Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thievery! OK, Maybe That's A Little Strong. Lack Of Consideration!

Someone sharp eyed contacted me this morning on the knitting social networking website Ravelry to let me know that a Belgian yarn store is using one of my Flickr photos in their advertising. Nice, right? Like, don't ask me for permission or anything! They didn't even give me credit for the photo either.

I know that this is a risk when you post stuff on Das Internetz, but still it's definately unethical. Somewhat optimistically I assume people will play nice and at least ask for permission. Over the years I have had a few people ask to use my photos, and I have sometimes said yes depending on the nature of the intended use. I would be really annoyed if I made a living from my photos, but then I guess I would have unfortunately had to have take steps to make them less accessible.

Updated:

Proof! The woman who kindly let me know about it, scanned the brochure from the company for me. Low and behold (bottom left), there is my "Coffee & Koigu" pic from last year's Worldwide Knitting In Public Day.




Look familiar?

WWKIP Day 2007



I think I'm going to pursue this further. I'm pissed off for myself, but looking at the brochure (I just posted a snippet here) it is packed full of photos. But just whose photos?

19 comments:

Michael said...

It's kind of flattering, though?

Tom said...

That's a bit cheeky. What have you set the creative commons thingy to on flickr?

Mature option is to send them an email asking them to stop or pay royalties or something.

Immature but far more amusing option is to replace the image with something raunchy and hope they're linking directly to it so it will mess up their advertising!

The Other Andrew said...

Michael, yes it is kind of. I did actually have that reaction as well initially.

Tom, they downloaded the photo because they are using it in print. It's a good point about the Creative Commons thing, but I'm not sure what a difference that really makes. I don't really care about compensation, I just think it's unethical to not ask.

Mikey (TLE) said...

And a breach of your copyright in the photo.

The issue is if they are deriving economic benefit from your work (and clearly they are).

Let me know if you need one of those nasty "cease and desist" letters.

Quatrefoil said...

It's more than unethical, it's a breech of copyright. They're making money out of your creative property, so yes, thievery is the right word. Just because you post an image on the internet doesn't grant anyone the right to reproduce it. Creative commons only applies if you explicitly state it does - otherwise you own the rights of reproduction and what's known as the moral rights to the work - these include the right to be identified as the creator of the work, and the right to the integrity (not using parts of the image out of context for example) of the work. Since they are using the image to make money, you are owed payment for it - I'd suggest you ask them for it. Especially since you could do with the money.

Mel said...

You absolutely need to pursue it or it can be construed as de facto permission to use the image. They stole your work for their own gain, so they need to desist or compensate you. And since they've already put it into print, I guess it's a little late to desist.

Even with the Creative Commons licence, it allows for strictly non-commercial use, which is obviously not the case here.

james said...

If they've done this, chances are they aren't gonna want to pay you royalties. I reckon a simple email asking for an acknowledgement and link to your flickr site would be great. That way if people see work you like they can know how to find more of your stuff.

K-A said...

It's rude. Do you have access to Photoshop? You can add watermarks to your images. As well you may add ownership information, which is encoded to the image itself.

I would imagine there are less expensive programmes available, which can do the same thing. You may wish to investigate.

the fox said...

Hi Andrew,
lack of consideration was in this man's opinion not the Raison d'ĂȘtre by the rip-off artists, but opportunism, expected lack of being persued/hunted by you for royalties, expectation of stealing on internet seen as no crime, all these were and then some more.

Yes, you definitely should persue these guys, they and many others will need to learn that 'borrowing' a pic from the net is one thing, but using it for comercial use and benefit quite another. Have you found out which company it is? Maybe your friends at ravelry can bombard these guys with emails requesting recompense and/or withdrawal of the literature. Maybe just talking to them might actually clear things up.

Hopefully this will not discourage you to continue to post your pix which are always such a delight, so beautiful (not surprised someone stole the odd one or two).

John C said...

Flattering yes, but aggravating. Knowing the way some designers work it may have been more about laziness than anything. I had a lazy designer rather blatantly copy a poster design of mine earlier this year. Doesn't help that Flickr has a user-variable policy on how you want people to use or not use your pictures; some people may well think everything there is up for grabs.

I have a fairly loose attitude to this where my own work is concerned. In theory I don't mind piracy too much since it's a form of free advertising. There's a poorly-scanned copy of one of my Lovecraft adaptations floating around the net. If someone is making a mint from it then you call the lawyers but anyone who can make a mint from my work would have to be a financial genius. Some German band used one of my pictures on a CD cover without asking but I wasn't too worried about that either. They did credit me and sent me a copy of the CD when I asked for one.

If they've printed your picture they're unlikely to pulp all their catalogues so I'd ask them to maybe show some respect and at least send you some freebies. I imagine most companies would prefer that to someone raising a fuss about them.

Mindy said...

I'd point out that they've been caught and that perhaps they might like to make amends by sending you some lovely yarns, which you can share with your friend from Ravelry. Also, if they reprint the catalogue with the photo to acknowledge the source.

Michael said...

I can see why they stole it!

Andy's Crafts said...

Hey Andrew:

I would contact them and ask them to put the credit on the picture of who it belonged to or take it off. They will do it again. They may be making money from it, it will be nice if they offer to purchase the picture rights from you! So think about how much you may want for the picture.

Anonymous said...

Make sure you do not give away all your rights to the image you want to licence the image for them to use in this publication and state that you have the right to use it elsewhere. Just because something is published on the internet people think they can download it and use it as they wish. If you did to that to their images I bet they would have something to say about it!!

The Other Andrew said...

I don't want to be over the top about it, and I possibly might have let him use it if he'd asked. I think it's the lack of attribution that is a big issue for me. Apparently it's being used on his website too, although I haven't yet checked that. If that's the case then I might be able to get him to at least give me attribution on his website.

And maybe some free yarn. Free yarn would be good.

Jodie Sorrell said...

the Swines! they need to pass some of teh profit they are making from your lovely image on to you.

Get an online account at www.dreamstime.com (it's a image database) then you can post your pictures and get paid for them!

wingdingo said...

Send them an invoice.

M-H said...

Those are my knitting projects, aren't they? Actually, I don't think that either of them are Koigu - the green was a sock yarn that Ted sent me from Canada (socks for my daughter), and the red-toned one is Lorna's Laces (icord gloves for me). I definitely think you should contact them

Anonymous said...

Hmm hi Andrew - just looking back on the posts and I believe further proof of ownwership is in the reflection of the teaspoon, should it be needed...