STA Travel among holiday firms accused of lifting Facebook pictures for its brochures


Anthea Jirgens’ image in the Bamba Experience brochure

Two holidaymakers are seeking compensation and considering legal action after a snap taken on a Greek island and posted on Facebook found its way into a travel company’s brochures and on to its social channels.

The photo appeared in STA Travel’s Europe Travel Guide and in brochures and social platforms for Mexico City-based Bamba Experience.

The image shows 24-year-old student Anthea Jirgens pictured in front of a Greek village on Santorini. It was taken by her then boyfriend Scott Ennever and they say used without permission.

It is believed the photo was sourced by Bamba who also supplied STA Travel for inclusion in their 2015 holiday guide.

Jirgens told Mumbrella she was shocked when a friend told her of her unexpected appearance in the brochure.

“It was all a bit weird,” she said. “I had tagged Santorini in the picture which I guess is how they found the photo. But it was taken by my ex boyfriend and meant for friends and family, not for commercial use in a holiday brochure.”

In an email sent to Bamba, which distributes brochures in Australia through a Queensland-based company called V Travel Network, Ennever claimed the photos remained his property and should not have been used.

“As the copyright owner, I have a number of exclusive rights under the Copyright Act 1968. These exclusive rights include the right to reproduce the Work, and to publish and communicate the Work to the public (including by way of sale, broadcast or putting the Work online),” he said in the email.

The image was used on Bamba's own Instagram account

The image was used on Bamba’s own Instagram account but has since been removed


The photo appeared in the image gallery on Bamba’s website and on its Instagram account in addition to featuring in its, and STA’s, brochure.

It has since been removed from its online collateral, including Bamba’s online brochure.


the image has been removed from Bamba's online brochure

the image has been removed from Bamba’s online brochure

Enneve instructed Bamba pay compensation and enter into a license agreement for use of future images and threatened legal action if the demands were not met.

Bamba Expeditions has been approached for comment.

STA Travel said it received the image from a supplier who provided it “in good faith”.

“Since being notified of issues surrounding the image, STA travel has removed the image from use and will be re-printing the brochure it appeared in,” STA Travel product trading and marketing director, Andrea Robinson, said.

“STA Travel takes use of photos in its marketing products very seriously. We are committed to ensuring photos are used appropriately, by crediting the copyright owners or paying the copyright owners for use of their images where necessary.”

She added the supplier who provided the image is also investigating its origin.

Despite many grey area surrounding the use of social media images, legal experts said laws surrounding the lifting of images by third parties for commercial use was clear.

Michael Fraser, professor of law at the University of Technology, Sydney and founder of The Copyright Agency, said the creator of any work remains the copyright owner.

“Nobody is permitted to do any act comprised in the copyright act such as reproduction, copying, and communication online without the permission of the copyright owner,” he said. “It is only the copyright owner who, broadly speaking, has the exclusive rights to any of those acts.

“The complexity arises when social media platforms in their terms and conditions claim to have a license to use those works and it is arguable whether that is true or not.

“But for a third party to come in like this is black and white. They have used that copyright work without permission.”

Mark Pearson, a lecturer in social media/law at Griffith University, said the use of the image for commercial purposes made it “even more worthwhile someone suing for copyright breach”.

“If it’s not used for commercial purposes it’s normally worth suing unless there is some other area involved such as defamation,” he said.

“But aside from that there are fundamental ethical issues. To take the image of anyone and use it in a different context is not just bad manners, it’s unethical.”

Steve Jones


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.