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Someone used my Photo without Consent

My son Alec was excited to tell me he saw on Instagram a photo of his Lacrosse hero Kyle Harrison receiving a gift from a well known sock company, ROCK EM. They sent the lacrosse star a pair of their socks with his name and his famous number 18 on them. Along with the socks, they sent him a photo I took of him during a game in Florida. Kyle used the image on Instagram and it was one of his most viewed images of 2013. Alec commented, “still using the shot haha. Love it!” He was excited to see the image as was I.

Later that day a friend stopped by for a visit. She’s a novice photographer. I wanted to test her and see what she thought about the company using my image without my knowledge. The shocked look on her face told me what I already knew. Photographers, especially new photographers, first reaction when someone uses their image without consent is to come out fighting. I asked her what should I say to them. She preceded to say I would send an email and say do you realize you are using MY image and I don’t appreciate it. I stopped her and smiled. I said listen to what I wrote them:

I’m the photographer that took the image of Kyle you graciously gave him (and socks) as a gift. I’m attaching a high resolution photo with a few edits. I’ll keep a look out for rockemapparel socks when I shoot the games.

Thanks for all you do with Lacrosse

ROCK’EM followed up with a sincere thank you email. Soon a great dialogue began.

Thank you for sending the HD photo our way! Great shot. Well have to print up a new one for Kyle and ourselves to hang in the office using this file. Very much appreciated!

Thanks,
-Steve

Steve,

You’re more than welcome. Kyle is a great influence for my son Alec. He will be attending Maryland’s Harford Jr College this year to play Lacrosse. His goal is to transfer to Maryland and finish his two years playing for them.

I teach a class on Sport’s Portraits. Lacrosse has been a main focus, mainly because of my son. I’m happy I can use my connections as a photographer for him to meet great players like Kyle.

if there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks again


Great to hear you have a son playing the sport! Looking forward to perhaps hearing his name on TV in a few years out in Maryland! Kyle is a great guy, fantastic to hear youve connected with him. Always a fun player to photograph Im sure. Again, thanks for sending over the HD photo. Well most likely have it blown up and put on the wall in our new warehouse space.

Were located in Orlando, I was poking around the website and saw youre in FL. Where are you located?

-Steve

Let’s step back for a moment. I’m not saying we give our images away for free or not to take legal measures when we need to. I’m suggesting we check our egos. I was honored Kyle used my image to promote the sport and he gave me photo credit. I was honored ROCK EM felt the image was worthy to print and hang in their new warehouse space. Had I fired off a nasty email, I would have easily ruin any chance of a potential client.

Now here is where I would draw the line with a company if they used an image without consent:

  • selling prints
  • Tabloid journalism
  • prospering from a news worthy event
  • used as a main image on their website
  • claimed the photo was theirs.
  • image was used in an advertisement to avoid paying a photographer

As photographers, we work hard to develop our skills so we can capture once in a lifetime photos. We should be paid for our quality photographs, no questions asked. I’m suggesting we think before we burn bridges.

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