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PaintballPhotography.com
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 00:12
I am a frequent contributor to the sports section of this forum, my area of specialty is paintballphotography. I am on of the most prolific photographers in this sport and I am frequently published in all the paintball magazines. I have recently come across violation of copyright at a local tournament I was covering. First of all they were using one of my pictures with out my permission or knowledge to advertise their next event. As you can see they removed my watermark. When I saw this I had mixed feelings…I was happy to see my image on their banner but I was some what disappointed that I did not receive photo credit, compensation and my watermark was removed.
http://paintballphotography.com/Public/XPSLCR/GL5T0166.jpg
http://paintballphotography.com/Public/XPSLCR/QL7P5730.jpg

So I decided to go in to their sales kiosk to talk to the event promoter and I was shocked to see the photo on the event t-shirt….
http://paintballphotography.com/Public/XPSLCR/QL7P3402.jpg
http://paintballphotography.com/Public/XPSLCR/QL7P3411.jpg
http://paintballphotography.com/Public/XPSLCR/XPSL906%20(797).jpg

It was another one of my pictures on a t-shirt that they were selling for $15 each!!!!
http://paintballphotography.com/Public/XPSLCR/GL5T0162.jpg
They were selling my photo with out my permission on this t-shirt…They perhaps sold 2000 of them. I explained the situation to the event promoter who then proceeded to give me one of these shirts for free! I told him that I would call him later in the week to discuss how we can settle this problem.

To make matter worst for the next three days as I wandered around photographing the event I kept seeing people wearing my photo every where I looked…I thought I was going to be sick!
http://paintballphotography.com/Public/XPSLCR/QL7P3140.jpg
http://paintballphotography.com/Public/XPSLCR/QL7P3724.jpg

They even gave a few away as awards at the end of the event.
My problem is I am not sure how to proceed with this problem, my lawyer wants to take immediate punitive action but the industry I work in is very small and if a peruse legal action I am sure I will prevail and make a moderate amount of money but I doubt I could ever be able to photograph another one of their events.
Any suggestions…

kennys350d
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 00:19
wow!!! lawsuit?

PaintballPhotography.com
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 00:23
Yes I am sure I would prevail in a law suit but I would probably never get a media pass again to one of their events. I think I need to negotiate some sort of solution that will not hurt my ability to make money in my small niche of sports photography. I want them to continue to use my images but not violate copyright

th3r0m
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 01:02
That sucks. Kinda the old "between a rock and a hard place," obviously what they did is wrong, and when you get a chance to sit down with them they will make some sort of restitution to you without trying to black list you. Let us know how things go.

PS Great photo's by the way :)

coreypolis
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 01:05
register them tommorow if you haven't. Find out how many sales were made if possible. Great documentation, hopefully it works out but I have a feeling you'll be in court and the guy needs to learn a lesson.

PAS Photography
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 01:09
I would say talk with them andexpress that you are not happy that they used your images without permission and recognition or payment. Let them know that you are glad they like your work and woudl like to provide more for them but with the proper credits and photo-rights. If after asking NICELY... then comment how a copyright infringement is $150K per image and any lawyer would gladly make it stick. Just say I dont want to be an Ahole but this is my living and I do need to benefit from this as you do with your business. Most reasonable people will agree as long as your are decent with them and just stating the facts after asking first.

ssim
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 01:17
I fail to see why anyone's first reaction would be lawsuit. That is incredibly short sighted, imo.

As you pointed out you want to continue your craft in this area. To a certain degree they do have you somewhat cornered with respect to access to future events. Your starting point should be negotiations. I certainly wouldn't recommend going in with both barrels blazing but put it in the light that we have a situation where you (the vendor) are making money off of my back (using your image) and that you want a cut of each sale. This could be somewhat dicey in that they might not be totally upfront on the units sold. One way to quantify would be to see the invoice for the production of the merchandise and then inventory the unsold units. The difference would be the sold units. Whatever you decide on the value per unit, the math would simple enough to figure out.

As far as the banners go, you might be inclined to let that go if they are cooperative enough on the merchandise or ask for a one time fee for the use of the image. This is really up to you.

They have to know that they have done wrong. You might want to contact the company that did the silk screening to see if they can shed any light on the subject. Perhaps there was something said in those conversations that is incriminating and you can use.

I certainly would not let this go but I would also tread cautiously. If the sport is as small as you say it is, then word will travel fast. IMO, litigation should be used as a last resort. You might gain some cash but the long term effects might not be worth it. No one really wins when you get the lawyers and the courts involved, imo.

cosworth
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 01:22
Lawsuit? The 'industry" you are in will understand very quickly what you do for them and why you do it. And they will stop taking you for granted. Whether or not it takes legal action is up to you. Negotiations will be interesting. They will either flip you off or take care of you.

If they flip you off, would you be content?

People get it these days. Your potential future customers will figure it out.

Mike2005
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 01:28
I don't think you need to tread lightly, regardless of the size of the community you do business with. They robbed you and they are profiting off you to boot. I am not suggesting that you go lawsuit right away, but you shouldn't feel coy about this whole affair. You should have your attorney intervene immediately. That doesn't necessarily mean lawsuit. But your attorney can fire off a letter and negotiate for you thereafter. It is more professional and he/she will get you what you deserve with no bs.

IndyJeff
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 01:45
Yes I am sure I would prevail in a law suit but I would probably never get a media pass again to one of their events. I think I need to negotiate some sort of solution that will not hurt my ability to make money in my small niche of sports photography. I want them to continue to use my images but not violate copyright

Then you deserve to be violated as many times as they can and as often. I don't understand what the attraction is to doing business with theives and letting them get away with it.

You say your afraid that you won't get anymore credentials to "their" events. Just who in the hell is this "their" your talking about? Is there only one promoter in the whole country?

If your so prolific and in such big demand then the media that covers this sport should back you, as they understand, or should, about copyright and violating such. I am sure any magazine which covers this sport would just love to see someone lift a shot from thier publication and start making tee-shirts out of it and use it in advertising. Do you think they would roll over and let someone get away with it?

Maybe you don't have to sue but, you should have the images registered and let the attorney send them a cease & desist letter along with an invoice for useage and attorney fees. If they refuse to pay up, then sue them. Who cares if you don't get any more "media passes"? Why would you want to? To be violated again?
If there is such a big demand for your photos, then that demand will override the negative in the long run and you will be shooting the sport again. It is a supply and demand thing and if the demand is there then the supply will follow.

My advice, let the attorney handle it. Maybe he can get it negotiated where they can't ban you and still have to pay.

MJPhotos24
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 01:48
A) make sure everything is copyrighten legally - i.e., all the gov't papers done...even though you already own the copyright, just good to have
B) figure out what you'd charge them to use the images in this manner
C) demand that figure (or more) you came up with (if you do it by a percentage of the sales they could very easily lie to you and say "oh we only made 1,000 shirts" when in fact they made 5,000 or something like that).
D) if they try to undercut you, threaten the lawsuit or file papers. A football photographer had something VERY similar happen and was awarded $500,000 in damages.

You should be getting a big paycheck for that, if they sold 2,000 shirts thats over $20,000 profit as those things cost less than $4 to make with that amount of pressing. Definately would not let this go by any means..

BradT0517
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 02:00
As said above I would get my lawyer in there imediately to break it up. Try to make a compromise of some sort if the dont cooperate sue them get some money from it then buy a team of your own.

breal101
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 02:03
First thing, make sure you didn't sign anything to give anyone permission to use your photos. For instance anything you may have signed to obtain the press pass.
I would send them a cordial letter explaining the situation, you could give them an out by saying.... I'm sure this is due to an oversight or misunderstanding sort of thing. include prints of the photos to prove your point. Also include an invoice for what you think is a fair payment for usage. Give them every opportunity to do the right thing, making them dig in their heels with the threat of a lawsuit could be counter productive.

BradT0517
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 02:22
Well if it makes you feel any better they are really good pictures.

Matatazela
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 02:31
They murdered your pics, FWIW. You could get a lawyer just to say that if they steal your images again, at least treat them with respect!!! :D

Seriouly, though, as big a compliment as this is, it is still theft. I would go the route of writing them a final warning, not in any way waiving or prejudicing your rights to take further action.

What kills me is that there is $40 000 prize money, but the photog is left out in the cold...

EOSAddict
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 02:47
I notice there is h alf your watermark cut off at the bottom of the t-shirt print, so they must have known they were your images! pity your watermark doesn't have a copyright sympbol at the start!

IndyJeff
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 03:08
Let me put this in another way, if you had a retail store and it catered to a specific clientel and one of the most well known clients shoplifted from your store, would you ask them not to do it again and please pay for what they did steal now? I don't think so.

