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I'm not sure if I should be flattered or annoyed...

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#1 Stoo


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Posted 07 March 2015 - 11:07 AM

This is a silly little thing, but for some reason, it annoys me...


A couple of years ago, I happened to end up at the same dive site as a club charter. I knew a few of the folks on board. Since they were all capable divers, they made good models and I managed to grab a few decent shots. One of them was used (sadly) as the "inspiration" for a memorial plaque for one of the guys who unfortunately died while cave diving the following year. Given the circumstances, I was happy to have my photo used, although it would have been nice to have been asked for permission.


Then the other day, one of the guys I hardly know, posted an illustration on his FB page, raving that an artist had done this sketch and what an awesome job he'd done "capturing the dive perfectly". Reading down the thread, he mentioned he'd given the artist a photo, which he posted. Sure enough, it was one of mine, with my watermark cropped off. The illustration was pretty much a tracing of my photo, slightly recomposed, and no where was my name mentioned.


Just to be a turd, I posted my uncropped image, and with an appropriate "winking face", and asked about receiving royalties. Nobody commented, but then this AM, I noticed that any posts that had to do with the photo had been removed. There was now simply a post about the awesome illustration, and a few folks agreeing that they might find a photo and have the guy do one for them too... I presume he's being paid for these, but I don't know.


Anyway, part of me is happy that these folks enjoy the photos and I'm happy to have them share them, although it would be nice to have the watermark remain intact. On the other hand, if someone is blatantly using my photos and producing something that they're being paid for, that kinda pi$$e$ me off... And it's not about the money as much as it is about the photo being used without my permission.


Am I being petty? The obvious answer is to stop posting on FB, but I do enjoy sharing them... I just don't enjoy others profiting. And I would like to be asked.


I suppose the flip-side of all of this is that I benefited from using these folks as unpaid models, although I did ask their permission to shoot them as we were suiting up...


As evidence... the illustration, the cropped photo from the thread and my original...

Attached Images

  • illustration.jpg
  • duff cropped.jpg
  • Duf wall.jpg

Edited by Stoo, 07 March 2015 - 01:53 PM.

#2 bvanant


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Posted 07 March 2015 - 11:40 PM

You should be pissed and should ask the "artist" for some share of the royalties that he is getting.


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#3 decosnapper


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Posted 07 March 2015 - 11:59 PM

Reminds me of the Obama "Hope" poster. This one settled out of court and the details remain confidential, but its a good example of where a simple "Do you mind?" would have saved a lot of bother.


Before you do anything, ask yourself this question:-


"What do I want the outcome to be?"


And some choices might be:-


  1. Do nothing and carry on.
  2. Recognition the work was a derivative from your photo.
  3. Payment.
  4. Destruction of the derived work.


I think all are possible.


If it were me I would probably start by asking for 2, 3 and 4 with an option of dropping 4 if they turned out to be pleasant to deal with. But only dropping 4 if they were nice people who realised they made a mistake and that it needs correcting....but its your image and up to you.

Simon Brown


#4 Stoo


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Posted 08 March 2015 - 10:26 AM

Honestly, I'd have been happy if he'd just given credit where credit was due. Cropping my name off was the topping on the cake...  and then deleting any mention of the photo at all...

Edited by Stoo, 08 March 2015 - 10:27 AM.

#5 scubazig



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Posted 01 April 2015 - 09:18 AM

Honestly, I'd have been happy if he'd just given credit where credit was due. Cropping my name off was the topping on the cake...  and then deleting any mention of the photo at all...


Cropping off the copyright management information (ie watermark) is a big no-no (in addition to stealing the image in the first place), and is a violation of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) here in the US. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada, but I remember hearing they've recently been adjusted to be on par with the laws in the US. By simply cropping off the watermark alone, the damages start at $2,500 and go to $25,000 per violation, in addition to any fines for copyright infringement.


Obviously this would include getting a lawyer involved, and most folks are not interested in doing that. At the end of the day, it's just good to know what your rights are as a photographer. 


My two cents ... if you're worried that someone will steal your image(s) and benefit from doing so, be sure to register your images with the copyright office. Also be willing to send an invoice and/or contact a lawyer once you have proof that someone has stolen your image. If the image is online (anywhere), someone can steal it, and probably will. 

Michael Zeigler