Clothing company shuts down after a copyright dispute with photographer

Jan 1, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Clothing company shuts down after a copyright dispute with photographer

Jan 1, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

You may have followed a recent copyright dispute between concert photographer J. Salmeron and Thunderball Clothing. What started as one of the disputes we see pretty often has quickly ended up in the clothing company shutting down. Marta Gabriel, the owner of Thunderball Clothing, has announced that she will be shutting down the company due to a huge amount of hate comments she has received after the incident.

In case you missed it, you can read the full story on this link, and I’ll sum it up. In June 2018, J. Salmeron attended a festival where he photographed Arch Enemy, a famous metal band. He posted a photo of lead singer Alissa White-Gluz to his Instagram and she reshared it to her feed with appropriate credits.

After this, Marta Gabriel of Thunderball Clothing reshared the same image to her company’s feed, since she designed the wardrobe Alissa was wearing at the concert. Since the photo was used for commercial purposes, Salmeron reached out to Thunderball Clothing with a takedown notice. He gave Marta the option of paying him €500 for photo usage or donating €100 to a charity of his choice (the Dutch cancer society).

The case quickly got attention of the public, and Marta publicly apologized to J. Salmeron on 28 December. She wrote that she meant no harm and that it wasn’t her intention to promote any product she made. She thought that an email from J. Salmeron was a spam or scam, seeing the amount of $500 and Alissa White-Gluz’s name. She says that she didn’t go deeper into the message, but she did what she thought was most logic. She Alissa, forwarded the original message to her and asked what to do. “I was instructed to take down the photo (what I [immediately] did), and was informed that someone else will take care of it,” Marta writes.

https://www.facebook.com/thunderballclothing/photos/a.301509343278590/2016143075148533/?type=3&theater

However, it seems that the public apology wasn’t enough. Only two days later, Marta issued a public statement that her company is shutting down. Considering that she is the only person behind the brand, she says that she wasn’t able to just ignore all the hateful comments she has been receiving ever since the incident happened.

https://www.facebook.com/thunderballclothing/photos/a.301509343278590/2018793761550131/?type=3&theater

Honestly, I find it sad to see that Marta received so much hatred that it made her close her business. She did make a mistake, but she publicly apologized and made an effort to make things right. It’s especially horrible to hear what people have been telling her only because she wasn’t educated enough on how copyright works. And if she was indeed told that someone else would take care of it, then they should have taken care of it.

Marta made a mistake, but I believe that she deserves a second chance, especially because it really doesn’t seem that she was trying to do any harm. After all, she also credited the photographer, she was probably just unaware of the limitations when it comes to commercial use of the photo. What do you guys think of this case?

[via FStoppers]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 responses to “Clothing company shuts down after a copyright dispute with photographer”

  1. stewart norton Avatar
    stewart norton

    I’m torn on this story I have been following it and from what I can gather the photographer was pretty much in the right when it came to the copyright issue , the band seemed to have escalated it and the clothing company seems to have got the brunt of the abuse even though they seem to have tried to do the right thing. The actual issue I have with this is the photographer going public with it..I’ve no doubt there are hundreds of disputes like this every day that are sorted out with lawyers etc that get resolved unoticed, by putting this in the public eye the photographer has made it a much bigger issue than it ever was and someone (who it seems tried to do the right thing) has lost thier livelyhood.

    1. Mark K. Clotfelter Avatar
      Mark K. Clotfelter

      Well said.

    2. Rick Avatar
      Rick

      “The actual issue I have with this is the photographer going public with it.”

      Are you suggesting the photographer should have caved regarding the copyright theft and just taken it as a loss? Because if he hadn’t brought it to the public’s attention that’s all that would have come of this. This case needs to be brought in to the light even more than it already has both to highlight the importance of businesses respecting copyrights and to highlight the hypocrisy of musicians who vehemently protect their artistic license yet totally disregard the artistic rights of others.