This could potentially be a very lucrative legal judgement in your favor, one which their lawyer may tell them to pay up before a judgement is levied against them. Chance are they don't have the money to pay off the judgement of this size and you could probably get an injucntion against them for conducting business in the future. In otherwords, they may black ball you but, you could put them out of business permantly.

Remember too, this is federal court you will be going to. If a judgement is levied against them and not paid, a return trip to court could happen. If they fail to pay a federal judge could arrange for federal marshalls to sieze all assets. I know this because I have seen it happen.

Back in the mid 80's I worked for ASCAP, the music people. To make a long story short, a local bar owner refused to sign a licensing agreement. ASCAP did an investigation and sued in federal court. The guy lost and didn't pay up. So ASCAP sued a 2nd time after a 2nd investigation. This time the judge wasn't happy. He ordered a body attactment ( a federal version of an arrest warrant) on the guy.
Now his bar was located right across the street from the Indy 500 track. The night before the 500 was his biggest night of the year. About 11pm on that night 6 U.S. Marshalls show up. They seized the money being collected at the door. One of the marshall's goes up to the stage and tells the band to quit playing. The band was then ordered to tell everyone the bar was closed and they had to leave. The band was given 1 hour to load their equipment outside the building. The cash drawers were siezed, all money, inventory and assets of the business was siezed. A federal lock and seal were put on the doors and it never opened again. All assets were sold at auction to satisfy the judgement.
Federal judges don't play around and any good lawyer will know that and advise his client to not let it get before a federal judge.

Balliolman
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 03:16
I hope it works out well for you. Keep us informed. Good luck.

BradT0517
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 16:23
Wow Jeff that is a really painful sad story.

idofotos
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 16:44
Remember we are Photographers, If we knew the leagal system we wouldnt be here we would be rich:) good advice is often gotten here but talk to a lawyer to find out how to proceede. You dont have to bully but it dosent hurt to know your options, also you might contact your state photography association if all else fails

Box Brownie
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 16:46
As usual any cavalier usage of copyrighted material needs action to be taken at a level and manner you see fit.

I did notice on the xpsl website 'you' are listed as "media sponsor", is it them taking poetic license with such other paintball involved parties or have you at any stage entered into some form of formal agreement. If the latter, you should be sure to read the small print of that agreement to be sure you did not inadvertantly give away any rights to the use of your copyrighted images.

:)

sspellman
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 17:06
PP-

Yes this is a difficult situation. The most productive approach to this is to try to reach an amicable payment with XPLS. I would use Getty's image license fee calculator to come up with a price for each type of use- advertising, banner, tshirts, etc. Print copies of the image license price calculator at differnt quantity levels for each use. You need to establish a price point as the basis for negociation. Idealy you should be able to get prices for paintball or other action sports pictures. These prices together should present you a guideline for compensation for use of the images

Yes, make sure that the images are copyrighted and that you have written proof. Setup a meeting with an XPLS exec to review the issue. At the meeting, stress that you want to continue to shoot the events and provide images for advertising, but that now you need to be compensated for this use of the images. I would not immediately bring up the unauthorized use, or threaten to sue, or generally be hostile. Ask them for the quanities and types of use of the images. After that, present them with a price for the use of the images based on the Getty price calculator. Based on those numbers, you should be able to negociate a price on that use of the images, or perhaps to negociate a price that covers greater use of the images. Under the circumstances, it might be important to offer a significant discount in the interest of reaching a friendly resolution.

If they are completely unresponsive to your reasonable approach to a solution, then you can be tougher and involve a lawyer. But I think that this approach is most likely to give you both a happy ending. With a professional, precise, and non-conforntational presentation, you are most likely to get to positive solution.

Good Luck-
Scott

tcphoto1
22nd of February 2007 (Thu), 17:21
If you were to settle this out of court, it should be for 3 to 5 times the figure you would have originally quoted. Your Copyright has been knowingly violated and that point needs to be made clear. Why would you want to shoot for them again? There are plenty of xgame events and you can take your winnings and find another sport. Wrong is wrong and the LOC has established laws that protect us. If you do not stand up for yourself, it will only continue.

mikkidesigns
23rd of February 2007 (Fri), 16:25
as a graphic designer, by profession, I really get an icky feeling when I see these... the designer that took your photos and used them to make the vector art (&etc) SHOULD have known that they can't just take any photos they want and use them... unless you had signed something otherwise.(which it sounds like you didn't)

the graphic designer should also get a letter exlaining copyright laws... i don't know if you can get the name of the graphic designer who did this... but they NEED to know(they should know this already, but they might be ignorant)... i don't know how all of that would be involved legally and i'm sorry i have no advice on that end...

awesome photographs, btw, just awesome, i'm sorry you have to deal with this!

chakalakasp
23rd of February 2007 (Fri), 16:44
If you have not already done so, REGISTER YOUR COPYRIGHTS. If these images were originally published here on the forum within the past 90 days, you will receive full copyright protection and are looking at a five figure settlement in court. You can't wait on this, it is very important!

If your copyrights are not registered and it has been more than 90 days, it is still worth the time to register them (if for no other reason than to waive the piece of paper at them when you tell them how much money you want), but the registration will only be valid from the moment they receive your application -- meaning that the infringement you are addressing won't be covered by the registration. Your copyright is still valid, of course, but registration means that you WILL recover money and that it will be very easy to find an attorney to take this on, since the infringer will be responsible for all legal costs. Without registration, you're on your own at paying your attorney.

I am not a lawyer. Consult a lawyer. If you allow them to do this, you are an idiot. If they refuse you a press pass, that's tough knuckles for you, but I doubt they are the only paintball organization in the universe.

cskn0125
23rd of February 2007 (Fri), 21:11
that sucks man. after the law suite and whatnot, i doubt the xpsl will let you in with a media pass again. I cant believe that they would think of doing that. but i guess they thought that since your basically the flagship photographer and they "know" you, they thought it was alright.

I have yet to play at an event that you shoot at, but i know how good your pictures are and they shouldn't have been messed around with like that.

take the proper procedures and let us know how it goes. Good luck.

crayfish13
23rd of February 2007 (Fri), 21:49
I wanna to hear what happens

Mike R
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 07:24
IF you had a model release for the people in the shots, and they did not, you could have the teams also take action against them. The photos were used for advertising which is also for personal gain of the promoters. Since they profited from the images,why shouldn't you along with the people in the shot?

DocFrankenstein
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 09:56
You must enjoy being violated and stolen from.

I'd call a lawyer and make them stop selling the t-shirts. It would probably get a court order, but they invested the money in printing the shirts. The money are lost if they can't sell them.

Why are you afraid of them not letting you in? They let you in and then stole from you. Sue these thieves out of business and find yourself a new field to shoot at.

You shoot to make money, aren't you? It's your job, isn't it? Any other business would seek damages, wouldn't it?

Croasdail
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 10:44
That really sucks. But I am not with all these lawyer lovin' types here. I think calm minds can reach a settlement that works to both of your interest much better then when you get lawyers involved. Going the legal route should stay in your back pocket until all other avenues have been exhausted. Paintball photography is a very niche world. While you don't want to let the just take your product, being known as unreasonable in the community will not serve you well either. Hopefully these people will see the value in partnering with ya instead of going the adversarial route. Best of luck with it. Cheers.

chakalakasp
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 11:12
That really sucks. But I am not with all these lawyer lovin' types here. I think calm minds can reach a settlement that works to both of your interest much better then when you get lawyers involved. Going the legal route should stay in your back pocket until all other avenues have been exhausted. Paintball photography is a very niche world. While you don't want to let the just take your product, being known as unreasonable in the community will not serve you well either. Hopefully these people will see the value in partnering with ya instead of going the adversarial route. Best of luck with it. Cheers.

Yes, they can reach a settlement - that's mostly what lawyers are for. Trust me the paintball association has lawyers, and they're the first ones who will be called when the original poster brings this up with them.

How in the world would using a lawyer be constitued as "unreasonable"? They STOLE HIS IMAGES! They took them and created products and advertisements from them; they stripped the embedded attribution and are making money off of his work. Nobody in their right mind is going to think the original poster is the bad guy. You don't enter a partnering agreement by stealing the product! They obviously like his work but have no respect for him as a partner. They've essentially taken a dump on him, and now it's up to him to play nice?

