a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Published!

Monday, July 12, 2010


SUMMARY: Wikipedia does it again.
For a couple of years, I enthusiastically took photos of any different breed of dog I encountered for wikipedia. (Which wasn't that many, given that mostly I saw dogs in agility, and mostly there aren't that many different breeds doing USDAA or CPE agility.)

That photo enthusiasm was because, when WP hooked me, it had very little dog info of any kind. At one point, I had created, expanded, seriously edited, and/or added photos and infoboxes to every breed page on the entire site, and every other dog-related page, too. (Before I got unhooked. But eventually there were billions and billions of dog-related pages, and billions and billions of people making less than helpful edits, and I just got tired of keeping up.)

Anyway, many of my breed photos are still used in articles, even though many are nothing to write home about (leashes very visible, etc.). And they are all still ON wikipedia even if not being used.

Photos from wikipedia are quite popular. By publishing them there, I allow other people to use the photos (basically for noncommercial purposes) if they give credit to me and a link back to where the photo exists on wikipedia. People don't all seem to bother with that, so my photos are all over the web now, sometimes even with other people's copyrights watermarked on them. I got tired of chasing those down and asking them to fix them, too.

For example, if you go to google images and search for any of the following, you'll see these photos over and over:
  • "smooth collie" or "collie dumbbell", a smooth tricolored collie with a dumbbell in his mouth, on a field of grass, facing left (sometimes right, when they've reversed the photo). That's my photo of my agility friend Rowan.
  • "rat terrier", there's an angled full body shot of a rat terrier looking up, with a purple leash coming out to the foreground. My photo.
  • "australian kelpie", red and tan guy, side view, with him looking out at you, leash going off to the side. Mine.
  • "boston terrier", side view with him looking slightly at you, brindle and white, grass background. Mine.
  • "cavalier king charles spaniel." Sitting on a wood surface (actually it's a picnic table). Mine.
  • "clicker training." A hand holder a clicker, looking down at the hand and at a sitting dog who looks remarkably like Tika. Oh--wait--it IS tika!  Surprise, another photo of mine.
  • And on and on.

I'm no longer bothering to check whether these are legally copied.

You can see all my wikipedia dog photos here.

I've made three or four sales of  photos based on ones that people found on Wikipedia.

So now, last week, I just received a mysterious package, from someone i'd never heard of, containing a book I'd never heard of, on a topic I'd never pick up a book about on my own.  But, leafing through it, it occurred to me to check the photo credits: Oh, yeah, a couple of years back, this guy actually emailed me about using one of my photos. So, in this book, on page 44, next to an image of a dachshund from a hundred years ago, is my photo of this miniature dachshund.

To be polite, I started reading the book, The Origin Then and Now, by David N. Reznick, from Princeton Press.  I'm only about 3 or 4 chapters in, including intro and background and such, and it is in fact readable and interesting. I'm not sure whether I'll make it all the way through, but so far, so good (I just don't have patience or time for dull or badly written material). I'm proud to be part of this project and to have my name listed in the photo credits.


  1. How cool, the book looks interesting too.

    I think once you put photos on the internet without somehow protecting them from being copied the horse is out of the barn. The energy to track down them down and get people to give you credit hardly seems worth it, esp. if you're not a professional photographer. I'd be irked if someone was using my photos for commercial or nefarious purposes but otherwise I don't think I'd care all that much. Not that anyone wants to pirate my photos :-)

  2. Wow, that's nifty! Congratulations on your publication!

  3. Very cool indeed! What a neat surprise. And I love how Tika's photo (er... your photo) is Google Images' first hit for clicker training.