      1. stewart norton Avatar
        stewart norton

        Not caved used the proper process it’s called copyright law because it is enforceable through the proper channels. The clothing owner has basically been found guilty by a lynch mob of internet trolls.

        1. Rick Avatar
          Rick

          So you’re suggesting she would have been better off had he gone through the proper channels? As it is she lost her business, something she can reopen tomorrow under another name. If he had gone through legal channels she would not only have lost her business but likely have wound up with a debt of a couple hundred thousand Euros in legal fees and court ordered restitution, something she would have substantial difficulty recovering from.

  2. Lis Thomsen Avatar
    Lis Thomsen

    t wasn’t the clothing company I objected to, but the reaction from the band’s management, and they DID deserve some strongly worded mail. (And no, I wrote neither).

  3. Mark K. Clotfelter Avatar
    Mark K. Clotfelter

    The business woman didn’t deserve that hate mail she received.

    This is another ridiculously escalated situation where really hateful people attack someone through the internet because of a perceived injustice.

    The business owner WAS wrong, and then she made it right. All that was needed was a physical letter from the photographer, or an attorney.

    The internet hate-filled feeding frenzies are preformed by groups comprised by incredibly hate-filled people who feel especially emboldened because of the physical disconnect provided by the internet.

  4. Ryan Watts Avatar
    Ryan Watts

    Sure, the Band did, considering she was told it was going to be taken care of, then publicly apologized and made an effort to compensate the photographer as per his demands, she deserves none of this. Make one small mistake that gets tweeted and the mob begins to form. None of the names she was called were merited and people should be ashamed of themselves.

  5. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
    Arthur_P_Dent

    Don’t blame the photographer. It was the clothing designer and her musician friend who escalated this. She could have quietly resolved it with a €100 donation to the cancer charity.

  6. Huge Dom Avatar
    Huge Dom

    The real victim now is the clothing company but it was all at the doing of the band.

  7. Thomas Davies Avatar
    Thomas Davies

    I would have thought that the publicity could have been used positively, this is a bit sad and not the outcome I think anyone wanted. Is the shut down definitely linked to the problem?

  8. Chris Cristi Avatar
    Chris Cristi

    it’s unfortunate, I hope the band and its associates are affected next, cause they are the main villain of this story, the clothing brand is just collateral

    at the same time, this was an important and intensely covered incident, which should lead to more respect towards a photographer’s work, and wake people up from that ‘exposure’ nonsense

  9. John Atkin Avatar
    John Atkin

    A woman trading on her own, with publicly available business addresses, gets vicious anonymous rape and death threats over a minor photographic copyright issue, and people like Thomas Davies think she should welcome the publicity instead. Starting to see what the real problem is yet?

  10. J Lenny Avatar
    J Lenny

    You can’t operate outside of the law just because you’re a 1-person business; ignorance isn’t a legal defense. The “right thing” would have been to look into the issue herself, not “ask a friend” and trust her internet-famous, angsty friend with her livelihood. Fame does not equal legal experience, and I feel that the shop owner learned a valuable lesson: theft is theft.

    And not making a statement/apology until AFTER the backlash of your bad behavior is not the “right thing.” Target doesn’t let you do the “right thing” and pay for stolen goods in the parking lot after you’ve been caught shoplifting, especially if you were to call in your internet-famous friend to “take care of it.” Theft is theft. Again, ignorance isn’t a legal defense.

  11. FairlyReasoner Avatar
    FairlyReasoner

    While following this not very closely, I don’t recall seeing any discussion of whether the photographer had a model release. Wouldn’t that be required in such a case where the image is being used for commercial purposes?

  12. Sara Amelia Avatar
    Sara Amelia

    I find it odd she shut down a clothing company tbh, something is dodgy.. She could have just gone stop trading for a short while then re started when it all blows over… Very odd to me..

  13. Jason Dunning Avatar
    Jason Dunning

    All the hate should have been directed solely towards the band’s manger. She was the one who turned this into a nasty mess.