In 2019 twice that I know of my images have been STOLEN, and I don't use that word lightly by a For Profit company for their gain.
I received zero remuneration in either case, one company was small and I would call the other mid sized, but a global operator. In both cases I was not contacted by the companies or their agent for use of my property, but it was used regardless.
Invoices were sent, not paid, images were taken down, in one case I was blocked across social media by them, so now I have to rely on other to recognise my images and send me a screenshot if any of my images are seen in places they seem out of place, and no credit is given, or a watermark seen.
This reached a point that annoyed me so much I wrote an article, just to vent, and posted it on my website (HERE) it got shared, more than a few times, and was read a lot. Since then it's all been quiet.
Right up to this week...
This week a photographer friend of mine, Tim Burke, had an image stolen by a large, a very large corporation, from here I'll let him explain - (some of this is screenshots)
I didn't want to do this. I really, really didn't want to do this. I begged and pleaded with this company, for days, to speak with me diplomatically about paying me for the work that was stolen from me.
It's one thing, as a massive for-profit company, to use an artist's work without reimbursing that artist... It's another to go through the vagrant effort of downloading that image, conscientiously editing that image and rebranding it as your own, using your own logos.
It takes a whole other level of apathetic-disregard to respond, justifying their actions, by telling me, "Everybody steals your work... I'll offer you the same price that the thieves are selling it for"
(I'm not making that up... Read the email response)
Many of these companies know that barely-scraping-by artists can't afford intellectual property rights attorneys so they take the gamble and steal it anyways.
This is like me stealing your car and selling it BACK to you for whatever the market value is ...for stolen cars!
I'm attaching a bunch of images to this in hopes that you share it. The first image is a screenshot of the original stolen and rebranded photo. The second is the email response that I received from the company.
The third is a screenshot of MY stolen photo that SOMEBODY already stole... That they are using to make their offer
Please friends, feel free to let this company how you feel about this unethical behavior.
Director of Marketing OZtrail Katherine.Wyer@adventureoperations.com
Director of Marketing Seagull Industries firstname.lastname@example.org
I really hope you got this far and didn't dismiss it as TLDR
This isn't the first time this has happened to Tim, this is why he is so irate, before this BMW, not a dealership, the big one, BMW Motorrad stole and image from him
He contacted them, they asked what he wanted for the image. He replied "some brake pads."
Their response was, "we don't give out free product."
His response, "Neither do I."
Their response...they blocked him across ALL social media and then still used his image in an international advertising campaign...they settled out of court
@Chris please tag in as many photographers as possible from Cake, to give this some leverage
@Chris is as the founder of one of the worlds largest photo hosting sites (SmugMug) you must have come across this more than a few time in your career?
What is the solution, is there a solution?
How do we stop this?
Can we stop this?
Do we trust in metadata, watermarks, small lo-res images, integrity of people employed in marketing to actually search for the owner of a shot before using it, or what?
Is this a thing? Is it really possible?
In my article I refer to another great article about this issue, I'm tagging it HERE so ideas, thoughts, resources are on one conversation
If there are other resources please link them so other photographers will be aware, this is becoming a growing problem, not just in the US but worldwide...interested to see some of the responses