Pho took to Twitter earlier this week to name and shame Melbourne-based Vietnamese restaurant Mama Pho for using its copyrighted photos on social media without consent.
The Australian restaurant used pictures of Pho’s dishes taken by photographer Paul Winch-Furness on its Twitter and Instagram feed to promote its own food.
It initially refused to remove the photos when contacted directly by Pho’s head of marketing Libby Andrews, sending an abusive message in response, but eventually took the pictures down after being criticised on Twitter when the story was made public (see Tweets below).
“It’s something restaurants need to keep an eye on,” said Andrews. “We spend a lot of time and energy on our photo shoots. It’s one thing to ‘Google image’ something and share it on social media and quite another to tweet photos of someone else’s food as if it were your own. That’s not cool.”
Andrews added that Pho had also asked other Vietnamese restaurants to stop using its photography on online listings sites in the past.
“I’m sure it will happen again,” she said. “We can’t monitor social media all the time, but it’s certainly something to be aware of.”
Kaisa Mattila, a solicitor at Olswang's Intellectual Property Group, told BigHospitality that the use of copyrighted material taken from the net was increasingly common.
“There’s an assumption that material online is free to use,” she said. “There’s less understanding, but that doesn’t change the fact if something is copyrighted.”
Mama Pho did not respond to requests for comment.