Sometimes life is not what you want it to be, and sometimes it is. The latter just happened to me – I was informed that a large photographic equipment retailer was using one of my images without permission. They had even altered/combined it, and had been using it for seven months on their web site, to support selling equipment.
This has happened before to me, with an Australian company – losers who did not even respond to my repeated emails. That action continues.
But this latest example is a reputable, and I assumed moral, principled North American company – I shall sign a non-disclosure so I shall not mention their name here – so I sent a note with all the evidence and a proposal for settlement.
The company’s counsel called me back quickly, and it turns out that the company was indeed as I had assumed moral and principled. We settled on an amount agreeable to us both and I await the papers to sign.
The moral is combined:
- Sometimes corporations really can have principles and morals. Do not assume that everyone is a lying cheat – many people are not. It can be good to keep that in mind.
- Do not take images and use them without paying. For just a few dollars you can get microstock images, or you can pay for custom work. Lifting images without paying can cost you dearly – thousands of dollars is not unusual, and if lawsuits follow, copyright infringement in the US particularly is taken seriously and can cost up to $150,000.
- As a photographer, you must stand up for your rights.
I am going to be teaching a Photography in Business course at Sheridan College in Oakville starting this coming week. No doubt this kind of example will come up in the course.
Do you believe a copyright watermark would have been of any help?
I’m VERY happy to hear about this settlement for you. I have always contended that; if you don’t like the price tag for a product, you are free to not buy/use it, not to use that as justification for theft!
Thanks Sam. Ron, I forgot o mention that in the article. All images have EXIF data with copyright info. All sites I publish on mention copyright: see the LEGAL tab above. And usually, a small name tag on the images too, though that does not legally matter..
A course in Oakville!? That’s great… I assume this is the one on Tuesday night, and unfortunately it’s already filled up!
Yes, that is the one. I am writing it and preparing as we speak.