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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography
Thread started 17 Feb 2015 (Tuesday) 17:44
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Another variety of "My photo has been hijacked/stolen/molested/et​c.," thread...

 
Intheswamp
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Joined Sep 2013
South Alabama
Feb 17, 2015 17:44 |  #1

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_pp0​2v.jpgexternal link

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,
Ed


www.beeweather.comexternal link

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kenwood33
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Post has been last edited over 2 years ago by kenwood33. 2 edits done in total.
Feb 17, 2015 17:57 |  #2

Read this and see if it applies to your situation

http://www.contentfac.​com ...ment-penalties-are-scary/external link


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Wilbur ­ Su
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34 posts
Joined Oct 2014
Feb 17, 2015 17:58 |  #3

Hi Ed.

Read this:

http://www.photoattorn​ey.com ...e-music-to-your-ears.htmlexternal link

Then consult a lawyer that understands copyright law. Good luck.


Wilbur

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Wilt
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by Wilt.
Feb 17, 2015 18:08 |  #4

If someone takes a photo and uses it without your permission, they are violating your copyright with regard to that photo -- especially if they are using it for a commercial use.

In addition, their use of the photo for a commercial project is likely also a violation of Facebook's Terms of Service, which outline what a user can and cannot do with content contained within the service. While you do grant a limited license to Facebook and its users, commercial use of such a photo is probably not within the boundaries of that license.

here is the proper form for Facebook if the offending photo/photos have been posted on Facebook.
FACEBOOK FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT:
https://www.facebook.c​om ...act/208282075858952​?rdrhcexternal link


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sspellman
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Feb 18, 2015 05:43 |  #5

The reasonable option is simply to file a copyright complaint to have FB remove the photo. An attempt to get any sort of $$$ compensation when you have not registered the images with the Copyright Office is more likely to cost you more in legal fees than you would recover. I personally do not know of any copyright violation lawsuits for Facebook use where damages where awarded.

This forum is not a substitute for consulting a real lawyer, but they will probably tell you the same story.


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Zelina
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Feb 18, 2015 06:30 |  #6

Hi! It is a pitty that someone isn't honest, but It is life, and there are many cheats in this life. First of all, don't worry, it is a very unpleasant situation, but not a tragedy. Secondly, I think you would better find a good lawyer and ask him the question. May be you have a friend, who is good on it? And why don't you use a watermark?? You can do it on http://ams-collage.com/external link for example.




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Road ­ Dog
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Joined Jul 2014
St. Augustine, Florida
Post has been edited over 2 years ago by Road Dog.
Feb 18, 2015 08:01 |  #7

I would do two things:

First, I would contact Facebook and alert them to the copyright violation. I had an incident a little over a year ago with a South American-based Daughtry fan page. They lifted a number of my photos for their page. Once I notified Facebook, and proved the photos were mine, they came down, and I think they came down within a day.

Second, I would eviscerate this guy. I would be sure that everyone and their brother knew that not only did I not support him,. but that he stole my image. If it's a small town, you should be able to get someone from the local paper to go to his home or office with you, and confront him. Put him on his heels and keep him there.

I also might do one other thing, just for fun: Since he likes your photography so much, follow him with your camera. Follow him everywhere and take pictures of him doing whatever it is he does. Take pictures of his car(s), his family, etc. Don't break the law, but let the law permit you to be a profound bother to him.

Let him know that it all stops as soon as he relents, removes your photo and offers a public apology...


Just shut up and smile...
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Intheswamp
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Joined Sep 2013
South Alabama
Feb 18, 2015 15:27 |  #8

kenwood33 and Wilbur Su, thanks for the links. I read them and branched out from them. Interesting reading things from the "infringer" point of view. From what I read it definitely is a copyright infringement. Wilbur Su, I'm not sure whether this would be considered a watermark or not but I had "Courtesy of *Business Name*" and my website address on the bottom edge of the image...these were cropped off.

Wilt, thanks for the feedback, I've read many posts of yours and respect your knowledge and appreciate you sharing it with me. I have made note of the link for contacting Facebook. For now I'm letting it ride until I talk with a lawyer. By past experience, any action I take against this person in regards to using my image will be responded to in a personal verbal attack on me. As mentioned in my original post, he has attacked friends of mine in the recent pass and seems to relish the idea of causing hard feelings among neighbors. I have no compassion for this person, thus my desire to seek any monetary value I can from him and to silence him the best that I can.

sspellman, the person using my photo and people knowing that the photo is mine could possibly damage my business in that some people may think that I am "in with him" in his rantings/agendas. I have no way to know what impact it has had, but I am convinced that it would be a negative one. I agree, speaking to a lawyer is the best thing, but I thought I'd get some feedback here on POTN first being as there's lots of knowledgeable people here regarding photography issues.

Zelina, would "Courtesy of *Business Name*" and my website address plainly printed along the bottom edge of the photo and also a website logo count as watermarks (but that were removed by the infringer)? Welcome to the board as that was your first post here.

