What Do You Do When the President of Chechnya Steals Your Photo?


As copyright disputes go, this one sits squarely on the border between strange and stranger. We’ve seen plenty of people have their photography rights infringed upon, and it wasn’t even that long ago we saw it happen over Instagram, but we’ve never seen the president of an entirely republic make that mistake.

But that’s exactly what happened to Dutch mechanical engineer and photographer Herbert Schröer last week, when an email from a fan informed him that the president of Chechnya, Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov, posted one of Schröer’s photos on his Instagram account without any permission or credits.

As soon as he found out, Schröer took to Instagram and Twitter to share the bizarre story along with a basic question: “Should I take this as a compliment or should I be really mad?” (Warning: Language):

Now, we know what you’re supposed to do when someone infringes on your copyright, and general wisdom is that you should never take it as a compliment when someone steals your work, but how do you react when the guy doing the stealing is the president of Chechnya? Like we said… on the border between strange and stranger.

To his credit, President Kadyrov has since removed the photo from his Instagram account, and hopefully learned a lesson from Schröer who, fortunately for the president, didn’t seem to be in any rush to get litigious. Some photographers might not have been as kind, and then could you imagine the headlines?

(via Dvafoto)

  • Zarif Rafiul Haque

    Joke of the night! O:)

  • cdnrebel

    This is a strange situation for sure. But also maybe the photographer could see that the filter makes the mountains stand out better but not so mush for the sheep. It might give him ideas to further edit the original

  • Jason

    Chechnya is NOT a country!!!

  • DLCade

    Sorry about that and thank you for pointing out the mistake! It’s been fixed :)

  • Chris Thornton

    I’ve recently had a photo go round the World with my watermark cropped out. It’s so annoying. Its like trying to stop a runaway train. I contacted a few pages to take it down and some did but as I did so there were hundreds more posting it. In the end I gave up. Unstoppable. Its sad as it was a photo of my grandma and little boy.

  • Lynda Bowyer Photography

    Wouldn’t care who it was, if my work was taken without fee nor permission, then I’d have them banged to rights.

  • Ellie

    “the president of an entirely republic”

    That doesn’t make sense.

  • hdc77494

    Good luck enforcing copyright in that corner of the world. You’d be dead before you got to the courtroom

  • Oliver

    I want an impeachment trial!!

  • Pod

    Become best buddies with Vladimir Putin? Then ask him for a favor, since that’s what friends do…

  • Burnin Biomass

    Clearly the President of Chechnya had crossed a red line. Threaten to make a unilateral strike against his country, then let Putin take care of it.

  • Smark

    Who writes these articles? How about proofreading before posting?

    What is “the president of an entirely republic”? Just wondering…

  • kassim

    It does. There’s a president of a company, for example.

  • Larry Angier

    Don’t the TOS state that it can be sold or given away by the host like the photos posted by NG and the new TOS proposed by Facebook? I’d think that if the president liked the photo, I’d offer to come to his country (at his expense) and create more as a fair exchange for use on the insta-web sites. Basically make it a win-win and milk it for what it’s worth. In the mean time it’s still trust everyone but brand your cattle (watermark your photos!)

  • kassim

    Ha ha ha.. good one. But I doubt if there’s any country interested in invading Chechnya. Maybe Russia. It’s the middle east that attracts the attention of the superpowers. The oil factor?

  • pvbella

    I am one of those who would not be kind. No mercy. No pity. No quarter for thieves.

  • TK

    Try dropping the resolution down to 50 or less, then post it. If they try to enlarge it, it will pixelate.

  • c

    it doesn’t. What is an entireLY republic?

  • bogorad

    I’m sure there’s a hit squad on the way already!

  • olafs_osh

    Considering, that Chechnya is lawless country with thief and tirant for president [who is also good friends with Putin], there is nothing you can do, I’m afraid.

  • olafs_osh


  • alex22

    kadirov did a better job on bringing back some details in the sky…

  • Fergal Megannety

    Chechnya is not a republic in the true sense of the word, it is part of the Russian federation, a bit like the states in the USA where they have a governor.

  • Nikola Milasevic

    I would offer him (the president) full session – portrait and everything, because, FYI – money is no object for this guy, or so the Wikipedia says:

    Kadyrov is a noted collector of sports cars. He owns a Lamborghini Reventón, one of only 20 made.[60][61] He is also known for his extensive collection of Chechen daggers.[62][63]
    On 5 October 2011, he celebrated his 35th birthday in a lavish fashion
    in the presence of several Hollywood stars, including the actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and the actress Hilary Swank as well as British violinist Vanessa-Mae, singer Seal and many others.[64]
    When asked where the money for the live-televised celebration were
    coming from, he reportedly laughed and said “Allah gives it to us”,
    before adding: “I don’t know, it comes from somewhere”.

  • Chris Malmberg

    Trade for a Chechen dagger!

  • Lodge Ick

    Photos are now practically worthless… get over yourselves. Your work is not worth what you think it is… Get paid upfront. Copyright infringement by individuals with no commercial gain are harmless and should be ignored.

  • Callum

    While thats true, I’m not sure if he does too much PS work. This photographer in particular only shoots with his iPhone, some of his work is amazing!