(RESOLVED, 28/10) Yahoo: seek proof! Hublot: you cannot claim rights for images that are not yours

28/10: Further updates – resolution, and what actually happened behind the scenes

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 4.57.32 PM

Today was not a good morning. I woke up to the above email from Yahoo/Flickr stating that Hublot SA – a watch company – was claiming the rights to MY images – which were shot by me at an event for coverage for an online watch site in 2012. There was no contract with Hublot or its representatives, nor any embargoes.

Three things are wrong here:
1. Ethically, claiming rights for images that are not yours. That is outright theft.
2. Hoping that the photographer does not contest it because he does not have as deep pockets for lawyers as you do.
3. That Yahoo places the onus of proof on the copyright owner, not the claimant. I commend their speed of action (good for legitimate cases), but acting with only half of the information makes you just as guilty.

If legitimate, this has extremely concerning implications for any sort of journalism. Inviting independent press with the expectation of (presumably favourable) coverage, then making a land grab when the material is to your liking or filing false infringement when it isn’t is not just unethical but completely counterproductive to your marketing aims. I’m sure the situation could be simpler and non-malicious, but that implies that the company isn’t keeping track of what copyrights it owns either.

If not legitimate, and a fraud or misrepresentation by a third party as Hublot have claimed, then we have a bigger problem: the onus is on the photographer to prove ownership; I could say ‘your images are mine’ and Yahoo (or others) would be forced to remove them – without any proof from me.

Hublot have never been and never will be one of my clients. I have also emailed the CEO and regional director – both of whom I met at that event – and filed the appropriate counterclaim with Yahoo/Flickr, as well as an email to CEO Marissa Mayer. There has been no response as yet – and no bounces, which mean the emails were received. Hublot has been responsive and now informs me they are seeking a resolution from Yahoo – Yahoo/Flickr however has so far remained silent.

Dear Hublot,

Three years ago, we provided coverage of your Basel 2012 novelties at an event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hosted by your regional distributors The Hour Glass and attended by none other than CEO Mr. Guadalupe and Regional Director Ms. Sakai.

Here is the original article, missing images which were hosted on flickr: http://www.fratellowatches.com/hublots-basel-2012-novelties/

This morning, I received a takedown and copyright infringement notice from Yahoo – the parent company of Flickr, where the images were hosted – filed by Hublot SA specifically citing those images as infringing copyright.

Except the problem here is twofold:
1. Hublot SA did not contract those images, did not license those images, and they were shot by me at the event. Hublot SA therefore has NO copyright or rights to the images in question.
2. We were not compensated or contracted to cover the event by either Hublot or their local agents, so there is no claim to rights here either.

We hope this is a genuine mistake, in which case, please contact Yahoo with a withdrawal of claim.

However, if it isn’t, note that the copyright for all images belongs to the photographer: Ming Thein (www.mingthein.com). We challenge you to prove otherwise by producing the original camera RAW images, or a contract with the photographer. Please note the screen captures attached: here are the images from the event, and the file format is not an editable one. The copyright data is written by the camera at the time of capture.

On top of that, doesn’t it seem rather nonsensical that you are trying to take down images that portray your watches in a flattering way, from a launch event you invited the press to for get coverage?

The least you could do for a site and photographer that have done nothing but help your brand is a) contact Yahoo with a retraction of the claim, and b) issue a public apology.

We suggest not underestimating social media.

Yours sincerely,

Ming Thein

The images claimed to be owned by them are below.

