Why am I posting this?
I want to write about a topic that is for many photographers out there important. A couple of weeks ago, I started to google my name, as I sometimes do, to check what informations about me are out there in the digital world, that I might not want to be published or that I do want to be published. Well as becoming more and more confident being a photographer, trying to take it to the next level in becoming a pro, I always question myself and my work.
So when I googled myself, I found out, that someone has used one of my images that I entered in a photo competion of the National Geographic in 2014. This person using my image didn’t ask me for permission. The same thing happened to me with someone else who used one of my watersigned images from my website on their website with my watersign on it and again without my permission.
Now you will probably say “It happens to all of us!” or “This can happen, when you enter a competition” or “When you don’t want your images published, why putting them out in the first place?”.....well let me give you an answer.:
We photographers work hard to get a great image and it is not just going out there and shooting the perfect photograph. It takes alot of time and patience to get this perfect shot, that you can see online. Alot of practise, working hours or even days, sometimes in bad weather conditions, with alot of efforts to shoot in the right frame, light and balance with colors etc.....yes this and more is involved to create this “perfect image” -
As a photographer I am proud to showcase my work to others. Most photographers even struggle in these days to get their images sold, because there are simple to many new photographers on the market. Some photographers only do this for a hobby, but some have or want to earn a living from photography. Getting an image into a photo competition gives a photographer the chance to win, to become published worldwide, to become famous. Even if you aren’t successful in a competition, it is the first step to get recognized for your work. For someone that does want to become a professional photographer it is also often difficult in the beginning.
Now think about, there is someone, that hasn’t this much time or interest in photographing for themselves, who see’s an image online and might think “Oh, great photo, let me use it.”...maybe on his/her own website or social networking page or wherever. Well....and here comes the point! Copying an image from a different website, distributing and uploading it i.e. on your website, social network etc. and maybe name the source where you have taken it from, doesn't makes the image yours. This image still belongs to the creator, the copyright owner. Without any written permission to use an image from someone else, you make yourself accountable by law.
Have you ever heard about Copyright infringement?
What is Copyright infringement?
Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work's creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement. Copyright infringement disputes are usually resolved through direct negotiation, a notice and take down process, or litigation in civil court.
Here are some links where you can read more about it.:
German website about copyright: http://www.rechtambild.de
US website about copyright: http://www.copyright.gov
UK website about copyright: https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk
This should help you to understand why I wrote this note. Therefore, I ask you all please don't steal images online, otherwise it might become very expensive for you and it is not only rude, but disrespectful towards the copyright owner and illegal! Better ask the creator / copyright owner of an image first, to get permission for using it.
Anyway the person that used my image from the photo competition has removed my image that he illegaly used on his website, after I contacted him. The other person that used my image on their website with my watersign in it, has removed my image as well.
Please note: If You are illegally using one of my copyrighted images on your website or elsewhere, you may pay for its use. Please read the imprint & copyright page of my website: http://www.ramonaheiner.com.
Best wishes to you all,
Ramona Heiner Photography