Newspaper stole my image?


TPF Noob!
Feb 21, 2008
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New England
Can others edit my Photos
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I recently found my image of a friend in a newspaper article. I was not given credit, I was not notified it was published, I was not asked for permission to publish, and I was not compensated.

Honestly, I'm flattered that they used my image (I'm an aspiring photographer about to enter college for photography), but a bit upset that they "stole" my image.

I'm a bit unsure as to what I should do. Should I just keep quiet and be happy or let them know I'm upset?

It might not even be the newspaper's fault -- the person in the photograph might've illegally signed the ownership of the photograph to the newspaper.
I would ask the person in the photograph if they did, but I have no way of contacting them.

Thanks for your input,
Did they get the image from the person in the photo? If the person signed with the newspaper and you didn't sign with the person you could get on some legal action. Or you can just tell the newspaper to pay you your share if there was something illegal in the transaction of the photo.
I think it's pretty common for a newspaper to ask someone to send them a picture of themselves if they can't arrange for a mug/headshot to be taken or what-have-you. The assumption is that the person has rights to the image, and my guess is that this person assumed they had the rights to use the picture of themselves. So your gripe is really with your friend, most likely, unless the paper hunted the picture down themselves, which seems to be pretty unlikely.
Assuming you're not interested in taking some sort of legal action (which I probably wouldn't be -- it sounds like it may well have been an honest mistake), then I'd say just contact the newspaper and say very cordially that they ran a picture belonging to you without attribution.

Frankly, it's probably not the first time this sort of thing has happened -- I'd bet, given the number of pictures your typical newspaper runs, that little snafus happen from time to time and that they have some standard approach to working them out.

Depending on the size of the newspaper, you might ask them for a couple of bucks compensation (whatever they'd typically pay for that kind of shot) -- but I'd be inclined just to ask if they could publish a correction in their corrections section (which they'd probably agree to do). And, hey, maybe you can start building a relationship with them that might lead to more work sometime in the future (if you're interested in that sort of thing) -- it's worth a shot.
News papers are well aware of copyright laws and almost always take the proper measures to acuire photos. the fact they didn't tells me there was an error in communication somewhere, most likely the individual in the photo. Personally I would demand compensation under the threat of leagle action, Most news papers are not interested in having leagle action filed against them and should not take much posturing to be either compensated or be provided a formal appology in the next issue even if the threat is empty.
Regardless of how they aquired the photo, its still your photo. You retain copyright to that photo. Id send them a bill.

Did you give that photo away, or sell the image to someone (including copyright)? If so your out of luck.

you have gotten a range of responses so far, but given that you are flattered a bit I think you should find a way to make this into an opportunity. theotherbob suggests using this to begin a relationship with an editor and I agree this could be just the thing to give you a chance to build your portfolio of publications and get a little college change. I think you should call the editor and ask if there was some kind of misunderstanding about who owns the image. ask for a correction and let him know you would enjoy being a contributor. I'll bet you will get a correction, and maybe a chance at some work as long as you are professional and friendly.

make it work for you,

good luck
This happened to me once with a paper here in Sweden, a guy who I had given some photos to, made an ad to go in the paper using some one of my pics. He forgot to tell me about it till the day after it was published ... I heard about it first from another photog who recognised the pic. Then the guy mentioned it to me and sort of asked is it OK to use your pic, well, not much you can say once it has already been published .. so it wasn't the paper, it was the guy, and that may be the case for you too.

The problem here is that papers do not want to pay for pics from outsiders, because they have their own employed photograhpers, so if they ask to use one of your photos, and you say yes if you pay me, they'll look elsewhere instead ... happened to that photog who saw my pic, a newspaper asked to used some of his pics but when he politely enquired about compensation, they said they didn't want to use the pics if they had to pay ...
As has been said, just give them a call. Not much else that can be, or is worth being done. Cut out the photo and put it aside. I've a nice little batch of clippings of my photos used in various papers, local magazines and newsletters. Some have an attribution, some don't. Fun to look through once in awhile though.
Just clip it and start your "String Book". Generally speaking, newspaper will not pay for photos unless they are exclusive in nature of something extraordinary.

I would communicate with the editor that it was your photo and ask if there can be some type of attribution (toss in that you're just entering collage and looking at photo journalism as a major). After the editor trys to disuade you from that major ask him/her if you can work as a stringer.


PS- I wouldn't bring up $$$, in a few more years there will not be any major newspapers in the US printing on a daily basis as we know today.
Thanks so much for the replies --
I'm not looking for compensation, just recognition.
I definitely believe it was just a communication error between my friend and the newspaper -- they must have asked for a picture, and he gave them one (that happened to be taken by me).

I guess I'll just clip it out and save it. Not much I can do (or would bother doing).

Thanks again.
Thanks so much for the replies --
I'm not looking for compensation, just recognition.
I definitely believe it was just a communication error between my friend and the newspaper -- they must have asked for a picture, and he gave them one (that happened to be taken by me).

I guess I'll just clip it out and save it. Not much I can do (or would bother doing).

Thanks again.

wow.... I applaud you for not being like the majority of people who would just want to sue and get rich in this crappy economy we have! I think what your doing is very respectable :thumbup: good job
Well, I think it is a mistake to not do anything. At the very least, notify them that you are the photographer who owns the rights, that you are not looking for any monetary return, and ask POLITELY for credit in some form.

I am sure they will do that, if you are diplomatic, professional and polite.
I was thinking about that, at least give them a call. Stand up a bit, call and just introduce yourself. See what's up, be nice and go for it. You never know who you're talking to- make it into an opportunity. You'll feel better for it too.
I would ask for credit,and be polite. In a year or two you may need a internship for college credit(or now just for fun, or to put on a college application), so try to prop that door open now.

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