As a photographer who sells his photo’s at stock sites like Shutterstock, AdobeStock and iStock, I aften see my images in magazine’s, ad’s and mostly on internet. It’s part of the fun to see where and how your photo’s arre used.
Recently I could ad Instagram to that list. No, not as a repost or a feature, https://www.instagram.com/nathanyelbns/ had severely edited my photo’s and put them in his feed. And there is no fun in that, someone who suggests that your photo’s were taken by him, and get all the credits for them.
Because photo’s have been taken from my Insta or 500px before, and posted on Insta after editing, my initial thought was that Nathanyel Bensemhoune had also stolen my photo’s, and breached my copyright.
I contacted him about this and when I didn’t receive a reaction, I filed a copyright invringment report at Instagram. After this he contacted me. It turned out he had bought my photo’s on shutterstock, and mailed me the invoice. After much theatrical surprise and supposed innocence that he could not use my photo’s on social media with crediting me, he agreed to adding my name to the photo’s. However, by now Insta had removed the photo’s (as a reaction to my report) and this caused a lot of stress on his side: the photo’s (mine!!!) were really very important for his Instafeed… Eventually the images were restored and I was credited for them.
I had to do some research, but this is what Shutterstock says about copyright:
RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF VISUAL CONTENT
YOU MAY NOT: Falsely represent, expressly or by way of reasonable implication, that any Visual Content was created by you or a person other than the copyright holder(s) of that Visual Content.
A lot what you see on Instagram is heavily edited or fake, and unfortunately theft of images is also common. However, this kind of fraud was new to me. Someone like Nathanyel Bensemhoune, who calls himself Visual Storyteller and Photographer, is buying stock photo’s to place on his Insta feed as if they were his own. Not only illegal, but also frauduleus and morally rejectable: he is deceiving his 188K followers and potential clients. It shows very little self-respect and respect for other peoples work to earn your money in this way. Form the person who brought al this to my attention, I heard that he is suspected of stealing photo’s in the past. All very sad indeed.
This was a sobering learning experience, where for me the social part of Social Media has disappeared. However, I now know more about copyright regarding stockphotography. And it’s clear that I will take firm action if something like this happens again.