Two cases of copyright infringement related to the content of this blog & its corresponding PDF guide to Recoleta Cemetery have recently come to our attention. Although we have initiated claims or contacted the parties who used our material without permission, we doubt a resolution will be ruled in our favor. At least as owners of this blog & all the material herein, we can leave record of these cases… & hope we’ll never have to add to this list!
I rarely watch YouTube videos about Recoleta Cemetery, but a few months ago a random recommendation seemed interesting: a 26-minute video in English with excellent photography. While watching, I thought: wow, this guy has done his research. Then the voice-over commentary began to sound all too familiar. Ah yes, channel owner David Owens purchased the PDF guide in November 2017. My guide was not the only source material used, but in many places Dr. Owens quoted the guide’s text directly without any change. Also, the general organization of his video closely follows that of the PDF.
After reporting this video to YouTube, they asked for additional specifics. I rewatched the video to take note of exact usage & could only make it through 18 minutes. It’s disheartening to see your own hard work & decades of investigation claimed by someone else. I sent the list below to YouTube to establish a claim, complete with phrases used, minute marks & corresponding pages of the PDF:
- “branch of Franciscan monks” 01:36 (page 07)
- “grassy plots with simple tombstones… a number of early modest tombs” 02:38 (page 09)
- Exact statistics (55000 square kilometres, 4700 tombs, 350000 departed) 03:48 (page 07) – no one ever agrees on these numbers & the tomb count comes from my own investigation
- “1946 tombstone” + “fading relief of her father” 6:00 (page 18)
- “crucifix placed above a small altar with recently deceased in caskets beneath” 07:25 (page 10)
- “metal grate in the floor” 09:07 (page 10)
- “network of lookout stations connected by telegraph to major forts in what was indigenous territory” 11:53 (page 24)
- “battles against Brazil… forged from a cannon from one of his ships” 12:58 (page 53)
- “actually buried in the church beside the cemetery” 13:54 (page 52)
- “founded War College in 1900” 15:14 (page 42)
- “made life better in Buenos Aires by improving city sanitation” 16:55 (page 20)
- “to help establish US teaching” 17:05 (page 29)
- “record of 32 wins out of 38 title matches” 17:43 (page 29)
These direct quotes demonstrate that Dr. Owens did not use my guide as a resource but rather lifted whatever text he needed to produce the video. In several other instances, my text had been slightly reworded yet I recognized it as mine.
What shocked me most was no mention of this blog nor the PDF guide. No credit where credit is due… as if Dr. Owens became an expert on this particular cemetery overnight.
Update (Aug 2021): No one informed me directly, so I’ve just seen that the YouTube claim has been resolved… in my favor! The video has been removed. Nice to see the system working:
Update #2 (Aug 2021): By coincidence I noticed that Dr. Owens had tried to contact me & his email went to my spam folder. After our conversation, he suggested linking to the PDF guidebook in the video description. I thought this recommendation might promote sales, so I dropped the claim & the video is once again on YouTube.
In 2011, Sergio López Martínez asked if I would participate in a massive national project to catalog Argentina’s architectural heritage. Of course I agreed. His particular interest was in a set of photographs on a separate blog which I’d taken of the interior of the Confitería del Molino. At the time, the building had been closed to the general public & was in real danger of disintegrating into rubble. But for one week in 2004, the city government commandeered the former café & pastry shop to allow visitors inside. I sent him the photos I had, & they appeared in the series… along with a thank you credit + an invite to the formal release of the first book:
If I hadn’t been planning a move to Esquel, I would have used those connections to participate in more projects. But I left for Patagonia & couldn’t even get a hard copy of the volume with my photos. Years have passed —now I’m living in Sevilla— but find online the two-part book series pictured above: Monumentos Históricos Nacionales de la República Argentina (Ciudad de Buenos Aires). An update of a previous publication, Sergio wrote the section for Recoleta Cemetery as well as took most of the photos. On further examination, two photos looked very familiar… but he takes full credit:
Photographs for Domingo Matheu & former President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento both appear in their original posts on this blog. Given the fact that Sergio & I had collaborated previously, copying images posted here to use in an official government publication is disgraceful. As I wrote the Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación on Twitter: all they had to do was ask.
In both cases, a disregard for research & investigation is evident. On many occasions, I’ve received payment for my photography as well as for published articles. But I have also allowed my images & text to be used for free on request… depending on who asks & for what purpose. AfterLife has been online since 2007 & takes no small effort to maintain. PDF sales each year fund this website as the most complete online resource about Recoleta Cemetery. Period. When using information or images from an independent webpage, please consider all the work involved by the author: ask for permission, offer compensation or give credit. Thanks!2 Comments