We are a small flooring contractor, recently finished two project as subcontractors of a big company. The whole project was completed by us, the big company just gave us the project. We have never signed any contract with them, none a word. Only thing, we received was a confirmation email for the job. We took photos of the work we've done and posted them on social medias. The big company sent us threatening email that if we don't remove the photos of their project, they will sue us. I understand this is their project, as the client paid them and they paid us and etc but we have done all the work. Can you advise, can I post photos taken by us of the project we've executed or it is really illegal? Thanks

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you considered contacting an attorney? \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Sep 1, 2019 at 14:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since they have already threatened to sue, this is out of the realm of the photographic. Unfortunately, you really need to consult with a lawyer at this point. (You may want to consider the value of having the photos up vs. the cost of dealing with this, even if you are in the right.) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 1, 2019 at 15:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even without a signed contract, there can be a contract, at least in Germany. In such a case, the court will try to figure out what the intension of both parties was. Of course the big company will claim that they wanted exclusive, transferrable, perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide distribution right for the photos. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1, 2019 at 16:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ From your description, I don't think this is neither a photo nor a copyright issue. I think that the problem is that the "Big Company" wants to be portrayed as those who did the work, e.g. so the end customer doesn't contact you directly nexrt time. That you worked under a subcontract is a detail that they don't want exposed. I experience that in my professional work, being an independent IT consultant. Occasionally, there are multiple subcontractors, but when you sit at the end customer, you are expected to represent the main contractor, and not the subcontractor. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pete
    Jan 30, 2020 at 7:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is not a question of copy-write, you took the photos, they are your photos. It may be a question of property rights. And the contractor is not the property owner. I would contact the property owner directly and see if they gave the contractor EXCLUSIVE rights to any publishing of project photos or if they will give you written permission to use the photos of the work you did for them through the contractor. Do you depend on the contractor for a significant part of your income? Contact an Attorney. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Jan 30, 2020 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


I don't know if you are in the US or not. Here in the US copyright law almost takes a back seat and to make and file a claim cost money. You were asked to take down the images for two reasons, #1 You didn't ask their permission to take pictures, #2 If they wanted pictures to display on social media of the final product, they would hire a pro to take them, they want the best quality images to represent their product.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is an assumption, I would guess that they want it taken down because they don't want another company using work from 'their' project to promote their own business. Even though that smaller company did the work, it was a subcontract. \$\endgroup\$
    – Robin
    Sep 4, 2019 at 18:12

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