STA Travel caught in copyright blunder after using customer’s photo without consent

STA Travel caught in copyright blunder after using customer’s photo without consent


STA Travel has taken down an image from an online brochure and its social media channels after a former customer accused the travel group of using an image of her without her knowledge or consent.

Australian student Anthea Jirgens told Mumbrella she was shocked when a friend told her she was in one of STA Travel’s European travel guides.

“It was all a bit weird,” Jirgens said.

“I had tagged Santorini in the picture, which I guess is how they found the photo. But it was taken by my ex-boyfriend and meant for friends and family, not for commercial use in a holiday brochure.”

The picture is of Jirgens holidaying in Greece, and was taken by her then boyfriend.

STA Travel has since taken the image down from social media and the online version of its European travel brochure.

Andrew Chalet, partner at Russell Kennedy lawyers, told SmartCompany STA have followed all the right steps in this particular instance.

“Once you’ve realised you’ve clearly done the wrong thing, first of all you’ve got to fix up what you’ve done and fix any copyright infringements,” Chalet says

“Once they [STA] were put on notice that they didn’t have permission from the copyright owner, all they could do is take the image away in all its various uses. So, I think they’ve don’t that the right way, but obviously there is still the potential for a compensation claim.”

Chalet says businesses need to be extra careful when publishing photographs of individuals.

“Photographs of people where that person can be identified is considered private information under the Privacy Act,” he says.

“People need to be careful not only from a copyright perspective, but also a privacy perspective when using other people’s images.”

This particular case highlights how in this day and age it is all too easy to breach copyright, according to Chalet.

“For example, there are photograph libraries where you can source photographs for publication that will give you the photographs but don’t have a copyright licence, so you have to source that yourself,” he says.

“Even if you have photographs which are appropriate, you still have to get the copyright permission to use them.”

STA Travel’s marketing director, Andrea Robinson, told SmartCompany in a statement the business has removed the image in question from use and will be reprinting the brochure it originally appeared in.

“The supplier who provided the image is also looking into the origin of the image,” Robinson said.

“STA Travel takes use of photos in its marketing products very seriously. We are committed to ensuring photos are used appropriately, by crediting the copyright owners or paying the copyright owners for use of their images where necessary.”

*This article was updated on 29 September to include a response from STA Travel


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