Related to our previous correspondence, please find the attached Notice of Copyright Infringement and Cease and Desist Letter for ****.com and ******************.com as well as an informational member support letter from the Professional Photographers of Canada.
As a **** Member representing two Kootenay technology companies, I am extremely disappointed with ****’s continued use of my images after deciding not to pay licence fees for their use since June 11th, 2020.
As of today, my images continue to be reproduced on **** and ***’s websites. My images have been used for **** and ***’ marketing, communication and social media purposes for months without my consent and without compensation, despite being assured compensation on June 19th, 2020 by ***** *********. This includes their featured use for the *** Launch on July 14, for a public presentation to the Nelson City Council on June 22, and for ****’s weekly newsletters.
Under Canadian Copyright law, not having a written agreement relating to these images does not grant a licence to use copyrighted images and it is not an excuse to continue copyright infringement after not properly licencing the images.
As you know, this issue has prompted my withdrawal from the BC Venture Acceleration Program administered by ****. As an artist and an entrepreneur, I strongly believe that all organizations should compensate local producers fairly for their work, especially in the expenditure of public funds.
Had you taken the time to call me, I would have told you that I got into the tech sector after seeing so many creative entrepreneurs—many of whom are female—struggle to be fairly compensated for their work. That is why I created Pixel Cents Software Inc. and developed the free Price-a-photo App, which is being used by photographers in 22 countries around the world, and eventually the Numburu financial literacy platform for creative entrepreneurs and micro-businesses.
I am also disappointed to learn that **** cannot be held accountable to its Membership or to the wider Kootenay tech community. My Memberships were purchased last year with the expectation that governance would soon be put in place to have a voice including at the Annual General Meeting, just as I am given a voice and a vote with my Memberships with the PPOC, Chamber of Commerce and Accelerate Okanagan.
I am troubled to learn that **** held an unannounced, closed-door AGM in October, and that no progress has been made to ensure its accountability despite soliciting and receiving public funds and investment from the Kootenay tech community through memberships and donations. I believe that ****s continuing lack of accountability threatens the small but growing tech sector in the Kootenays. It is important that growing tech in our region be reflective of our unique values and to act with the best interests of our community, not the best interests of a small few accountable to noone but themselves.
I have been doing business and volunteering in the Kootenays and Victoria since 2007, and I have been a professional photographer for twenty years. The treatment that I received from **** since June 2020 has been extremely unprofessional and its behaviour represents an affront to the type of creative entrepreneurial community I want to build in Nelson.
Creative entrepreneurs and technology startups deserve to be supported and fairly compensated by organizations of all sizes, particularly those funded by taxpayer money.
In the end, I am privileged to not need these licence fees from **** for my family in these hard times. But for so many struggling creative entrepreneurs, this type of behaviour would be devastating. Copyright infringement devalues creative intellectual property and it stifles the industry and innovation overall.
To start to make this right, I ask that you donate the total of my unpaid invoice ($2622.90) to the Professional Photographers of Canada Copyright Fund so that it may work to further educate organizations on the importance of respecting creative IP and fairly compensating artists for their work. I also ask that you and your staff review the Canadian Copyright Act.
I will not be renewing my **** memberships until proper governance is in place—please remove reference to my companies on your websites as soon as possible.
Melissa Welsh, MPA
Founder and CEO, Numburu Software Inc.
Co-Founder and COO, Live it (Fish Eye Productions Inc.)