Using My Photos

I’m currently getting ready to write a very sternly worded letter to a person who has, again, used by photos illegally. As I have stated numerous times (see here, here, here, here, and on practically all of my 14000 photos where it says “Some rights reserved“), almost all my work is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

I have received several requests over the years to use my pictures (even though you don’t legally have to ask as long as you following the licensing) and I have always said something to the effect of, “Yes! Please use them! Thanks for letting me know! Let me know if you need help finding other photos as well!” I have never turned down someone from using a photo yet, even when the use is borderline commercial (they had my permission to continue, so it was all kosher).

In an effort to help education people, I have also taken to providing a very nicely worded text file on all the CD/DVD’s I produce or emails I send people with photos attached or linked to, stating the licensing terms and providing helpful information. I feel like I’ve done a lot to make my photos easily accessible while also making it easy to understand and comply with the licensing rules.

Here’s my question: Do you think I’m asking to much that in return for using my photos, users provide a simple attribution line? I’ve invested a lot of time, money, and energy into these photos. I hate having to play the role of enforcer (which is more time and energy). What would you do? I try to be nice about the whole thing, but I honestly feel like a dick sometimes for having to enforce these rules1

Letter sent. And CC’d to legal and PR.


  1. yes, I know it’s my legal right, etc, etc 

4 Replies to “Using My Photos”

  1. I completely agree with you about the attribution. I feel that it is abhorrent to take someone else’s work and not even provide them the credit that they deserve. Depending on whether or not this is a company that is making a profit from your image, there may even be reason to pursue legal action, but hopefully just a letter ought to do it.

    The nuclear option is a DMCA take down notice, but I have my own issues with the DMCA. Nonetheless, you should consider it a tool if they won’t comply with your attribution request.

  2. That stinks man. Go after them. I heard about some people suing and getting money from things like this. Especially if they refuse to take it down or don’t apologize.

    How have you stumbled across people using your images? Just randomly on the internet. That’s pretty impressive. Do you mind saying where it was?

    Hope that goes well. Bryce

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