When he recovers his five figure settlement for the use of his photography, they'll have respect for him as a businessman instead of as a mark. If they still value his work, they'll work out an agreement with him (if he still wishes to make one with such an obviously shady outfit.) He's in a real position of strength right now (at least, if his images are registered copyrights), and could probably tie future employment into the settlement itself, but only if he doesn't lie down and let the organization walk all over him. He really needs to get legal advice from a real lawyer on this if he values his work.

breal101
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 13:13
When he recovers his five figure settlement for the use of his photography, they'll have respect for him as a businessman instead of as a mark. If they still value his work, they'll work out an agreement with him (if he still wishes to make one with such an obviously shady outfit.) He's in a real position of strength right now (at least, if his images are registered copyrights), and could probably tie future employment into the settlement itself, but only if he doesn't lie down and let the organization walk all over him. He really needs to get legal advice from a real lawyer on this if he values his work.

Wow, what a bunch of assumptions, I have personal knowledge about one case of a local photographer who won a settlement for copyright abuse. This was over twenty years ago, in coversations with agency people in the years since the lawsuit I have heard him described as the rights ****, lawsuit happy and worse. Less than six months ago his name came up, the agency person, who was in grade school when the suit was settled, said that this photographer is trouble, we wouldn't expose our clients to him. So much for the respect for him as a business man. I can't say this is typical.
I'm not saying we shouldn't protect our rights, just that a misunderstanding is a possibility here. What does Media Sponsor mean? Where did XPSL get the images, did someone give them the impression that they were released?
I wish the OP would tell us more.

Billginthekeys
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 13:30
Based on those numbers, you should be able to negociate a price on that use of the images, or perhaps to negociate a price that covers greater use of the images. Under the circumstances, it might be important to offer a significant discount in the interest of reaching a friendly resolution.

OFFER THEM A DISCOUNT!?!?!?!?! thats the dumbest thing ive read on this thread. thats like if i went to a car dealership, stole a brand new car, they caught me, and offered to sell me the car at a used price and then let me leave :rolleyes:.

i too dont think that you should go off and sue them right off the bat, mabye they really didnt realise the severity of what they did... although it seems obvious that they covered up your watermark on purpose. I would certain get a lawyer involved either way.

ssim
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 13:43
Where did XPSL get the images, did someone give them the impression that they were released?
I wish the OP would tell us more.

If you go to the OP's website you can download any image for personal use. It does say for commercial use that there is a charge though it is not outlined. If the offenders got the image directly off of his website there is no way in the world that they can plead ignorance with the way that he has it setup. It is right there staring you in the face.

chakalakasp
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 14:46
Wow, what a bunch of assumptions, I have personal knowledge about one case of a local photographer who won a settlement for copyright abuse. This was over twenty years ago, in coversations with agency people in the years since the lawsuit I have heard him described as the rights ****, lawsuit happy and worse. Less than six months ago his name came up, the agency person, who was in grade school when the suit was settled, said that this photographer is trouble, we wouldn't expose our clients to him. So much for the respect for him as a business man. I can't say this is typical.
I'm not saying we shouldn't protect our rights, just that a misunderstanding is a possibility here. What does Media Sponsor mean? Where did XPSL get the images, did someone give them the impression that they were released?
I wish the OP would tell us more.

Hey, wow, your one anecdotal story about some photographer that some guy you know knows totally vindicates the idea of letting large organizations steal our images. Right on!

The OP posted a story in which multiple images of his were taken without permission, stripped of watermarked attribution, used in advertising, and put on T-shirts and sold. This was clearly intentional. If you don't think he should be talking to a lawyer, you're nuts. This is how companies deal with each other when there's been a clear-cut case of theft.

Do you really think that the paintball association in question wouldn't call their lawyers if the original poster started using their organization's name, logo, and literature for promotion of his own personal competing paintball events? Do you think they'd have Joe from accounting call him and maybe try to work out a deal with him so he could keep using their name? Or do you suppose he'd be getting a letter from their legal staff followed by a summons?

breal101
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 15:00
I guess if you call waiting to get all the facts before suing someone being nuts, I guess I am, I am not defending copyright violaters, and I agree this does look suspicious for all the reasons noted.

chakalakasp
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 15:48
I guess if you call waiting to get all the facts before suing someone being nuts, I guess I am, I am not defending copyright violaters, and I agree this does look suspicious for all the reasons noted.

True, the facts are important -- but a lawyer will get the facts, too, and probably do a better job of it than any of us can do. :) What's important, though, is that he register his copyrights and find a lawyer, who will write an immediate cease and desist, which is the first step to figureing out what the heck is going on here.

The only circumstance that I can think of that would make what the company did alright is if at some point in time the original poster signed a contract with the company. This isn't entirely impossible, since sometimes venues will have agreements to sign if you want to be allowed to take pictures of the event. If he signed a form that said "any pictures you take can be used by us all we want," then he'd be out of luck. But the original poster didn't mention signing anything like that.

There was another report of something similar to this in which an image of a car in a post in either this forum or The Photo Forum (can't remember which :)) was lifted by an automobile parts company and put on the cover of a catalog. The poster in that case found a lawyer, who contacted the company, who ended up paying her enough to fund some nice equipment. :)

breal101
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 18:37
I think we are closer to agreement, then you may think. My arguement was always based on the possibility of a contract existing that was unknown to the OP, He is listed as a Media Sponsor on the paintball org's website, what agreement if any exists. My point is that if he sued and lost it could be harmful certainly to him but others as well. Another way for us to be taken to the cleaners, post our name on a website and call it valuable consideration in exchange for usage.

Croasdail
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 21:02
this is how companies deal with each other when there's been a clear-cut case of theft.


yeah.. right.. like Cisco did with Apple over iPhone. I have done business development now for a fortune 100 company for 10 years now, you don't create future business opportunities by running to the lawyers first thing. You bring them in at the end to make sure everything is tied all together nice and tight, but I gaurentee you one thing a lawyer will do is screw up any good deal if you give them a chance. Thier motivation is billable hours, not creating business opportunities.

Do you really think that the paintball association in question wouldn't call their lawyers if the original poster started using their organization's name, logo, and literature for promotion of his own personal competing paintball events?

I don't think it would be the first thing they would do... they would try to resolve it first without creating expense for themselves upfront. Lawyers should advise, but not be the first line of defense. Hopefully you don't need to have a lawyer standing next to you for people to take you seriously in business.

Moo
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 21:16
Hey there

I haven't read through all the replies so forgive me if this has already been brought up.

I'd cool off for a couple of days before going back. It was good that you made mention and kept professional when speaking with the event coordinator at the event. That lets them know that you are aware of it.

If your photo wasn't a royalty free photo they should not have used it.

If you want to keep working with them, why not go back and make a deal to be their event photographer, exclusively, if that is possible.
In exchange for their unauthorized use of your photos (which you are glad they like), a courtesy link on their web, ad in their marketing, whatever is possible, you could ask for this. I think that is quite reasonable considering what kind of trouble they could get into.

I would gather information before you go back to them so that you can let them know that as a photographer your work is worth money, this is why there are copywrite laws. But state that you want to work with them and want to work out the problem in a way that benefits you both now and in the future. So that you can work together and help each other.

I hope this helps.
Sorry you felt like that at the event, I am sure it grinded your nerves throughout the day.

All the best
H

LBaldwin
24th of February 2007 (Sat), 22:17
It is not a compliment. You are a great photographer in your sport and that won't change. Your attorny can take care of the access issues with them too. If they sold or gave away 1000 shirts that is $5k worth of merchandise in their pockets.

Everybody with me so far? They outright stole your image and removed your copyright. Minimum that could cost them 3x the amount you would have charged for the image.
For an ad campaign of that magnatude I would take nothing less than 2K for one time use. Get a hold of your attorney right now and have him handle it. Get those images registered so that if it does go to court you can get punititve damages too.

Your attorney will probably wait until the registration goes through and then contact them with an itemized invoice for usage plus penalties. I have been through this twice, once for a Dr's office and that garnered another 16K over what i would have charged adn the other was a medical electronic company that went belly up before I could start proceedings. But I found the bugger and sent him a bill, and he claimed bankruptcy. But my issue was not part of the legal proceedings prior so the judge made him pay me. It took two years and three renegotiaions to get $7500 down from 10K.

