Did a Major Advertising Agency, DDB Berlin, Steal a Flickr User’s Image and Refuse to Pay
Do You Know This Woman? (Part II) on Flickr – Photo Sharing! Lorenzodom, one of the more popular photographers on Flickr has successfully been building a reputation as a top notch photographer. Recently he in fact set up a cafe press account called lorenzoshop to try and actually make some money off of his photography.
But apparently he is now in a dispute with mega advertising agency DDB, Berlin over what he considers theft of his images from his Flickrstream.
“All my images and photos are copyrighted. Yet, they still took a screenshot and lifted one of my photos right off of flickr and used them for business purposes, as mocked up above.
It’s one thing for an individual to blog someone else’s photo with a link directly back to the page or to publicize it in a magazine after you’ve asked permission, but it is really another to manipulate it and then to ask, after the fact. “
Although it does not appear that the agency actually published Lorenzodom’s image it would appear that he has a problem with them using it at all, even internally.
I’m not sure what the legal internal use only rules are with regards to all rights reserved images but this seems to be the crux of the issue. Apparently they wanted to get permission from Lorenzodom after the fact to use his photo in an advertising campaign without paying him any money.
Lorenzodom puts it this way:
“I suppose I should be grateful that they liked it enough to use commercially, albeit “internally,” and that they subsequently asked me to use it for advertising purposes. Yet, at the same time I feel, somewhat, taken advantage of.
Many photographers get paid lots of money for their photos, yet these guys weren’t willing to pay anything. In fact, last year $822,400 was paid each for Dorothea Lange’s “White Angel Bread Line”and Edward Weston’s platinum print of “The Breast” from 1921. That’s a little less than a million dollars for a single photograph.
And DDB is one of the world’s most successful, richest (i.e. according to Advertising Age’s February 27, 2006 4th Annual Guide to Advertising and Marketing, DDB Worldwide Communications boasts over a billion dollars of worldwide revenue, a 14% increase over last year) and highly visible advertising agency networks, in the world. Thus, they can readily afford to buy stock photos.”
In interesting debate about what is only going to be a more and more complicated conversation as marketers increasingly try to interact with the rich libraries of images that are accumulating on the various socially networked photo playgrounds.
What’s your opinon? Has the company violated copyright law by using his image for a campaign, even internally, and then presenting it to him? Or is this probably ok as they never actually used his image in an external published campaign?