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More Corporate Thievery, This Time Toyota and Saatchi - Don't They Get The Photographer Needs To Be PAID?

Toyota steps up as the next giant corporation willing to steal other people's creativity for their own gain. The issue at hand is obvious: Why do marketing and design departments (or anyone else) working with a corporation think it is okay to use a piece of work in their advertising that has not been properly compensated for? In this case it is Saatchi and Saatchi of Los Angeles. Are they just cheap? Are they intentionally dumb? How can they not know that an artist needs to be paid for their creativity and efforts? Especially if the image in question has an "All Rights Reserved" watermark blazoned across the front.



About 40 images were used without the photographers' permission on the Toyota website. One of the photogs Michael Calanan had his shot of two bears stolen: "For the record, I was never contacted for permission or licensing, the image is (and has been for some time) licensed All Rights Reserved and the way it's "protected" (weak as that is) on Flickr they had to have circumvented the protections (e.g. screen shot) to copy it." Calanan adds, "Also I've had the following disclaimer on the photo for some time as well" This photo is licensed All Rights Reserved. If you wish to use/publish it contact Michael Calanan, Calanan Photography, LLC" Seems pretty clear to any rational person that if you wanted to use this photograph in any of your advertising (or any other use) that the photographer wants to be notified and PAID. The people at Saatchi and Saatchi blatantly pirated the photo.


Image: Michael Calanan. This image of two grizzly bears is clearly pirated in the Toyota ad by Saatchi and Saatchi above.

Even watermarking your images is not enough. Unscrupulous designers will steal an image and simply remove any copyright mark. But, to have any recourse at all against theft, images must be watermarked, labeled All Rights Reserved, and registered with the US copyright office.

Toyota released a statement saying "Toyota apologizes for pulling images from Flickr without photographer permission. Images from a handful of photographers appeared on a Toyota site for five days. We're working quickly to reach out to the individual photographers involved. Until then, the images have been removed, and corrections have been made to the process of pulling images from Flickr."

It is insulting that Toyota still refuses to address the issue directly and underplays the extent of the damage by softly walking around it. They could have said, "Toyota will never again employ any agency who steals copyrighted images. Toyota will never again use unauthorized photography in any of it's marketing. Toyota believes in fairly compensating photographers for their creativity and hard work." Nothing ambiguous there. Now lets see how long it takes for the "handful of photographers" to be "reached out" to, whatever that means.

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Filed under: Photo News November 07, 2009
 
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