I think Carolyn Wright is a member here too contact her.
http://www.photoattorney.com/

Good luck man

Les

PaintballPhotography.com
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 00:40
Thank you all for all your very valuable advice, this forum is such a wonderful asset and a great source of information. I have carefully read all the posts and I called the event promoter on the phone and we agreed to meet at my next event this weekend that I was both an exhibitor and photographing for a couple of the paintball magazines.
http://www.paintballexpo.com/indexW07.html

It just so happened that the company that used my images happen to also be an exhibitor at the event also. Guess what I saw for sale in there booth?!!!
http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/503/ql7p0155kp4.jpg

Again I was shocked…I suppose I should be used to this by now…but I am not. I can not believe they do not understand the magnitude of the copyright violation they are continuing to commit.
I will keep you all informed about my meeting tomorrow with the event promoter…

Lightchaser
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 11:48
I will keep you all informed about my meeting tomorrow with the event promoter…

Best of luck mate. Looking forward to the update. If you're feeling on edge when you go in, take strength from the thought of the thousand POTNers there with you in spirit! :mad:

breal101
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 11:54
Best of luck mate. Looking forward to the update. If you're feeling on edge when you go in, take strength from the thought of the thousand POTNers there with you in spirit! :mad:

I think we all agree to this, good luck, stand your ground. Above all make them pay,

Converge
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 13:44
Make sure you let us know how the meeting went

themirage
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 14:25
Has anyone said that he should approach them with I want X% of every proceeded of anything with my image, that goes for ticket sales, shirts, etc.

LBaldwin
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 16:40
Has anyone said that he should approach them with I want X% of every proceeded of anything with my image, that goes for ticket sales, shirts, etc.


That is quite likely what his attorney will do, But first you have to deal with the infringement .

It could work something like this'
1. The OP gets a good civil attorney that understands copyright and has taken cases to court with a winning track record.

2. The OP's attorney files documents with the court forcing the paintball promoters to divulge the way they got the images, the person who did the actual theft, the person that actually modified the images and the person who directed them to do so. Along with this a gag order should be in place or at least agreement of non disclosure to keep the parties from discussing this outside of the parties involved.

3. Along with that the paintball promoter will be put on notice of the pending lawsuit so that they are required to make a full and complete accounting of how the images were used and in what manner (i.e. t-shirts, banners, hats etc)

4. They attorney for the OP would then file a preliminary injunction with the court blocking the further use of those products containing his images and any secondary or tertiary works of a derivative nature.

5. The OP's attorney or the promoter’s attorney could then make an out of court settlement to stop the lawsuit cold. The OP and his attorney will try and get as much of a percentage of the original fees along with portions of the sales and resale of the derivative items.

6. The OP's attorney would or should include access to future events for the OP to mitigate loss of future income.

7. Then the fun of negotiation begins, first the offending party should be required to pay the OP's legal fees regardless of the outcome unless they lose in court.

8 Don't try to stick it to them so much but get as much is as reasonable for each copyright infraction.

This is just the way I have seen similier issues in the past, work. I am not a law dog and do not play one on TV...

I hope the OP gets everthing he should from the situation.

Les

S.Horton
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 16:41
http://www.photoattorney.com

This is Carolyn Wright. She is both a photog and a lawyer.

I have paid her as counsel in the past, and she's good.

I would suggest you contact her for a 1/2 hour paid conference call, and during that call you'll understand what a lawyer does and does not do. You can also ask for advice during that 1/2 hour. She's very flexible; you can probably get a call same-day.

A good lawyer can perform negotiations for you without upsetting the other party. In particular, if you're dealing with an organizaiton which already has counsel (their own lawyers) you'll find the process smooth, effective and not at all damaging. In a nutshell, you'll pay your lawyer to talk to their lawyer. In the end, you'll find it is worth it. In this particular case of abuse, IMHO you really need the help. BTW, all good lawyers are north of $200 per hour, so that is normal; don't price-shop legal help, you will get exactly what you pay for.

Worst, case, buy her book and file for a real (C). On her site, there's a link to actually file a (C), and that's something you should be doing with your images all the time as part of your biz.

And, I'm sorry this happened to you. But, it is good news; nice shots, and they're desired. Ever think of having the t-shirts done yourself, have a friend man the booth at the shows? ;} How 'bout some promo products like, say, beverage coolers? You got the images, time to get paid. :cool:

S.Horton
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 16:53
And, here's the link to a site which actually takes you through how to register your work step-by-step.

It is not hard to do and note how much work you can register at a clip. $45 bucks.

http://www.naturescapes.net/102005/cw1005.htm

DWFotos
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 17:23
I may have missed a few essentail pieces of information, so forgive me, but here is my take on the situation. I would approach the promoters and demand an amount substaintally larger than what you would have sold them the rights for orginally. I say this because if you simply let them have it for the amount you normally would it is equivalent to giving anyone and everyone permission to use your material without your consent and paying you if you take notice and decide to pursue payment. If they refuse, even though it may affect your future with the industry, I would sue out of principle. If they take your photos without permission and get away with it, then what's to stop them from repeating it with more of your photos or someone elses.

LBaldwin
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 17:56
I may have missed a few essentail pieces of information, so forgive me, but here is my take on the situation. I would approach the promoters and demand an amount substaintally larger than what you would have sold them the rights for orginally. I say this because if you simply let them have it for the amount you normally would it is equivalent to giving anyone and everyone permission to use your material without your consent and paying you if you take notice and decide to pursue payment. If they refuse, even though it may affect your future with the industry, I would sue out of principle. If they take your photos without permission and get away with it, then what's to stop them from repeating it with more of your photos or someone elses.

Normally I would agree if it were a small infraction or un intended. But this was very blatent and pretty in your face IMO.

So in this instance the attorney lends a whole different threat level. If you walk up and hand him an invoice for what ever amount he has time to refuse, delay and build a counter claim and a defense. I would not leave anything to chance, I would let the attorneys hash it out and make sure that access is still granted and done so in writing. Any breach of the agreement starts the lawsuit for that portion of the agreement.

Hit them hard, often and with as big a stick as possible in order to get their attention and then deal if they choose to to get what you require.

I see no reason to take baby steps.

Les

S.Horton
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 18:54
The attorney I referred you to is a POTN member.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/member.php?u=90489

303villain
25th of February 2007 (Sun), 21:09
Im sorry to see that this has happened to you. Im not so knowledgable about the XPSL but I would imaginne a majority of your work comes from shooting the PSP/NPPL events? Hopefully it doesnt come down to it but its a good thing that there's other events to shoot. Again, hopefully the issue gets resolved.

transcend
27th of February 2007 (Tue), 17:07
Any updates on this? I too work in a small niche industry, although not as small as yours, and issues can usually be settled out of court when the facts are laid on the table.

Hopefully you can settle for more than you would have sold the photos to him originally, + a penalty fee and not get the lawyers involved.

superdiver
27th of February 2007 (Tue), 17:22
This is a case where I would have legal representation cuz they crewed you!

On the other hand you either need to get enough that you dont have to work for them again or come to an agreeable place where you do get fairly compensated at this "oversight" (and I use the word loosely) and you continue to get to work their gigs...

StealthLude
27th of February 2007 (Tue), 17:34
I want to know how this turned out... I really do.

I hope you get compensation for what you had to go through, and I hope you "win"

Getting advise from a laywer is a very good idea, and have them write up a letter for you, basically saying we settel out of court, or if they refuse, I would take them to court.

Your images are excellent, but they took advantage of you plain and simple.

This thread has inspired me to start registering my images.

PaintballPhotography.com
27th of February 2007 (Tue), 19:11
Since this is IMO a somewhat sticky situation and the event promoter that did this is also the event promoter for the biggest paintball tournament organization in North America (The NPPL) where I get most of my work from... I am still gathering information before I make my next move. So far I have talked to my lawyer and the lawyer suggested on this forum. To further complicate things the lawyer suggested on this forum within five minutes of talking with me has suggested that I sue my lawyer for malpractice and spend more money correcting problem with my trade mark registration. According to my existing lawyer there is no trademark problem. This was not what I needed to hear at this point and has only added to my stress and confusion!!!

I think time is on my side here and I will continue to gather information for perhaps a few more days. I will keep all of my PTON colleges informed on how this all turns out

DocFrankenstein
27th of February 2007 (Tue), 19:15
So far I have talked to my lawyer and the lawyer suggested on this forum. To further complicate things the lawyer suggested on this forum within five minutes of talking with me has suggested that I sue my lawyer for malpractice and spend more money correcting problem with my trade mark registration. According to my existing lawyer there is no trademark problem.
Of course there isn't a trademark problem. You're dealing with copyright issues, not trademark. You never had trademark in the first place.

Second... good luck. One lawyer suggesting to sue the other lawyer is funny.

StealthLude
27th of February 2007 (Tue), 20:03
I would have the forum laywer explain to you, why your copyright or registration is wrong/bad... this is one good way for them to earn your buisness, not scare you away from your current one.

I would just make sure you are on top of things, because this seems like something that can turn into a big deal, with a lot of money involved. Not to mention your images are being used and ... your NOT getting your check.

