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Copyright Feud Over Infringement

Photographer Accuses Digital Artist of Stealing

There’s no formal lawsuit yet, but a very angry photographer is contemplating filing one. Photographer Jason Weingart is calling digital artist Brent Shavnore a “thief” and a “liar,” alleging he is stealing his photographs and using them in his own work.

Peta Pixel recently reported on this feud that has yet to turn into a legal battle. Shavnore insists that the accusations are the result of a misunderstanding and that Weingart is acting “childish.”

Who are the Parties Feuding?

Weingart is an extreme weather photographer. According to his website, he “travels over 50,000 miles each year in search of new and compelling images.”

Shavnore describes himself on his website as a “Marine Corp veteran, Audio Engineer/Photographer/Videographer/Social Media Marketing Consultant.” His work is popular on Instagram. Shavnore uses images of extreme weather and uses photoshop to create fantastical scenes. Weingart claims that Shavnore’s work contains his copyrighted images and that he is using them with no license or permission.

Weingart Asked Shavnore to Take Down the Images

When Weingart asked Shavnore to remove the images, Shavnore responded, “I buy all of my images from Shutterstock and Adobe Stock and have licenses for everything I blend together – if you did not authorize your work on Shutterstock or Adobe Stock, please let me know which ones are yours so I can notify them and remove them from my page.”

Shavnore Claims Pictures Were Licensed, Then Reneges

Weingart then allegedly scoured Adobe Stock and Shutterstock and confirmed that his work was not on either website. Since then Shavnore has explained that he got photos in question from a free site, Pixabay, which existed before Adobe Stock and Shutterstock. He claims that “The problem with the free sites is people upload work that is not theirs and pass it off as being royalty-free and you run into problems like this.” Shavnore claims this was a purely unintentional, honest mistake, and that he has removed the pictures that incorporate Weingart’s images.

Is Legal Action Coming?

Weingart told Petapixel that he is considering taking legal action against Shavnore. The issues that might arise in such a case might include:

  • Who is responsible if Shavnore downloaded the images from a free stock website?
  • Is it the website Pixabay?
  • Does the user have to research if there is a copyright for each photo?
  • If Shavnore’s violation was unintentional, will he still owe damages to Weingart?
  • Does the use of these images fall into the fair use exception?

As this feud demonstrates, the internet, photoshop, and social media have opened up an array of new copyright issues for the courts, photographers, and artists to consider.

Contact the Sanders Law Group If You Are a Photographer Whose Copyright Rights Have Been Violated

We help photographers protect their rights and collect compensation allowed by US Copyright laws. If you are a photographer in your legal rights of been violated, call our copyright attorneys today at 516-233-1660.


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