Unfortunately there is not very much we can do – I have emailed the CEO, but honestly do not expect a response – but if enough people say something on their Facebook page, perhaps something might get done. Just remember: it starts here, but it might well be you. To all photographers: if you do not respect and defend your own intellectual property, nobody else will. MT

Update, 2030 27/10: I received an email reply from both Mr. Guadalupe and their communications manager stating that there are no claims against me, and that a fraud must have been perpetuated. The problem with this twofold:

  1. is Yahoo would not take action on a couple of dozen old images from 2012 randomly without a claimant – and that claimant is clearly specified above as ‘Hublot SA’.
  2. This still does not reinstate my images or rights. As far as Yahoo is concerned, I am still in breach of copyright owned by Hublot.
  3. It seems most likely to me that somebody has acted ‘on their own initiative’ inside the company, but again: I still need them to contact Yahoo to get the images reinstated and the claims lifted. It is not over…

Update, 2145 27/10: Third party fraud is now suspected. LVMH lawyers and Hublot are in touch with Yahoo to find out who did it…the plot thickens. Hublot are to be commended for being fast and proactive in this; let us hope there’s a resolution. I am now cautiously optimistic. But, what’s going on, Yahoo?

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.11.44 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 12.02.10 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 5.08.32 PM

Comments

  1. That is why i stopped uploading my best images on social media exactly for this reaso a long time ago.It is just not safe anymore if this happened to Ming just imagine how it will be to others who are not a professional photogs or do not habe the know hows regarding this sort of things.Just too many headaches in the wild wild west of the internet world ran by faceless entities.1984.ab

    • I never upload them in sizes that are usable. However, the corollary is that the best attribution is one where everybody knows it’s yours – and the only way to do that is maximise visibility.

  2. Too bad we still do not have a non-profit agency/organization that registers photos for purposes of identifying the photographer & copyright holder.

    • We need one, but the administrative burden is going to be incredible. It would at least have to be paid for per-image by the photographers if they choose to use the service.

  3. There is some irony here that you are upset with Yahoo/Flickr for acting on a claim without first investigating the facts, yet you apparently have done the same thing. You could have gone to Hublot privately to sort out the issues before publicly sending an angry mob over to their social media sites to raise havoc with them. Perhaps it was one of their employees or perhaps it was an unrelated third party. The point is you didnt know (and still don’t) before you acted publicly to their detriment.. You could also have determined with Yahoo/Flickr what their legal obligations were before you publicly accused them of acting precipitously. I sympathize with you for this issue, but also hope you will consider taking a more responsible adult reaction and action towards other people/businesses in the future. Every business issue – and that is what this is – does not have to be a cause cèlébre complete with threats of social media retaliation. Especially not prior to ANYONE involved knowing or understanding all the facts.

    • You are making a lot of assumptions here. You yourself have said “especially not prior to ANYONE involved knowing or understanding all the facts” – which you certainly do not.

      For your information, I a) did investigate the legal requirements on the Yahoo/Flickr side which is why I did not censure them for the takedown, but not requiring evidence – only a testimonial. I or anybody else could do the same and have YOUR images removed immediately one the strength of my word only. I’m sure you can see the problem with that. b) I did go to Hublot privately. Only when I went public did anything start moving.

      Both of these are potentially very serious issues for all photographers. It is up to those of us in positions of visibility to stand up for our rights.

      I don’t know or assume whether you make your living from images or other forms of IP. But I doubt very much you’d take it lying down if a big company (or companies) tried to assert false rights over your work. And if you cannot afford to fight them in court because deeper pockets will always win by virtue of attrition, then you must use the means available to you.

  4. Hi Ming,
    Just came across all that has happened since yesterday morning. It boggles the mind that Yahoo / Flickr would willy-nilly respond to a complaint without any reasonable proof. It’s like if I take a picture of a car, the car company has the copyright to the image?! More likely someone in Hublot saw your images and assumed they were somehow obtained from some official photo source and thought that you had claimed they were your photos. Your photos are too good for some ‘blogger’ so he thought you had plagiarized the images not knowing that you indeed are the photographer who took the shots.

    Of course there’s no way to prove on confirm this so we have to take Hublot’s word for it. In any case, I would expect a quick and prompt reinstatement from Yahoo/Flickr and a public statement from Hublot at the very least to exonerate your blog. You have the support of the online community and, I’m certain, have the law on your side!! Anyway I don’t want to take up any more of your precious time and energy on this. Just wanted to show my support Ming!

    • But that doesn’t make sense, Terence – all of their images are released in press kits for media to use and specifically disseminate. So I can’t see what they have to gain by having the images pulled.

