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May 27, 2010


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Charities are doing it too, though

Seb Rogers

Oh yeah, everyone's at it. Doesn't make it right, of course. I didn't mean to single out the Mail... I just like to point out once in a while that all's not well in copyright law and practice.


i suppose the only way to stop (slow it down) is to slap a big watermark across the middle of the image


You would think big names wouldn't even try to nick pics like this. I hope everyone that does gets fined and learns a lesson... Until then: watermark-on!

Seb Rogers

Unfortunately the concept of punitive charges to discourage copyright theft isn't one that's generally upheld by the UK courts (I believe this isn't the case in the US). Big companies aren't afraid to try it on because there's no financial penalty and little in the way of bad publicity when they do get caught. Sadly, no-one much - apart from photographers - really cares.

Sodding great watermarks right across the image really are the only way to be safe. Sad, but there you go.


They paid up but refused a public apology or disclosure of the amount they paid.


Dave Stewart

Keswick Cycles have been using a shot I took at the 2009 Strathpuffer event for well over a year...complete with my name still in the EXIF. If they'd (1) politely asked; and (2) given a credit, and possibly a web-link, I would've said okay. They didn't, and ignored my grumbling e-mail too.

Their website gives the old "No part of this page may be reproduced without prior written permission." Hmmm!

Seb Rogers

Hi Dave,

How did Keswick Bikes get your pic in the first place? I only ask because I've found from experience that limiting supply is one of the most important ways of protecting your copyright.

If it bothers you that much you really need to follow up an email with a (polite) phone call, establish who it is that's responsible for sorting out their web content, explain your quibble and ask for the image to be removed or for a link to be added, with a reasonable agreed timescale for doing so. Follow up the conversation with a letter repeating what was agreed. Simple.

But I come back to my original point, because if you can establish how it is that one of your images came to be used without permission you may be able to prevent such misuse in future. Stop the leaks!


Dave Stewart

Hi Seb,

The picture was taken from a Picasa web-album. The copyright information is on every photo's page. They were nothing special. I was just trying to get-to-grips-with a new lens.

In posting them like this, I'm well aware that folk are likely to download, and use them. I don't mind that if it's just for personal use (e.g. for a desktop image). But am bothered when my efforts are used publicly, by those that don't ask, and don't give credit... especially if they're a business. Politeness, and courtesy, are appreciated... and don't cost much.

Really should set up my own website, with greater emphasis given to the copyright status, and giving easier methods of making contact. I'm not keen on watermarks, or postage stamp sized photos... I know - greater risk then. Now adding some contact information in the Meta data.

If I was a Pro, like yourself, I would send them a bill! Am aware of "Take down notices." Though it's not that serious.

A little searching about, revealed unauthorised use of photos from that one album: on a blog; elsewhere on Picasa; on Flickr; and on three commercial sites. To be fair, one of the commercial sites (a very well know cycle manufacturer) did give credit, and linked to the other photos.

I don't even normally do mountain biking! Kayaking is my preferred sport - have had fewer issues there.

Best wishes, and thanks for your time.


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