Stop Stealing My Photos

It happened again. Another artist posted a photograph that I took of them with out any type of credit given to me. It has become an expectation that despite my very explicit instructions my photographs will not receive credit. 

I spent the day emailing with Alex Wiley asking him to credit me on two of my images he posted. His response was an unprofessional, insulting message with some false information. The response I got was, "you absolutely do not own any image of Alex regardless of if you took it. If Alex's likeness is the subject of your image it's you that can't use Alex's likeness without our permission. If you'd like the pictures removed from Alex's account we can do that for you we definitely don't want to get any more butthurt emails from you."

Here are the facts:

1. Copyright: I as the creator have full ownership of any image I create unless explicitly stipulated in a signed contract. 

2. Rights of Publicity. Here is where things get a little more tricky. Those who have their photograph taken have the right to be protected from the use of their likeness to commercial use. Commercial use is when an image is used to promote and or advertise a product. For example, if the image of Alex in which he is wearing a hat is then used by that hat manufacturer to advertise their product with out his permission. Depending on the state (since Rights of Publicity law varies from state to state) he would could win a legal argument. Other factors in this depend on his level of celebrity and if the state recognizes the commercial use as a detriment to his public image, and again this varies from state to state. Where he does not have any rights to claim a misappropriation is if the image is used in an editorial manor of a newsworthy event. This is protected under the first amendment with free press. 

Apart from the legal aspect of this issue, it hurts me to see my work posted with out the context of my authorship. It is not right to see something in a news paper, instagram or website and then realize I created it. Sometimes I even see my images posted by people I didn't send images too or approve their use. In the case of musicians, just don't be jerks. Of all people fellow artists should understand the level of commitment that goes into creating a work and credit is deserved to those works. Sadly many concert photographers have faced similar issues with musicians not crediting a photo and later being rude about it.

I do concert photography for the same reason the musicians are on stage, for the love of it. I rarely get paid anything and all I would like is to be able to see my work recognized as my own, not stolen and used as a promotional tool for someone els.   

We should value images. Photographs should be treated with the respect that other art forms have and be credited to the people who create them.

It now has been 3 days since that exchange and the images are still on his account.