Toyota stumbled into a mess with a launch of their new 4-Runner website. (I imagine this site link will soon be broken, since they're going to need to rectify the situation). To set the mood of wildlife for their SUV brand, they looked to photographers on Flickr to provide photography for the microsite. They found several great photographs which were used, unfortunately they never asked the photographers for permission.
Michael Calanan (a talented photographer & friend) posted his concern on Twitter the evening of Tuesday, November 3. The conversation towards @Toyota must have got their attention, as they promptly tweeted Wednesday morning to the photographers involved.
This is why your company needs an experienced marketer on staff. Real marketing directors have an understanding of intellectual property laws. Photographs, fonts, illustrations, and other design elements found online are not free for you to use, especially for commercial purposes. Further, marketing personnel are meant to understand consumers. First and foremost, the responsibility of marketing is to know what motivates people, and how they will react. Not knowing that professional photographers would certainly notice the increased traffic on their Flickr pages, and be upset about someone using their work without contacting them is a fatal mistake. If they fail to understand this, do they understand what Toyota customers actually want from their vehicle? There may not be a correlation, but it begs to be asked.
If I was to guess, I would say it was not malicious intent of Toyota to steal these photographer's work, but was a lack of intellectual property understanding. That does not excuse what they have done. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Whether you are a multi-billion dollar company, or a small boutique, you need to respect the property rights of others. If you are unsure of what you can or cannot do, ask for help from a real expert.