The cause of this situation is an instagram feed that was posted on our web page nauticam.com, and managed by my team in the USA. The purpose of the feed is to aggregate content from instagram using hash tags associated with our brand for a gallery on our site. I love this user generated content - and feel that it takes down some of the intimidation factor associated with complicated gear, and makes what we do approachable and attainable. My feeling is also that this provides a great avenue for exposure outside of instagram, which in theory everyone benefits from, and many users have reacted to positively. My personal and ultimate goal was to promote the photographers that use our brand alongside the products we make.
I never asserted any ownership of the image - which Julian has claimed above. That was not in the emails we exchanged, and my feeling is that this point is embellished in the account here to add more of an emotional charge to the situation. His comments on the facebook thread suggest justification and bullying, which also simply did not happen. My private explanation to him was simply how the feed worked. I feel that my replies to Julian are actually taken out of context here, but I appreciate his bringing this specific issue to our attention, and the feedback we have received as a result.
We have absolutely no interest in violating any copyright. Someone uses #nauticam because they want an association with our brand, and if they no longer wish to have that association they can remove it, or refrain from using it. What better association is there than having that image fed into the brand web page? We are not saving the image on our servers or modifying it in any way. The entire instagram tag, comment, and user information is retained in accordance with their embed terms. The instagram poster has complete control over the image.
We learned a few things from all of this... It is clear that instagram posters appreciate the courtesy of a permission request before an image is shared on our branded site, and that there is a higher level of sensitivity to feeds pulled outside of the instagram app than content shared within it. That makes sense, and we have already implemented a strategy to manage this permission process for the future.
I am deeply sorry for the situation. I am sorry that a platform built to show the incredible work of our user base has inspired these feelings. I'm grateful that Julian brought this to our attention so we could remedy it, and apologize to anyone else that feels this action was inappropriate on our part.