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Thread started 02 Sep 2011 (Friday) 00:07
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can I revoke copyright permission?

 
ThomasOwenM
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Sep 02, 2011 00:07 |  #1

Back in '07 when I was new to photography, I photographed a woman and her band and allowed her to use the photos on Myspace. This was before I charged money for photography or knew much about the business, so there was no contract or fees. I just said she could use the photos.

Fast forward to today. It's a long ugly story which I won't bore you with, but I no longer want her to use any of my photos. However, I've learned she's using at least one of them on Facebook. Since I still own the copyright, can I simply write her and revoke permission to use my work? Should I sent a certified letter? What if she refuses? Is it time to get a copyright attorney?

There's not an issue of money since there was never any agreement to pay me for the work. I'm also not losing any money by her using the photos. I simply don't want to be associated with her in any way and therefore don't want her to use my photos.


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FlyingPhotog
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Sep 02, 2011 00:09 |  #2

Since there's nothing in writing stipulating what she can do with the images, I think you'd have a hard time enforcing a new spin on what she can't do with them.

But by all means, find a lawyer who'll draft a simple C&D letter and see how it goes.


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LONDON808
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Sep 02, 2011 00:21 |  #3

FlyingPhotog wrote in post #13039100 (external link)
Since there's nothing in writing stipulating what she can do with the images, I think you'd have a hard time enforcing a new spin on what she can't do with them.

But by all means, find a lawyer who'll draft a simple C&D letter and see how it goes.

Goes both ways - there was never anything in writing to say she could -

Just send her a cease and desist letter to her, OR just hit report on facebook and they will remove it for you


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MJPhotos24
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Sep 02, 2011 01:16 |  #4

Fact is she needs permission to use it, if you revoke that permission it's gone. There's no contract to breach so yes you can ask she remove it, formally do it with certified letter so you KNOW she got it. You can ask first via email and then the letter if no response, actually better that way. You can also contact facebook and have them remove it for copyright violation. The only argument she has is that you "verbally" agreed to let her use it - what you said in that conversation we don't know.

So go ahead, ask her to remove it or have FB do it for you.


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ssim
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Sep 02, 2011 01:54 |  #5

This could go either way and the one thing going against you is the fact that you openly acknowledge that you allowed them to use them for the last 4 years and there was a verbal contract, even if it was only "sure you can use them". If it ever came to court the judge would probably take that into consideration as well as the context of what the debate is about.

There is nothing stopping you from requesting that they cease using the images. Chances are that if they are simply on MySpace and Facebook they wouldn't challenge it unless this is a clash of a more personal nature and these can go sideways in a hurry.


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Jimconnerphoto
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Sep 02, 2011 02:44 |  #6

I will start by saying, I dunno.
But, I had a question, did you in fact verbally tell her or is it possible you emailed and gave permission?
Not sure about Nebraska, but in California a verbal release is binding. Then it turns into a he said/ she said.


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ThomasOwenM
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Sep 02, 2011 03:23 |  #7

zagiace wrote in post #13039508 (external link)
I will start by saying, I dunno.
But, I had a question, did you in fact verbally tell her or is it possible you emailed and gave permission?
Not sure about Nebraska, but in California a verbal release is binding. Then it turns into a he said/ she said.

I would have to look through my old e-mails to see. I don't remember if there was a written correspondence or if it was verbal. If it was written it may have been via Myspace, not e-mail, and both our Myspace accounts have since been deleted. This also happened in Colorado, not Nebraska. I moved here afterwards.

Even if it were written email correspondence, it's doubtful she saved it, and it was long enough ago that my former isp may have deleted it. If this written correspondence exists, it probably was to the effect of, "Here are photos I took." I'm sure I didn't say, "I'm turning over my copyright to you -- you own all rights now."


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RDKirk
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Sep 02, 2011 05:42 as a reply to  @ ThomasOwenM's post |  #8

This could go either way and the one thing going against you is the fact that you openly acknowledge that you allowed them to use them for the last 4 years and there was a verbal contract, even if it was only "sure you can use them". If it ever came to court the judge would probably take that into consideration as well as the context of what the debate is about.

