Dear Hublot,

Three years ago, we provided coverage of your Basel 2012 novelties at an event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hosted by your regional distributors The Hour Glass and attended by none other than CEO Mr. Guadalupe and Regional Director Ms. Sakai.

Here is the original article, missing images which were hosted on flickr:

This morning, I received a takedown and copyright infringement notice from Yahoo – the parent company of Flickr, where the images were hosted – filed by Hublot SA specifically citing those images as infringing copyright.

Except the problem here is twofold:

  1. Hublot SA did not contract those images, did not license those images, and they were shot by me at the event. Hublot SA therefore has NO copyright or rights to the images in question.
  2. We were not compensated or contracted to cover the event by either Hublot or their local agents, so there is no claim to rights here either.

The copyright for all images belongs to the photographer, Ming Thein ( We challenge you to prove otherwise by producing the original camera RAW images, or a contract with the photographer. Please note the screen captures in this letter: here are the images from the event, and the file format is not an editable one. The copyright data is written by the camera at the time of capture.

On top of that, doesn’t it seem rather nonsensical that you are trying to take down images that portray your watches in a flattering way?

The least you could do for a site and photographer that have done nothing but help your brand is a) contact Yahoo with a retraction of the claim, and b) issue a public apology.

We suggest not underestimating social media.

Yours sincerely,


Fratello Watches Team

Update (2:16 28/19):

Another update, the resolution is there. It seems that Hublot is using a third party vendor to guard its Intellectual Property and prosecute/ claim against infringers. A badly informed one, as it was a copyright infringement related to counterfeiting. Photos that showed Hublot’s CEO speaking at an event where the photos of the watches were taken as well. What is shocking is that a) this third party vendor doesn’t have proper instructions or lacks knowledge on the subject b) Yahoo takes baseless claims for granted and removes images very easily. Ming Thein published Yahoo’s response in detail and a lengthy analysis here.

Update (16:21 27/10): 



Update on the Hublot/Yahoo/Flickr image rights issue. Good on Hublot for a) taking action fast; b) getting in touch, c) taking responsibility for their brand image; d) respecting intellectual property. Now, time to see a resolution from Yahoo, identify the guilty party and move on.

All of us must stand up for our intellectual property rights. If true, it is disturbing that so little proof is required for such a fraud to be perpetuated and innocent parties to be affected. The onus of proof should be on the claimant: easy if legitimate, tough if not.

Hublot Hublot Hublot