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« In Barcelona, don't forget to look up! | Main | An elusive spring and more copyright issues »

15 April 2013


Donna Russell

Dear Tara

Firstly, thank you for your patience whilst we have been looking into the claim and apologies that we did not know immediately of the history of the use of your photograph. It took a while to find out what had happened and when as we stopped using Pinterest some time ago. The image was re-pinned back in March 2012 and our team working in this area had since changed. We also had to research the Pinterest site and how that worked as we did not understand that you were not able to re-pin images within the site. In fact we understood that it was up to the person who originally pins a new image on the Pinterest site to ensure that they are not breaching any copyright laws and to ensure that they have the permission of the owner of the image to add that to the site.

We opened up a Pinterest account for Nikken Europe as part of our Social Media efforts when it was a very new concept and we saw an opportunity to share our thoughts and interests as a Company with others by pinning and sharing images that we felt fitted with our messages. We understood the concept of this photograph and image sharing site was to act like a pin-board. It was very new to us and our team and as such your photograph of Utrecht, which was not watermarked, was re-pinned after we found that shared by another user. The assumption therefore was that the original user was sharing the image having checked copyright and with permission. The reason we chose to share or re-pin the image was due to the fact we were going to be visiting Utrecht with a small meeting for 30 people where we were launching a new water filter product. Our team at the time did not understand that the re-pinning of the image on the Pinterest site would be seen as a violation of the photographers copyright and for this error we are truly sorry. Our team here at Nikken would never knowingly breach these rights.

Again, I am sorry that it has taken time for us to research this and understand that our legal team have been in touch to confirm and make the payment of £350 that you have requested for the re-pinning of this image on the Pinterest board. Please be assured that we have never used your image in any promotional or advertising campaign outside of the Pinterest site in any form. We can also assure you that our team here at Nikken Europe will not make this mistake again and that we have already closed our Pinterest account. We wish you a successful conclusion with the Pinterest user who first shared your image without authorisation or permission which has led us into this unfortunate situation and again apologise for our error in re-pinning that by assuming the first user had received permission to share that.

Kind regards

Donna Russell, Digital Marketing Manager, Nikken Europe

Ron Levy


Your arguments in your letters are a bit wordy and you should just get an attorney on contingent to take this case.

Now that you have notified EU, they are acting willfully and that further strengthens your case, and your ability to collect more money.

I am not a lawyer, but 25+ years experience in selling photos has taught me that fewer words and more action is a better use of your time. Pinterest is actually irrelevant to the issue, so I wouldn't let them drag you or them into it.

Simply put, they used your photo without permission for commercial purposes. Give them (via a lawyer if you can find one) a Final Demand letter to pay for commercial use for whatever their use was, and a deadline to pay or you will file in US court for lost revenue plus expenses and damages. This is worth thousands, so get help.



OMG. This is horrible. This is an outrage. Those creeps!
I'm going to have to get more on top of social media and call these people out. I'm going to check on them, now.


3 words concerning Nikken EU:

{{ stealing an artistic product
& using it for profit ??
seriously ...
HOW is that ethical
in anyone's book ?? }}

Mike Drips

Hire an attorney and sue them. In the US, you can ask for additional damages, so this could be profitable. Even if you tell the attorney to take the case on contingency it is worth a shot.

Lynne Knowlton

So sorry to hear that this happened to you Tara. You go girl. Stay strong !

Tara Bradford

Jeanie, thank you! You know I'm not one to give up easily. Wheels are in motion.

Tara Bradford

Thanks Brett. Am on the case!


This is simply appalling. I'm not a litigious person and frankly, I'm not sure if for the amount you would get back if going legal would be financially viable, but it would certainly make a point. A big one. Do they have the equivalent of small claims courts there? You know, the use of the photo is awful enough. The arrogance to fight that amount, to not even reply to follow-up makes me incredibly angry.

Take 'em on, my friend, if you can. You are a beacon.


Please, please send them a letter from your solicitor/lawyer!

Tara Bradford

Sheila, thanks so much for the recommendation!

Tara Bradford

Leslie, thank you - much appreciated.

Leslie Hawes

If you are not already aware of Carolyn E. Wright, LLC, you might want to be. Here is a link:

Sheila Smart

I suggest you contact Mark Corran of Briffa a London lawfirm, who was most helpful in one of my matters. Of course, Nikken are talking nonsense in the hope that you will just go away.

Tara Bradford

Hi Kirsten - You are welcome to share the article. Thanks for your good wishes.

Kirsten Kowalski

Hi Tara. Do you mind if I share this article on my blog and Facebook page for Legal Photo Pro? This is a good follow up to my previous articles on how Pinterest encourages copyright violations.

Nikken EU is mistaken, in my opinion and I would argue that you have a great case for intentional infringement. Good luck with everything!

Tara Bradford

Thank you, Margaret. Alas, that certainly seems to be the case in this instance... The company wasn't bothered enough to attempt to resolve the matter.

Tara Bradford

Natalie, thanks for the support! It's disappointing that the company had the chance to resolve the matter amicably; instead they chose to do nothing.

Tara Bradford

Marilyn, thank you! Too many companies seem to cultivate a cavalier attitude towards copyright. Until they're forced to address these issues, copyright infringement will continue.


Well I will remember this name and not use any of their products if the opportunity comes along. $350 really is so little to pay to use your photo for advertising purposes. So sorry for this! Their legal staff should know better, tsk tsk!


To put it nicely, they need to have their asses sued. Irrespossible and full of baloney, smoke and mirrors to boot. This makes me SO mad!!!

Margaret Dukeman

How appalling!! I get so tired of large companies taking things and never paying for them. They assume that because of their size that they can take whatever they want. I am glad you pursued them! You token amount of 350 was just that a token, it is by no means what it is worth!

Tara Bradford

Janine, thanks so much for your support!

Tara Bradford

Helen, sadly too many big companies think such issues (involving others' copyright) are not worth addressing - unless, of course, they're being sued in court. Money is their motivating factor, until their professional reputation is called into question.

Tara Bradford

Thanks so much Lois! Your support is much appreciated.

Tara Bradford

Mark, you are absolutely correct. Thanks for your insightful comments.

Tara Bradford

Good idea, Mitch. The company is probably counting on me not wanting to spend money on a copyright lawyer. Nikken EU should have made efforts to resolve the matter, rather than hoping it will go away.

Mitch Labuda

If it was me, I wouldn't debate with the company. I'd find a competent IP lawyer and set out the facts, and let the lawyer make the other side settle up. The company is clearly in the wrong

Lois Bryan

Deeply sorry to read this, Tara ... you go get 'em!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And herein lies the problems with social bookmarking sites like pinterest. Ridiculous!

Surely if you were found in possession of physical stolen items, you couldn't keep them and simply point to the original thief. Even if you had paid the thief, you'd have to return the property to the original owner.

I expect this kind of ignorance more from the average Joe but it is disappointing when the legal people at a company are just as clueless. Sounds more like willful ignorance to be honest. Hoping you'll go away.


Pinning is one thing... using for commercial purposes for profit is another. How petty/low/sleazy this company is...they should pay.


Wooooow. I really don`t know what else to say, other than "woooooooow."

I know that you're going to pursue this further. Please don't let them get away with it (especially with their STUPID 'everyone else was pinning it, so why can't we' reasoning.)

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