Pictured above are eight beautiful scenes photographed by an Icelandic photographer, Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir. Her photographs were recently resold — not under her identity, of course — and the company has profited nearly $5000 off her work without her knowledge.
From her Flickr page:
They were all taken , without my permission, by the London based print-selling company Only-Dreemin. This company prides itself on offering its customers only the best quality canvas prints of the finest photos , by top artists.
What they fail to mention is that some of the photos they’re selling prints of have been illegally obtained, and are being sold without the artists consent or knowledge.
As photographers in the digital photography realm, we are faced with challenges by people lacking ethics who wish to profiteer off of the work of others. This is not the first time I have noticed this. Another extremely talented photographer, Trey Ratcliff (aka StuckinCustoms), has had his photos resold at a Kodak store.
It is never right to profit off of someone’s hard work. We photographers need to take extra care of our work to ensure that they don’t end up in the wrong hands. However, when such things happen, there’s always recourse.
This story made it to the front page of digg.com, a social news site. After several disgruntled users complained to the company, they wrote back with the following:
Can I start by saying there are 2 sides to every story and I will try to tell you our side.
In August 2006, we were contacted by “Wild Aspects and Panoramics LTD” a company based here in London, they offered to show us some imagery, that they stated would be high resolution and we would have sole reselling rights.We were visited by a salesperson from the company and we liked what we saw
Anyway 2 weeks passed, emails were sent back and forth,basic research was done by us to enable us to resell them and then the paperwork was signed and a considerable amount of money was paid(£3000.00)by us , for us to start selling these images in the form of canvas prints.
6 months later we had a letter from a law firm in Iceland, stating we were using someone’s images, we googled the claimants name, lo and behold we found we had been duped!.
As requested we immediately removed the images from the internet and destroyed any copies of the images we had.
We emailed the law firm to state we had dealt with these requests and to apologise to their client.
We took legal advice, they told us say nothing more than we had, not reccomending we contact the claimant and tell her what had happened, by the way we were very keen to do that, but we were told to avoid all contact.
In the meantime we started our own investigation into the above company’s contacts and sources but have since found nothing more because the telephone doesn’t get answered, mobiles are permanantly off and emails are getting bounced back, it seems we were conned too.
As digital artists and designers, we know the importance of integrity, hence the immediate halt and removal of images from the internet, if we had no morals, surely we would still be selling them to recoup our costs?.
As Rebekka has now decided to make this public, we can set about explaining to her why this has happened and of course, to apologise.
Many thanks O-D
I’m sorry, but “told to avoid all contact?” An apology was definitely in order from the start. My guess is that there are no two sides to the story as they claim but they needed to cover themselves after they got caught.
The Internet age makes it easy to “profit” off of someone’s hard work, but it’s also easy to bring these issues into the forefront. Besides this blog, there are numerous other blog posts, thousands of page views about Rebekka’s photo theft, and this is just the beginning.
In any event, it is never right to steal a photographer’s hard work. But it looks like there will be consequences to those who do.