In an age where many of us share our images freely on Social Media and the internet at large its not that unusual to occasionally come across one of your photographs being used, either without permission or worse still being masqueraded as someone else's work. It's happened before, it most certainly will happen again.
So it was that last week while researching the dead pixel issue I was experiencing with the Leica M Monochrom I happened to stumble upon an article containing one of my own images - HERE.
I have to say, this latest misdemeanour feels worse than any I've experienced previously, it's grating on me, annoying me more than the others. There's one very good reason for that, this time my image was stolen by Camera Store!! Disephoto in Barcelona, distributors of Leica Cameras are blatantly using my image without permission or credit in an article about the Leica M Monochrom on their website/blog.
It's actually feels like being cheated on, a total betrayal, surely photographers and the stores they buy their equipment from are partners?? They look after each others interests? They don't steal from each other......imagine for one minute I walked in to the store in question picked up a camera I liked, let's say the Leica M Monochrom in this instance and walked out the door without paying!! I'd rightfully be arrested, yet this is exactly the same thing!
Because I choose to share my photographs and because I decline to deface them with watermarks it doesn't mean I am not bothered what happens to my images.
I did, as I alway do in these situations send a politely worded email, no response. Reverting to social media as my next port of call I tweeted Disephoto and managed to get a message back a couple of days later.
First message - "we buy all our photos... I am not sure what are you talking about..." well, clearly you don't!!
Second message - "Oh, now I see, not the main photo but the photo of the Leica!" No not the main photo because I can see that on various stock photo sites and it wasn't even taken with a Leica M Monochrom!!
Third message - "That is strange because we have access to the official Leica archives. If you want we can change the photo or name you, as you prefer." How about starting with a simple apology!!
Of course it's easy to get embroiled in a more heated discussion, especially when the response is so nonchalant but what can you really do? The truth is not that much unless you want to expend time and money! Being firmly entrenched in the relaxed kiwi lifestyle thats just not how I roll these days. So what do you do, you do what you would most certainly have done had they contacted you for permission at the outset, you give it........
Obviously if I ever find myself in Barcelona again maybe I'll call in and test out their reaction to camera theft vs. image theft.....
I feel better already for getting that off my chest.