The forbidden fruit is the sweetest. Only three months ago, I could convince myself for the first time that this theory does not exclude my work – and here we go again.
The first time I had realized that somebody had illegally used my work, I was outraged and surprised at the same time. To be honest, I do not get the point since there are tons of photos online which can be used for free. To see that somebody simply takes one owns work, cuts away the watermark and uses it to make money on the booking website on which he/she used it, really was a bummer.
However, I managed that all of the websites (at the end it were 4 and one Google+ account) removed the photo immediately. The cheap excuse mails which I received afterwards contained an endless bare listing of “I did not know …” and “we did not do it on purpose”, “we thought it was for free” only made it worse and caused me a lot of additional work.
In the meanwhile time went on and by coincidence I found out last week, that again one of my photos of the Intoxicated series was used unauthorized on a website for religious studies. So again, I collected screenshots, figured out the date the article which used the photo was published, started writing the mail about illegal usage and added the relevant quotes from this website’s credits.
To my surprise, the website operator called me shortly after and we managed to find a solution. He removed the image immediately and paid the fee for the violation of copyrights only one day after we had talked.
I am asking myself how these people manage to run websites and do not or do not want to know about things which they are allowed to do and about those which are forbidden. Also, I am wondering if people are really so naive to believe that all images (especially when presented on Flickr, since this was the case with all of the five violations) are for free online? Or do they only play innocent? Finally, it is a hard question to answer since the actual reasons cannot be known for sure. But especially after other art industries like music reached out a massive audience online and offline regarding this issue, this behaviour is still very surprising.
I guess, it will not be the last time which I will have to deal with this issue.