Why You Didn’t See the Image I Wanted to Use

Description Massawa ex-Hotel Torino.JPG

The Hotel Torino in Wiki Commons

Yesterday those folks who waste their valuable time reading me got a glimpse of my youth; 22 year old Toritto defending the nation in Eritrea while at the beach in Massawa and sipping drinks at the rooftop bar of the Hotel Torino.

While preparing this gem of blogging literature I did my usual search for pictures.

The Hotel Torino is so “famous” it has a picture  on a Wiki page and there are many other pictures available if you type  “image Hotel Torino Massawa” into your Yahoo search engine.  I presume most  are free to use for non-commercial purposes.  Wiki photos invariably are.

In order to try to ensure images  are not removed by WordPress I always include the source of the picture at the bottom of my post, copying and pasting the URL.  

Well while searching for a picture of the hotel on Yahoo I came across this photo:


Go see it now and come back!  (Are you back?  Good.)

I first saw it in Yahoo search and tracked it back to the source linked above.

I thought the pic was just perfect, reflecting everything I saw, experienced, smelled – but I had second thoughts about using it.  There was lots of “legalese” attached:

“By downloading the Visual Content above  you agree to the License Agreement for Layouts and Comps”.  

So I read the agreement: I could download the image for 30 days while I “showed it to clients” and “determined if it fit with my purposes”

Further 2.1 Under the terms of the present Comping License, you ARE NOT granted the right to:

2.1.1 use the Visual Content in any final materials including but not limited to, advertising, marketing, editorial materials or any other commercial application, regardless of whether any remuneration is involved.

So I decided better safe than sorry.  I then tried to calculate the cost if I used the image in my blog, which of course is read around the world, my readers hanging on every word.   What would it cost to get a license to blog this picture?

It seemed to me what I am doing did not fit any of the categories and usages outlined; I came up with an initial cost of $320 to use the image in one blog post for three months only.

EEK!  Toritto’s blog is not a money making enterprise.

So I sent an email:

“I’m an old retired guy who enjoys blogging (Toritto.wordpress.com). It keeps the old man (73) busy.

 In my youth I spent two years in Eritrea and had many a drink in the roof top bar of the Hotel Torino. I’m currently writing a blog post about those days and when searching for a picture on line of the hotel I came across your shot.

While there are many photos and images available of the hotel for free on line, I would really like to use yours.

I don’t work for any company, am not pushing any product and I make no money from my blog. WordPress might insert an ad visible only to the viewers of my blog but such ads are invisible to me.

In short, there is nothing commercial about my blog nor will the image be used for any commercial purpose.

While trying to calculate a price it seems to me that none of the categories fit what I am doing or what I propose to do with the image. I want to include it in my post; a post about my personal life. I will post the image no where else.

I am willing to include the fact that the image is yours to manage and that it should not be copied for any purposes outside your terms of approval. I will also include your site address with the image and any other provisos you require.

So how much do you want from a retired old man to use an image of an old hotel in East Africa?
Regards, “

This morning I got the answer.

“Thank you for your interest in our image.
I can definitely help with the fee.
The price quote will be $150 for one year license
online personal use (editorial use)
Let me know if you have any questions.
Have a great day.
All the best, “

So that’s why you didn’t see the image of the Hotel Torino I wanted to use.  I would have even stuck the name of the photographer in my blog which is read round the world.  Free advertising.

But now I won’t.



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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9 Responses to Why You Didn’t See the Image I Wanted to Use

  1. beetleypete says:

    You made the right decision, Frank. The link works for free, after all…
    Best wishes, Pete.


  2. chicagoguy12 says:

    Lawyers. And lots of them. The absurdity of their response is well. . .absurd. And a bit sad.


    • toritto says:

      Hi Roger – I laughed when I got the response. While I loved the image, who is going to pay hard cash to use it and for what conceivable purpose? Do they think it will wind up as a marketing tool for the next Hollywood blockbuster on “terrorism”? Or a book cover?

      While is reflects a great deal about how the third world lives I can’t think of a use for the photo in marketing anything. I would be surprised if it brings in any substantial money for license.

      P.S. I was willing to go to $25 for a single use.




  3. DesertAbba says:

    Frank- Once again you’ve helped illustrate that it costs to be an honest man; only deceit and duplicity pay. But that’s been known for a very long time as illustrated by our politicians!


  4. GP Cox says:

    Jeez – they just don’t get it – do they?!! Beautiful picture, but for that price – they can keep it. [I know about being on a budget!] I started laughing when you said you wouldn’t mention the photographer – good work!


    • toritto says:

      Hi Desert and GP – No, they don’t get it. Someone will copy the picture off of Yahoo and post it without attribution, then someone else will download it from the first person’s post and then a third person will copy it to their WordPress’ media and so on. Nobody is gonna pay any meaningful hard cash for the photo – not once it is on-line. Regards.

      Come to think of it, I might have gone for $20 …but not $25.


      Liked by 1 person

  5. sojourner says:

    The world will never run out of shysters!


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