What to do when your photos are stolen

>> Saturday, 19 November 2011

It happens to everyone. Perhaps it happens more and more often these days. Either because people think that images that they find online are free to use (totally wrong) or because they think that the chances of being caught are very small (only too right).

So, you have found that someone has used your image, on-line, in print or in some other way.

Your photos have been "stolen", you have been subject to copyright theft, someone is infringing on your intellectual property - it has many names.

What should you do?

What you can do and how is slightly different depending on in which jurisdiction or which country you are.

The EPUK (Editorial Photographers United Kingdom & Ireland) recently published a very good article about it. It is of course focused on what you can (and should) do in the UK, but the advice is quite applicable in most places.

In short

  • Find the infringement (breach of copyright, unautorised use) of your photograph, AND DOCUMENT IT CAREFULLY AND IN DETAIL
  • Estimate how much you think you should be compensated for the unauthorised use, including at least: 1) license fee, plus 2) fee for unauthorised use
  • Contact the infringer with an initial letter
  • Claim money
  • Get paid
Not as easy as that, but the article contains much good advice!
The article also contains sample letters to send to the infringer - very useful!

Read the full article here: Stolen photographs: what to do? on the EPUK site, written by Simon Crofts, photographer and lawyer.

There's even a pdf version of the article that you can download and file for when you need it...


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