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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 15 Aug 2014 (Friday) 18:51
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Copyright infringement?

 
TSmith8779
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Aug 15, 2014 18:51 |  #1

Hi, I have a friend that is selling a home. The realtor took some pictures and posted them online. They were of poor quality, and she asked me to take some for her. It was agreeable with her realtor and they posted 19 of my pictures on their site. I looked at the site, and noticed they had their copyright stamped on all of the pictures. What would you do in this situation? I don't really want to cause problems for my friend, but on the other hand they have no right to do this, correct?

Should I bill them? Or, ignore it?


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Larry ­ Johnson
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Aug 15, 2014 18:57 |  #2

I'm not a professional photographer or a lawyer, but why would they want them for anything other than to list and sell the house. After it's sold, the pics are history unless you have plans to use them for something else.


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MattPharmD
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Aug 15, 2014 18:58 |  #3

I would start by asking them to remove their copyright from the images. It may be standard practice for their office, or they may not really understand copyright at all. At the very least they should add your info/signature to the photos.

As the realtor is being paid a pretty penny if the house sells, I doubt that you asking for credit or payment would cause much trouble for your friend. At most the realtor would take your photos back down.


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Roamingbull
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Aug 15, 2014 19:24 |  #4

This may be a misunderstanding. They may feel they are copyrighting the image listing not really taking into consideration the image itself. They want credit for the photo in terms of it gets out and people share it, their copyright will be there so they can get the sale of the house. That is really what their focus is.

If you agreed to do work for them and take the images, they may have felt they purchased the rights to them, in which case the copyright would be theirs even though you took the picture. This could be the case if they paid you, or even if they felt it was done in kind. Only way to get around that is by including in the contract that you maintain the rights, and specify what if any copyright representation they would get. Honestly for real estate listings its not worth the trouble, as what was said previously, once the home is sold, the images are really a mute point.

What you may want to do next time is be sure they include your watermark in the image. You may even be able to put a photo taken by XXX in the image somehow. I know some other photographers who do this type of work, and they have credits in the real estate listings overall. That and the fact they were paid to do the work.

I would talk to your friend, as it sounds like you were doing them a favor. Let them know you were happy to help, but you felt that the favor was going to be returned by some type of credit to your work. If they are truly your friend, this conversation should be an easy fix.

Just my thoughts, good luck on this. I posted because something similar happened to me with some band shots.


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digirebelva
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Aug 15, 2014 19:42 |  #5

Roamingbull wrote in post #17098889 (external link)
This may be a misunderstanding. They may feel they are copyrighting the image listing not really taking into consideration the image itself. They want credit for the photo in terms of it gets out and people share it, their copyright will be there so they can get the sale of the house. That is really what their focus is.

If you agreed to do work for them and take the images, they may have felt they purchased the rights to them, in which case the copyright would be theirs even though you took the picture. This could be the case if they paid you, or even if they felt it was done in kind. Only way to get around that is by including in the contract that you maintain the rights, and specify what if any copyright representation they would get. Honestly for real estate listings its not worth the trouble, as what was said previously, once the home is sold, the images are really a mute point.

What you may want to do next time is be sure they include your watermark in the image. You may even be able to put a photo taken by XXX in the image somehow. I know some other photographers who do this type of work, and they have credits in the real estate listings overall. That and the fact they were paid to do the work.

I would talk to your friend, as it sounds like you were doing them a favor. Let them know you were happy to help, but you felt that the favor was going to be returned by some type of credit to your work. If they are truly your friend, this conversation should be an easy fix.

Just my thoughts, good luck on this. I posted because something similar happened to me with some band shots.

Except, he did the shoot at the request of his friend, not the realtor. So the realtor has no claim what so ever to copyright. Its possible its standard office practice if all of the realtors take their own photos. I would have the friend talk to them, since the realtor is working for them, not the OP.


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TSmith8779
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Aug 15, 2014 19:57 |  #6

I have never spoken to anyone at the real estate office about them being able stamp their copyright on my pictures. However, I'll probably just let it go since there isn't any real value to the pictures once the house is sold. But maybe they did help lead to a sale. I think it really was just the shock of seeing somebody else put their copyright on my work without my permission that upset me.


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seres
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Aug 15, 2014 20:24 |  #7

I wouldn't worry about it. As others have said, it's probably so that anyone looking at the pictures knows where the original listing originated.

But I would talk to the realtor and offer your services.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Aug 15, 2014 21:46 |  #8

Big fan of photographers protecting their copyright but in this case I wouldn't worry. Plastering a copyright/name watermark over listing images is fairly common in lots of places to stop other agents pinching the images and using them. I am pretty sure the agent doesn't really understand copyright and isn't intending to claim ownership of the images, just stop others using them. So actually they are seeking to protect your images, though doing it in the wrong way.


