A former colleague (not collaborator) used main results of two of my published papers in a science documentary featuring their work. They had briefly mention to me at some point, that they wanted to use my work, including images from the paper to help explain their work. Of course, I said it would be fine, as long as they would contact the senior author of the work (images are copyrighted) and cited the authors/project name. This researcher never contacted the senior author and in the documentary there is no credit to any of the studies, not during the doc nor in the final credits. Also, the person never even mentions it is not their own work, so it makes it seem they did the work themselves. I would already be happy with something along the lines of "previous research has shown". But not one word indicates the work is not theirs.
I want to take action about this, but not sure what to do. I am no longer in the University where I published both papers, nor in the University where we were both colleagues. I emailed the senior author already and I am awaiting reply. But I want to take further action as the documentary just aired a couple of days ago.
- Would it be advisable to contact the makers of the documentary (it's a big US TV network)?
- Should I contact the University where this researcher is now working at? (The University name appears in the documentary as the person's affiliation)
- Should I approach them directly by email? What should I say?
- What would be the appropriate steps to take?
I want to take action, but don't want to get myself in legal issues either... so any advice is appreciated!
Update: One of my former advisors (not involved in any of the studies) strongly encouraged me to let it slide arguing that published information can be used by anyone in documentaries aimed to the lay public. And that documentaries cannot cite everyone involved in the research, as this is not interesting to the public. I am surprised this is their position. Does anyone else thinks this is the correct way to think about it?