This week I stood up for myself against a company using one of my images without permission. I won’t divulge the company, but they used my basking shark image (above). It’s a picture that gets ripped off quite a bit.

In the past, I made the mistake of lending it to an NGO for a report cover and they used it to publicise the report in the media. It was picked up by news agencies and the image was used all over the place. It was fine while it was used in connection to that news story and information giving with the press release stated single-use in connection to the story. That didn’t stop everyone and I mean international newspapers and magazines from thinking they were free to use it whenever they pleased.

I fought to get a kill notice put on the image which eventually happened.But my advice is be very careful who you lend pictures to and make sure both parties know what is expected.

However, small companies still find the image and think its ok to just take it. There aren’t many good basking shark images and this one seems to be very attractive to the magpie web developers.

So I used the Google bookmarklet I talked about in my last post and found several new companies using the image. One was a poster company in dumpville, eastern Europe or some such place. You know where they feel it’s ok to steal anything online. I sent them several emails and haven’t heard a thing (not really a surprise).

I then found it on the travel company’s site. I sent them an email to find out where they had gotten hold of it. After a bit of tooing and frooing with emails, the MD was apologetic and tried with simply take the picture down, but I pushed for a copyright infringement fee and a couple of months usage.

He didn’t really have a case. He clearly used my picture without permission. So he has agreed to pay. It’s not a great deal of money, but it is something. I wanted to share this with you to show that copyright infringement is not a right of the internet generation and fighting back is possible and the right thing to do.