      Both parties have so far sent private statements but nothing public.

      Thanks for the support.

  5. Not sure I like the language in their email that says “claim BACK the copyright.”

    • Looking at the other language, I assume in good faith it is an ‘English not first language’ thing and they are referring to the Yahoo takedown.

  6. What could a 3rd party complainant have to gain by claiming that you were not the image creator? They don’t have the RAW files, they can’t sell your images to Hublot SA because you alerted them about the takedown and your ownership. Very strange. I wonder if someone confused your images and similar ones they took. That would be an understandable mistake. But fraud would be a stupid, and pointless, explanation, though certainly possible.

  7. I suspect some ignorant underling in their legal department. In any case, this sucks! Definitely BAD PRESS for their company!

  8. Martin Paling says:

    It seems to me, leaving aside their infantile blunderbuss knee-jerk reaction, that Flickr / Yahoo is acting in bad faith. If it was me I’d take all my images down and go to another site. There are better ones out there.

  9. Sorry to hear, as it’s obviously a big hassle and time suck. I have great copyright lawyers in NYC if you feel that helps. Happy to make an introduction. 2) Fear for me in the big picture here is that it seems anyone could claim to be Hulbot, essentially just creating problems for you using Yahoo/Flickr as proxy for harassment. Do they even have guards against that – if that were the case? And then I guess you’d have the ability sue them, but what a hassle and potential money pit – even just tracking them down as Yahoo may not want or be able to share their actual contact info. 3) Ultimately, don’t they – the Mfr – have the right and ability to claim it’s their IP (intellectual property) and thus requires a “release” – like property requiring a property release. Doesn’t justify pulling you in for a press event and then turning it on you with a claim. But, nonetheless, they may have something on you even if a gross & inappropriate. For the rest of us, we need to learn from such nonsense so we can protect ourselves and help protect each other.

    • Thanks for the offer, David – I hope I don’t have to take you up on it.

      However, your #2 point is really quite scary. The reality is that anybody could claim anybody else’s work as their own, use a fake address, fake IP, and some ‘digital signature’ and then potentially destroy that poor person’s livelihood. It’s a problem for all of us photographers.

      #3 – Their CEO has replied me privately and said they have no claim against me, and he’s as surprised as I am. Their comms department has posted on my site and their saying it’s a third party fraud and their lawyers are at work.

      So, things are looking better. Fingers crossed…

      • It seems it’s some kind of scamming then. “Good”, but that means that we need to keep our eyes open and, most of all, hope that someone at Yahoo will actually work on some “barrier”, or on a way to avoid what happened to you. Fingers crossed and thanks for the post!

  10. Eddie Platts says:

    They mey not have replied to you directly Ming but they’ve posted this on their Facebook page:

    Dear all,

    Thank you to Mister Ming Thein for bringing this case to our attention.
    Be assured that Hublot SA never initiated a procedure to claim back the copyright on the photos mentioned in his post.

    Unfortunately, we at Hublot and Mister Ming Thein are victims of a forgery.

    We are working with our legal department at resolving this case.

    Best regards,
    The Hublot team

  11. Ciao Ming, all I can say is that what happened to you is absurd. I could even understand the fact that someone messed up things and tried to steal your photos, but being accused and judged by Yahoo without having the chance to reply is somehow astonishing.

    One question, just out of curiosity: if Hublot would have asked you for your permission to use some of your photos in their website, giving you only the credits (no money, since you were not hired), would you have allowed them to do it?

    • In this case, probably yes – the images are old and of no (or little) commercial value anyway. They were basically for news and ‘disposable’. It would be a different situation if it were closer to the date of the event (i.e. still current).

  12. Roger Moo says:

    Ming Thein, your photos are too good; and they (the PR dept, probably) without d/check thought you has ‘stolen’ their photos and used it in a media and for that reason, they are claiming copyright. I doubt the CEO & the Regional Director knew a hood what’s going on… till they received your emai; by now, probably have meeting on how to overcome this bad publicity… 🙂

  13. The only thing that I can think of is if there was some sort of condition in small print on the back of the invitation or ticket, or vague reference to the existence of terms somewhere, that applied to your attendance. If so, any such rights would be law. BUT why haven’t they contacted you first?

