One would expect a big multi-national company like Nikken Europe to respect copyright. But when confronted over unauthorised use of my photo in a March 2012 product launch and advertising/publicity campaign, their "head of legal" in Milton Keynes, England was defiant. She claimed that the photo Nikken EU appropriated via Pinterest was ripe for the taking.
Basically, her argument blamed the so-called "original pinner," insisting that if other people grabbed the photo, Nikken EU could too. She claimed to be "unaware of any copyright restrictions related to the use of this photo..." Further, she advised that Nikken EU "strongly deny any copyright infringement and recommend that you contact the person who first posted the photo and availed it to all Pinterest users."
As their legal representative seemed remarkably uninformed about copyright law - and Pinterest's Terms of Service - I wrote a second letter. An excerpt:
"...it appears that your argument is if one person appropriates a photo, everyone else can too! You are mistaken in your assertions. My photo is copyrighted and when I discovered it was “pinned” on Pinterest, I immediately issued a take-down notice. Pinterest removed the photo and sent copyright infringement notices to those people who had “pinned” the photo without permission, including Nikken EU.
The company's response? Nothing. Nada. Zip. A third letter also was ignored.
In a nutshell, Nikken EU denied my request for a token payment of £350 for commercial use of my photo. Even more annoying, Nikken EU refused to apologise for using my copyrighted photo for advertising and publicity. I wonder how Nikken EU - a company engaged in providing "wellness products" in several countries - would react if someone violated their intellectual property or copyright?
By the way, the photo causing the kerfuffle was never intended for publication, other than on my blog. It was a personal photo I took while visiting Utrecht, the Netherlands. It seems such considerations matter little to Nikken EU - just as long as the photo's free!
P.S. Yes, this post is missing that photo - I don't want to give Nikken Europe any more free publicity!