many, many people thieving pix from the web without attribution or a drop of payment to the hardworking photogs shooting this stuff there are some willing to do the right thing.   I’m going to choose to look at this as half full and hope that we can all give Pedro the props he deserves.