Update 21st Oct:
Both images have been removed from Facebook and Instagram due to the DMCA take-down notices I issued. Please be aware that the blog post below is just my account and opinion of the matter and I now consider this situation resolved. I completely understand that these things can happen and don’t take the matter personally, I won’t be requesting payment or taking the matter further in any way.
Original post 20th Oct:
People or companies violating my copyright is not something that’s new to me, I’ve dealt with it on multiple occasions, most notably, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus saga in April of 2014.
Last week, on the 17th October, 2014, I shot Miley Cyrus at Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia. As usual, I posted one or two images on social media on the evening of the event, including Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr. All images are always posted in full (eg. not cropped or edited) and contain my watermark and usually text stating not to use without my permission. Incase you’re wondering, when I post images to instagram I post portrait or landscape images with black bars at the top and bottom or sides to be able to post the images in full.
Original image (please be aware the watermark was originally located in the bottom left hand corner):
Please be aware that I did not sign a waiver or form for shooting this show, therefore all copyright belongs to me.
The next day, the 18th October, I was scrolling through instagram and came across my image (see below) posted by Miley Cyrus on her instagram and as you can see, with no credit or text what so ever and liked by hundreds of thousands of people.
I searched all images that Miley Cyrus was tagged in and it appears that a fan has taken it off one of my social media accounts (likely facebook or tumblr) and cropped it just enough to intentionally remove my watermark. I believe Miley has then taken it from her fan. Yes I understand she personally didn’t intend to breach my copyright, but it is still her responsibility to ensure she has the rights to post the image.
It appears that Miley has been taking images and posting them without permission for some time, most of which are phone photos from fans, but a few a clearly professional grade images, including mine. I’m not condoning taking any images, even phone photos are covered by copyright laws, but it should be obvious that any professional grade images were taken by professionals who would only be allowed in with photo/media passes.
I soon after filed a DMCA takedown notice with Instagram, which still has not come into effect, now 2 to 3 days later.
Yesterday (Sunday 19th Oct), the photo was then posted on her facebook page and has since racked up over 300,000 likes and 5,000 comments. Once again, the image did not contain any credit. Considering I was not paid to shoot her show, all income comes from the sale of my images to the artist or media outlets, and Miley Cyrus (or her management) has taken that sale from me. As a matter of fact, I’m actually minus $25 because I paid for parking to attend the show.
I have also filed a DMCA takedown notice with facebook, which is the same process as instagram, but once again, this has yet to be enforced.
Now Monday the 20th Oct, I’m still waiting for something to be done about this and finding it extremely difficult to find appropriate contacts for Miley or her management. At this stage, I have no intention of requesting payment from Miley Cyrus or her management, I just want the image removed. I’ve even offered them the original image (un-cropped) for posting on their social media accounts, on the proviso that my name and a link to my website is attached to the image, I think that’s a pretty fair deal considering the potential legal costs if I were to pursue this further (not that I am in any way threatening that).
Am I ecstatic that my image was apparently good enough to represent a huge international artist? You bet your ass. But It was not done in the right or legal manner in which I expect, especially someone in the creative industry that should know better.
Lets just say, that I’ve revised my watermarking practices after this event.
If you’d like to email me about this, to give your opinion or to say hello, feel free: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S: On a semi-related matter, after reading through some of the comments she receives on her images, I’ve realised how much hate and abuse she gets for her new image. I respect her for doing what she wants to do and saying fuck the haters! She has my respect.