MP screwed up and screwed up big. Every photographer in the US is probably aware by now of MP’s stupid business move in striking a deal with iStockphoto. Every photographer should be aware that MP has not only apologized for that and the incredibly crappy email they sent promoting it, they have, in fact severed the relationship.
In other words, they made a bad business decision and they have fixed it as much as humanly possible. I think that deserves a second chance.
Years ago, when I first got into this business, the studio I worked for sent film to a lab. They screwed it up–we didn’t find this out until we picked up the film. Rather than admitting it, they said “you must have fogged it” and would not do anything to fix the situation. The same thing happened (different processing error, but you know what I mean) at a different lab later, and they called us before we picked up the film and said “one roll fell off in the processor–we’re sorry, what can we do to make this right?”
We never used the first lab again, but we were loyal to the second lab–because they copped to it and tried to make it right.
If this incident had been a regular pattern of MP’s, I would have been the first one calling for heads to roll. But it wasn’t. Someone, a human being or a couple, made a bad choice and then executed the bad choice poorly.
Besides all of the above, which one of us has never made a bad business decision, deliberately or not, that we wish we could take back?
Someone on one of the forums wrote that MP should “live by the sword/die by the sword.” How many of us can honestly say “I make my living based on copyright but I have never, ever used software I didn’t buy legally or copied/downloaded a song without paying or watched a video someone (illegally) emailed me, etc.”
How about having one too many and driving–any of us ever wake up in the morning knowing we shouldn’t have been behind the wheel the night before?
And how many of us have made a mistake/bad choice based on ignorance that, when pointed out, we tried to fix? I think that’s what happened here. I do not believe MP meant any harm–they just (admittedly stupidly) didn’t see the consequences of their actions. When it was pointed out to them, they woke up and are trying their level-best to fix it. And I bet it’s costing them plenty to do so–canceling a deal like that is not usually possible without some sort of financial hit. They are not “getting away easy” by any means.
On top of that, some photographers will never go back. That is their choice. But if we, as a group, continue to punish MP for screwing up EVEN AFTER THEY HAVE TAKEN THE BEST STEPS TO FIX IT POSSIBLE, then we, as a group, lose credibility. What company in the future is going to try and make it better when they screw up with us, if we can’t forgive and move on now? None. They will say “Why should we do anything? So we can get treated like MP did after they did all they could to make good? Hell no.”
APA and ASMP are trying to work with MP to find ways to make sure something like this never happens again. I think we should back them in that and show our humanity by giving MP another chance. MP has a long history of supporting photographers and I don’t think that history should be thrown out for one (albeit big) error.
Also, forgiveness is a choice, and one I encourage. It is good for the forgiver. You only need to Google “quotes forgiveness” to see that it is a virtue worth pursuing. For me, I’d rather trust and forgive and run the risk of occasionally getting burned than live in fear and paranoia.