There's more mileage left in my Great White Shark Cage Dive Adventure, but today I needed to pop into town and deal with a little copyright infringement. Just a silly little thing, but one I didn't want to let slip.
It all started last year when I shot the delightful Stewart family in some promotional pictures for St Clair Beach resort, at the request of my friend, hospitality expert, tourism consultant and new dive buddy James Hacon. James paid for the pictures, and the deal was that I'd also supply the family with a set for personal, non-commercial use. As in most cases, I retained full copyright over my images. I don't sell my pictures, I give you a licence to use them, in whichever way we agree.
So the other day, some tweets from Sarah alerted me to the fact that a picture I'd taken of her beautiful daughter El had turned up on posters around town and on the web, advertising a local bar and cafe, most likely taken from El's facebook page. Clearly a case of unauthorised commercial use.
I didn't want to play the heavy, so I contacted the proprietor of said bar (who I'm familiar with) and politely explained the situation and more importantly, the solution. First, I'd check with El that it's okay for the bar to use her image to advertise, and for a very nominal fee, I'd not only licence the picture, but I'd provide a much better digital copy than the low-res, squished version used.
Offer accepted, problem solved. But I couldn't get over my proprietor friend's ignorance of copyright issues in advertising the bar. Just taking a picture off the internet to use commercially is no different to me walking in and helping myself to use of the venue for a night. I think I'll just have to accept that people are going to do this - mostly out of ignorance. Whatever their motives, it means I'm going to be a little more vigilant about unauthorised use of my work.