Dear Seed Companies: Please Stop Making It So Damn Hard To Love You.


Just look at this amazing, astonishing, beautiful, very unusual new purple tomato.  Does it not fill your heart with lust?  Do you not want to order one of these RIGHT NOW?

What?  You don't see it?  Why is that?

Because the seed companies make it so damn hard to get a picture, that's why!  I have spent way too much time this morning looking for a photo I can use of 'Indigo Rose,' this glorious new tomato I read about in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning.

I took the time to search around and find seed companies selling the plant, and even emailed a few of them asking for permission to use their photo, all to no avail.  I also hunted around on their website for some sort of Terms of Use section that would tell me whether or not I could grab a picture, or a Media section with downloads I could use.


So.  Here's a hint, seed (and plant) companies:  Make this easy.  Put a link in your footer that says,
"Use of Photos" or something very obvious.  On that page, just say whether or not we can grab a photo for use online or in print.

Or!  If you want a little more control?  Have an online form that people fill out.  Have them link to their publication, and link to the photo they want to use.  Send an auto-responder message back that either says "yes" or "no" depending on the photo.  If the answer is "yes," be sure your response says, "You can use this photo as long as you link back to us (or whatever).  Remember that you have to use this form every time you want to use one of our photos, because copyrights vary and we want to keep track of who's using our stuff."

Or something.  Figure it out.  But please, make it a little easier to love you.

I'm talking to you, Johnny's, High Mowing, Nichols, Territorial, and even you nice people at OSU who developed the thing.

OK.  Follow the links.  Look at the pictures.  Commence lust.


  1. As long as you provide a link to the seed company, and mention that the photo came from them, it sounds like Fair Use to me, but I’m an engineer, not a lawyer.

  2. No, you cannot grab someone’s photo and republish it, either online or in print, without permission. Linking back isn’t enough. I don’t want to get into a long discussion about what counts as fair use, but that isn’t it.

  3. The proof will be in the tasting. I should know in a few months! But the road to (tomato) fame is littered with the false promises of many a seed catalog – photos or not.

  4. I feel your pain! I am in constant need of pictures of roses to use on my site. If I am an affiliate of a company, they usually allow me to use photos from their site, if not you CAN NOT copy someone’s photos. Don’t do it you’ll get into trouble!
    I encourage gardeners to send in photos of their roses to use on the site, I guess you could do the same.

  5. Hi Amy,
    Thanks for posting this. I actually work at High Mowing Seeds and we’d love to have you use some of our photos. I apologize if we were difficult to reach! We will take your advice and post terms of use for our photos on line, but please know that generally speaking, we always agree to share photos with the media- and bloggers! I’ll send you our Indigo Rose photo this afternoon.
    Andrea Tursini
    Retail Sales and Marketing Manager
    High Mowing Organic Seeds

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