::Lisa::
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 07:12
Wow just wow! That disgusts me. You can even see your watermark (or half of it) on the T-shirt. I'm glad to see your gathering info on this and thinking it through. I hope everything goes in your favour when this is dealt with.

cosmicghost
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 08:23
Me To I hope everything goes in you favour. Maybe not a bad Idea to sue your lawyer, You can make some money off of him ( LOL)

superdiver
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 10:36
Probably because of the litigation or his lawyers advice he is not allowed to respond to this thread and we will have to wait till it is resolved in some way...

Croasdail
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 12:11
Of course there isn't a trademark problem. You're dealing with copyright issues, not trademark. You never had trademark in the first place.

Second... good luck. One lawyer suggesting to sue the other lawyer is funny.

Let the hourly meters begin. I love it when people suggest getting lawyers involved, that obviously haven't had to use them much themselves. It is a very expensive proposition and you have better have exhausted all other ways to settle and be prepared to belly up to the bar for the long and expensive haul. Not the paintball isn't completely justified, he is. It's just going to be expensive going the lawyer route.

DocFrankenstein
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 12:20
I was under impression that once you register your pics, then your lawyer is covered.

Second... the OP is confusing copyright with trademark. Maybe lawyer one told him there's no trademark problem... and he told to the second lawyer that the first one said there's no copyright problem... making the first lawyer appear really incompetent. ;)

That's one of the millions of possibilities.

I'd go in this thing with an hourly lawyer and make sure that it's the defendant who's paying for him. At least that's the idea.

Croasdail
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 12:29
Any lawyer worth their diploma is going to want a minimum/retainer to start working on this. You start by opening up your check book and righting a check with 3 zeros on the right side of the number at a minimum to get them to fully engage. The fist step is to get them to send out a cease and desist letter - probably $500 to start. Second, you pay them to review all previous contracts between you and the organizor, and all previous communications, which I am sure you have copies of.. right. Trust me, there is no way to penny ante into these.

chakalakasp
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 13:35
Any lawyer worth their diploma is going to want a minimum/retainer to start working on this. You start by opening up your check book and righting a check with 3 zeros on the right side of the number at a minimum to get them to fully engage. The fist step is to get them to send out a cease and desist letter - probably $500 to start. Second, you pay them to review all previous contracts between you and the organizor, and all previous communications, which I am sure you have copies of.. right. Trust me, there is no way to penny ante into these.

True. However, if the copyright is registered, the legal fees will be recovered from the infringer either in the settlement or the trial, assuming there is a settlement or the photographer wins the suit.

pyterps
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 16:07
Maybe I'm wrong here but registering the images after the fact only covers for future events not past violations and that unregistered images are not worth as much.

I would still go after them and just see what would happen. My back hurts way too much from carrying all this gear around to allow someone to steal from me.


Dave

chakalakasp
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 16:50
Maybe I'm wrong here but registering the images after the fact only covers for future events not past violations and that unregistered images are not worth as much.

I would still go after them and just see what would happen. My back hurts way too much from carrying all this gear around to allow someone to steal from me.

Dave

You're correct, unless the photos were originally published within the last 90 days. If they were, they can be registered and the registration will be retroactive to the first publishing. I was hoping that maybe he put them on Pbase or this forum in the past 90 days. :)

Jon, The Elder
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 18:07
Early in this thread Indy Jeff gave some very good advice and opinions. People should read it again.

A photographer in a working capacity is an artist by definition. Artists create. That creativity is what people pay for. Stealing is a crime and should dealt with as part of our civilized world.

I have on three occasions, taken people to court for violating my work and efforts. All three were decided in my favor. Not much in compensation, but the word got around that I wasn't one to be cheated.

Steve Parr
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 19:06
I dunno’.

I think one of the most important factors here is the scope of the infringement. It appears to be enormous, and it appears to be blatant.

I’m no fan of lawyers but, let’s admit it; they certainly have their place, and I think this is one place where I would have one, especially when you consider that the group puts on these events will probably not hesitate to bring in their attorney(s) if they feel even the slightest need.

I understand you love shooting paintball, and I understand that you’ve made a name for yourself in the industry. Still, I would probably look to other photographic opportunities and handle this one by the book and let the cards fall where they may. It seems as though they’ve screwed you, and I don't get the impression (and maybe I'm wrong here) that they're in too big a hurry to make things right.

Earlier, there was a comment made regarding finding out how many items they’ve sold with your image on it as a basis for deciding what would be a “fair” settlement. I would suggest that you find out how many items they had made with your image on it, as that’s how many times they used your image without your permission. They can hide sales numbers form you, but it’s easy enough to get production numbers…

ssim
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 20:38
if the copyright is registered, the legal fees will be recovered from the infringer either in the settlement or the trial,

I would have to assume that the judge would have to award the settlement plus costs. This might be a stretch of faith in our judges that they would do this, imo.

just connor
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 21:26
wow, this is unbelievable. i might expect this from a smaller clothing company or something in the paintball industry but the XPSL is major. i do find it hilarious that half your watermark is still on the shirts...

LBaldwin
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 21:43
Just out of curiousity, they removed portions of his trademark NOT his copyright, Yes?
If it says "XYZ photography" on your images that is your TM. Just like I can;t start building motorcycles in my garage and call them Harley -Davidsons now can I?

I think that Carolyn is probably correct in that the promoter has stolen copywritten images but destroyed/algtered the photographers TM in the process. The penalty for the copyright issue may be secondary and the TM issue primary and ignored by the first lawyer.

Just my .02 dracmas worth...

Les

ibdb
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 22:02
I do find it hilarious that half your watermark is still on the shirts...

That alone would seem to make this case a lawyer's dream. :lol:

ifonline
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 22:03
I have been following this thread and am now confused. Hopefully someone can clarify. If I add © 2007 Blah Blah Blah to my images, have I added a copyright "tag" or a trademark? Or both?

Billginthekeys
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 22:18
aand im confused as to the difference between non registered and registered?

DocFrankenstein
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 22:20
I have been following this thread and am now confused. Hopefully someone can clarify. If I add © 2007 Blah Blah Blah to my images, have I added a copyright "tag" or a trademark? Or both?
You've added a copyright notice.

If you haven't paid 100K or more to trademark an image, then none of your work is trademarked.

urbanwolfie
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 22:29
A trade or service mark usually only costs a few hundred dollars to register. I'm not sure where you get the 100k figure.

Julio
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 22:54
You trademark names and logos, you copyright images.

LBaldwin
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 23:09
I have been following this thread and am now confused. Hopefully someone can clarify. If I add © 2007 Blah Blah Blah to my images, have I added a copyright "tag" or a trademark? Or both?

Good question, you added a copyright, but if you ad "Jarhead Pictures company:p " then you added your trademark. That means that what ever product the public sees that has your TM on it they know that it is or has
been created by your company.

Now I am just guessing about why the Tm issue cropped up. But I bet I am close.

Les
82ABN 82'-85'

LBaldwin
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 23:13
A trade or service mark usually only costs a few hundred dollars to register. I'm not sure where you get the 100k figure.

Yes that is true, BUT if your proposed TM is even close to an exisiting and registered one then you are in deep yougurt should try and use it. The legal fees come when you decide to have a through search of current and past TM's to ensure you don't infringe on them.

Sure you can get a patent, TM without a exhaustive search, but it will probably bite you in the six.

Les

turbo212003
28th of February 2007 (Wed), 23:48
Want update!

Hawg Hanner
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 00:01
Hmmm...just thinking out loud; perhaps you should first tally how much leverage you have on your side before you make any firm decisions either way. Allow me to elaborate.

You said you take photographs covering this sport for various paintball magazines. How well connected are you to these magazines? Given they are in the publishing business they too would be concerned about copyright violations. Would they back in any potential law suit? If the largest paintball organization loses its credibility among fans and its chief media outlets, how affected would they be? How much could a law suit garner and would those damages (coupled with the cost of defending themselves) hurt their organization? Count up the ways you can hurt them.

Also, the first shot across their bow should be a cease and desist. If they don't understand the magnitude of their actions now, they will when that registered letter arrives on their desk.

KevinJ
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 01:18
Im sorry to see that this has happened to you. Im not so knowledgable about the XPSL but I would imaginne a majority of your work comes from shooting the PSP/NPPL events? Hopefully it doesnt come down to it but its a good thing that there's other events to shoot. Again, hopefully the issue gets resolved.


If this hasn't been addressed, the XPSL and NPPL are connected (it is a feeder league after all, i believe) and I believe any action to ban him from the XPSL events would flow into the NPPL league as well. That alone is a huge hit, forcing him to only attend PSP.

ifonline
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 09:19
You trademark names and logos, you copyright images.

