An art instructor who charges for his courses is using one of my photographs in his class. All the students including himself have painted the photograph and he has posted his painting on his site. I did not give permission to any of these people to paint my photograph. This is my most popular photograph which I sell in many shops in the area (I live in Canada). Is my copyright infringed and what can I do to remedy it?

  • 4
    Yes, most likely this is infringement. You should find an intellectual property lawyer.
    – phoog
    Sep 23 '16 at 12:17
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    I would highly recommend reaching out to the instructor first, before doing anything else. He may not be aware that he can't use it for his class. You say you sell it in many shops, and generally when people see things mass produced in any way, they assume it's just a random photo that someone decided to put in a nice frame and sell. Their guard goes down. You may be able to easily resolve this issue without spending a bunch of money on an attorney that may not be able to win you your case.
    – animuson
    Sep 24 '16 at 23:13
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    I agree. Many people think that it's okay if it's for class use, or if they aren't making exact copies, so the instructor may misinformed about your rights. A letter is cheaper than a lawyer, and you can always go for the lawyer if the letter doesn't work.
    – user6726
    Sep 26 '16 at 1:33
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    What do you want as a remedy? Jan 7 '19 at 7:48
  • @phoog: Sorry, but that's lazy blanket advice. Hiring a lawyer can be quite expensive (easily in the range of hundreds or thousands of Can$). Depending on the financial situation of the instructor, even if they win on all fronts, OP may be left to pay that. Blindly hiring a lawyer may cost OP a lot of money.
    – sleske
    Jan 7 '19 at 8:02

This may well be infringement, but I agree that you should start by reaching out to the instructor. You don't want to pay a lawyer if the matter can be be adjusted peacefully.

In the US there is a special limited exemption to copyright for "use in classroom instruction" which might apply in such a case. I am not sure if there is a similar provision in Canadian copyright law. But the instructor is likely to change his practice if you notify him of your objection, even if he has the technical right to use the photo. At least it is worth finding out. If he won't, then you can always consult a lawyer.

  • 1
    The use in class might be justifiable. Putting the painting on public view on the web isn't. Nov 8 '18 at 22:02

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