SoCal Photographer: Al-Qaida Stole My SFO Tram Photo

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Screen grab from Inspire Magazine
    This ad in Inspire Magazine shows an AirTrain, which serves BART and several SFO spots.

    A Southern California photographer is saying that his photo of a San Francisco International Airport AirTrain was used in a magazine reportedly published by al-Qaida -- without his permission.

    The photo in question sounded off alarm bells on Capitol Hill, in part due to its caption, which read:

    “For how long will you live in tension? Instead of just sitting, having no solution, simply stand up. Pack your tools of destruction. Assemble your bomb, ready for detonation.”

    Ed McGowan, director of design at Plain Joe Studios in Corona, tweeted the following after finding out that the picture was blatantly lifted from his Flickr site:

    "The oddest moment of my day? Finding out that Al Qaeda has stolen one of my images and is using it."

    McGowan's tweet included a link to an article from SFGate, which first reported that the photo in "Inspire" magazine was discussed at a Homeland Security hearing Wednesday. The FBI said that the photo was randomly selected and there is currently no added public safety threat in the Bay Area

    Law enforcement officials believed that the photo was a stock image, but Internet users tracked it down to McGowan's Flickr account.

    McGowan, who did not immediately return requests for comment, took the picture during a 2010 trip to San Francisco. He told SFGate he was shocked to find out that al-Qaida had used his photo.

    As for chasing al-Qaida down for compensation, McGowan tweeted that "it's wise to not try to go after them."