Copyright Infringement

Yesterday, while checking some online real estate listings, my wife came upon a listing for some acreage up the coast from us. On the listing were nine of my photographs taken from my other blog site kennethmcmillan-photography. My watermark had been cropped off each photograph.  I contacted the real estate office, the web site designer and the agent and voiced my annoyance. The agent got back to me and said the photos had been given to her by the owners of the property.  She apologized and said the photographs would either be removed or I would be given credit for them as per my instructions to her.  I mentioned to her that just because something is published on the Internet it can not be taken and freely used by someone else. I am not a professional photographer and have many photographs on my blog sites and Flickr. I am happy to give people the use of my photographs at no cost if they ask permission to do so. I know of close to 60 sites who have done so, all giving me the proper credit. The removal of my copyright and signature in this case is very distasteful to me and has given me the impetus to pursue it.

If anyone finds themselves in my position there is an excellent WordPress post by Lorelle VanFossen called What To Do When Someone Steals your Content 

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19 comments

  1. It is infuriating (as well as dishonest, and a legal infringement) when people take your work and pass it off as their own. It’s one of the big downsides of posting anything on the internet. We all need to be vigilant, and take people to task. Sometimes it is done in all innocence. However, removing copyright does imply deliberate infringement. Good on you for pursuing it, and telling us about it.

    • I am giving the agent the benefit of the doubt but in reality it is her responsibility to make sure the listing is legal and correct. People need to be educated about what is acceptable when using material from the Internet.

  2. This is really awful, and unfortunately happens a lot. There’s no excuse in any case (unless you absolutely cannot find the creator of the content — in which case, I say so and invite people to let me know), but to cut off your watermark is unconscionable and is obviously not a simple mistake or oversight. Good for you for pursuing the matter.

  3. Interesting – maybe the agent had no idea, but I bet the property owner did. And cropping out your watermark? Well, that shows someone wasn’t being honest. Glad you pursued it.


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