  14. As I see it, Flickr is in the wrong reacting to this without investigating/asking first.

    It’s interesting how far Flickr, Facebook and others will go when receiving an alert of any kind from third party. You would think Flickr would consider you *their* client (having an account and providing traffic to their site), and Facebook the same.

    I would go hard on Flickr.

    I could mail them that I own the rest of your pictures and they would remove them? That’s not how the world should work.

    Of course some intern at the watch company f… up and is in the wrong, but Flickr should protect photographers.

    • Yes and no, Thorsten. I’d want them to act fast too, especially if I was the infringed. But what needs to happen is the onus of proof should be on the claimant – right now it’s just a digitally signed affidavit, which isn’t enough.

      The scenario you describe of you or I claiming I owned another bunch of pictures and having them all removed should be impossible, but might actually happen. That’s the really scary part for ALL of us photographers.

      The bizarre thing is now nobody at the watch company believes there are any cases against me – including the CEO. But if not, then how? Flickr does not act without provocation, and the same somebody who initiated the case has to rescind it.

  15. I’ve had support problems with Flickr/Yahoo and I’ve been a pro member since 2004. The process of dealing with them is so cumbersome, and their assumptions about people on your end of this kind of complaint are so blunt, it’s very tough to deal with them.

    Please keep us informed on this. I’m most interested in Flickr/Yahoo’s response, or lack of response.

    And yes, I’m spreading the word.

    • No response from Yahoo. Hublot claims no claim, or a fraud. Regardless, I’m still stuck.

      • I’m very sorry about this Ming. I must say, Yahoo pisses me off: on the one hand, they use the cute old Flickr stuff (whoa panda…) on various screens, on the other, they’re a huge, headless corporate machine with the worse customer support in the industry.

        A few years back, someone altered me to the fact that they’d seen my images in another person’s stream. I found dozens of images that were mine in this person’s stream as well as hundreds of images from other photographers up on flickr. The user either was ignorant about how Flickr works, or, was a thief. It took me a month to get Yahoo to deal with this and eventually they got my images out of this user’s account. However, the other images remained and the account remained. I alerted many of the other users but they didn’t push as hard as I did. I lost energy dealing with it so I’m not sure how it resolved but it was tough for me to prove to them that the images were mine. Or, better, they made the process a lot worse for me than it needed to be.

        All of this defending someone who was and probably still is a thief.

        I hope you have a better and swifter outcome.

        • Sorry to hear that – ironic that you couldn’t get them removed, but mine were removed incorrectly!

          The problem with Yahoo’s copyright dispute section is there is no onus of proof on the claimant anymore – it’s as though they’ve done a complete 180 turn from earlier years. Neither approach is balanced, but then again I don’t know what to expect from a CEO who thinks ‘there are no professional photographers’ anymore…

          • CEOs come and go but there is only one Ming Thein! Seriously, and not paraphrasing Beethoven, maybe this is a wake-up call for many of us about the desirability of using Flickr. Maybe it’s partly a victim of its own success, having become such an easy target for this kind of thing.

  16. Randy Birke says:

    This behavior by Hublot is very distressing. It seems to becoming more common practice where large corporations act against “the small guy” without even so much has a dialog between “The Corporation” and the accused (even if they are not guilty and were expressing free speech, in this case by photograph).

    Ming, you need to go after them. Whether it is in the press or in court, I am sure you will have your readers support and the support of fellow photographers. I know you would win. This is outrageous and so typical of what the world has become. I will post on Facebook as well.

  17. Duly FB’d.

  18. I disagree. The photos are of the design of the watches and are protected — at least according to
    http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/sme/en/documents/pdf/ip_photography.pdf

    “1.2 Will the photograph contain an object that is protected by copyright?
    Be warned: Copyright law protects a wide range of different types of material. Examples of
    copyright works that are routinely reproduced in photographs are:
    8. Works of applied art (such as artistic jewelry, wallpaper, carpets, toys and
    fabrics).”

