[by Jim Cavanaugh]
When I was a Chapter President, I would often get calls from angry members who found that one of their photographs had been infringed. They wanted the name of a copyright attorney so they could sue the infringer. I was always stunned when I asked about what the person said after they contacted them about the infringement. In virtually every case, I got the same answer, “Oh, I didn’t contact them, they used my photograph with out permission, I’m gonna sue them!”
Well, in 35 years as a working photographer, I’ve never been in a courtroom except to photograph it. I have made it 35 years without suing anyone. And I have had countless images infringed during the same time. I simply look at situation differently.
If someone “stole” one my images, it seems to me that they liked my image or they would not have used it. Are they a potential new client? Can a negative be turned into a positive? Filing a law suit certainly will not let that happen.
Before you run to an attorney, contact the company and let them know that you are aware that they have used one of your copyrighted photographs without the required permission and payment and that you would like to resolve the situation fairly so that they may continue to use the image. And, perhaps license more in the future.
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