Requesting permission to use your picture: sign

Here’s an email I got this morning…

Dear Kakapo31,
We are currently working on an online course about Religion, Politics and Violence in Modern Societies with Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and we would like to request your permission to use the image found at the address below. This image will be used to illustrate reactions to terrorism.

Would you consider giving us permission to use this image? Formal credit and acknowledgement, as well as a copyright notice in your favour will be indicated each time the image is used. For copyright notices, please indicate the exact name of the copyright holder of the image.

Ps. Could you please provide us with more information of where and where this picture was taken?

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Instructional Designer/Content Integrator

Here’s the picture. If you click on the thumbnail and read my caption you’ll understand their interest.


Here’s my reply…


Judging from what you’re requesting my photo for, after I explain what the sign really means I doubt you will want to use it. Let me start by saying that my caption is a joke commenting on the non-universality of meaning in signs and how cultural context is required.

I was travelling in Beijing near a busy intersection and noticed that traffic sign. Spending a lot of recent time in airports, I witnessed quite a few dubious measures in our global war on terror (making old men take off their shoes and obvious mothers empty out their strollers before the security checkpoints). So my first thought on seeing that traffic sign was “oh, here’s another example”. Hence the caption. Of course, I didn’t think the sign’s true intention was to prohibit car bombs. I realized later, and the comments left by others verified, that the sign really means it’s illegal to transport firecrackers along this road. The Chinese use firecrackers for many holidays and celebrations. So they’re quite common. Of course, you wouldn’t know the sign’s meaning if you didn’t realize the context.

In any case, if you still want to use the photo for your course, you are free to do so as long as the URL is included as an attribution.

I think I may have carried a joke too far…


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