    Since the photos do not incorporate the watches in a broader context (as being incidental to coverage
    of the event per se) — I think you may lose this one. And I would caution getting involved in a legal
    contest with a corporation with vastly greater resources.

    No need to post this.
    PS: Have you read “What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand”
    http://www.amazon.com/What-Art-Is-Esthetic-Theory/dp/0812693728

    • I disagree. They invited media to the event specifically for coverage, which is the bizarre part. I have now gotten replies from Hublot top management stating there are no claims – but this is impossible as Yahoo wouldn’t take action without a claimant, specified clearly as Hublot SA.

      • Michiel953 says:

        They’ve retracted; don’t worry (anymore). Just sit it out; you’ve taken the right approach. Not that it matters, but I always thought Hublot is a watch brand with bloated watches for the wrong kind of people. Very sanctimonious, I know. I’ll stick to my Chopard L.U.C. (3.96), and you’re free to photograph it! 😉

        • The problem is if they didn’t make the claim, then they can’t retract it: who did?

          I hardly photograph watches anymore, to be honest – the retouching is uneconomical. But when I do these days, the watch has my name on the dial…guess what, I own the design copyright to the whole thing, too 🙂

          The 3.96 is a beauty. 🙂 But if I photograph it Chopard might claim rights…

          • Michiel953 says:

            I’d stop worrying if I were you. But then, I’m a lawyer, this sort of thing doesn’t impress me.

            • Doesn’t impress me either and I know the claim isn’t legitimate.

              But the implications that something like this can happen so easily is quite frightening for photography as a whole.

      • I’d agreed with Jeff – it is quite obvious that whoever issued the claim did not claim copyright to your photos, but to the watches illustrated in your pictures. The article you illustrated has promotional value and Hublot would probably be well inspired to not challenge it, but could it be that their IPR agent came across your Flickr stream and missed the context?

        • They now claim that is not the case and that a third party has represented themselves as Hublot to make the claim, which makes no sense either.

          • It seems Flickr would have the IP address of whoever file the claim. It seems a 3rd party may have instigated this i cannot understand their incentive. I cannot imagine it is possible to find anyone at Flickr with whom to speak with one on one. Perhaps it is time to move all your images to a dedicated co-located server.

            • Apparently Hublot’s lawyers did find somebody.

              As for moving servers, the cost would be prohibitive as they would have to serve the site also – with my traffic, I’d be looking at about 20TB of bandwidth a month. And sadly, the site does not generate anywhere near enough income to pay for that.

  19. I cannot understand why they would do this. These images have more promotional value up on the Flickr page than they would in their “possession”. Also, because these images have not been lit and shot in a studio, they are not (from what I can see, which is not much) of a quality that is fit for use in ads or print. So why on earth would they do this. This seriously smacks of desperation, and from a a big brand that should know better. I am new here but assume from the comments sections in your posts that you have quite the following – did they not think of the negative backlash and word of mouth that their action would result in? The mind truly boggles!

  20. Ming, I can understand you deep concern. I’m not a copyright lawyer, but copyright law, from what I’ve read, is a mine field.

    Earlier this year, a French government Minister put a proposal to the EU that a law be passed which, in practice, would give copyright to architects for their buildings, that is, their designs. Think about it. You wouldn’t legally be allowed to photograph any building from the street without first the owner’s or architect’s permission. What if one wanted a selfie with the building in the background? That could possibly have fallen foul of the law, if passed, although I understand that the intention may have been only if commercial profit was being made from the image. But once, in principle, the foot is in the door, what next? Crazy? Yes, and only a Eurocrat, and a French one at that, they love bureaucracy, could possibly find this sensible. It would not be possible to make a movie film in any EU location. Films like the famous UK film “The Italian Job” could simply not have been made. And how many people have wanted to visit and bring additional tourism to Bruges, simply following seeing the film “In Bruges”? Fortunately, sense prevailed, and the proposal was kicked into touch.

