October 31st 2005 12:25 pm
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This is "the mommy". You may have noticed that Gus' tag has been blurred out in many of his pictures. This is not for security reasons.
I was recently alerted (by a keen-eyed fellow Dogster user) to a company using Gus' image in their advertisement in a nation-wide magazine without my permission. It was a picture that I had personally taken with my Rebel ti. I contacted the business owner and asked for nominal compensation for violating my copyright. Please keep in mind that I have given permission to business owners to use my images in the past without any compensation; the key was that they asked me first.
My request for a very teeny tiny small bit of compensation (and I mean laughably small) has been thus far declined. The business owner believes that she owns the rights to Gus' image because he is wearing her tag. And this is where she is a little right: She does own the rights to the image of her tag, but not to Gus. She should have cropped my dog out of her advertisement.
I'm not sure how this is going to be resolved as I hate to go after small business owners this way, especially in our lawsuit-happy nation. On the other hand, now that this business owner has Gus' recognizable image, what's stopping her from passing it off to a business that I don't morally agree with? What happens if Gus ends up on a flier advocating something like Puppymills? (I know that's a long shot, but you get the point).
So in the end, there is a lesson to be had: Please be careful who you make your images available to. I was too trusting and have learned my lesson. I'm being forced to hate a product that I really and truly do not hate.
I paid for Gus' tag. I did not steal it. I feel that I have already given the business owner plenty of "free advertising" through my pictures and my previously glowing references. Until this matter is resolved, she will no longer be getting any more free advertising from me.
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