Breach of Copyright - The Independent

**** Update - This issue has now been resolved, payment has been agreed and an apology received - comments option now closed ****


The Independent is a national and commercial newspaper in the UK.


On the 5 – 6 January 2010 they used the Flickr API to search for and display images of snow scenes in the UK – amongst those images displayed was one of mine which is clearly marked on Flickr as “all rights reserved”. They did not seek my permission for the use of my image. I am assuming they used the API without applying a filter on the licence type, this also means that other UK photographers may have had their copyrighted work used without permission; might be worth checking if you had any refers from the Independent on those days.


Below, is a summary of the messages that have been exchanged between myself and Jimmy Leach the Editorial Director for Digital at The Independent; I found their initial reply both surprising and alarming.

  • Max Dembo 5y

    congratulations pete, very impressed.

    now come on... how much? :)
  • Lorenzo Tedesco 5y

    Come on.. we can make fifty/fifty.. :)

  • Glyn Ednie 5y

    Great resolution of the issue Pete. I've had about 25 photos published with my permission, but it is gallinfg top find someone making money from you without asking!
  • Mauro 5y

  • Ellis Morley Photography 5y

    I am very glad that you resolved this issue :-)
  • Massimo Berta 5y

    all users who comment this has a proper Photoshop license right? ;)
  • Aqua Pixelles 5y

    Why Photoshop ? There are a lot of very good software (cheaper). I bought Corel Paint Shop Pro X2 , Excellent ! And everybody can afford it.
  • Lensman2007 5y

    1. I stopped buying newspapers in August 2007.

    2. I don't post 'saleable' photos on Flickr (and certainly not as good as stuff that newspapers might like to use). Should that situation arise, I wish them luck if they lose readership.

    3. Some of your comment contributors have a point about using the Independent's statements to illustrate your grievance.
  • Andrew 5y

    In reply to Lensman2007:

    1. They published on their website with adverts that earned them revenue, so not sure how this is relevant.

    2. The majority of Flickr users do share their photos full size. If someone is going to steal my photos, they are going to steal them regardless of size and watermarks (it's certainly not stopped the papers in the UK before) - I'd rather leave the people who aren't stealing them to enjoy them at a reasonable size.

    3. You can't assert copyright on an e-mail, only if you express something original or express it in an original way. This certainly doesn't qualify.
  • Martyn William 5y

    Typical - makes me feel sick - if it was the other way round it would be a different story ! I USED to buy this newspaper - not any more, I promise you - M
  • Fernando Martinho 5y

    In brazil we call this stealing !!!!!!!
  • Jon Swenson 5y

    Thanks for posting about this situation..
  • Adaptavist 5y

    Here's an idea: if you don't want people to use your stuff, don't post it in the public domain. In fact, stop using the internet as you're obviously not ready for it yet. Go build a castle somewhere to horde all your precious things lest some evil corporate monster inadvertently uses them in a completely harmless manner.

    Sheesh! If an organisation re-used one of my photos, I'd be delighted. I'd go round showing off - "look, they used something I did, they even adapted it and made it better".

    But no, not you lot. You treat your photos as money and flickr as your free shop window and sit in the corner waiting to pounce on anyone that stops to look with a view to extorting cash from them.

    If you're a photographer or designer you should make your money from *taking* photos or *creating* images, not living-fossil concepts such as copyright.

    OMG, I just realised I breeched copyright. I looked at your photo on that screen grab of the Independant website without applying the copyright filter to filter out your photograph that you posted up there for the world to look at. Please sue me now! OMG, the whole internet could be looking at the photo you published on the internet for everyone to look at. Quick, sue the whole internet!!

    You need to examine how your brain works.
  • Joe Russo 5y

    lolz adaptavist owned everyone

    Sabre-toothed Guy by Adaptavist
  • G... A Happy Amateur... 5y

    A good outcome to this problem Pete.
    Your defiant stance has paid off and I cheer you.

    No matter that your picture was in the public domain, it was used even without asking. Knowing you as I do I have no doubts that had they been polite and asked if they could have used it, you would probably have let them anyway without all the fuss and bother.

    Zab 1 - Independent 0

    Feel free to delete this comment if you wish. I just wanted to thumb my nose at the ones doubting your position on this. ;-)
  • Peter Zabulis 5y

    I'm going to close the comments option on this subject later today but first, I'd like to thank everybody for their support and comments.

    If you're interested in protecting photographers rights, could I suggest visiting and participating in the following group.

    Photographers' Rights Group.
  • HENI 5y

    Congrats on the good finish and your courage to have lead this case to the end Pete !!!
  • Alan 5y

    yeah, newcastle university did this to me - I grabbed a few screenshots and contacted a few hundred quid - even tho they used an API that hot linked to a few of my pics hosted on flickr...

    but tyne tees news gave me the run around - but they paid up in the end...I only spotted that when I was watching the tv...!
  • Rob Hadley (Indie Image) 5y

    I have had a similar problem but with a holiday company...Sunisle who used one of my photos (white boat on blue sea taken in Paxos) to advertise their holiday accommodation.They used it as a main image when searching google etc for greek islands etc and thirteen times on the web site! When I contacted them they blamed their web design team then ignored any request for payment at the N.U.J suggested rate.Letters and emails and phone calls have had no effect so it looks like the small claims court by the end of the month.I have been trying to sort this since May!
  • sinister dexter 4y

    adaptavist you are a knob
208 faves
Taken on January 5, 2010
  • Show EXIF

Additional info

  • Viewing this photo Public
  • Safety level of this photo Safe
  • S Search
    Photo navigation
    < > Thumbnail navigation
    Z Zoom
    B Back to context