Good question, you added a copyright, but if you ad "Jarhead Pictures company:p " then you added your trademark. That means that what ever product the public sees that has your TM on it they know that it is or has been created by your company.

Thanks for the info, everyone. Oh, and that was below the belt... Jarhead Pictures Company. Ha! ;)

Hawg Hanner
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 09:25
Here's a question...is there any idea how they got copies of the photographs in the first place? Were they sold to one of the magazines and did they have complete control of the photographs at that point (thus giving them the right to sell them)?

MazerRakhm
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 10:19
Want update!

Patience grasshopper, we all want an update, but these things take time.

I'm sure he wont leave us hanging.

Right? :wink:

MagicallyDelicious
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 10:23
MY god. Thats violation of the highest order! hope you get what you are entitled to.

PhotoAttorney
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 12:52
You trademark names and logos, you copyright images.

Right, Julio! Trademarks are used to help customers identify products and services (like Canon or Nikon) and photos are copyrighted. Copyrights are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and trademarks are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Although both are "intellectual property," the laws are very different for the two. It does not take $100K to register a trademark (e.g., I offer a TM registration package for $995).

Best,
Carolyn

PhotoAttorney
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 13:28
The actual situation here has both trademark and copyright issues so that is why there is confusion in the thread. Due to confidentiality concerns, I cannot be specific. Based on the information provided, there has been a failure to adequately represent the photographer by someone else that may lead to loss of rights and money and I have advised accordingly.

Best,
Carolyn

BradT0517
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 16:32
Here's a question...is there any idea how they got copies of the photographs in the first place? Were they sold to one of the magazines and did they have complete control of the photographs at that point (thus giving them the right to sell them)?

Appearently they were taken from his web site www.paintballphotography.com (http://www.paintballphotography.com) because there is an area to download photo but only for commercial use.

ifonline
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 17:20
Appearently they were taken from his web site www.paintballphotography.com (http://www.paintballphotography.com) because there is an area to download photo but only for commercial use.

Should read "non-commercial use" I think.

Hawg Hanner
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 17:20
And they were lifted from his web site? That's particularly egregious in my honest opinion because it means there was an intent to use them without the knowledge and/or approval of the author/photographer. With that knowledge I feel the photographer has no other choice to but to issue a cease and desist immediately and pursue damages, with the hope that the offending party is willing to fess up and come up with some settlement out of court, which includes no negative consequences as a result of the action.

I wish him much luck.

StealthLude
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 18:05
Appearently they were taken from his web site www.paintballphotography.com (http://www.paintballphotography.com) because there is an area to download photo but only for commercial use.


When you try and download a high rez file, you get this

"terms & conditions http://www.paintballphotography.com/images/spacer.gif
Copyright Notice. Paintballphotography.com images are copyrighted. All paintballphotography.com images are free for non-profit use by private individuals. Any other use requires our express written consent. If you agree with these terms, press OK. Otherwise press Cancel. "

Pretty smart, but I dont know if you can prove it was downloaded and used for comercial use. This is why I like smugmug, you can rightclick protect your images, and allow them to buy from you, and only give access to view small and medium + al images have optional automatic watermarkings.

I really hope you get all this taken care of, looks like you (OP) has taken a decent ammount of steps to protect himself, but got taken advantage of anyways.

StealthLude
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 18:07
I bet you, the images that were talken were pulled by some kid who didnt really think of the trouble they can get into, before yanking it off his site.

Nevertheless, they got caught, and need to pay.

This would totally piss me off, but it can also be a positive thing, since his images were in demand. You just need to work out a save and good resolution.

chakalakasp
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 18:11
Pretty smart, but I dont know if you can prove it was downloaded and used for comercial use. This is why I like smugmug, you can rightclick protect your images, and allow them to buy from you, and only give access to view small and medium + al images have optional automatic watermarkings.

Uh, it was plastered all over t-shirts and advertising posters. On some of the t-shrits, his trademark and copyright notice are still half-visable. It's not that hard to prove. :) A lawyer will have no trouble at all finding out where they got the images. It sounds like he has a good one. I suspect this will end very well for the OP. I also suspect that the Paintball association is going to end up firing some people. (Or, if they contracted the promotional work out, suing whoever they contracted with.)

I am not a lawyer.

StealthLude
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 18:39
I am not a lawyer, but I stayed at a holiday in express last night.

lol

chakalakasp
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 22:06
I am not a lawyer, but I stayed at a holiday in express last night.

lol

Hey, I didn't even do that! :) It's always important to remind people that you're not a lawyer (if you're not) when giving anything that resembles legal advice. If you give people the false impression that you are a lawyer and that you are dispensing sound legal advice, you open yourself up to liability if those people follow your advice and suffer negative consequences.

ifonline
1st of March 2007 (Thu), 22:35
Wait... was that legal advice?

JDrex05
2nd of March 2007 (Fri), 00:25
If you give people the false impression that you are a lawyer and that you are dispensing sound legal advice, you open yourself up to liability if those people follow your advice and suffer negative consequences.

Ehh not really, you are only liable for bad advice if you are in a position of authoritative knowledge. (ie: people have a reasonable expectation that you are knowledgeable) Not everyone in society is legally expected to know that they are talking about.

/not a lawyer
//Has taken multiple law couses in college

whiskaz
2nd of March 2007 (Fri), 14:22
Not everyone in society is legally expected to know what they are talking about.

Something about that line made me LOL. :)

I think I know a few of those people...

D113
2nd of March 2007 (Fri), 14:38
Gary, I hope you reap any and all benefits you're entitled to.

ps.. love the new pics in the PB2X photo issue.. 2nd issue I've bought...first was the last photo issue.

D113

Mullins
3rd of March 2007 (Sat), 00:04
wth? They didn't even bother to crop out the water mark????
Good luck to you. Heck, you don't need luck for this one!

Hyperwrx
3rd of March 2007 (Sat), 22:53
Gary is plagued with episodes like this over and over. One reason being he has one of the best websites featuring his work in the sport of paintball on the web, bar none. To top it off, Gary is a very friendly indivudual, who bends over backwards to photograph just about anyone who requests it at a moments notice. I seriously doubt he breaks even at these events.

Being a person who is heavily involved in the paintbal industry I understand his perdicament with this situation. The entire paintball community pivots on a few key individuals and coompanies that drive the market. Ruffling the wrong feathers could possibly get him in a situation where he cant take pictures at any events at all.

In the end I think Gary will work this situation out as he's done so many times in the past where not only does he relieve the situation in a manner suitable to his needs but will turn the tables on the violators in question so as to make a new friend.

Gary can do that. ;)

LBaldwin
4th of March 2007 (Sun), 16:35
Gary is plagued with episodes like this over and over. One reason being he has one of the best websites featuring his work in the sport of paintball on the web, bar none. To top it off, Gary is a very friendly indivudual, who bends over backwards to photograph just about anyone who requests it at a moments notice. I seriously doubt he breaks even at these events.

Being a person who is heavily involved in the paintbal industry I understand his perdicament with this situation. The entire paintball community pivots on a few key individuals and coompanies that drive the market. Ruffling the wrong feathers could possibly get him in a situation where he cant take pictures at any events at all.

In the end I think Gary will work this situation out as he's done so many times in the past where not only does he relieve the situation in a manner suitable to his needs but will turn the tables on the violators in question so as to make a new friend.

Gary can do that. ;)


That would be a great thing and I hope that is what take place. But I think you understand that there are larger issues here than paintball. Each time someone intentionally steals images without any repercussions then they are qutie likely to do it to another photographer/artists/musician/software programmer etc.

Ther person responsible MUST be held responsible. Reading between the lines in your post above you seem to feel that as long as he continues to have access he should not complain about having his images stolen.

If the persons responsible are also major players in the sport they you would think that they would not want any legal troubles considering theft will cost them 3-5x the orginal prices of the images. If the promoters do not see that then they will be brought to bear the costs of their actions.

The same argument you use above has been used against musicians for decades. Basically it becomes a foreced work for hire that only benefits the promoter and leaves the artists in the financial cold.

Like I said in an earlier post, his legal council can require that no retribution be taken against the photog. NO less than the NFL has tried and lost to a group of press photogs big time. So paintball being MUCH smaller potatoes will not stand a chance.

Gary has a responsibility to himself, and the photogs that come after him to do the right thing.

Les

edit Also in looking at the OP;s images, I think, and I am sure that others will agree that he has a promising career in sports and human interest photography. limited to paintballl? Not if he is as smart as he is talented. So really this is a compliment of sorts (yea i know) but one lesson that will carry him through out his career. On that will benefit not only him but other photogs that come along behind him in dealing with this client. Sorry if seems that I wave the flag but that is what it takes.

