Unintentional copyright infringements are part of the business, but sometimes they are handled in the worst manner possible as stated in this report.
The report shows the story of a band, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, which used a photograph clicked by Rohan Anderson without his permission and when he endeavored to clear the matter and get his rights, he was ridiculed for it.
Usually under a situation when you are guilty of copyright infringement without intention and are called out for it, you apologize, but this band clearly had a different idea as it refused to take the matter seriously and tried to pass it off as a joke and something not to be taken seriously. Needless to say, this is far from an impressive conduct as such a callous approach to such a matter is not acceptable. Read more about the interaction that happened between the band and the photographer.
This image, posted by the band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus was not credited, all that accompanied the image was “Shredder”.
The original version of the cropped Facebook photo above.
Rohan then decided to send Red Jumpsuits management the following email:
I’m just contacting you today about a violation of copyright to do with one of my images, this is my original: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rohan3au/10939150575/
The official Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Facebook posted one of my images without permission or credit and was cropped and edited. This is the photo in question: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=690622494309165&set=pb.107159332655487.-2207520000.1396505956.&type=3&theater
I’m a practicing photographer and I don’t shoot to just have acts steal the images for use wherever they please, I shot this show for a Sydney media publication. If you would like to use the image, you will need to discuss a payment with me beforehand.
Please remove the image immediately or you are welcome to keep it up if a payment is discussed.
If you do not comply. I will be seeking legal advice.
He and some of his friends also commented on the image — comments that were quickly deleted — which led to this minor change.
Rohan then sent another email requesting the image be removed since adding credit wasn’t what he had requested and he still hadn’t heard back from his previous email:
I’ve noticed you added my name to the photo. That’s not the issue.
My issue is that my image has been posted without my consent, cropped and edited in low quality. I demand that it be taken down as this is a breach of copyright.
I have spoken to my lawyer and I am well within my legal rights, and I will not hesitate to take legal action.
He sent a Facebook message to the band as well:
Shortly after, Rohan received a very unexpected response from their management email:
“You have no legal claim as the photo is credited and is not posted for a monetary gain and features our likeness and image not yours. Also you have just got your self banned from any festival or show we ever play again in that region for life! Congrats!
Sent from my iPhone”
Rohan then sent the following response back:
Thanks for getting back to me.
Just because the photo is credited to me, it doesn’t mean that you have the rights to use it. If any website or publication posts the photo, they require permission from the copyright owner, in this case, it’s me.
In regards to monetary gain, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Facebook page is there purely for the purpose of marketing and advertisement for the band, therefore any image posted can be considered advertising; if Coca Cola posts an image of their bottle on Facebook, that’s advertising, why isn’t an image of a band member just advertising for the band?
I’d like to turn the tables here, if Red Jumpsuit had their music illegally posted online, whether that be on youtube or anything, I’m sure you would be ensuring it is removed as that is music piracy, this is absolutely no different.
At the end of the day, if you enjoyed my image enough to post it, you should request permission, in most cases I would usually say yes, no questions asked or money requested.
I also believe in future, you should attempt to act a little more professionally; sending an emoticon and “lol” in a Facebook message is not an appropriate response to being informed you have broken the law.
I will give you 24 hours to remove the image and apologise via response to this email or you will be hearing from my lawyer. I advise you seek advice from a lawyer before dismissing this as you are in the wrong.
He was greeted with this response:
“We welcome the “lawyer” and his response. As for the lol it was funny, life is funny. If you want to take it any other way that’s fine with us. As for the “tables turning” remark our music is everywhere illegally and we let it go like all other “professionals” try it out sometime. Most unknown photographers are happy to have world wide known bands use their photos and consider it an honor, you are clearly an example of the opposite.
Don’t send anymore threats or you’ll be hearing from our Lawyer!
Have a nice day 😉
Sent from my iPhone”
You can read more about the back and forth in detail on Anderson’s blog.
On 21st, April Red Jumpsuit publicly apologised to Rohan on twitter and agreed to pay his invoice after a few hours after their tweet starting a hashtag of “Rohanisatool”: