I am a street photographer in New York City. Several months ago, I was approached by a representative of DKNY who asked to purchase 300 of my photos to hang in their store windows “around the world.” They offered me $15,000. A friend in the industry told me that $50 per photo was not nearly enough to receive from a company with hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. So I asked for more money. They said “no.”
Today, a fan sent me a photo from a DKNY store in Bangkok. The window is full of my photos. These photos were used without my knowledge, and without compensation.
I don’t want any money. But please REBLOG this post if you think that DKNY should donate $100,000 on my behalf to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. That donation would sure help a lot of deserving kids go to summer camp. I’ll let you guys know if it happens.
I admire this post so much. This happens so often in our “modern” world, that it’s disgusting and baffling that no one has figured out how to google Copyright Rights just yet. As a photographer, this has happened to me before [not on such a larger scale, as far as I’m aware] but it happens almost weekly where people think they just can take YOUR work because it is online. I love DKNY and I’m incredibly disappointed in the person at the company that showed such poor judgement in making this decision. What they did was steal intellectual property and infringe on the rights of the photographer. I hope that DKNY goes above and beyond in resolving this manner in favor of HoNY and his most generous selfless request.
This is no different then if I asked DKNY for free clothes, they said no, and I went to a different DKNY and just took them. I would be arrested and have a criminal record.
Like what Julia said, this has happened to me countless times, but of course on a much smaller scale.
As a photographer this is infuriating and truly hope DKNY is scrambling right now to fix this.
What people seem to forget about photographers all too often is that our photos are our work. This isn’t something we do as a hobby, this is how we generate income, pay the bills, and sometimes try to buy ourselves nice things. It’s theft the same as anything else, and I’m amazed that HoNY has reacted so calmly to this because I would be filing lawsuits and going to war.
The one thing that this humansofnewyork photographer guy has failed to mention is that the images actually being used in DKNY’s windows (Bangkok was an isolated, internal visual merchandising mistake) were acquired legally by DKNY. It’s a shame he turned down the $15,000, which DKNY were nice enough to offer him directly as an artist. It’s awesome to see Tumblr, and its many users who are fans of fashion, band together for a seemingly good cause, but maybe someone should vet a serious claim before it acquires tens of thousands of notes.
The real lesson here is that if you are a photographer looking to make a career out of your photography, you should probably mind your P’s and Q’s and, you know, have your fucking shit together.
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