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Another barn using pix of my horses to advertise their services?

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  • Another barn using pix of my horses to advertise their services?

    Hi everyone: Your thoughts much appreciated about my situation. Someone who used to lease two of my horses moved to another barn after the one she was leasing at the time crossed the rainbow bridge (the one she had leased earlier was subsequently leased out and they were not a great match in any event.) She now rides with a barn down the road and I wish her and that barn great success.

    Here's the problem: Her new barn is using 4-5 pictures of her on my horses to advertise their services, both on their website and in classified ads online. The woman owns the pictures and in theory I guess has the right to use them any way she wishes.
    But I question whether the new barn should be using those pictures because my horses were never in their riding program. They have other pictures of their riders/trainers on their website, but both my horses have perfect form over fences and their horses simply aren't as fancy (not to be mean but it's true.)

    As a lawyer, I believe they're liable for a "false advertising" claim. I'd be happy to send any interested party a link to their ad for training services with my former lessee on my horse looking fabulous on the front page, and the lower quality pictures of their riders on mounts available to lease on their farm on the second page.

    I certainly wouldn't sue over such a small matter, but I really believe if they're going to be ethical, they should either not use my horses in their ads or disclose in captions underneath that "the horse pictured is from another barn." I understand that would most likely defeat the purpose of using those pictures, but too bad.

    What would y'all do? Advice appreciated, even critical advice, if nicely put.
    Last edited by hunter.pleasure; Feb. 16, 2013, 07:37 PM.

  • #2
    I have absolutely no legal background but unless they say specifically that the horses in those pictures are the ones available for lease or for using in lessons I don't see the big deal? A LOT of trainers post really great pictures of themselves riding on their websites.... doesn't mean the horses in those pictures are the ones currently on the farm or owned by them or available.

    I would take it as a compliment - they obviously favor the way your horses look in those pictures! Seems unnecessary to start drama over it especially since she took the pictures and was leasing the horses at the time. That's like telling a mom who takes pictures of her child riding in a lesson that she can't post those pictures anywhere.
    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

    Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

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    • #3
      I would not worry about it.
      https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
      Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/
      www.PeonyVodka.com

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      • #4
        Unless she is advertising your horses for sale or lease, it's not false advertising. My experienced event horse retired last fall and now I have a baby who is just starting out-- doesn't mean that I can't use pictures of myself jumping 3'6 even if I am currently jumping 1'6.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by hunter.pleasure View Post
          Here's the problem: Her new barn is using 4-5 pictures of her on my horses to advertise their services, both on their website and in classified ads online. The woman owns the pictures and in theory I guess has the right to use them any way she wishes.
          IANAL, but remembering what I knew in a brief previous life as a photographer: I believe they need to get your permission [a property release] before using an image of your property [the horse] for commercial purposes.

          Just like they ought to have model releases from all the people pictured on their site. Now, what are the chances of either actually being the case?

          You could request that they compensate you for the use of your property, or remove the photos.

          They will likely be confused and offended -- very few people understand this stuff, they just think that if they took the picture, or someone gave it to them, it's fine to use however they'd like.

          The horse world being as small as it is, you have to decide if burning this particular bridge is worth it.
          --
          Wendy
          ... and Patrick

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          • #6
            I guess when I look at barn pictures, I don't even associate the horse pictures to the barn unless they are advertized as horses they have trained. Maybe I am too jaded but horse pictures are just that. I wouldn't care about the pictures.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by wsmoak View Post
              IANAL, but remembering what I knew in a brief previous life as a photographer: I believe they need to get your permission [a property release] before using an image of your property [the horse] for commercial purposes.

              Just like they ought to have model releases from all the people pictured on their site. Now, what are the chances of either actually being the case?

              You could request that they compensate you for the use of your property, or remove the photos.

              They will likely be confused and offended -- very few people understand this stuff, they just think that if they took the picture, or someone gave it to them, it's fine to use however they'd like.

              The horse world being as small as it is, you have to decide if burning this particular bridge is worth it.
              But it seems that the rider was the leasee of the horse/s at the time. so, what's the legal standing there?

              OP: Since they are not using your pictures, let it go. Enjoy the good shots (I hope the pictures are good) of your horses and let it go.
              Life is too short to worry about that!
              Originally posted by BigMama1
              Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
              GNU Terry Prachett

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              • #8
                Hmmm... she was leasing your horse when the pictures were taken, and she owns the pictures. If anything SHE should be the one worried about whether or not the pictures are being appropriately used.

