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What do you do when someone else uses your photo?

Rising Star



So I discovered that someone on Flickr took my photo, cropped my watermark off of it, put theirs on it, and made it black and white and blurred the background and called it theirs.


Now in his notes he states, "This is my B&W take on ilzho's photo entitled "Horse Racing Freeze Motion"".


Now I don't mind, since he gave me credit, but I have mixed feelings.....


Any thoughts?






Is that prohibited by Flickr terms of service?


If not, is it something that many members do?

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic


Flickr allows you to set default settings for your uploads.


Go into your account settings, pick the "privacy & permissions" tab, then scroll down to the page to the section that reads "Defaults for new uploads".


There's a setting for "What license will your content have?"  


You can set that to "none - all rights reserved" (nobody may use the work without your permission).


But you could ALSO have set that to settings such as "public domain work" (anyone can use it and they don't need your permissions... you've granted permission by putting the work into the public domain).


There are also a number of "creative commons" license choices.   


Creative commons license commonly request "Attribution" (this other person gave you attribution by stating that it is based on your work); non-commercial (you grant permission to allow use of it for non-commercial reasons and those who don't plan to use it for commercial purposes do not need to contact you to ask for permission -- you've granted that permission by picking that license.); no-derives (users who have permission based on your license are NOT free to make derivitive works); share-and-share-alike (if someone does get permission to use the work because YOU shared it with them, they are REQUIRED to in-turn share it to others... meaning they must also implicitly allow others to use the derived work.)  Creative Commons (often abbreviated "CC") will let you string all these together... so your license could be "Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerives Creative Commons" license (that woudl translate to mean "anyone can use it as long as they attribute it to you AND they do not plan to use it for a commercial purpose AND they do not make a derivitive work based on your work."  But if they agree to all of that... they can go ahead and use it and do not need to contact you.)


Anyway... I point this out because it's possible your "default" upload settings are allowing a more permissive use of your work -- even if you did not set that permission intentionally.    Also, these are just 'default' settings... you can set a default to one thing but then set specific settings for an individual image (you could have a different setting for every image).  The default only kicks in if you don't set any specific license (and most people don't set a specific license on every upload... so usually the default does kick in.)


Assuming you did have a restrictive license AND this person violated the license, then it's (a) minimally worth telling them that they violated the license.  Even if you're cool about it now... they should at least be aware that it is NOT ok to do this in the future (e.g. no harm no foul this time... but don't keep doing this).  


It does not sound like you were monetarily damaged by this violation... but it's still a violation.  BTW, if what this person cropped out was a copyright notice (was it just your name or studio name... or was it a copyright notice) then that's a DMCA violation and can carry stiff fines.  It is basically never ok to crop out a watermark without the permission of the owner of the work.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thanks for the information.

My pictures via Flickr settings are All Rights Reserved.


I do have to correct 2 things.

1) I did not put my watermarks on these photos.

2) He did not put his watermark on the photo.


With that said, he did not ask permission.


I realize photos are stolen and this is my first discovery.


Just pisses me off he didn't ask.


Here's my color pic and his B&W.



Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 4.11.03 PM.png

Contact him and ask him to remove. If he doesn't report to Flickr. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

Always watermark your shots.  But the general policy of u/l to the ole inner web site just about releases your photos to anyone.  It probably isn't illegal but it is certainly not ethical.   You must suffer monetary damages to claim any relief.  Because that is an expensive process.


"My pictures via Flickr settings are All Rights Reserved."


I don't use Flickr so I have no clue as to what to do there. I think in this case it is best to just move on and learn from it.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!