BLOG of AUTUMN THEODORE PHOTOGRAPHY
What is image fraud?
When photographers create an image, they don't need to register it - it automatically carries a copyright. Without express permission from the photographer, violators of this copyright and can face legal action.
Who commits it?
I've seen everyone commit it. Individuals, companies, other photographers, etc. We all need to be careful about the images we use, attributing the photographer. (If you've hired a photographer recently, check your contract to see what they say about attribution. If you don't see it in the contract, reach out to them and ask!)
How should photographers deal with violators?
First, reach out to the person or company in violation. Kindly tell them they have used an image without your permission (or without attribution, if you allow this type of photo use) and that they need to take it down (or give attribution, again, if you're ok with this). They'll likely not respond (embarrassed!) and take the image down immediately. Or, they may not respond and keep the image posted. In this case, I would reach out to my lawyer to send a certified letter. This normally scares them enough to remove the image. The next step would be legal action.
If you're a photographer, don't be scared to stand up for yourself, your business, and your work. If I'm not allowed to go into a store and steal products I want, then they're not allowed to steal my images of their products to use on their website and social media.