Skip to main content

Whether it be to stay in touch with distant relatives and friends, for the sake of growing your professional network, or really because you often have found yourself bored with extra downtime at home these past few months; a large majority of society is on some form of social media. We all tend to comment, like, share our favorite things with our friends and followers, and we all have likely at one time posted a photo or two.

Did you ever think that because you post a pic on Instagram someone can use it how they please, or better yet, make money off of it? 

Fun fact, as it stands right now according to Instagram policy, that is not allowed.

However, Volvo, the large car manufacturer tried to pull this stunt recently.

A photographer and a model both had a desire to build a portfolio (I mean it can’t hurt right?) and decided to use a Volvo S60 Sedan for some of the pictures. These photos ended up being posted on the photographer’s Instagram and Volvo saw them, liked them, and reached out asking to use them for free. Now, for those who have seen this film before, you know that if they are asking for permission, the company likely knows they are supposed to ask because otherwise why waste your time?

The photographer did not wish to grant free use of the photo, which makes sense because that is his livelihood.

Volvo took it into their own hands to take the photo and post it on the business Instagram and Pinterest pages. No credit, no compensation, nothing was given to the photographer.

The model involved also violated a contract with a different carmaker, and since she did not plan to have these pictures go anywhere besides her colleague’s Insta, she had an ax to grind. 

Both filed suit and there has been no judgment made yet, however, the title of this article is inspired by the argument that Volvo is currently trying to make. A lengthy written document fleshes out why they believe that any photo put on a public Instagram page is “fair game,” despite Instagram’s comments and clarifications on this issue before. 

For the article with a link to the actual filed motion, follow the link below.

As always, protect your copyright. Register it, officially. It is worth every penny to protect what you created. There is a stark difference between holding an unregistered and registered copyright. 

When unregistered, the only thing you may be entitled to is the damage you actually incurred, which is usually a loss of licensing fees.
Comparatively when registered you are not only entitled to up to 150,000 per image and your attorneys’ fees for the dispute, but also an official registration is some of the most indisputable evidence of ownership. You also have grounds for a larger lawsuit that can force any large corporate infringer to come to the table for negotiations.

As a general rule, be sure to officially register your copyrighted material within 90 days of its creation.  Reach out to Eden Law PLLC through our client portal here to assist with this key part of the process

Written by Christian R. Dudley

Leave a Reply

Skip to content