More image mis-use/abuse - input on how to proceed?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by tirediron, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Okay, now it's my turn to ask, someone's using my images without permission.... sort of...

    A couple of years ago, I created this image for Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs, a local non-profit that specializes in providing PTSD service dogs to disabled Veterans:

    [​IMG]

    The intent of the image was to use it as a 'Thank-you' to sponsors and donors above a certain dollar value. Each time they had a corporate donor, their fund-raising chair would e-mail me the details, and I would customize the image with text appropriate to that donor, thanking them for their support. IIRC, I produced something in the order of two dozen.

    In the spring, I did a major advertising shoot for the charity and heard nothing. I found out shortly after that the fund-raising chair with whom I had been working for several years, had parted ways with the charity, and the entire several days of shooting and processing was binned. Okay... I'm over that; annoying, but stuff happens.

    Looking through facespace today, and came across two different posts using the image:

    [​IMG]

    and

    [​IMG]


    Unbenknownst to me, VICD has now become part of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs. I had no arrangement or agreement with them, and, more importantly, someone is having their way with the image. In both cases the dog's tail has been removed (and NOT very well), and in the second image, they've stretched it to make room for text, again, very crudely.

    Now, the question. I have nothing on paper regarding the use of the image, and I'm not bothered that they're using it; I am a strong supporter of BOTH organizations, but I am bothered that someone's hacking up my work, and I'm annoyed that a different organization is using my work without so much as courtesy, "Hey, John, do you mind if we...." to which I would have been happy to give permission.

    How best to proceed? I don't want to tell them not to use the image; if it can help the charity, great, I'm all for it, but at the same time, I have a big issue with them editing it, especially removing Sarge's tail!

    My first intent is to contact them and stress, that while I'm more than happy for them to continue using the image, if they want changes done, please contact me, and I'll take care of it. I'm less sure on what to do about the banner.... it REALLY bothers me that they've removed his tail, but I'd feel like a bit of a Richard telling them to scrap a $600+ pop-up banner.


     
  2. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    A Richard???? We aren't that subtle in the south. LOL In reading your post it sounds a lot like venting, and that you've already answered your own question of what to do.

    It's nice to be acknowledged for our good deeds, but the reality is when your day comes for final judgement, the only thing being counted are the deeds themselves. I doubt that your decision to give of your time an talent was contingent on being consulted or acknowledged at some point in the future. Having been in similar situations I've found it really hard to bite my tongue while reminding myself of why I was involved in the first place, but sometimes you just have to do it and make adjustments for the future. I see nothing wrong with formalizing in writing the conditions for use of an image, even if it was a gift, because it still remains a representation of your work which could have consequences for you down the road.
     
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  3. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I like the idea of contacting them to say they are welcome to use the image without altering it and that if they need it altered they should contact you and you will decide if/how the alteration is done.
     
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  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I know what I think I'm going to do, but I guess the real question is, "Am I being reasonable?" Or, should I just get over myself and ignore it? As silly as it might sound, the thing that bothers me more than anything is the fact that they removed his tail.

    Thanks Sharon... that's what feels right to me.
     
  5. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The organization seems to assume they own the image or can use it how they want because it's now in their posession, or they just didn't think about it either way, whether or not it's OK to go ahead and use it.

    They probably need to be contacted to let them know you're the photographer, own the copyright, etc. and you'd be glad to continue to allow them to use it but they need to have you do the editing, etc. I mean, whacking off the doggie's tail of all things! It looks ridiculous.

    Maybe now would be a good time to get something in writing, even if you're donating photos, your time, etc. If you ignore it what else may happen? who knows. And handling it in the professional way that you do and will, they may want to work with you in the future.
     
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  6. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    IMO it doesn't sound silly. What if they would have put him in tutu???:aiwebs_016: I don't think reaching out to them is a bad idea either. There's a possibility that if the other person left, they didn't know who to contact, and just assumed the image was theirs to use as they pleased. I'm curious on the editing did they have the digital file????
     
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  7. Tim Tucker 2

    Tim Tucker 2 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A couple of points. In the confusion that is modern management in change you have to allow for the possibility that in a charity people are no longer aware of the agreement, or your feelings.

    The second point I feel must be made is that although I wouldn't question your ability to create the image and know whats best for a photo, you must also trust their designers to know what's best for promoting the charity. Also allowing for the confusion that is modern management in change...

    You've done your job and in a way you must let go and let them do their's. They may not be the best with photoshop and you may not be the best to promote the charity. All I'm saying is that there is a conflict because your idea of best photo is to promote what you do well, whereas the best use of the photo to promote is what they hope to do well.

    Somewhere along the line you must let go of the image and trust them to use it to what they feel is best.
     
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  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good point... I am more than happy to continue working for them, but I do need to at least get this on the record.

    Thanks! I am crafting a letter to them as we speak. Yes they had many digital copies as their office is about 60 miles north of me, so when there wasn't time for me to print and ship, I would send a finished digital file and it would be printed locally.

    I take your point Tim, but I'm afraid that I can't just let it go. While I appreciate that there was doubtless some churn in the office, there is no way they didn't know who to contact,, and it's been made very clear to them that part of my donation is preparing the images for print/use. Arbitrary editing of someone else's images is something about which I feel VERY strongly. I'm not likely to push the issue too hard, but for my own peace of mind, I need to be on the record about this.
     
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  9. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Anyone with the PS skills (?) to clone out the tail should know they are stepping on your copyright, and should also know they are doing it illegally. Make them stop. Even if you have to sue somebody. Don't be so extraordinarily condescending as to allow them any leeway.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would wager that if the person you were dealing with directly has left the company and that the company has now merged this is a case of them simply getting crossed wires. Chances are that image was in a bundle of images "used for promotional purposes" and legally speaking it seems that you (at least verbally or in email) gave them the rights to use the image for promotional purposes. So chances are it was just in there with a bundle of other ones. The fact that you were to be kept in the loop and involved with it might have been something on a sticky note in another folder; or even just something in the mangers head when you were dealing with them. These are the kinds of things that just get forgotten when there's a handover, esp if its not just handing over one staffer to another but also merging companies. The merge might have resulted in them streamlining image databases and things that didn't quite fit perfectly into neat categories might have got pushed into them.

    So this might have been in a folder of "hey email these guys when you use it but otherwise we own it" and got sorted into a "we own it and can use it."

    Heck it might even be that they are fully aware and that in all the confusion of the merger and new staff they forgot or assumed someone else had communicated with you.



    I'd give them a polite email/call and explain your position. That you're basically saying "hey you can keep using it and I'm not suing you and I'll even edit it for you" kinda just means that you're offering them all the bonuses. I'd try to combine it with conversion on your involvement with them in the future and your desire to keep working with them to produce new work. That way you get what you're after and you don't come off as a "controlling busybody" which would likely make them just dump the image and likely your services as "someone who is going to cause a faff" etc...
     
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  11. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm not after compensation, and at the end of the day, the work this group is doing is far more important than any single image of mine. I do want them to be aware however.

    The rights were to use, subject to me doing any editing required ('though that was actually more because the person with whom I was dealing likely didn't know Photoshop from a photo shop. Your suggestion is spot on!
     
  12. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Update: Already heard back from the Managing Director with an apology and an acknowledgement of "Ooops... we shouldn't oughta' done that...". So, I think all is good. My main concern was that they be made aware.
     
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