Friday, November 20, 2009


So, I never know what to do in these situations... luckily it hasn't happened often. But I always try to do right by the photographer. But... am I taking it too seriously? Or not?

I've been told, or I've heard somewhere, or maybe I've just assumed, that if a photo is posted (a.k.a. used) somewhere without the photographers permission (excluding the model posting it for promotional usage) that it is a violation of copyright infringement.

When I find or am alerted of (via google web alerts) photos of myself posted somewhere I always notify the photographer, and then I try to communicate to the "poster" that they are violating copyright infringement and should always ask permission from the photographer first before using an image in any way.

Now, be aware that I'm playing the devil's advocate here....but am I making too big a fuss about this? Should I confront these "posters" or should I just notify the photographer and leave it up to them to do it? Should I (and/or the photographer) be happy for the "exposure?" Are the posters really doing anything wrong?


Eric Hiss

And lots of graphite.


Josh Zytkiewicz said...

I would say it depends on the situation.

Two examples:
A few years ago someone used my photos to create a photographer profile on Model Mayhem.

And a few weeks ago one of my photos was displayed with a link to my site on the Art Nudes blog.

Neither of them asked my permission before using my images. The first one upset me, the second I'm glad they did.

Shadowscapestudio said...

Copyright is a complicated issue, and it has been discussed many times on the internet. I suggest you read some of Carolyn's posts here
on copyright.
As far as I am aware, I can grab one of your images and post it on my blog as an example for what I am talking about, or as an example of art work. That would fall under editorial work. I can not grab one of your images and make a print of it and hang it in a gallery however. Nor can I grab one of your images and sell it to Becks Beer (although you know I would like to).
There are times when you can grab an image and use it without violating copyright. To use it as an example; to use it for news; to use it for editorial work; to use it in reaching.
If you look at the MM forums (Sticks finger in throat) you will see many instances where a comment has an image attached that is not the commenter's. That is OK. It is used as an example. ART NUDES, or any of the fine art nude sites use images. That is not a violation of copyright. They are just showing what is out there.
Copyright is a very sticky area. For someone to display an image of yours that is on the web already is probably not a violation of copyright.
Then there is the fair use issue. A whole new ball of wax.
Read through Carolyn's blog and you probably will have a better understanding of the mess.

e-string said...

Yes, read up on fair use.

If you're bothered about a photo being used somewhere, just let the photographer know. If you're not the copyright holder, it's not really your issue to handle.

MarcWPhoto said...

To answer your questions, in order:

1) Probably.

2) Probably not.

3) That depends on the content of your messages to the infringer. If you just say, "Hey, that's a picture of me that X took, I hope you asked X before you posted it, thanks!" that's fine. If you get all righteous about it, that's not usually helpful.

4) You should just tell the photographer.

5) No.

6) Yes.


Stephen Haynes said...

You owe no duty to a photographer who has taken photos of you, although obviously it's good form to communicate to him any unauthorized/improper use of his photos. I'd say you absolutely should not confront the infringer -- leave that to the copyright owner.

Even use by models is a kind of "winked at" permissive use. Technically, all those uses should be under license, but of course no one (me included) ever raises a stink, since it benefits both photographer and model. (And language in a release doesn't matter, since the release is a unilateral contract only enforceable on the model, and creates no obligations on the photographer, except by limitations on use of the photos.)

MarcWPhoto said...

Although Mr. Haynes' advice is, practically speaking, largely correct, I would like to add for the record that the phrase "unilateral contract" made my brain hurt. :)

Michael said...

Well, here's an example that's directly relevant. Last week, I posted one of your self-portraits on the Art Nudes blog. The purpose of the post was to promote you, tell the world you're a great model and a photographer in your own right.

My blog is entirely non-monetized, that is, I get no "reward" for traffic, etc. so I'm not profiting off of others hard work. The sole purpose of my site is to promote artists, share information, and generally spread the word about the vibrant figure photography community.

In the seven years I've been doing this, out of 2000+ posts, I've received exactly one complaint and hundreds of notes of thanks. Seems like pretty good odds to me. For the record, I promptly removed the complainants material.

My take on it, is that this is fair use for the sake of review and education. If you consider someone saying nice things about you and sending traffic to your website a bad thing... well, all I can say is that 1,999 people out of 2000 don't.

FYI, the post of your photo, complete with several nice comments from your fans can be found here:

Zoe Wiseman said...

You should always notify the photographer. And allow the photographer to handle it.

It is absolutely against the law to even post photographs on blogger without permission from the photographer. this is wrong, ART RAPE! Theft.

Happy for exposure? Are you supposed to pay the thief too?

If someone is serious about having a blog. They should ask permission to us a photographers work. Period. I spend way too much time contacting bloggers with take down notices... and they are usually pricks about it when I tell them they do not have permission to steal my work. Like they have the RIGHT to MY images. It's a very communist way of thinking.