Dear Valued Clients;
Our business was stolen from today without any regard for our hard-earned small business, our clients, our creative value, skills, and welfare of my employees. We were a victim of copyright violations by local trade resource on their Instagram profile. Someone at the business went to our website, saved a photo of our work to their electronic device, uploaded it to Instagram and tagged our @coreyklassen profile. They never contacted us to obtain consent or ask us if this was how my brand should be portrayed. This was theft, among other things, and I will not permit it.
I was vigilant in having the photo removed and it remained on their profile for 4 hours with no response until it was suddenly not there. I attempted to call them, but the number was 'not connected'. I attempted to find an email to contact them, but there was none. It was only with a fleeting call for help on my personal Facebook profile did I get a contact who, in confidence, gave me 2 contacts to email - which I did. Then I receive a message from a co-founder in Facebook Messenger offering help. It all helped but after a 9:33pm email from their legal council, there was no apology for stealing our photo.
Here's the thing about copyright laws and why the actions of companies like this one enrage me so much: the work that we do for clients and then photograph is good work that our clients paid for and we worked hard for. It is a representation of our services, creativity, and value. It is also protected by law to prevent others from claiming our work as their own. These photographs are copyright protected under the Copyright Act to the photographer, not us, and we don't own the whole copyright.
I am of the firm belief that because we are true professionals we must all cooperate together and follow the legal parameters that our Governments set forth for us all, and if one party or another knowingly breaks the law, they should apologize and make amends because of their actions. They may have acted in poor judgement, but a little common sense and etiquette would have gone a lot further and ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the the law.
Every day we fight to be a business, to bring value to our services, to developed ourselves professionally, to collaborate with brands, and to communicate with like-minded colleagues in order to be better for our clients. It is issues like this that steal our self-worth, steal agreements with publications, steal our professionalism, and steal our time away from our clients projects and erode at our profit margins. This took all day to resolve and I really had so many better things to do than to fight for our rights.
It's just one photo on a smaller feed than ours, and all of this is factual and this wasn't the first or last occurrence of situations like this one, but it has taken so much away from us that I was left with no recourse but to express my frustration and extreme displeasure with the whole experience of being stolen from.
I welcome your comments and questions about this situation.