    I do wonder, though, if Hublot’s tack is not copyright in your image, but an infringement of copyright in their watch simply by your photographing it? Would not their design be copyright? I believe that in the UK it would be an infringement of the rights of the owner of a painting if I were to photograph it without permission and then make art prints for sale. Could not, the same argument be used for a watch? Hublot wishes to control images of its products. The big question is, can they legally go about it in this heavy handed way?

    • That makes no sense either, since they invited media to the event to cover their products!

      • Hmm, no, it doesn’t. Why invite photographers to an event, and then not expect them to take photos of the product. Makes me wonder, now, if Hublot were behind it at all. But, if so, at what level in the corporate hierarchy was it approved?

        • Exactly. And they knew there would be online media there – that was why we were invited!

          The problem is, if they weren’t behind it: then who’s claiming to be Hublot, and why did Yahoo believe them without proof? The plot thickens.

    • Terry, speaking of the “freedom of panorama”, I’d like to correct few things:
      The normal rule is that copyright owners have the exclusive right to authorize the creation and distribution of derivative works (incl. photographs), and this applies to buildings, sculptures… (and watches 😉 ).
      The “freedom of panorama” is an exception to this rule which allows taking photographs and video footage and creating other images (such as paintings) of buildings and sometimes other art works which are permanently located in a public place. This exception exists in a number of European countries (incl. Germany) but not in France, Italy or Belgium (where Bruges is located).
      What happened is that a German member of the European Parliament proposed to extend this to the whole EU in an updated and modernised copyright law. When going through the EP legal affairs committee, this report was rejected and turned into a proposed reinforcement of the normal rule accross Europe (i.e. a rejection of the freedom of panorama exemption), at the initiative of a French MEP.
      Eventually, the EP rejected the legal affairs committee modifications and adopted the initial report. This is only the start of the process, we’re still a long way from an updated regulation.

      Note: in EU, copyright expires 70y after the death of the owner. Photographing in Bruges should be safe for the most part 😉

      • fiatlux. Many thanks for the correction. I knew there was a Frenchman in there somewhere trying to mess things up for photographers. What I didn’t realise was the original German MEP’s proposal was to rationalise it across Europe to the more sensible, IMO, approach of other countries such as the UK, Germany and others. I didn’t know that there was an potential problem in Bruges. I’ve been taking photographs there every year since 2000, but not for commercial gain. Perhaps I’ve been lucky never to have been stopped and questioned! Had I been, I would have been very surprised, though, as it is a very friendly place.

  21. I can’t believe this! Well, actually I can. I cover a lot of promo events too and am sometimes flabbergasted by the expectations of participating venders. What I can’t believe is that they were so incistent on claiming the photos that they destroyed an article featuring their products.

    Something tells me a mid to upper level manager is going to get the piss taken out of them once they realize their error.

  22. Shocking behaviour from a company that should know better. I rarely use facebook but this prompted me to log in and post a harsh message to these idiots. Hopefully enough of a backlash will prompt a swift retraction of this false claim.

  23. Count on my 5 USD if you opt to hire a lawyer to challenge Hublot. Please do crowdsource your cost, this one will surly work out just fine. This thing has the potential to go viral. Excellent “David vs. Goliath” story. It will run in all photography forums / blogs / websites and some interested IT / IP sites as well. The potential damage to Hublot is massive. I have reposted you case on my timeline and have written on Hublot’s timeline (not expecting them to publish it). Heck, I will now put it on my twitter feed for the fun of it 😉

    • It may need quite a bit more than that – they’ve got LVMH behind them – but appreciate the support 🙂

      I’ve also mobilised the watch community – that’s going to have a lot more impact than photographers in this case…

  24. Well that sucks big time. Perhaps the best way to sort is out is through Yahoo? They can’t really be this naive that they take Hublot at face value and not demand proof. Maybe you can make an infringement notice yourself if Hublot has your photos up in Flickr, I don’t know. I hope Yahoo has competent people in their IP team and they get this sorted out.

