Copyright infringement is rampant in tennis media.
It’s a destructive “culture of theft” where people, including New York Times reporter Ben Rothenburg, WTA employee Courtney Nguyen and employees and athletes with powerful tennis federations such as Tennis Canada, think that they “own” anything posted on the internet, and they can share everything without permission, credit or payment to the hardworking photographers who lug around 20,000 to 40,000 dollars worth of heavy camera equipment in challenging conditions including rain and extreme heat.
Copyright laws in Canada and other countries say this is illegal, and photographers are increasingly taking legal action to defend their rights to payment for work.
Many sports photographers such as Ella Ling and Steve Russell have recently complained about rampant theft online.
Yet social media users continue to believe they have unlimited right to “share” or claim ownership of someone else’s property.
Tennis Canada’s social media coordinator Jeff Donaldson and their official podcaster Mike McIntyre are among many social media users who blatantly steal intellectual property for use on their accounts without formal written expressed permission from photographers.
Here are some more examples of copyright infringement and complaints about theft of intellectual property.
Some athletes often use photographs without explicitly crediting the photographer. It’s not clear who created these high quality professional images with expensive camera gear, or whether the athlete paid or requested permission for usage.
Several companies blatantly use veteran tennis journalist Christopher Johnson’s copyrighted intellectual property without payment, credit or permission. Here are a few of more than a hundred examples.