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Photograph copyright infringement

Photograph copyright infringement

Photograph copyright infringement

I was doing an online search a few days ago (engineering-related search on unbonded post-tensioned concrete tendon failures) and deep within the search results I found a link and PDF document (from a Canadian structural engineering consultancy web site - FIRM 1) that includes a photograph that I took back in 2002.

The company is using the photograph in a promotional/informational manner, without credit.

I do not know the engineering FIRM 1, nor any of its current employees.

I checked my digital photograph library and found the original subject photograph - along with other similar photos I took from the project on the same day.

I have never uploaded the photograph to the internet.

The photograph is distinctly mine - the project location, the building, and the subject matter are very unique.

After doing a bit of 'digging' I found a connection from the subject photograph to FIRM 1. Back in 2002 I requested a proposal from an engineer working for FIRM 2 (a Canadian firm) for the subject project and sent him some photographs of the building. This engineer left FIRM 2 sometime well after 2002. The engineer evidently worked for FIRM 1 until about 2017 at which time he has left to another firm. That appears the only logical link of the photograph that I sent to him at FIRM 1 to FIRM 2, albeit that he no longer works there.

A bit convoluted.

Anyway, given that I took the photograph and there is no credit given, nor permission for use, I am going to email FIRM 1 a 'cease and desist' letter.

By me emailing a copy of the photograph to the engineer whilst he was at FIRM 2 does that complicate the infringement, or is it irrelevant, given I did not give permission for use or transfer of use?

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

I'd contact the firm using the photograph and ask them for photographic credit, else have it removed. If they do neither, then I would consider it infringement unless your employer at the time gave them authorisation... then send out the cease and desist... you may own the copyright, but your old firm may own the photograph.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?


RE: Photograph copyright infringement

How about not mentioning Firm 2 at all. I would approach Firm 1 in a pleasant manner, first. Go from there based on how they react. Before choosing that course of action, I would see if I can find any other instances of materials used/stolen without permission. The effort I'd spend on that would have to be equivalent to the loss I think I suffer from the other uncredited photo, if any.

Please remember: we're not all rednecks!

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

If the photo was taken in the course of employment, the employer will own the copyright. At least that is how it works in my part of the world.

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

Thanks for the replies.

I shall be reaching out to the firm with a friendly tone in the first instance. I used to live in Canada so I appreciate how the ‘Canucks’ work, eh...so nice.

FYI - I took the photograph as the owner of my own company so there is no employee/employer issue.

I shall post back with an update as soon as I hear back.

Thanks all.

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

Ask for money. They took; you get.

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

Unless I thought the photo had market potential, and they were cutting into that market, I can't think why I'd bother even mentioning it. There's no obvious benefit for the time spent doing so.

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

I wouldn't pursue something like this unless I felt like it had harmed me in some way. None of us in this business have infinite resources to go do photography, and we need to do marketing, so we find images where we can get them. Can you take a "what goes around comes around attitude"?

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

==> UPDATE: 02/02/2021

They immediately removed the article (and therefore photograph) from the internet.

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

@Ingenuity.....that was quick! Good result.

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

The Canadian approach; works every time.

Please remember: we're not all rednecks!

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

What all images that we can use without copyright issues? Can copy a sketch from Say, 100 year old paper from AIEE transactions or Electrical engineering? Can I use a photo from google images?

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

Depending upon locale (i.e., country), copyright has a time limit... for the US, since the photo was taken after 1978 (I'm assuming), it's lifetime of the copyright holder + 70 years. Since the OP is still alive (and assuming he holds the copyright and not his previous employer), he gets to say when it can/can't be used.

Your 100 year old AIEE transactions is just before 1923, and everything before then is in the public domain. If you said a 98 year old article, it would still be public domain, but only by (up to) ~31 years (or more if the original owner didn't renew ownership).

Source of the photo (e.g. Google) is irrelevant to copyright... you have to research and find the actual owner. Just because Google makes it easy to find an image doesn't mean it will be as easy to find the copyright owner.

Dan - Owner

RE: Photograph copyright infringement

Consider the "advertising value" for YOUR name and YOUR company ID to be credited by the other firm's advertising budget.

You're getting your name out there on their dime, and with their "reference" implied for your profitable "idea".

So I'd be very, very careful (crafty or polite) in your approaches so they do not pay you 50.00 for the copyright, and then delete the image entirely because they're irritated at your attitude.

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