I'm a pretty laid back guy and as of the present time I'm not making a living with my photography but rather trying to run a small tire business in the poor economy of rural south Alabama. Another hobby of mine is hosting a small weather station on the internet (see sig for web address) for local weather conditions...kind of a public service feature for the local population. Among other things on the website is a weather camera. (The camera, for the interested, is a Logitech C920 with a -2 diopter to correct near-sightedness...we call it the "Hubble Fix"...it's housed in a weather-proof housing.)
Back to the story... Last April there was a thunderstorm over the downtown area where the weather camera is located. I was sitting my house about 7 miles away trying to capture lightning images manually. When I would see a flash of lightning at my house I would click the mouse to capture an image. One capture almost knocked me out of my chair when I saw it. It was a neat picture, not a technically great picture but the subject was pretty good. Well, I wasn't looking for monetary gain from the image and I shared it with one of the area television stations and posted it on my website. I also posted it on my *very* obscure Facebook page (I have one friend, my wife<grin>. I got several comments on the image. The photo has my website address and business name along the bottom edge of the image. Here is a link to it: http://www.beeweather.com ...3014Lightning11_pp02v.jpg
Well, time passed on and today a friend told me that a certain person is using the image for his Facebook group cover photo. He also has the image on his personal Facebook page. I won't go into details, but this person and I are polar opposites. There have been insults and innuendos thrown at good friends of mine by this person. Disparaging things have been insinuated about myself. This person has also mentioned running for mayor which would be a major disaster for our small town. He has bragged in a public forum about having "plenty of money, a retirement income, beautiful home and farm, a beach house, blah, blah" as if this increases his authority or something. The reason I'm stating all of this is that people know the image is mine but see it on this person's Facebook pages and by association they may link him to me which I definitely don't desire. Besides, I don't want him using/profiting(?) from my photo. I feel that this person is using both his group Facebook page and his personal one to build himself up to be a mayoral candidate and is using my photo to help his cause.
Now, the part that really irritates me... In these stolen photos the person has completely cropped out my business name and website address in the photo on his group page while on his personal Facebook page only the bottom line with my business name is cropped out...the website "logo" is still mostly visible in that copy of my photo. He has very evidently tried to erase any credit to me for the photos.
I stated early in this post that I wasn't making a living from my photography...it's a hobby for now, just like my little weather station. But, I wouldn't mind starting earning money...starting with this situation. Do I have a copyright infringement? Can I send this person a legitimate bill for usage of the photo? Is there really anything I can do about this other than simply getting Facebook to take it down? Any guidance would be appreciated.
Would I like a pound of flesh? Sure...
Thanks for hearing me out,