Yesterday I happened to be browsing Beechworth listings on Tripadvisor when I saw a photo that looked familiar. The photo used on the Green Shed restaurant page is one I took in 2012 and published in my review of the restaurant. I did not authorise its use on Tripadvisor.
The Green Shed page on Tripadvisor at 21 February 2013 (above) and my photo, first published on 15 April 2012 (below).
I immediately went looking for general TripAdvisor contacts, which basically don’t exist. They make it as difficult as possible to find an email address to contact them at. Then I tried to look for copyright information on the Australian site. Nothing. They don’t want to be contacted. They don’t want to take responsibility for their site or the plagiarism on it.
I discovered that there is a significant difference between the Australian About and US About sections on the TripAdvisor site(s). The former does not have a copyright complaint policy page but the latter does. Finally I found their US copyright complaint policy page, which contains an email to send copyright complaints to.
Tripadvisor’s failure to provide copyright information and contact details on its Australian site is negligent and unacceptable. It made me more angry than I was about their unauthorised use of my photo. This discrepancy suggests that TripAdvisor don’t give a flying fuck about copyright in Australia. That’s pathetic and despicable.
I sent the following email to email@example.com noting that my image was hosted in the .com area of their site:
The photo at http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/03/4b/3f/2e/the-green-shed.jpg in your page at http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g552137-d1847043-Reviews-The_Green_Shed-Beechworth_Victoria.html was taken by me.
It was originally published on my site at http://indolentdandy.net/fitzroyalty/2012/04/15/dinner-at-the-green-shed-in-beechworth/
You have used it without permission in violation of my CC licence. I demand that you either remove it immediately or pay me $500 AU to licence it.
I have a good faith belief that the material that is claimed as copyright infringement is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and I am the copyright owner, or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
I deliberately set an exorbitant price to licence the photo assuming that they would never pay anything and would be more likely remove the image.
After sending the email, I got a bounceback from an individual paralegal staffer’s account, not the alias, saying they were out of the office. That gave me a name, which I searched for in Twitter and Linkedin. I then tweeted them to read their email.
Then I thought I’d do more. I found the names of Tripadvisor’s executives and, having the email address format from the paralegal’s, I decided to CC my email to some of them. I completed writing this post, which generated its URL, then included it in the email to 4 of the executives. Once this post was published I sent the email and also tweeted a link to it to 2 of them.
- summarise the problem clearly and distinctly
- contact the most appropriate contact you can find, but don’t expect them to solve anything (they usually can’t or won’t)
- escalate the problem to senior management ASAP
- publish the lot on the internet to publicly embarrass them
- sit back and watch the stupid fuckers deal with it
I will update this post once I receive a response from Tripadvisor.
The stolen photo has been removed but I have not received a response from Tripadvisor.