February 6, 2015

Graham Ashton

The Top 10 Excuses We Hear From Image Users For Stealing Photos

photo theft excuses

If you've seen a memorable photo lately, chances are high it required more than a snap of the shutter to create. Capturing that moment may involve a six-hour trek through the woods, hours hunched in front of a computer, and in many cases, years of practice.Is it any wonder, then, that photographers are upset when they see their work used without permission? At Pixsy, we contact photo users on behalf of artists to obtain fair payment for the use of a work. We've seen many excuses for photo theft since the launch of Pixsy. Our team is always willing to work with image users to reach an equitable outcome, but the following excuses won't get you very far.

1. We were just trying to give the photographer more exposure

A major national art magazine recently sent this excuse for photo theft to one of our case managers. In this situation, no credit was provided to the photographer in the first place. They probably should have done more research before drafting a reply.

2. The photographer probably got the idea for the photo from us

In this case, the user was a travel guide website. Their excuse? "He [the photographer] probably got the idea for the photo from us in the first place."

3. How about a free magazine subscription?

Magazines don't pay the bills.

4. You're selfish and conniving

It's amazing how often image users lash out once they have been caught red-handed. It's not uncommon for them to treat the photographer as someone you has the nerve to expect fair pay for fair work. Making character assassinations against someone when you've been caught breaking the law helps no one.

5. The photo isn't that great.

Unauthorized users will often try to downplay the quality of a photo and a role it played on their website. This is like stealing a car and saying, "Well, it had 80,000 miles on it already."

6. Our web designer in India did it... I don't know who he is.

Many unauthorized image users blame a web designer overseas. Oddly enough, they also almost always say that the web designer is impossible to locate. Maybe we need a hotline for missing web designers?

7. Our intern did it.

This is a favorite excuse for many companies and large publications. Along with #6, I'm reminded of the old chestnut, "The dog ate my homework."

8. This isn't our website

In the past, some infringers have attempted to change the WHOIS data of their websites and the contact information to avoid taking responsibility. We always make a record of these details ahead of time.

9. It was just a placeholder!

This is another common excuse among large companies. While this may be true, it doesn't change the situation.

10. My cat uploaded the picture

We haven't heard this one yet, but we know it's coming.Curious about where your work is being used online? Track it with PIXSY.

Graham Ashton

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