A couple of points where people are misled.

1. A mere oral agreement does not equal "contract." In any state that permits oral contracts at all, the oral contract must still fulfill all the state's legal requirements for enforceability that a written contract must fulfill--and often more, such as a requirement for witnesses that a written contract might not need in that state.

2. Copyright is not like trademark--you do not lose copyright if you fail to enforce it. You can choose to register it and begin enforcing it at any point that you like--all you may lose is the ability to collect damages for earlier infringements.


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uOpt
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Sep 02, 2011 07:04 |  #9

What you did is you gave her a license to use them. Spoken, but that is as good as writing except for the lack of evidence. You didn't put a time limit on the license. Copyright has little to do with it if she got an unlimited license.

Your possible approaches are leveraging the lack of evidence - saying the license was time limited, never given or limited to myspace. Since no money has changed hands the lack of evidence is in your favor. Hiring a lawyer doesn't change any of the above but will make her cave in unless she has witnesses.

Would just removing your name from the photos satisfy you? Sounds like a cleaner way to get out of it.


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sspellman
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Sep 02, 2011 07:54 |  #10

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requires US website hosts to respond to Copyright Violation claims. The link to the Favebook DMCA is here:

https://www.facebook.c​om …ht.php?copyrigh​t_notice=1 (external link)

You will need to specify which photo and where it is used. They will generally remove photos of violations within 48 hours. It worked for me last week.

I'm not sure of the story, but hiring a lawyer this issue seems irrational. Luckily this solution is fast and cheap. If she cannot provide evidence of a use license agreement, then this is a slam dunk.

-Scott


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PhotosGuy
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Sep 02, 2011 08:38 |  #11

zagiace wrote in post #13039508 (external link)
Not sure about Nebraska, but in California a verbal release is binding. Then it turns into a he said/ she said.

OTOH, "rights" are usually conveyed for a certain length of time, & under certain conditions, after which they need to be renewed, so I don't think you are locked into what you said 4 years ago.
For instance:
"— Upon full payment the photos returned (henceforth PHOTOS) are licensed for use by the Client including adjusting for print, printing, duplicating and publishing to the web in perpetuity."
vs.
"This license shall be valid in the following geographic region(s) only: The United States. This license shall be valid for a one time use and shall cover publication of the Work in the following media only: Magazine Name, December 2009 Issue. The number of reproductions of the Work authorized by this license is limited to 150,000."

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ThomasOwenM
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Sep 02, 2011 20:55 |  #12

An update: I sent her a polite cease and desist Facebook PM. She responded by blocking me. Now I can't see the images inside her page, though when logged out I can see that she's still using one as her default pic. I should have just reported the images to FB, but I didn't. No biggie. I'll just have a friend do it.


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MJPhotos24
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Sep 02, 2011 22:55 |  #13

ThomasOwenM wrote in post #13043422 (external link)
An update: I sent her a polite cease and desist Facebook PM. She responded by blocking me. Now I can't see the images inside her page, though when logged out I can see that she's still using one as her default pic. I should have just reported the images to FB, but I didn't. No biggie. I'll just have a friend do it.

You have to be the copyright owner to do so I believe, so just send the page link from your account.


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Mike ­ R
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Sep 03, 2011 07:13 |  #14

If it's only a photo of her, and she's not going to profit from it,I would just ignore it. You said that it was an "ugly story" so why add to it. It could lead to her trying to hurt your reputation.


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pwm2
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Sep 03, 2011 07:39 |  #15

sspellman wrote in post #13040141 (external link)
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requires US website hosts to respond to Copyright Violation claims. The link to the Favebook DMCA is here:

https://www.facebook.c​om …ht.php?copyrigh​t_notice=1 (external link)

You will need to specify which photo and where it is used. They will generally remove photos of violations within 48 hours. It worked for me last week.

I'm not sure of the story, but hiring a lawyer this issue seems irrational. Luckily this solution is fast and cheap. If she cannot provide evidence of a use license agreement, then this is a slam dunk.

-Scott

But first there must be a copyright violation. And that doesn't seem to be the case here.


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