What would you do?
If I asked for a show of hands, how many of us would admit to having ever dobbed somebody in? Told the person in charge of an others misdemeanour? Any of us with a sibling, I imagine, but how many of us would still do that today?
I know that I am the kind of person who hesitates. I don’t like to get involved. It is much easier to tell myself that it is None Of My Business, or to use that other great excuse, Somebody Else Will Report It.
When I saw a Dreamstime image being used with the watermark still on, my first instinct was to ignore it. It wasn’t being used by a faceless company to improve their website, it wasn’t on a greetings card or a calendar; it was a tiny image somebody had used as an avatar for something.
It hurt nobody. The person who had used it wasn’t getting any financial benefit from it. It was just a way of illustrating something.
I felt horrible inside. What if I reported this to DT and got this person booted off that website? They didn’t deserve that. What if they thought it was okay to use the photograph in that way? I’d be getting them into trouble.
Then I thought about it a bit more. I thought about how I’d feel if it had been one of my images. I’d be annoyed. I’d be more than that, I’d be outraged.
So, I contacted DT and received a polite note back thanking me for drawing it to their attention and letting me know they would investigate the matter.
It didn’t feel like a good thing to do but when you stop and think about it, this is theft.
I have no idea who the image belonged to - there are tens of thousands of pictures of that particular subject – but for all I know it could belong to somebody who gave me some good advice on the message board, or who wrote a blog that made me smile… it could have belonged to any of the people in the DT community who give their time to help people like me become better photographers.
Reporting images like this is an important thing for all of us to do. Copyright infringement deserves a zero tolerance policy and DT relies on us to help them protect our work. There is no excuse for somebody using an image without payment, especially when there are plenty of great images available in the Free section.
If you see an image with the DT watermark, please don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credits: Tavidom.