Stealing an image of a kid

Apparently I nearly killed a reader through pure boredom with my last post, so I hope this stuff is slightly more interesting.

A couple of weeks ago my father-in-law calls me wondering if I have started selling pictures of his grandchildren to commercials. He is talking about a picture of his grandson listening to an iPod. Used in an advertisement in a magazine he just received.

I haven’t sold any pictures of my son to commercials, so I was quite interested in this. As you can see from the picture that I have inserted above, my father-in-law had reason to believe that I was selling images to commercials.

The image is available through this article. And available for sale for editorial use over at shutterpoint. I am selling images both for editorial use and for use in commercials. Any images that include family members are only available for editorial use. The people responsible for this ad have not bought any pictures from me. And this particular picture isn’t even available with a license that would allow use in an advertisement.

Here at it is protected by the simple fact that this image is my intellectual property. is also marked with a Creative Commons license. Giving people freedom to use my work for non-commercial purposes as long as they give me credit and issue the same Creative Commons license on the work that includes mine.

So what do we have here?
Commercial use of my image in an advertisement. And by the way, no image credit. These people have to follow Norwegian law. This use of my image is a violation to paragraph 1 in the norwegian copyright act. It is a screaming obvious theft of intellectual property.

In addition to this, it is a violation to paragraph 45 c. Use of an image where a person is clearly visible. They need permission from the person in the picture.

At this point I have sent a letter to the shop that is responsible for the advertisement. Asking for a full report on where this image have been used. They have simply forwarded this to their lawyer.

I have made it clear in my letter that this is something that is of interest for my readers and that I will publish articles on this matter. I am awaiting an answer and will of course keep you updated on this!

Stealing an image of a kid

26 thoughts on “Stealing an image of a kid

  1. Wow! I know I should not be the one that talk the loudest about stealing pictures… but this is just appalling.

    And I know the stupidity of the companies that makes these mistakes should not surprise me. But it does. If just Elkjeden would answer in a normal polite way. saying; we made a mistake. We are sorry, we trusted the person that made our advertising. we see now that that was a mistake. How can we fix this? Instead of just sending it to their lawyer.

    Especially when they managed to do this to a person who runs’ one of Norways biggest blogs, and not just biggest blog, but in their business area to.

    Stupid, stupid….

  2. Let’s see what their lawyers have to say! Surely not Elkjeden’s foul?!! They are pros – or????

    But they might just have got a deal with a crappy ad-biz!

    This is like stealing music from an artist! It’s crime! It shall not hapen! It’s not a mistake! But in the big picture – nahh! Go get them! Good luck!

  3. Espen:
    You are completely right. I have talked to the designer. She had no understanding of the fact that the image was copyrighted. “We found it on the internet”. Probably through Google Image Search.

    It’s interesting that Google Image Search usually also show the image in its original context when you click it and also indicates besides the thumbnail that this image could be copyrighted.

    She’s a professional designer and should know better. But legally it is the company in the ad that has responsibility. And I hope their lawyers know more about copyright than the designer. However, I would guess that knowledge of Creative Commons is pretty non existent there as well.

  4. Jo says:

    I guess the feeling of intrusion is pretty strong when it happens to your kid. It reminded me of Gregory Colberts pretty cool project ‘animal copyright’, where companies that use visual materiale of wild animals or nature in advertisements or similar will have to pay a certain amount of money. These will be put in a fund an used to finance projects that seek to preserve nature and wildlife.

  5. Yes. I try to make this site as open as possible and like the idea of Creative Commons and the fact that we share, remix and utilize content from each other. Stealing images for commercial use is not part of this.

    And it becomes even worse when an image include a person that never gave permission for that kind of use.

  6. I’m pretty sure that Elkjeden will sorte this out and that you get a compensation for it! I’m sure I would be pretty pissed of if it was my son beeing “exploited” in an ad like this!

    But then again! Let’s wait for their final call!

    By the folks! Mary Christmas and let’s just sneek peek on those boxes around in the house again! Hehehe! So exiting! Right!

  7. This is just amazing! What are they thinking? Seems that there’s a lot of copycat going on araound!

    But then again you should be proud of the photo and the fact that is looking very good also in this ad!!

    Have you heard from them?

    By the way! I have a feeling that I have some duplicated photos on my pc. Have any idea on software that could sort this out for me?

  8. A quick update. I finally got an answer from the company that stole my image. Or, to be precise, I got an answer from their lawyer. The answer is a complete joke and I’ll contact them back.

    Currently I am discussing the options with some people with more knowledge that me and will post back here when I have made a strategy for further action.

    I don’t want to go public with more information at this point, but I am talking to people that could be considered your worst enemy if you just have stolen an image that you obviously don’t have the rights to use. I promise to give you all the details when I have decided exactly what to do. :-)

    It seems like they stole an image from the wrong person.

  9. So they play it like they got all rights to use the image?

    Well, this would be most interesting – don’t forget to note down the details for a nice complete story after this stuff is all over! I’d be most interested in their story ;)

    Good Luck!

  10. I’ll keep you informed. That’s for sure. And yes, they act like it’s perfectly OK to use an image of an inocent kid in a commercial as long as they “found it on the internet”… Well, it’s not…

  11. I have hired a lawyer and right now I am awaiting an answer from the shop that used my image. Guess I’ll know what they decides on in about two weeks.

  12. Hyggelig å høre at det ble (ganske) happy ending Erik!

    Var det du som var og holdt noe foredrag for oss i fjor – andre klasse AD på Westerdals?

    Skrev en artikkel om opphavsrett for en stund siden, siden det er så mange som tror så mye rart om det. Det er nesten skummelt, det virker faktisk som det er mange som tror at “alt er lov” fordi noe ligger på internett, så det er viktig å ta litt tak i saker som dukker opp, både for å øke kunnskapen om det, og ikke minst:
    Å sørge for at det IKKE blir innarbeidet en praksis med at det ER lov å ta alt som ligger på nett.

    Her er artikkelen, håper den kan komme til nytte for noen!

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