A conversation Facebook peaked my interest lately. It started with a post on on the Two Bright Lights page regarding the use of images by The Knot, a popular website for wedding inspiration. Here is a screenshot of the conversation just in case it goes away on the web.
So apparently, there was a photographer who submitted their photo albums to The Knot for publication. From there, The Knot accepted and posted their images but without the normal back link that would come with a feature.
Instead, The Knot did a couple of different things with the images they procured from Two Bright Lights. They created some ads with the images (i.e. commercial use) and they created a “storefront” that would show information on the photographer and all of the other vendors. So, instead of paying for the use of the image and instead of linking back to the vendor directly from the post, it looks like they simply used the image(s) however they wanted. Below is the store front that they linked to.
The Knot is an advertising company
Here is where it gets a bit more hairy. Apparently Two Bright Lights joined forces with The Knot and XO group as announced in this blog post. It isn’t clear what “joining forces” meant, but since TBL is much smaller than The Knot and XO, I am assuming that it meant that XO paid them some money and not the other way around.
Beyond that, however, photographers actually pay to be part of Two Bright Lights. In return for their payment, they are supposed to get the ability to submit albums and get links back from publishers who feature weddings. The Knot may in fact be a publisher, but they are an advertising company first. They get paid by vendors like photographers for listings. (and it ain’t cheap).
Let me simplify it a bit.
- Photographer pays to be on Two Bright Lights in hopes of getting published
- Photographer gets picked up by The Knot
- The Knot uses the photographers submitted images to advertise something WITHOUT permission
- The Knot charges other photographers to be listed on their site
- The Knot and TBL announce that they are trying to compensate the photographer for her images claiming a database tagging error.
But what about The Knot’s storefronts?
From what I have read, they are working to compensate the photographer for using their images, but there is still a huge outcry from the photography community about these blank storefronts being created instead of linking back to the photographer’s website (which is what the photographer is paying for in the first place.)
I found an image from a photographer I know. This image seems to be all over The Knot’s website, but the vendor doesn’t appear to be a paying member. Curious to be sure.
I would love to have your thoughts and comments on this below.