                I'd just take it as a compliment. If it wasn't for the lease situation it would would really get my dander up, but I know where my DD takes lessons I'm quite sure there are leased horses on the barn's website, I just don't think anyone thinks twice about it really. If it bugs you that much, maybe ask the BO to caption the photo with the name of the horse and "owned by hunter.pleasure" just to clarify.

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                • #9
                  OP, as a recovering lawyer and now a self-employed riding instructor, I agree with the others that it's not going to be worth fighting and you should eventually let it go -- but I TOTALLY feel your pain! A couple of examples given above -- like the rider starting over with a young horse, or a Mom posting her kid's picture on fb -- are not on point, because these are people using what you produced as part of your business (a nice horse) to advertise their competing business, not you posting pictures of yourself with a different horse, or your former customer posting on her purely social site. If I were in the same situation, and another stable had posted pictures of my former students out foxhunting my good steady hunting ponies, without identifying me as the owner, I'd be pissed too, because this is my livelihood.

                  That said, the usually-repressed-except-for-chilly-Saturdays when I've been out in the cold teaching all day SNARKY part of me, would love to see you email your former customer, cc'ing the owner of the other barn, and another lawyer buddy of yours with "Esq." included: "Hey, Former Student, hope you're doing great. I noticed those amazing photos of my horse, Brownie, on Hated Rival's website. Those are fantastic pictures! Hope you don't mind that I uploaded them onto my website as well!" And, you know, if she complains, you can always take them down (well, you would have to). Or if you have a website or facebook page, you could post a link to the pictures on their page with the comment, "Congrats to our former student So and So -- check out these great pictures of Brownie who is still available for lease here at Happy Acres!" That is probably 1% less obnoxious.
                  Last edited by Martha Drum; Feb. 16, 2013, 09:50 PM.
                  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Easy-K...22998204542511
                  http://www.easykeeperfarm.com

                  I can ride my horses without a sharps container.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Everyone: your thoughts are greatly appreciated!!

                    ....especially yours, Martha.

                    I just want to clarify one thing. When OTTB said earlier: "A LOT of trainers post really great pictures of themselves riding on their websites.... doesn't mean the horses in those pictures are the ones currently on the farm or owned by them or available."

                    The pictures posted by the trainer/barn co-owner (same person) were not of her riding my horse. They were of the woman who now leases a horse from her who used to lease horses from me. In fact, that amateur rider rides better, quite frankly, than the "professional" who has set up her own training business...be that as it may.
                    What irks me is the trainer is offering lessons and leases using pictures of horses she never owned/rode/leased or had available for lease. I can easily see a trainer using a shot of him/herself riding a horse s/he no longer owns. But if s/he is selling training services using a picture of a student (who could be mistaken for the trainer) on somebody else's horse, I think it's just plain unethical.
                    Would a barn owner who places ads using a shot of someone else's indoor/pastures/facility be acting unethically? I should think so. It's the same thing here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have to say that I agree. Susie leased Horse from you and had flattering pictures taken. Susie's new trainer, Lisa, is now using old pictures of Susie and Horse to advertise her training services.

                      At the time the pictures were taken she had not trained Susie or Horse. By using these pictures she is saying that the pair pictured are at least in part a result of her training and instruction. Since this is not the case, I think it is unethical.

                      If Susie is a good enough trainer that Lisa wants to use pictures of her riding, then Lisa needs to use pictures taken of Susie since she started riding with Lisa.

                      In non horsey context, if I do P-90X for 90 days and get ripped, is it ethical to use those pictures down the road as a promotional tool for the results produced by the Insanity workout? If I want to use pictures to advertise the results of the Insanity workout, the pictures should be from a point after I started the workout program.

                      It seems pretty logical to me.

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                      • #12
                        I agree I do find it a bit odd that a trainer would use pics of a horse that she has had nothing to do with as far as training, coaching, etc. Especially if your horse is obviously a higher quality horse then what she has to work with or offer.