IndyJeff
4th of March 2007 (Sun), 17:10
If I were in the OP position, I would go after them with all the legal means at my disposal. If they want to try and force him out of the sport by not giving him access, what exactly is that saying? I will tell you, they would be saying that if we steal your work and are held liable, you won't work in our arena again. So, who wants to work in that close proximity with theives anyway.

Personally, I would go for the big payday, and move on. Regardless of what a court says about my ability to shoot their events again, I would find something else to occupy my time.

Racer23
8th of March 2007 (Thu), 06:59
Any updates?

chakalakasp
8th of March 2007 (Thu), 10:08
I'm guessing we won't hear anything more about this until the OP and his attorney have settled the matter. :) Which could be a little or a lot of time, mostly depending on how long it takes the Paintball Org to figure out that they're screwed.

Strayz
8th of March 2007 (Thu), 16:05
That would be a great thing and I hope that is what take place. But I think you understand that there are larger issues here than paintball. Each time someone intentionally steals images without any repercussions then they are qutie likely to do it to another photographer/artists/musician/software programmer etc.

Ther person responsible MUST be held responsible. Reading between the lines in your post above you seem to feel that as long as he continues to have access he should not complain about having his images stolen.

If the persons responsible are also major players in the sport they you would think that they would not want any legal troubles considering theft will cost them 3-5x the orginal prices of the images. If the promoters do not see that then they will be brought to bear the costs of their actions.

The same argument you use above has been used against musicians for decades. Basically it becomes a foreced work for hire that only benefits the promoter and leaves the artists in the financial cold.

Like I said in an earlier post, his legal council can require that no retribution be taken against the photog. NO less than the NFL has tried and lost to a group of press photogs big time. So paintball being MUCH smaller potatoes will not stand a chance.

Gary has a responsibility to himself, and the photogs that come after him to do the right thing.

Les

edit Also in looking at the OP;s images, I think, and I am sure that others will agree that he has a promising career in sports and human interest photography. limited to paintballl? Not if he is as smart as he is talented. So really this is a compliment of sorts (yea i know) but one lesson that will carry him through out his career. On that will benefit not only him but other photogs that come along behind him in dealing with this client. Sorry if seems that I wave the flag but that is what it takes.

Lets also be 100% hounest. Paintball has been around for 20ish years or so and been fighting left and right for "Legitmacy"(is that a word? or just misspelled) I was playing back a long time ago and I cant rember hearing 4 months go by with out some type of leagel problems without some one of the industrys movers and shakers screwing over the whole industry. So how is this any different? It is the same song 20 years later, just new people siniging it.

To the OP, take them to the cleaners, for every last drop of blood and red cent. You will find other things to take pictures of and they will actually not blatently steal something that you have been trying to get paid for.

convergent
15th of March 2007 (Thu), 11:42
Wouldn't the OP be able to also get damages related to his not being able to continue photographing the sport if this causes him to be blacklisted?

Hawg Hanner
15th of March 2007 (Thu), 20:22
Hmmm...I guess that would be one of the damages.

calicokat
15th of March 2007 (Thu), 20:23
I would not be happy about this at all

ak_powder_monkey
16th of March 2007 (Fri), 04:47
send them an invoice with 3x the rate you'd normally charge then when they don't pay contact a collection agency

a good article here

http://www.wheelsandwax.com/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b=30,m=1150393638

chakalakasp
16th of March 2007 (Fri), 12:12
You need to read more of the thread -- he's already sought help from an attorney, who will likely get him well over 3X in settlement.

ak_powder_monkey
16th of March 2007 (Fri), 18:51
missed that, good luck!

J3ffro
19th of March 2007 (Mon), 15:33
This whole thing would make sense to me if the company in questions was two guys and a silk screener. The fact a decent sized organization was this oblivious amazes me.

Good luck.

ssim
20th of March 2007 (Tue), 00:46
Wouldn't the OP be able to also get damages related to his not being able to continue photographing the sport if this causes him to be blacklisted?
While I agree with you it is a hard thing to prove. All they have to do is say they found someone with more talent, better pricing, really anything and they have their out. He does amazing work, there is no doubt about that but he is not the ony one I have seen that is dedicated to paintball photography.

I'm guessing that it is going to be months before we hear anything about this. The wheels on the legal system move rather slow.

sfaust
20th of March 2007 (Tue), 12:20
Discount? Did someone really mention discount? :)

I couldn't agree with a simple have him pay up and move on agreement, let alone diving them any kind of a break at all. I'm an honest person, but if the only thing that would happen if I got caught shoplifting would be that I'd have to pay normal price, I'd start shoplifting tomorrow as would the majority of the population. What a wonderful business model :)

No, the infringer needs a consequence that is above normal pricing. Something at minimum like paying up all fees are normal rates, plus any legal costs already paid by the OP, and then something more for the OPs time and stress which would also act like a fine to the infringer. Perhaps double the fees, or a set dollar amount.

If I could work out a deal where I would get all my fees, current actual legal fees covered, and they either pay more as a sort of fine and compensation for all the trouble they caused, or signed an exclusive agreement where I would be supplying all their media at current rates for the next 5 years, I'd forgo any legal entanglement. That could be a win-win for both parties without the uncertainty of dealing with the legal system.

Even if the OP goes full steam ahead with a legal solution and wins, there is no guarantee he will see any of the money from the settlement. And while the defendant might be on the hook for the OPs legal fees, the OP is out of pocket for the fees until he collects from the infringer. There are more than a few public stories where a photographer won nice settlements, but they never could collect, or went bankrupt paying legal fees while trying to negotiate appeals and collect the original funds. Its a very costly approach with large up front costs and no certainty on its outcome, or recouping those costs. I see it as a last resort if all else fails.

But at the same token, I'm not going to roll over beg for what is rightfully mine, or discount it because someone else infringed on my rights.

Hawg Hanner
20th of March 2007 (Tue), 20:28
I wonder if this paintball organization somehow thinks that they own the photos since they were taken at their event. You know, something along the lines of:

"This copyrighted telecast is property of the NFL, any rebroadcast, retransmission or any other use of this telecast without the express written permission of the NFL is strictly prohibited."

tcphoto1
20th of March 2007 (Tue), 20:30
I hardly think that philosophy applies here. They are in for a rude awakening and an expensive lesson.

Hawg Hanner
20th of March 2007 (Tue), 20:44
Oh, I agree. But somehow I can see the head of a professional paintball league misunderstanding the jist of the NFL telecast disclaimer.

convergent
22nd of March 2007 (Thu), 07:41
I wonder if this paintball organization somehow thinks that they own the photos since they were taken at their event. You know, something along the lines of:

"This copyrighted telecast is property of the NFL, any rebroadcast, retransmission or any other use of this telecast without the express written permission of the NFL is strictly prohibited."

Good point... I hadn't thought about this. I know that some of the sponsors of events that I have shot for require that they be able to use images for promotional purposes that come from the event. That could put a stick in the spokes of the whole thing. I would think that the same could be said if the OP didn't have a written agreement for permission to be shooting at the event, since the event probably wasn't "public". I'd love to hear how this comes out.

convergent
22nd of March 2007 (Thu), 07:45
Oh, I agree. But somehow I can see the head of a professional paintball league misunderstanding the jist of the NFL telecast disclaimer.

Non-photographers do misunderstand a lot. I had a client call me yesterday with a question that I would think a 10 year old could have answered. They are a realtor that I do some photography and web development/hosting for. They listed a property and used an image of it that they had pulled from the MLS system. There reasoning was that image was taken in the summer so it showed the property better than an image they could take now in the winter. The image on the MLS was taken by another realtor that formerly listed the property. Duh... their direct competitor took the image to represent the property, and my client thought it was OK for them to take it from the MLS system and reuse it. I explained that copyright goes with the photographer and that they could be sued if they didn't remove it. Then he fessed up that the other realtor had already called and asked them to remove the image from their website. He was calling me because he didn't think they were right. People in general really, really don't understand copyright laws very well.

tcphoto1
22nd of March 2007 (Thu), 08:14
Doesn't the phase, "A fool and their money will soon part" come to mind at this time?

sfaust
22nd of March 2007 (Thu), 09:00
People in general really, really don't understand copyright laws very well.

Many photographers have a hard time getting the copyright issue straight, its not surprising that non-photographers just don't get it. I find that even half of my art directors, corporate clients, and even publishers don't have it straight.

