It was a day of typically brutal summer heat in Phoenix, and I had the air conditioner blasting as I raced down the freeway en route to some event I was obliged to cover in my role as a general-assignment newspaper reporter.
The scene came to me in pieces as I glanced to the other side of the roadway. A car on the shoulder, broken down and steam billowing from under the raised hood. Somebody, presumably the driver, sitting on the grass embankment nearby, head in his hands. Wearing a full-on clown outfit — wild hair, floppy shoes, pancake makeup, red nose, the whole package. And looking about as morose and defeated as a clown can get.
Earlier this week stock agency FotoLibra received an email from English Heritage (the public organization that manages historical sites) that read,
We are sending you an email regarding images of Stonehenge in your fotoLibra website. Please be aware that any images of Stonehenge can not be used for any commercial interest, all commercial interest to sell images must be directed to English Heritage.
After the email and a strongly worded response was published to the FotoLibra blog, the story was picked up by Boing Boing, which then published a story titled “English Heritage claims it owns every single image of Stonehenge, ever“. Needless to say, there was a pretty swift public outcry.