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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 22 Feb 2007 (Thursday) 00:12
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Copyright violation-Selling my pictures without my permission!

 
PaintballPhotography.com
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Feb 22, 2007 00:12 |  #1

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.

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


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….
IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


It was another one of my pictures on a t-shirt that they were selling for $15 each!!!!
IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO

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!
IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


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…

Gary Baum
www.paintballphotograp​hy.com (external link)
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kennys350d
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Feb 22, 2007 00:19 |  #2

wow!!! lawsuit?




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PaintballPhotography.com
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Feb 22, 2007 00:23 |  #3

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


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th3r0m
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Feb 22, 2007 01:02 |  #4

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 :)


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coreypolis
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Feb 22, 2007 01:05 |  #5
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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.


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PAS ­ Photography
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Feb 22, 2007 01:09 |  #6

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.


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ssim
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Feb 22, 2007 01:17 as a reply to  @ PaintballPhotography.com's post |  #7

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.


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cosworth
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Feb 22, 2007 01:22 |  #8

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.


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Mike2005
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Feb 22, 2007 01:28 as a reply to  @ ssim's post |  #9

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.


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IndyJeff
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Feb 22, 2007 01:45 |  #10

PaintballPhotography.c​om wrote in post #2752789 (external link)
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.


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MJPhotos24
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Feb 22, 2007 01:48 |  #11

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..


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BradT0517
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Feb 22, 2007 02:00 |  #12

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.


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breal101
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Feb 22, 2007 02:03 |  #13

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.


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BradT0517
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Feb 22, 2007 02:22 |  #14

Well if it makes you feel any better they are really good pictures.


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Matatazela
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Feb 22, 2007 02:31 |  #15

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...


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Copyright violation-Selling my pictures without my permission!
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