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January 23, 2008

Ottawa firefighter featured on "The Onion"

CBC had an interesting story today about Capt. Rudy Lindia, an Ottawa firefighter whose photo was used to accompany a fake news story on "The Onion".

Lindia agreed to have his photo taken a few years ago, believing it would be used by the City of Ottawa (his employer) for publicity purposes. It ended up in the hands of a stock photo agency, which is where the Onion probably got a hold of it.

Then the Onion used the photo to illustrate a fake obituary titled "Hero Firefighter Loses Lifelong Battle With Fire". Needless to say, Lindia wasn't impressed.

Ottawa blogger Bob LeDrew offers these insightful lessons to learn from the story:
  • You're asked to pose for a photo and sign a waiver. READ THE DAMN WAIVER. If you don't like what it says, either walk away or negotiate.
  • You're, say, a city bureaucrat in need of some photos. Think about whether you want to buy the photos outright or leave rights in the hands of the photographer. Don't just blindly act. Think.
  • If you signed the waiver, you signed the waiver. As much as you'd like The Onion or whatever else to apologize or make you feel better -- they've got zero obligation to.

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