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                        • #13
                          yeah bbbut what exactly is the harm caused to the OP? I see none whatsoever. No lawyer here but isn't it a fundamental concept that the person bringing legal action has to have been actually/materially affected?
                          Part of what makes a stable & trainer attractive is the quality of her clients, not only the horses she's trained. She now has this very nice rider as one of her clients, and wants to promote that. And, well, it's conceivable that the horse looked so lovely over fences at least partly because of the skill of the rider.

                          Sorry, but taking offense, or worse, taking action, about this will only come across as petty. Just bask in the pleasure that you have such a terrific horse. If you see the rider or trainer, just tell them how happy you were to see Dobbin on the site, and happy to see how all the training you put into him has paid off.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            She could have asked at least. I used to board at a barn where the BO always exaggerated her credentials and experience. She used me and my horse in one of her ads without consent. When I got word to her that I was not happy (didn't want people to think I was training with her) she did take them down. Not ethical as someone else said.
                            Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CFFarm View Post
                              She could have asked at least. I used to board at a barn where the BO always exaggerated her credentials and experience. She used me and my horse in one of her ads without consent. When I got word to her that I was not happy (didn't want people to think I was training with her) she did take them down. Not ethical as someone else said.
                              you were not asked.

                              the person in the picture, presumably owning the pictures might have given the pictures to the BO to use. Big difference.

                              The OP really has no grounds for complaints.
                              The trainer is using a picture of her client.
                              Originally posted by BigMama1
                              Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                              GNU Terry Prachett

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I don't see how this is an issue.

                                Barn is using photos that the OP does not own, does not have any rights to and has absolutely no say whatsoever in how they're used.

                                OP is upset.

                                I'm confused.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by hunter.pleasure View Post
                                  The pictures posted by the trainer/barn co-owner (same person) were not of her riding my horse. They were of the woman who now leases a horse from her who used to lease horses from me. In fact, that amateur rider rides better, quite frankly, than the "professional" who has set up her own training business...be that as it may.
                                  What irks me is the trainer is offering lessons and leases using pictures of horses she never owned/rode/leased or had available for lease. I can easily see a trainer using a shot of him/herself riding a horse s/he no longer owns. But if s/he is selling training services using a picture of a student (who could be mistaken for the trainer) on somebody else's horse, I think it's just plain unethical.
                                  Would a barn owner who places ads using a shot of someone else's indoor/pastures/facility be acting unethically? I should think so. It's the same thing here.
                                  Does the trainer caption the shot so as to suggest that it is she, not a student, in the irons? Trainers do post pictures of their students as advertisement for their services. If she gave your lessee even one lesson on your horse, I think she's more or less within her rights to claim to have produced that pretty horse and rider pictured.

                                  The pictures belong to your lessee.

                                  Maybe, being an attorney and all, you could include a clause in a future lease that specifies who owns images of your horse (regardless of who takes 'em) and requires that you sign off on their use.

                                  And if you do this so as to control someone with whom you have no financial relationship and who is being unethical in the horse business, I'd have to say you were nuts or a glutton for punishment.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    did you read the last line of the web site? :

                                    "The events depicted in this website are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by wsmoak View Post

                                      [snip]

                                      The horse world being as small as it is, you have to decide if burning this particular bridge is worth it.

                                      I think this is the key here. It would have been nice if they asked for permission to use photos of your horse even if it were taken by someone else. However, a lot of people aren't that sensitive or conscientious. The most I would do is email them to ask that you include your name, as the owner of the horse (or some such thing) if they would like to use it on their website. If you make it a big deal, they are likely just going to get petty about other stuff.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Agree that it's an obnoxious and not totally honest thing to do. Trainer is basically implying by using the pictures that she has something to do with the success of this pair, and from the OP it sounds like she never had any contact with the horse in question.

                                        Say I'm a person who teaches other people to rebuilt old cars. It would be like having a student who leased a really nice vintage car before meeting me. She took pictures of herself in it, and then I posted it on a website advertising my skills as person who teaches others to rebuilds cars. Nowhere am I stating specifically that I had any contact with the car in the picture, but it's pretty much implied even though it's not true.

                                        However, I also agree that you don't have any legal right to ask them to take the pictures down, and it doesn't make sense to get upset over it. If you want to go the catty route you could do what Martha said and link to the picture from your site saying that the horse is still available for lease. But like others said, this isn't causing you any harm (aside from annoyance) and it's best not to burn bridges.

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