Tourism Tasmania Under Fire for Using Instagram Photos on Electronic Billboard

Cradle Mountain by Norton Ip

Bit of a row rumbling away down in Vans Diemen’s Land regarding the use of photographs by Tourism Tasmania. I first heard about this when a Tasmanian photographer I follow (Cam Blake) posted the Instagram photo below.

Have a read through the main text and the comments and you’ll see that Tourism Tasmania set up a feed in the airport in Hobart that displayed Cam’s (and others) photographs. Their contention was that by using the #discovertasmania hashtag, a photographer was giving Tourism Tasmania the right to use the photograph.

As ProCounter have just revealed in this article however Tourism Tasmania have relented in their stance on the subject and removed the offending billboard. Strikes me that this was the right thing to do because photographers work is a hell of a useful calling card for the region and they’d be silly to jeopardise that.

I’ve never been on a photo trip to Tasmania and consequently never dealt with Tourism Tasmania, but I’ve found those organisations I have worked with to be excellent. Destination NSW were really good and bought some images from me for use in campaigns and I’ve worked extensively with the Visit Shoalhaven team to supply both stock photography and video.

The big-screen Instagram show does fall into a bit of a grey area in the sense that Tourism Tasmania did not specifically copy the images, but merely rotated through their feed. That said, it’s using someone else’s images for commercial purposes and so they probably should have cleared it first.  I suspect many of the photographers would probably have been happy to let it go for free if they’d been asked.

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