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PageBizz Guilty of Photo Copyright Infringement

An Open letter to

After the Mötley Crüe concert in Las Vegas in February, I uploaded a set to my Flickr account of the Crüe photos I took that weekend (taken with my trusty point-and-shoot. Just a little POS camera, Nikki Sixx. No worries).

I've recently begun throwing my Snapshots By Sarah watermark onto my uploaded photos, since, well, I want credit where it's due. However, I hadn't done that (yet) to the photos I uploaded to Flickr. I didn't think I needed to.

Boy, was I wrong.

Turns out that the privacy default setting on a Flickr Pro account is "your original files are available for download." That's another story, but it's directly responsible for the real issue here:

PageBizz Is Using My Photo on Their Website...without Permission

While dealing with a somewhat-related issue of someone using my photos, I visited's home page, and WHAM! I see one of my images within the rotating banner:

Yup, that's MY photo. Don't believe me? See it here within my Mötley Crüe Flickr set (obviously that's the replacement of the original upload...even after changing my settings I was paranoid enough to re-upload all the Crüe photos with watermarks). And it's being used without my permission. Without my knowledge, even, until this morning.

Theft & Copyright Infringement

Can you say "copyright infringement?" One of my friends even asked, "aren't you kinda flattered they're (pagebizz) using your photo?" Well, sort of...but not enough to outweigh the anger I feel at the utter lack of respect and blatant disregard for my artistic rights! Plus, let's be honest...who's ever heard of pagebizz before now?

If they had stolen – for that's what this is, downright theft – and used an image with my watermarked logo on it instead, I'd at least be getting the credit for the shot (although that would STILL be photography copyright infringement), but no, they went right into my Flickr account and illegally used something of mine without even offering up a photo credit.

I was recently in a debate with someone about this very thing – in regards to Pinterest and whether or not Pinning photos (watermarked or not) is copyright infringement – and my stance was, "if you put it online, you have to come to terms with the fact that someone, SOMEWHERE, will illegally use your photography*. But, you're putting it there in the first place."

First of all, define "irony." Because, really, how could I have ever expected that would happen to me (especially so soon after getting into said debate)? Second of all, anyone want a helping of my huge plate of crow?

And, let me also say to this "social network site," as proclaims to be, you MIGHT want to be more active on social media. 'Cause I tweeted about this at 10am CST on April 5 and still have yet to hear anything but crickets from @pagebizzcom. I also emailed them shortly after my Tweet and – again – nothing. Tick tock, tick tock**.

*Let it be known that I do not think pinning photos on Pinterest is illegal. In fact, Pinterest – in my opinion – is just a prettier version of Google Images (and of course boards/collections are determined by users instead of a search engine). But that's another discussion.

**See new developments on this issue here.


Elise said...

I think there's a difference between a pinterest user (Pinterest TOS aside) pinning something they think is cool and say Pinterest itself (in your example PageBizz) using someone's image as the banner for their site. To me it seems like the difference between me clipping a photo out of magazine and taping it to my trapper keeper versus taking that same photo, blowing it up, and putting on a brochure for my dog walking business.

Sarah said...

I wholeheartedly agree -- I don't think Pinning a photo within one of my Pinterest boards is copyright infringement; I do, however, think that downloading someone else's photo and using it for promotional purposes (vs. merely using it as a desktop background, for instance) IS infringing on my rights.

Frustratingly enough, neither my Tweet, email or blog post has garnered any type of response from Super.