Best Western International, Inc. Copyright Infringement – 2012

June 28, 2012

Yesterday it was brought to my attention that Best Western International, Inc. had stolen one of my images for commercial use off of my Flickr account. At the time of this entry, the image is still live on their website.

From what I’ve observed, the website belongs to a Dallas-based Best Western, Best Western Market Center, and the copyright infringement seems to be isolated to that website alone.

Historically I have sent a cease and desist letter to someone who’s stolen my image(s), and typically it is observed and the image is removed. In this situation, the offender is a corporation, and rather than a mistake, it seems to be a blatant disregard for copyright. That having been said, rather than sending a cease and desist letter, I sent an invoice instead.

Some readers may complain with respect to the amount I invoiced for – $600 – but this unfortunate situation isn’t about getting rich quick. It’s about teaching corporations like Best Western – as well as individuals – that this kind of behavior is not OK, and that because something, such as a photograph, is online, does not mean that you can simply steal it.

This is a copy of the email that I sent to Best Western International, Inc. yesterday, June 27, 2012:

Subject: U.S. Copyright Violation – First Notification – Best Western International, Inc.



Date: Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 1:55 AM


To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Stephen Masker and I am a professional freelance photographer in North Texas. I am writing Best Western International, Inc. with respect to copyright infringement regarding a photograph I made in Dallas, Texas on Friday, January 16, 2009. The image was taken on North Market Street between Ross Avenue and Elm Street, and depicts West End Station with Bank of America Plaza, center frame, and Renaissance Tower, left of Bank of America Plaza.  

This image was registered with the Library of Congress on Wednesday, February 04, 2009 and is a copyrighted image. Best Western International, Inc. has violated the Copyright Act of 1976 for the unauthorized use of the aforementioned image, specifically “lifting” the copyrighted image from its original location and placing it on Best Western’s online website for commercial use. 

I have attached an invoice for $600.00 USD and this email is being forwarded to a media law attorney. If the attached invoice is not observed within one calendar month of today’s date, Wednesday, June 27, 2012, I will pursue litigation. 

For your reference, the violation may be observed here:

(Accompanying screen-capture attached in this email). 

For your reference, the original image may be observed here:

(Accompanying screen-capture attached in this email). 

My email address is: 

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this notification is accurate and that, for the image described above and identified below, I am the copyright owner, and that Best Western International, Inc does not have my permission to use this picture. 

This email is being sent to:

Stephen Masker Photography 

(T): 972-754-2762

PRIVACY NOTICE: This email is intended for the exclusive use by the person(s) mentioned as recipient(s). This email and its attachments, if any, contain private and/or client privileged and confidential information which may contain “Work Product,” information protected by “Privilege” or other Rights. If you receive this email in error or by mistake, please notify the sender, delete this email immediately from your system and destroy all copies of it. You may not, directly or indirectly, use, disclose, distribute, print or copy this email or any part of it for any reason if you are not the intended recipient. Unauthorized interception of this electronic communication is a violation of 18 USC 2510, et seq. The Electronics Communications Privacy Act. If you have received this email in error, please notify Stephen Masker Photography at

Best Western Market Center contact information: 

2023 Market Center Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75207-3318
Phone: 214/741-9000 | Fax: 214/741-6100

Best Western International, Inc. Corporate information: 

6201 N. 24th Parkway, Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Phone: 602/957-4200

Photographic evidence: 

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever been a victim of copyright infringement? Leave your comments in the section below.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Thorpeland June 29, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Make them pay!!

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