rants writing and blogging

Return of the photo thieves


Not for stealing. © Rusty Burlew

Neither this photo nor any others on this site is for stealing. Over the years, hundreds of people have requested permission to use my photos, and I have given it in virtually every case, except for those who decide stealing is easier than asking. And a beekeeper taking it? Really? Do you think we don’t read each others sites?

Furthermore, just because the photo was stolen before, or just because the copyright owner is not obvious to you, doesn’t make it fair game. Inconvenience does not give you license to take what you want. Have you been living under a rock?

I’m in an extremely benevolent mood today, so I’m not going to post a link to the page where this photo is accumulating Facebook likes for the well-known beekeeper who doesn’t own it. I may feel differently tomorrow, so I highly recommend taking it down right now. And next time, please, just ask.



  • Smack-down! Great pic, by the way, and thank you for all your posts. Your site is my default reference to solve my own dilemmas.

  • It is an awesome photo, Rusty! I am surprised I have not already put it up on Pinterest : )

    Can you take the “lift” as a compliment? It is so easy to lift them off the internet, and your photo deserves more fame.

    • Pinterest automatically adds a link, which is fine. But when someone strips the link and implies the work is their own? That is unconscionable and not exactly a compliment.

  • Thanks Rusty, for being so careful to protect our creative properties as well as your own. It’s good to know you can trust a site!


    (When I want to share anything from your page, I just post the whole link. Why would anyone do different?)

  • I think in modern day vernacular the appropriate response would be, “You go Girl!” I like to say that each of us has a story to tell and a picture to paint, and it is important for each of us to do so. To that end I do post to a social network and to an online journal my journey with the bees. For while your pictures are awesome and I often study them and I often wonder what camera and lens you use, they only inspire me to go and take my own….

    As I have said before thank you for your work, yours is truly my favorite online source of information.

    David R (A West Georgia beekeeper)

  • Honestly, with a few hundred thousand bees and a camera you are bound to get a good picture every once in a while. Why take someone else’s? I even get cool pics with my iphone lol.

  • I was about to defend the taker as simply being ignorant until I read that he was claiming the photo as his own.

    Prior to working with the training and documentation at work, I never thought 2nd about copying whatever picture I found interesting and saving it off and re-posting it somewhere else. But the only reason I would ever do this is for informational purposes (i.e. on the truck and eectuning forums I frequent). Although even in those cases, I never claim ownership. But in my case, the pictures are not “art.” They are things like pictures of a transmission or of some car part where the original poster was posting the picture asking questions about it or using it as an example themselves.

    However after working with that team, I learned that this can have legal implications particularly when used as part of a product or service which in our case, we were offering in the form of factory hosted training courses that we charged for. So we could not just scrounge the Internet for convenient pictures of things to include. The exception we later found is that if the picture was being used for educational purposes, there are allowances for this as long as the original owner is credited. But since we charged for our education, we decided it still wasn’t worth the potential legal complication.

    But as it related to me, I simply learned I needed to give credit when I did this on my forums. The forums are “free” and the information in the forums is educational. As for photos I posted, I never cared what was done with any of my pictures. I simply considered them open source when I posted them. But I never considered any of my pictures as works of art. Pictures I share are taken with the intention of using for clarification and/or educational purposes because again, they are usually pictures of truck/engine parts.

    Now the point in all that, as I said if the person was simply grabbing the picture to show to others because they thought it was a neat picture, perhaps that is excusable as ignorance. But if they were claiming credit, that’s a reason to be very upset since I don’t think there’s any doubt this picture is “art.”

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