What do I do if someone uses my photos without my permission?


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QOTD  from Patricia: "Question from Patricia: "Need advise...I shot an event, and they asked to make the photos available via my website for purchase....well, some of them have taken sceen shots, and cut the photo out, and posted it to their facebook. (keep in mind that the person in charge of the event, paid of of pocket for these pictures to happen, so the others are actually selling from her) Do I send an invoice the people who stole? Do I call the person who booked me and let her handle it? and how many of you who offer this to your clients, set up you gallery so that this doesnt have to you?"

Natalie: In my other business, we contact the people who did wrong in the first place. I would contact the people who stole from you explaining that you hope it was an honest mistake that they didn't realize what they were actually doing in their excitement to share the images. Give them a time frame to remove/delete what they stole and share your link the correct way. Make sure to state that if they don't comply that you will have to take further action such as contacting the person who booked from you and/or filing a report through Facebook and then if you have your images copyrighted let them know the legal actions you will have to take against them if they still don't comply. Try to sound completely understanding and helpful.

K Alize: You should put a visible, big watermark over the photos. You can set it up to where the photo they receive won't have it's only on the sample photo

K Alize:  You can flag the photo for copyright infringement and FB will take it down.
2) The decision who would be the one to contact the person is based on who will be profiting from the sales of these photos.
Unfortunately, with you posting without watermarking this is an example of a risk you are taking.

Natalie: Also about the gallery, if you can afford it, find an inexpensive lab that provides professional online albums for your clients to order through. I am a big fan of PIctage and their starter package is only $29 a month. You set your own prices for prints and have your clients order and reorder through them. They place a huge watermark on the images for you so that doesn't happen. :-)

Julie Shi Photography: So sorry to hear this, but it does happen a lot in this industry. I would contact the person/persons who did this and ask if they understand what they are doing. Sometimes people have no idea that there are copyright laws with photography especially when that person sees a picture of themselves. Give them a chance to redeem their actions in a timely manner. If this doesn't happen then you'll have to engage in another conversation with them. I'm sure they won't be able to print the shot with any clarity as most online galleries reduce the pixel size to 72dpi. But, the image will work on screen. It's too bad we experience things like this. I've often thought of including a watermark on my gallery images, but then the process takes twice as long. I hope this situation works out for your in a healthy, productive manner.

Stephanie: This is the most unfortunate part of the industry. If you over react to the situation you may hurt your chances of booking sessions in the future. If you under react will continue to be taken advantage of. Watermarking is a simple solution however it sounds like you are past that point. It also would be nearly impossible to police this on a large scale. When approaching the individuals whom have taken directly from you as put the photos on your site for purchase. I would contact these individuals and explain to them in the nicest way possible that there is a fee for posting images to social medias, as such taking these images is in violation of Facebook's policy for the use of copyrighted materials. Then I would offer them the opportunity to purchase a "social media upload" package. I wish you the best of luck in this situation as it can be very tricky to manage. :)

Leah:  I like the idea of the social media package

Krystle: I use smugmug u can set up online gallerys.and u have the option in setting to.protect them.and.they cant copy them anf its only $8 a month

Michelle: I watermark everry image I put in my clent's online gallery. I also have a digital download option perfect for social media. I make it clear in the description that the watermark will be ledt on the digital download.

Joanna:  I watermark every image that I have taken through my business, whether it is for a client or not. That way, if someone uses the image, my copyright is smack in the middle of it. We also have our website set up so that you cannot copy the images. The only way they are going to get them is through a screen shot, with my logo. Have the discussion, then have facebook pull the images. That seems to be the most effective

Patricia: Thanks everyone! I took care of the watermark this morning...to me it is annoying, but it gets the job done! Makes it look ugly to others so they will think twice about doing it again. Going to email them seperately tonight...Ill let you know what happens.

Patricia: oh and if you want to see the watermark....www.tnfotos.com

Mel: Another thought: I appreciate you asking if I can do that for you, but that is not part of what we contracted to do. That, plus the very visible watermark.

Patricia: Just an update: They both admitted taking the photos from a screen shot, and are going to pay for it!


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