Reflections On A Copyright Violation

Karlie Kloss instagram

Just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who has read, shared, or discussed my copyright violation story. The number of people who’ve seen it, and the support I’ve received has been amazing.

As I said before, I debated posting about it at all. After a lot of thought, I decided opening a discussion on copyright issues, and showing exactly how something as simple as lack of image accreditation can directly harm a photographer or artist was more important than just staying quiet. I don’t believe people should be shamed out of sharing a negative experience, whether it’s a copyright violation, or something much much worse. The same people who victim blame are usually the same ones who perpetuate much of this negative behavior in the first place.

Everyone has an opinion on what happened to me and the photo in question. Good and bad. Some believe I “asked for it” since I didn’t watermark my photos (as if those can’t be removed?). That it was my job to insure the photo had a credit (I asked, multiple times). Or that I was ruining my career even publicizing my experience (I believe my work and worth ethic speaks for itself).

The fact remains that at the end of the day, someone did something wrong. Purposely or not, a simple omission caused a chain reaction that led to a photographic train wreck. My work was “stolen” and ended up published by a large amount of media outlets without credit or compensation. Something which, in case anyone forgot– is actually illegal.

Worth noting is the fact that I’m not the only one in the industry that this type of thing has happened to. See the Humans of New York DKNY case for a more highly publicized case.

It’s my hope that my negative experience brings this issue to light. And maybe just maybe the next celebrity/model/regular old person who decides to share an image that’s not theirs, on instagram or elsewhere, will stop and think “I should probably credit this” before hitting that publish button.

Thank you for reading,


And don’t worry: I’m not quitting photography anytime soon. 😉


2 thoughts on “Reflections On A Copyright Violation

  1. Comments can be esp on places like Petapixel can be a spiral of the worsts parts of the photo community and I wouldn’t listen to them. The whole watermarking debate is essentially moot, if someone is going to steal an image they are going to do it. In your case there was one mistake by one individual which took us down the rabbit hole. It does show that there needs to be alot more education out there for bloggers as well as normal folks about correctly using an image. It was an interesting article and as some one who has had watermarked images stolen I completely understood your point of view.


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