My first experience as a victim of copyright infringement

For the last several months now I’ve been working with my music composition teacher on writing a grant proposal for a new piece of music with an accompanying film, and through that found out that a person or persons in authority at the university (yes, my university) had put out a flyer using one of my pictures, from this scoring session.

The picture had been cropped to remove my watermark, and no one had asked me before using it.  The first I’d seen or heard about the flyer was when the email was forwarded to me a month after it was originally sent, and it took more than a week and two tries to get a response to my email.  Even then, I was pretty much given the runaround, sent to different people, it was always someone else’s fault, and never really even got a satisfactory apology.  There was even a suggestion from someone involved that all pictures of faculty taken on campus during school events belong to the university.  I hadn’t ever heard that before, and my photography instructor doesn’t think that’s the case either.

I understand that maybe several people made mistakes here and that probably nothing malicious was intended, it just sucks how I had to find out about it, that they never tried to contact me.  Evidently this flyer was only emailed out once, and if it was printed out and posted around campus, I never saw it.  By the time I got in touch with everyone involved, the submissions deadline had just about passed and the damage had been done already; there wasn’t much I could do about it except communicate my displeasure.  Sure, I’m just a student, but I feel like no one involved took this as seriously as they should have, and all I can do now is vent.

I don’t want to make a big stink about this, or get anyone in trouble, I just want to let people out there know what it’s like when you actually get taken advantage of.  There’s so much stink out there about things like the “Happy Birthday” song, etc, but really, copyright is a good thing; it sucks when something you created is used without permission, especially when you can’t do a thing about it and will never be compensated.  I’m actually really excited about the possibility of working with the university for images on their flyers, as long as they ask me first, leave them the way I have presented them, give me credit, and are OK with me possibly saying “No.”  I hope it happens someday.

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2 thoughts on “My first experience as a victim of copyright infringement

  1. If your images are on the Internet, and they’re any good, they will be stolen.

    Doesn’t make it any less wrong, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel angry. But it’s the reality.

    I’ve had a handful of my images stolen. Some have been used in for-profit ventures.

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