Support Michael Yon – Boycott Car and Driver

Matt at BlackFive is organizing a boycott of Car and Driver magazine because of its parent company’s theft of a photograph owned by Michael Yon (background here).

I support Yon on this and agree that HFM has acted dishonorably in this matter. At first blush, his demand that the already printed and distributed magazine be recalled and removed from circulation and refusal to accept offers of fair compensation for the use of the photograph struck me as unreasonable. The thing is, Yon found out about the cover during the publicity stage and contacted the publisher in plenty of time for them to change the cover. Their refusal to do so is outrageous.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. lunacy says:

    While his demands of a recall are impossible…

    There is nothing unreasonable about refusing to sell your work.

    I would refuse to sell it too, after they outright stole it.

    I’ve done my share of graphic design and art. I could forgive an individual who didn’t understand the rules. That certainly isn’t the case here.

    So, somebody steals your garden gnome. You know who did it. He’s got it right there in his yard. And to add insult to injury, he’s using your garden gnome like the Shoney’s Big Boy, to usher in thousands of visitors to his botanical garden at $5 a head.

    You ask him for it back and he says, “NO, but I’ll give you $50 bucks for it. You go buy another one. I want this one.”
    And please don’t explain reproduction to me. I know.

    Point is, just because a thing is reproducible doesn’t mean you should bend the rules of right and wrong.

    It still belongs to Yon and DOES NOT belong to HFM. Yon has the right (and NOT unreasonably) to refuse to sell to whomever he wants.

    Suppose I hacked your computer and stole one of your TCS columns before you submitted it and later offered to buy it from you once I was busted…


  2. James Joyner says:


    I’m not sure these things are comparable. If the magazine had been printed and distributed before Yon had contacted them, I would say forcing them to absorb the considerable costs of recall would be an unreasonable recourse. It’s not one the courts would order, methinks. There are presumably formulas based on circulation that would be applied in equity. One would expect, too, that he would get additional compensation for the theft and mental distress of having his work appear on a publication like that.

    Given that he contacted them early enough to change the cover art, though, I’m befuddled by their stupidity.

  3. SgtFluffy says:

    I have enjoyed the same treatment from publishers. I had a picture I took of a friend that was used in the book ” A Glimpse of Hell” not credited to me, and the text to explain the picture was made up. When I contacted the publishers and the Author, I was told to basically die in a fire. So good luck with that

  4. Moe Lane says:


    I expect that the publishers may not be used to dealing with photographers who have an actual following. This scenario would be playing out quite differently if Yon was completely unknown.

  5. floyd says:

    shucks, now i have to run out and buy a “car and driver” just to see what all the fuss is about![lol]

  6. Thanks for the info. Because of you wingnut morons, I just subscribed to Car & Driver for both my house and for my office waiting room.

    America will be humiliated in Iraq just like we were in Vietnam, Beirut and Somalia. You stupid, blind neocon fucks are destroying this nation.

    Vive la France!