Friday, 28 August 2009

Copyright of Photographs on The Net

Copyright Symbol

When I started the Leeds daily photo on Christmas Eve 2008 I had no real idea of where this blog my take me. I hoped my photography would improve and that I would explore places in Yorkshire that I had never been to.

I never thought much if at all about copyright and its application to my work after all I am not much of a writer and never have pretended to be so. That said I guess like many of the Daily photo community my photographs and photography is a whole different issue.

I created the image above showing the copyright symbol showing the circle enclosing a c because I did not want to use an image belonging to someone else. I am no wiz with graphics but it did not take me long to create my own image with the copyright symbol on it and then I watermarked this picture with my


I well recall Babooshka over at Ramsey daily photo doing a good impression of someone outraged by the theft of one of her images by a well known BIG media company. Having read her story I guess I was more surprised that a big household name company would do such a thing rather than outraged.

My story today means that I get to post a photograph from earlier on the Leeds DP a new thing for me. So far each photograph on my blog is a new one, until today that is. I posted about Temple Newsam home farm in March of this year and included in the post a photo of a Tamworth piglet with part of a small girl in the photo.

This image you can see below, I have added large watermark copyright to make my point!

Image Copyright

Last night I was looking at Google images around Leeds to see how well I was doing with various search terms and was quite pleased with the results. Then I noticed the picture of the Tamworth piglet and little girl and underneath was the URL: name "". Now I have never heard of this outfit nor had any dealings with them. I have always had a soft spot for pigs, especially those rare breeds including the Tamworth pig.

This is the original post that I did about Temple Newsam home farm, Leeds. Showing on the post my original picture of the Tamworth piglet, note I never used to watermark copyright into my pictures.

This is the borrowed image of the same Tamworth piglet Note the URL is nothing to do with Leeds DP and I have never given, sold or licensed any pig image.

Interesting... Now I have given some thought to this issue today and think I have several options. Do I....

A, Send the company an invoice for the image £250.

B, Ask the company to explain my Tamworth pig image appearing on their website.

C, Ring them up and ask them if they want to buy some stock photographs. If they say they never do refer them to option B.

D, Send hosting service of the website a cease and desist notice giving them 24 hours to remove the offending image.

Then finally the nuclear option...

E, If option D fails mail Google (hard copy) and ask them to remove the offending page from their SERPS and file a DMCA complaint (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) with Google.

Oddly I mentioned the image being used to someone I know this afternoon and he said "well its in the public domain", now you should know this guy earns his living by a picture framing business that he owns and runs. By that thought anything on a shelf in the supermarket could be thought of as in the public domain.

A couple of months ago I started to watermark the images I used in this blog.

Your thoughts on this subject will be appreciated.


  1. Folk get annoyed sometimes about how I add a copyright notice to my pics but it's needed. I get the same thing with my poetry too. When people ask I always say yes if they are non-commercial there's no question of asking for payment but when they just TAKE it sends out the wrong message. What shocks me most the attitude of it is OK to do it.

  2. I'd send them an invoice. That picture must be worth at least, say £25k...

    I've suffered some intellectual property theft too. Imagine my surprise on flicking through the Diocese of Bradford's annual report one Sunday morning before a church service to find a nice little piece about a local cafe run by a vicar that had been lifted word for word from a post I wrote a couple of months before. I contacted the Diocese, and had a great conversation with their press officer who apologised profusely and put it down to miscommunication, which I accept was the case.

    The funny thing is, if they'd called me and asked to use my content, I would have been absolutely thrilled and delighted to give it to them.

    All in all, it's a good idea to keep a watch of your virtual back and challenge any dodginess.

  3. I fully acknowledge your concerns, but, surely, a simple copyright symbol and 'Please contact the writer for permission to use' (at the bottom of the picture), would be sufficient? The broad watermark, used in your example, takes away the pleasure of looking at the pictures and suggests that the site is not so much a blog but a commercial operation. Just my 2 cents ... :) BTW, being away from Leeds for going on thirty years, I always try to guess where the picture was taken before looking up the title. Keep up the good work but don't spoil the pictures!

  4. Don't mess about just tell them you want it removed or you want paying. At the end of the day it is YOUR image. I've been approached for photos before for student publications but when I mentioned payment they told me they weren't interested, which is fine by me. I have also sold a link in a past post. That came out of the blue and £40 was received, thank you very much!

    I did a through search for Cheltenham images and found all mine related to my blog, which was nice.

    Anyway, if you want more info or input email Babooshka - she helped me out with an idea of pricing etc. She knows her stuff!

    Hope you get it sorted out,

  5. I think it's important to address this issue as it comes up...send a letter...cease and desist or pay up and give credit where credit is due!!!


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