Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The day someone stole my image, I sued them and I won!

I'm nestled in my lovely comfy bed knowing that I should probably be up, alert and getting ready to go to a meeting with a lovely lady I'm mentoring so she can have world domination (well besides me anyway) but I'm too snuggly, cosy and warm and I found the perfect excuse not to move for a little while longer....a blog update!!

So, what a week it's been, I've been present by my absence because it's that time of year when the good people of the Northeast all want family photographs, and mostly all on the same perfect autumnal golden lit afternoon, I may only be one woman but I've shot so many sessions you could be forgiven for thinking I'd been cloned, it's just a shame that one of me didn't have time to update my blog!

So, anyway, yes, a couple of months ago, this happened - 


Yes, imagine my surprise as I discovered that Ramside Hall, a Durham hotel and I'm Bored Northeast were both using an image of mine (the bottom one) which had been, shall we say, fairly bastardised? As you can imagine I was extremely angry about it and contacted both parties only to discover that Ramside Hall were the route of the problem, they thought they could just take the image above and use it for whatever they wanted, they claimed they couldn't find the creator but a 0.21 second reverse image search on Google images would have lead them back to the creator, i.e. me.

I sent them an invoice for breach of copyright which they refused to pay, not a massive amount of money, just the same amount as I sell images on my New York  agency, Imagebrief, the truth is I could have asked for a lot more but I am a reasonable sort of person, Ramside were using the image to promote their ticketed event which lead to financial gain, it's bad enough to breach copyright in any situation but to use it for your own financial gain is beyond reproach.

So this is what I did and if it happens to you, here's the procedure which worked exceedingly well -

I sent them the invoice for 2 breaches and gave them 7 days to pay instructing them that if they didn't I would simply take them to court using the small claims court.  7 days later I used the small claims system (costing £60 but you get that back if they lose and pay) and that gave them 30 days to respond from the date I put in my claim.

on October the 6th I won, I asked for the payment by immediate effect and again they ignored that so I sent a quick email with all of the official case numbers informing them that they had 7 days or my next step would be to execute the warrant.  less than 24 hours passed before they settled.

This was never about the money, it was about taking a stand and saying that it's wrong to steal and images are worth the same as diamonds, i'm a photographer, my images are my worth.

I hope that Ramside Hall have learned from this experience and I certainly feel victorious that I stood up for myself and photographers everywhere.

Oh and if you are a blogger (I'm talking to you "I'm bored Northeast) you might want to make sure that those images you are using are yours to use because the truth is that I could have launched a separate claim against you, I didn't because you replied with an impassioned plea and Ramside took responsibility telling me they told IBNE to post it, well the next time someone asks you to post something, particularly if it's intellectual property you might want to make sure 1, twice or even three times that you know where it comes from.

and now I really must get up, I have mentoring to do.









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