Look at the photo below and tell me would you steal it?
Chances are pretty strong you wouldn’t because let’s face it there are nicer photos out there. Yet, I had this photo stolen and used without my permission, acknowledgement or payment. I know a lot of amateur photographers who refuse to post on the Internet for fear of getting their photos stolen. This is the dilemma for photographers – to post on the Internet or not. The Internet and social media, such as Instagram, are great ways of getting your work noticed but also a great way of getting your work taken.
You might be wondering at this point, why would someone want that photo? It shows the moment that the Boston Blades won their first game in over a year during a Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) game against the Brampton Thunder.
I had taken the photo and posted it via Twitter tagging the Boston Blades as well as posting it on my Flickr site. The shot got a good reaction from the Boston players because of their excitement of winning. The photo was actually re-tweeted by one of the players who grabbed a couple of more from my Flickr site to make a collage but in the process removed the copyright. While I wasn’t happy about that at least they tagged me.
I found out that the photo had been taken when I saw a tweet promoting an article about the game using the shot. A quick click on the link and my photo was the header for the article. Conveniently it was cropped in such a way that my copyright was removed. Amusingly the article itself was copyrighted! As a content creator, you would think they would know better.
As a photographer, I tried to do the rights things to prevent this from happening. I made sure that I;
- watermarked the photograph with my copyright,
- posted a small low quality version of the original image,
- embedded my contact and copyright information within the photograph.
Unfortunately, I’m not the first nor will I be the last photographer who gets their work taken. A lot of professional photographers engage a service to search the web for photos used without permission and seek compensation.
Ironically, other photographers are some of the worse offenders stealing others work to promote as their own. Stop Stealing Photos is good site to see how wide spread the problem is.
This site provides some suggestions on how to discover if you work has been taken and how to get it removed.
Let me know in the comments if you would promote your photos using social media.
BTW, in the end I got the photo removed from the site.