  25. This work belongs to Ming. Be honest and ring, and say sorry Ming, we did the wrong thing.

  26. In the end you will prevail because the images are undeniably yours! I just hope ‘the end’ including a very large apology comes sooner rather than later!

  27. Why not ring them up? I know it sounds eccentric but you never know. Ask to speak to the Chairman (by name) or the MD. If that fails, which alas is quite likely, then one of the big photography biz sites might want to run a story? Calls from journos can sometimes prod a response from these Don Magnificos in their counting house amid their sacks of gold.

    • I’ve gone one better. All of the major watch sites/blogs/magazines are run by people who are my friends from the pre-internet journalism days. And many emails to people high up the food chain in that company have been sent by not just me, but others – if they can do this to me, they can do it to all of them, too.

  28. Retweeted FWIW. The most absurd part of the story is that these people sell watches, not photographs. If I was in their seat, I’d be happy to have fine photographers making pictures of my products. As for Yahoo, they are just sloppy. Any corporation sends a copyright infringement notice against an individual, they don’t assess the case, they just remove the pictures. They are just as guilty.

    • Thanks Albert. That’s what I and all of the other watch journalists figure: we’re doing them a favour!

      Yahoo is much harder to contact, but they don’t take action without being incited to. And in this case, the fault lies with Hublot. I’ve contacted them anyway.

      I’m not being too hard on them because we have to remember though that their fast response works both ways: for us who genuinely have a claim, too.

  29. I hope that this was a genuine mistake, although I cannot quite see how.
    Disgraceful behaviour, especially considering that these are probably some of the best publicity shots that they *could* buy, if they would be sensible enough to contact the photographer and negotiate.
    I hope something good comes from as much pressure as you, and your audience, can bring to bear on the situation.

    • I can’t see how either. Unless maybe they didn’t want to buy and wanted to just grab?

      • But to what end? If they are arrogant enough to use them elsewhere surely you will have an easy case? At least, relatively.
        Or is someone misguidedly thinking that somehow any images of *their* products automatically belong to them? It’s baffling…

      • Maybe an overzealous intern wanted to prove his worth to the superiors and took initiative without asking?

  30. Brett Patching says:

    Posted on their Facebook page. Hope you get a response from them.

  31. Gerner Christensen says:

    We have all an interest in this case why I used my network to give a warn.

  32. This sounds really wrong! I’m pretty positive it wouldn’t have happened under Jean-Claude Biver’s watch (if not for his personality, then definitely because of his business acumen). Since he’s famous for reading emails, I recommend you write to him and see how he reacts. Good luck!

  33. Wait. Isn’t Flickr also at fault here? Why would Flickr remove your images without an investigation or getting your side first?

    • Yes. I’ve contacted them too, and their CEO.

    • Thanks to the DMCA, content *has* to be removed from a site when an infringement claim is made … otherwise Flickr becomes liable for any infringement as well. There are very few, if any, consequences for making false claims unless it can be proven that they’re deliberately malicious. This is a daily issue on YouTube, where much of the content takedowns happen automatically (and often incorrectly) via their ContentID system.

      • That’s fine (and desirable in a legitimate situation), but there should be some sort of onus of proof on the claimant.

        • I absolutely agree… and much in the way there are penalties for copyright infringement, there need to be penalties for false infringement claims. Even in a best-case, it takes time and resources out of your life to deal with.

  34. Thats despicable . I suggest you try to contact Mr. Biver , the head honcho of LVMH watch division .

  35. I say go straight to the top: https://twitter.com/marissamayer?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

  36. That’s really no fun at all Ming. Hope you get a decent reply from Hublot – I think the evidence you’re presenting is enough to warrant a personal apology.

  37. I’ve had too much fun in the past where people believe that they own something because they have some interest in it. I Tweeted and posted to Google+ to spread the word for you.

    I don’t know if it will help but silence won’t help.

%d bloggers like this: