My stolen photo

Mar 19, 2017 | Comment and opinion, Photography

Last weekend we decided to have a look at a house being sold a few doors up from us.  During the “Open For Inspection” the realestate agent, Craig Currie, invited prospective purchasers to visit his website for a floor plan and more information.  We are 12 or 18 months away from being in a position to purchase a house, but decided to look at the website anyway to see the floor plan.  I went to craigcurrie.com.au and clicked on “Properties” and was shocked to see one of my own photos had been stolen and used without permission.

Realestate website screenshot with my stolen photo

Screenshot

I immediately recognised the photo as one I had taken in 2011 with my first DSLR camera.  I was experimenting with long exposure shots of the Lakeside fountains, Pakenham, at dusk.  I wrote a blog post at the time about shooting long exposures, but back in 2011 I was publishing photos to my Flickr account.  Checking the photo I’d uploaded to Flickr in 2011 against the picture I was able to copy from the realestate webpage confirmed they were exactly the same.

Fountains at Lakeside, Pakenham.

My original photo on Flickr

Realestate website photo

Photo taken from the realestate website

The “Properties” link on Craig Currie’s website actually linked to his realestate.com.au page, which is where my photo was appearing, so I wasn’t exactly sure who had infringed my copyright.  A search of other realestate.com.au profiles of Pakenham agents didn’t show any similar photos, so I was suspecting Mr. Currie.

When Craig Currie contacted me by text message to enquire if we would like to make an offer on the property, I responded by informing him that he had used a photo that was copyright to me.  I asked him to either remove the picture or compensate me for its continued use.  His response was to claim the photo was supplied by someone called “Photojenik” and to ask how much it would cost to continue to use the photo.  I told him $200 would be a reasonable amount, but he instead promised to have the photo removed.

Craig Currie reiterated several times that he had never heard of Flickr and that the photo was supplied by Photojenik, who he said was a local photographer who specialised in realestate photos.  Mr. Currie said he would pass on my phone number for her to contact me.

To Craig Currie’s credit, my copyright photo was removed, but I haven’t heard from Photojenik.  I know photos are stolen and copyright infringed all the time, but that doesn’t make it right.  If Photojenik is a real person or photography business, then stealing another photographers image is pretty low!  But is Photojenik real?  I cant imagine a photographer without any online presence, however Google and WhitePages searches for that name come up with nothing.