Using someone else’s work is a big no-no in the photography world, and we have covered more than our fair share of all of the crazy ways copyright infringement creeps up in the industry time and time again.
Like a hydra, copyright infringement is squashed in one place and re-emerges elsewhere in new forms and in unexpected ways. And then there is just outright theft, as seems to be the case in Alex Wild’s conflict with Cypress Creek Pest Control.
Allegedly Cypress Creek Pest Control had placed biologist and insect photographer Alex Wild’s photos from his personal website up on their company website without his permission.
Wild’s attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to the pest control company about the infringing photos found on its website but received no response. A second inquiry yielded a reply from the company’s CEO who said he would look into the matter. The CEO then apparently never responded and even more of Wild’s photos appeared on the company’s website, prompting the lawsuit asking for $USD 2.7 million in damages which represents the maximum damages allowed per photo, currently at $USD 150,000, and with 18 stolen photos in total.
Speaking about the case with FStoppers, Wild said, “These typically do not proceed to filing unless the infringing company repeatedly fails to respond after being made aware of the problem. In some of the more incredible cases, including this one, the infringer not only does not respond but continues to upload new infringing copies.”
As any creator who has had their work stolen knows it is often not malicious but rather done out of ignorance. That said, it helps for boths parties to be proactive in defending their interests and in addressing any wrongs.