Kluun, Raymond van de Klundert, is one of the most famous writers in the Netherlands.
I think he’s a funny guy, sometimes, although he can come across a bit arrogant.
Just recently he pretty much screwed up all the positive sentiments I had with him.
His website was taken down, and instead came a big notification stating the following (translated from Dutch):
Have you been the victim of an outrageous claim from a photographer for placing a photograph to accompany a piece on your blog?
Are you a blogger and have you ever received a threatening letter from a lawyer or photographer in which you were told to pay hundreds or even thousands of euros, because you ever had a photo placed with a blog post?
Let us know. Mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us in that mail:
- the year in which it was on your site or on your blog
- the year you received the threatening letter in which was announced you had infringed copyright
- where you took the picture. Google Images or another place on the internet?
- the photograph plus article / column / blog
- the name of the photographer and the lawyer of the photographer
- how did it end? Did you pay? Did you settle? Didn’t pay? Went to court?
Mail us! We plan to fight a principal battle against these practices by photographers
I’ve written before about copyright infringement. I’ve been on the infringed end of the rope. I’ve sued and settled. And I’ve sent take-down notices. And I’ve let things be.
Generally I’m ok with people using my images on PRIVATE blogs, provided they accredit the picture with my name or a link to my website. I’m NOT ok with people using my images on commercial blogs or websites. I will pursue those, if I find them.
What Kluun is doing here is probably the most hypocritical thing I’ve seen in a long time.
He is in the business of writing. He knows everything about copyright and copyright infringement.
And yet he accuses the photographers whose pictures he steals of outrageous practices.
These claims he’s talking about? They don’t just come falling out of the sky.
These claims he’s talking about are penalties for him breaking the law.
He hides behind Freedom of Speech, but he’s got his ego so far up his ass that he’s confused with the terminology.
Freedom of Speech means (bluntly) that you’re free to say whatever you want. Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want and STEAL images to illustrate your Freedom of Speech.
First of all, I think 90% of these claims would not have even existed if he would’ve taken the common courtesy of asking permission to use the image, instead of just copying them off the internet. He, as a writer, should know that, just because it’s on the internet, it’s not for free. Had he had the decency to ASK the photographer “Hey, I saw this great image on your website (or I found this great image of yours in Google), can I use it to accompany a piece of text I wrote on my blog? I will accredit you with the image.” I think most of the photographers would’ve gladly said yes. But if you go ahead and just nick just about any picture you come across which you can use and assume that a) the chances a photographer will find it because the internet is so big are non-existent; or b) everything on the internet is public and thus for free and for grabs; or c) you are a writer and everyone has to respect YOUR copyright but there’s no need to give a shit about anyone else… Yeah, sure, then you can expect that at some point you run against a wall. And rightfully so.
And we’re not even mentioning the fact that he’s making money with his blog through Google Ads. So his website in fact is a commercial website. He was making money with stolen work.
The guy is a writer, he’s written several books. What do you think he and his lawyers would do if we were to copy his books and go about pasting that on our blogs without proper accreditation?
So he’s expecting photographers, who also have to pay their bills in a market that is already highly competitive and very hard to survive in, to shut up and give us his pictures and he’s making money on everything he does and expects others to stick to the rules and not touch his work?
Does that sound fair to you?
The law is already on its way to orphan a large part if the images, we don’t need another idiot to sue photographers for trying to make a living.
I sincerely hope, as a photographer, that Kluun will lose any lawsuit he’ll start and that he has to pay every penalty (and then some) he’s received so far.
Kluun, as a person with celebrity status in a country, should accept the fact that he has a role model function to fulfill, and don’t assume that he’s above the law.
I usually don’t wish bad to people, but he’s just an example of a hypocrite for which I don’t feel any empathy. I hope he gets to pay.