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Yaryman
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Aug 16, 2014 01:12 |  #9

Am I missing something here?

The realtor who is collecting a 6% commission on the sale posted poor quality photos trying to sell the house.
The realtor who is collecting a 6% commission on the sale then agreed to have you take better photos for free and post them.
The realtor who is collecting a 6% commission on the sale then posted your images with their copyright stamp all over them.

Thank goodness you will get a cut of the commission when the house sells.:o ( OK, not very likely )

The realtor either needs to pay you for the photos, or at the very least plaster your copyright all over the images.


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DMPRO78
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Aug 16, 2014 01:25 |  #10

Yaryman wrote in post #17099286 (external link)
Am I missing something here?

The realtor who is collecting a 6% commission on the sale posted poor quality photos trying to sell the house.
The realtor who is collecting a 6% commission on the sale then agreed to have you take better photos for free and post them.
The realtor who is collecting a 6% commission on the sale then posted your images with their copyright stamp all over them.

Thank goodness you will get a cut of the commission when the house sells.:o ( OK, not very likely )

The realtor either needs to pay you for the photos, or at the very least plaster your copyright all over the images.

Absolutely right!

NOBODY has the right to claim copyright for photos they didn't take! This is a possible $150,000 mistake on the part of the realtor. (That's PER IMAGE if they are registered prior to publishing, if not, then only the cost of the sale of the images, retail, is relevant.)

DO NOT let COPYRIGHT be taken from you! Unless, of course, you don't care. And that IS the case of many photographers. But at least know your rights before you throw them away.


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Aug 16, 2014 02:24 |  #11

If your pictures lead to a lot of interest in the house then there could be a sale within a week for the realtors. Easy money for them. Rubbish pictures could lead to a drawn out protracted sale lasting months, and require much more work from them costing THEM time and money.
If 6% is their cut, that could be a lot of money for not a lot of work, or a lot of money for a lot of work which may equate to a loss in real terms in their time invested. The difference between those two scenarios could be the time and skill YOU put into those pictures.......... :)


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Luckless
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Aug 16, 2014 04:39 |  #12

It is also potentially just an automated marking tool used on the site. I've worked with a few different groups with websites that were designed to quickly upload unmarked photos from various sources, and the site automatically resized (Thumbnail, web, 'full') and applied branding/copyright markings.

Personally I would ignore it if you aren't in the market of providing photos for realtors and were merely doing this as a one time thing for your friend. If you are thinking you want the exposure, then politely provide them with suitably resized photos with your own branding "Photo use provided by... C 2014" and ask if they can swap the images when they get the chance.


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Larry ­ Johnson
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Aug 16, 2014 08:34 |  #13

Yaryman wrote in post #17099286 (external link)
Am I missing something here?.

Well, yeah. You are missing one very important fact and also seem to have a bone to pick with realtors. I'm not a realtor either.

The OP wasn't hired by the realtor. He made the pictures for a friend. It was implied as a favor. It was alsoimplied that he wasn't expecting to get paid.

Realtors don't make 6% commission. It's customary for the buyer's and seller's realty company to SPLIT 6%. I'll admit, it sounds like highway robbery, but the price paid to the realty company (not the individual realtors) has absolutely nothing to do with the copyright issue. Sure they can afford it, so what. There was no contract.


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Hogloff
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Aug 16, 2014 08:37 |  #14
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Yaryman wrote in post #17099286 (external link)
Am I missing something here?

The realtor who is collecting a 6% commission on the sale posted poor quality photos trying to sell the house.
The realtor who is collecting a 6% commission on the sale then agreed to have you take better photos for free and post them.
The realtor who is collecting a 6% commission on the sale then posted your images with their copyright stamp all over them.

Thank goodness you will get a cut of the commission when the house sells.:o ( OK, not very likely )

The realtor either needs to pay you for the photos, or at the very least plaster your copyright all over the images.

Unless there was compensation for the images agreed to upfront, I don't see any money being exchanged.

Exactly what is the benefit to the photographer here to put their copyright onto the image...unless he/she wants to get into realestate photography?




  
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SirGeorgeKillian
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Aug 16, 2014 09:05 |  #15

Hogloff wrote in post #17099654 (external link)
Exactly what is the benefit to the photographer here to put their copyright onto the image...unless he/she wants to get into realestate photography?


Free advertisement/exposure comes to mind.

I see this simply as a principal thing. You took your time, did work you are obviously proud of (otherwise you wouldn't be worried about it lol) and nobody will ever know. I get asked all the time if I can do work that is outside of my normal forte' just because someone saw a picture I took and said "I wonder if he could take pictures of ________"

Just my 2 pennies...


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