So yea, I can see honest mistakes happening, and the reasons behind it. I would always try to give them the benefit of the doubt when first approaching an infringer, and take a 'read' on if it was an honest mistake, or a blantant infringement. Then take whatever course of action seems appropriate. Walking in with a club in hand on the first contact isn't always the best approach.

song4themoon
22nd of March 2007 (Thu), 09:13
Oh boy, that does call for a lawsuit... even more so since you had a watermark on it that was removed. Your watermark is slighty visible on the T-Shirt, but cut off, so obiously they tried to work around it

rocklyons
22nd of March 2007 (Thu), 09:32
As a retired judge, it appears as though you have a slam dunk in any lawsuit. Generally the damages are determined by the profit made by the illegal use of your images. Arguably all profits from the sale of the tee shirts and some amount for each ticket sold where your images were used to advertise the events.

Ultimately you will have to decide whether to bring a lawsuit but I would not be afraid to have my lawyer contact the promoters and:
1. Demand that they cease using your images without compensation.
2. negotiate an amount to compensate you for their improper exploitation of your copyrighted work.
3. Enter into a contract for future use of your images.

In the event that their response is to "Ban" you from future events then that too would become an element of your damages in any future lawsuit.

Good Luck

ssim
22nd of March 2007 (Thu), 10:42
As a retired judge,

It's great to have someone with direct knowledge on this join the fray. I hope that you can continue to contribute and keep the legal issues straight. I personally don't like the approach (which you are not suggesting) where you go in with both barrels blazing and has been suggested by many in this thread.

The old adage, its easier to catch bees using honey could certainly apply here. We have not been party to any of the discussion between the parties in the past weeks and it is my hope that they are in the process of settling this thing outside of the courtroom. Sitting down across a board room table and trying to settle is so much better, imo, than doing it in court.

rocklyons
22nd of March 2007 (Thu), 10:56
A couple of major problems with litigation are: 1st once suit is filed people tend to become more intractible and it is harder to get the two parties together. (However many courts in recent years have moved toward mandatory arbitration, mediation and/or settlement conferences to attempt to relieve the burden on the court system) and 2nd, It often takes years to get a civil case to a jury.

sfaust
22nd of March 2007 (Thu), 11:03
And even after fighting a lawsuit for years and winning, it often takes more years of fighting to actually collect the settlement. In the mean time, you can fronting all the costs out of pocket. Its a commitment that shouldn't be taken lightly.

amonline
23rd of March 2007 (Fri), 19:48
Wow. I just came across this thread. It's unbelievable the level XPSL took the infringement to.

To the OP... I am an ex-field/shop owner and I've played (even hosted and promoted) such tourneys and been to nearly all that you promote at your site on a regular basis... I highly suggest you take these guys to the cleaners - PERIOD. I know how much these tourneys make (as I'm sure you do as well) and I would be looking into the ten's of thousands in settlement terms - SERIOUSLY. Don't let them screw you over. I would not worry about being blackballed - they broke the law for pete's sake.

Besides considering a new lawyer, you should mop up the old one or at least kick him to the curb.

I was very sorry to see you get taken such advantage of. Best of luck to you!!

turbodude
23rd of March 2007 (Fri), 22:07
Any resolution to this?

*Mike*
23rd of March 2007 (Fri), 22:19
I just found this thread. Holy! There have been a lot of points made about whether or not they knew it was a problem. Removing the watermark is an indication that they sure knew it wasn't OK to 'borrow' your images without your permission.

What would have you done, if they asked? Of course you could sue them, but since you need to keep working with these people, maybe mitigation would fix it. You might be able to get an appealing out come.

I've never seen such blatant copyright infringement! That is so nuts. Let us know what happened.

chakalakasp
24th of March 2007 (Sat), 08:16
Any resolution to this?

The current status is in the thread. He's working with a lawyer now. I'm sure we'll hear when the setttlement takes place, but that could be months from now. :)

tcphoto1
24th of March 2007 (Sat), 08:49
And if the facts were as stated, as a friend of mine says "pull the rope and money will fall from the sky". I am rooting for the good guy played by the photographer:)

Turntablist
24th of March 2007 (Sat), 20:53
wow great photographs, but that's just wrong. not only did they use your photographs without your permission, they also removed your watermark and didn't even give you credit for it. any new updates?

chakalakasp
25th of March 2007 (Sun), 16:48
What's funny is that for one of the shots (the one that ended up on the t-shirts), they didn't remove the watermark, they just cut it off a bit. The punchline is that the watermark was apparently a registered trademark, and that misappropriating a trademark is yet another thing you can collect big damages from. :)

PhotosGuy
26th of March 2007 (Mon), 09:17
I was happy to see my image on their banner but I hope you took that banner with you? :D

Any resolution yet?

Julio
26th of March 2007 (Mon), 14:52
I'm an honest person, but if the only thing that would happen if I got caught shoplifting would be that I'd have to pay normal price, I'd start shoplifting tomorrow as would the majority of the population.

That's quite the contradiction--I'm honest so long as I can get in trouble for being dishonest. An honest person is honest regardless of the outcome.

HoRnYTuRbO
26th of March 2007 (Mon), 15:27
i can't wait to see how this turns out and me being a PB player i know the industry isnt new to copyright law suits. go get them!!!

jfrancho
26th of March 2007 (Mon), 22:33
That's quite the contradiction--I'm honest so long as I can get in trouble for being dishonest. An honest person is honest regardless of the outcome.He was honest about it, though.

sfaust
26th of March 2007 (Mon), 23:56
That's quite the contradiction--I'm honest so long as I can get in trouble for being dishonest. An honest person is honest regardless of the outcome.

Yup. The temptation would be too great and I'd be pulled over to the dark side.

DiscoLizard
27th of March 2007 (Tue), 01:04
That's quite the contradiction--I'm honest so long as I can get in trouble for being dishonest. An honest person is honest regardless of the outcome.

My number one problem with many religous people. But that's a whole other debate that I shouldn't be bringing up!



Looking forward to resolution of this infringement, and hearing all about it. :D

poisonpill
27th of March 2007 (Tue), 02:39
As a retired judge,
.
.
.
In the event that their response is to "Ban" you from future events then that too would become an element of your damages in any future lawsuit.

Good Luck


I totally agree with rocklyons. If you do choose to sue, definitely consider a possible future "ban" to be discussed in the terms. Either have it written that they cannot ever ban you from tournaments, or seek monetary damages from expecting such.

We are all rooting for you for this egregious violation.

milleker
18th of April 2007 (Wed), 18:44
Any updates on this?

PaintballPhotography.com
18th of April 2007 (Wed), 21:40
Any updates on this?
Yes.....

Well here is an update….First off all thank you all for your help in this complex difficult situation for me. You all have provided me with some valuable advice and consul, this forum continues to be a valuable asset and I thank you all.

I have learned a lot of this because of this situation, the most important thing I have learned is that the forum is not private and the things discussed here have spread to several paintball forums and as a result I cannot go to an event any where in the US with out being asked about this. The thread on PbNation was longer than the thread on this forum until I asked the mod to remove it (Yes PbNation does talk to me in private). I really do not need this type publicity and since I consider the event promoted to be a friend of mine I am some what embarrassed by all of the attention I am getting…something I wish this would all just go away as if it never happened.

I am in a position if I do nothing than I set a president and my logo could be used by anyone for free and if I really go after the organization that stole my images I may loose the right to photograph their events….a sort of catch 22 situation.

I have spoken at length to my intellectual properties attorney and we have proposed a licensing agreement to the event promoter and the parent organization where I feel everyone will benefit. They will have an incentive to use my images and I will continue to photograph the sport I love.

So far after three phone calls and one e-mail I have not heard back from them…very strange since before this happened we communicated regularly. I will keep you all posted as things develop.

Best regards,

Gary Baum
Paintballphotography.com

Billginthekeys
18th of April 2007 (Wed), 21:47
well sorry about the backfire. hope you have a happy ending.

Cub Buck
18th of April 2007 (Wed), 22:24
Hold your ground. Don't bend.

milleker
18th of April 2007 (Wed), 22:48
Good luck Gary, you've got great work and are willing to take yourself into the crossfire and get the images that fuel the sport and these organizations/companies. I'm really surprised that you're getting the crap you are - if you are hosed over in this situation do you think any serious photographer in other locations will want anything to do with them? No thanks!

Either way, I wish you luck. Wish you could get some support from some big names in the sport. Whats stopping these people from using big name players' names, likeness and endorsements without their permission?

amonline
18th of April 2007 (Wed), 22:51
So far after three phone calls and one e-mail I have not heard back from them…very strange since before this happened we communicated regularly. I will keep you all posted as things develop.

Best regards,

Gary
I'm pretty sure this is indictive of what your "friendship" has become. Watch your back and good luck. Fight for your right.