Road Dog, I would like to pursue this beyond having Facebook simply take down the photo, I'd at the least like a take-down of his pages. Although his pages seem innocent enough they are basically being used to rebel-rouse people for causes that don't actually exist. I believe this is being done in order for him to gain "credibility" as a leader as and as a future mayoral candidate...though this person would adamantly deny this. He has voice the possibility of running for the mayor in the past but is notorious for deleting posts, etc., if the heat gets to hot. "Eviscerate"...that's a catchy word to use in this situation. ;) Local paper...sadly, that would be like getting Der Stürmer to investigate Hitler for corruption or something. -? As for photographing him and his...that might border on stalking, but I'll keep it in mind. Public apology would be nice...

Ed


www.beeweather.comexternal link

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digirebelva
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Feb 18, 2015 16:27 as a reply to sspellman's post |  #9

Wrong, the simple fact that he removed the copyright info is a violation of the DMCA

Section 1202 of the U.S. Copyright Act makes it illegal for someone to remove the watermark from your photo so that it can disguise the infringement when used. The fines start at $2500 and go to $25,000 in addition to attorneys' fees and any damages for the infringement

Regardless if the image has been registered or not...!


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Alveric
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Feb 18, 2015 17:07 |  #10

Just file a copyright violation, man. There's no need to be vindictive, you'd be right down to his level or lower.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
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Bcaps
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by Bcaps.
Feb 18, 2015 22:29 |  #11

sspellman wrote in post #17437174external link
I personally do not know of any copyright violation lawsuits for Facebook use where damages where awarded.

There was a thread posted in the forum here where a (coincidentally) tire company stole a non-registered photo and used it on their FB page. In the end they had to cut a not insignificant check.


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Intheswamp
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Mar 09, 2015 10:18 |  #12

Well, after contacting a lawyer it seems that since my image was not "timely registered" that I don't have much of a leg to stand on and damages would be very limited. Also, being as I'm not a pro/commercial photographer and don't have a history of what my images sale for that this would have limited the amount I could have received. Basically the lawyer would only take this as a paid case at the rate of a few hundred dollars an hour.

I will be contacting Facebook today regarding this issue. I do wish I could force the person to at least apologize or admit to the wrong doing and state that they had no permission to use the image. I do not with this person's page to be associated with myself.

Ah well, we will see what Facebook says/does.

One thing I need to do is figure out how to register/copyright all of my images...anybody got a link to some good information about this? ...something even a shuffling older guy like me can understand? :lol:

Thanks for all the feedback!
Ed


www.beeweather.comexternal link

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nathancarter
Cream of the Crop
Joined Dec 2010
Post has been edited over 2 years ago by nathancarter.
Mar 09, 2015 11:59 |  #13

Intheswamp wrote in post #17467259external link
Well, after contacting a lawyer it seems that since my image was not "timely registered" that I don't have much of a leg to stand on and damages would be very limited. Also, being as I'm not a pro/commercial photographer and don't have a history of what my images sale for that this would have limited the amount I could have received. Basically the lawyer would only take this as a paid case at the rate of a few hundred dollars an hour.

I will be contacting Facebook today regarding this issue. I do wish I could force the person to at least apologize or admit to the wrong doing and state that they had no permission to use the image. I do not with this person's page to be associated with myself.

Ah well, we will see what Facebook says/does.

One thing I need to do is figure out how to register/copyright all of my images...anybody got a link to some good information about this? ...something even a shuffling older guy like me can understand? :lol:

Thanks for all the feedback!
Ed

Refer back to post #9. If he removed your identifying information, your image does not have to be registered in order to pursue damages.

Here's another version of what Tim wrote in post #9, this time from Carolyn Wright, a well known and for-really-reals lawyer who specializes in copyright & IP law:
http://www.photoattorn​ey.com ...e-music-to-your-ears.htmlexternal link


Note that speaking to "a lawyer" is not the same as speaking to a lawyer who specializes in IP/copyright. There are a lot of nuances and specifics that many general-practice lawyers might not be aware of.


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Intheswamp
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South Alabama
Post has been edited over 2 years ago by Intheswamp.
Mar 09, 2015 13:07 |  #14

Ok, I have again contacted the legal office I was speaking with and pointed out "17 U.S.C. § 1202 : US Code" to them. I don't know whether this will make any difference in their opinion or not.

This is an IP/copyright legal firm/lawyer that I'm communicating with.

I'll let you know what they say.

Ed


www.beeweather.comexternal link

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Intheswamp
THREAD ­ STARTER
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Joined Sep 2013
South Alabama
Mar 09, 2015 13:32 as a reply to Intheswamp's post |  #15

Ok, that didn't work out with the lawyer. The response I got was that Section 1202 carries a high burden of proof of intent and they don’t see my situation as being a strong enough claim.

This is an IP/Copyright legal firm that I'm communicating with, but if anyone else has any ideas please feel free to holler back. I will hold off contacting Facebook until tonight or in the morning so as to give anybody that wants to give me more feedback before I contact them to do a take-down of the image.

Thanks again for the feedback,
Ed


www.beeweather.comexternal link

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Another variety of "My photo has been hijacked/stolen/molested/et​c.," thread...
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