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cogrady Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Jan 2009Sat 06-Apr-13 01:53 PM
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"Unauthorized use of my images"


Salt Lake City, US
          

I've used Tineye before to see if I could trace the use of my images, but I just read about the reverse image search on Google. Much more powerful.

Just for kicks I tried it out on a few images and I'm horrified how many unauthorized uses of some of my more "stockish" images I found. I'm sick about it. Where I could, I ripped off an email telling the user that I'm the owner of the image, but I don't know that anyone will care. One of the frequently used images is of a pair of dice, bouncing, showing a 3 and a 4. Recently someone purchased a usage right on this image for his upcoming book cover, which is kind of what prompted me to see how frequently this image has been stolen.

One guy on Deviant Art has actually put his copyright stamp on my image.

As far as I can tell, none of these are commercial sites where they're actually selling a product. But a few are sites that are intended to drive business. One of the sites using my image is for Psychology Today. I'm sure the clinic is trying to drum up business, but they're using my image to do so.

Does this happen to everyone out there? I thought about filing a claim in small claims court locally, just for the amount of a fair usage fee, but I have no idea if that's even realistic. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Claudia



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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 06-Apr-13 02:11 PM
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#1. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

Unfortunately I do have experience with something similar - in publishing. Someone stole a copy of what I wrote off a printer, then had it published on the Internet under another name. I found it within about a week - by accident - and fortunately the publisher was the same as mine. I of course had the original source document along with backup tapes going back several months, so it was easy for me to prove that it was mine. They took the page down within hours. I thought the affair was over.

It was not. A year later, the book from which this material was extracted was published, and almost immediately I was called out as a plaguarist - citing a cached copy of the published web page as the evidence. Remember, that was work STOLEN FROM ME. I'll make a long story short by summarizing that my name went on a public "registry" of plagiarists, and it took me two years and the assistance of the legal department of a Fortune 500 company to get it removed. In the 21st century where everyone checks out anyone on the Internet, I will never know if I don't get a job some day because of it. In my case I reacted essentially immediately, so nobody can claim that I didn't defend my claims.

I'm no legal expert, and what follows is not legal advice, but my opinion is that the clinic is using your image commercially, and that is well outside the bounds of fair use unless you've given a right to use, which it sounds like you have not.

I would certainly raise the issue with the false copyright with both the individual and with Deviant Art. I have such a bitter taste from my experience that I wouldn't risk the potential consequences.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

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cogrady Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Jan 2009Sat 06-Apr-13 06:06 PM
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#2. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


Salt Lake City, US
          

Well Brian, that beats my story Sorry for your misfortune. I can see how it leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. Enough to discourage sharing one's work.

In my case, the psychology clinic is probably the worst offender. If they don't take the image down, as I have asked them to do, I may pursue something more. I'm just not sure if it will prove to be worth the hassle.

Ugh.

Claudia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.


www.one-eye-closed.com
www.lastlightphotographicstudios.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 06-Apr-13 06:24 PM
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#3. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 2


Richmond, US
          

I think your bigger problem is that someone has claimed copyright on your image. If it's your image, you need to defend your ownership, otherwise if it comes to a court of law later, there is a chance that you could be judged to have relinquished your ownership, or something like that. I'm not a lawyer, get the advice of an intellectual property lawyer. But I'd definitely take this seriously. (Note that by default the serial number of the camera is embedded in the NEF and usually this makes it into JPEGs, although not always. If the serial number is in there, it makes it pretty easy to demonstrate that it came from you.) By the way, have you entered an image comment into your camera? If so, that will get transferred into each and every file produced by the camera. (Mine is a copyright notice with contact information, and I have a calendar reminder every Dec 30th to change the image comment on every camera...)

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 06-Apr-13 09:31 PM
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#5. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 3


Richmond, US
          

By the way, this is also a reason to keep receipts. I have bought all of my DSLRs from known, large retailers, and they always include serial numbers on the receipts. Even if I sell the camera, I keep scans of the receipts, so that if in the future I get into a debate about ownership of an image, I can always point to the serial number embedded in the NEF files and demonstrate that I did in fact own that particular camera and serial number. I assume that anyone stupid enough to steal images and then claim copyright would probably eliminate the serial number metadata, but of course I still have the originals... which of course DO have the metadata. And I'm not like the average amateur photographer. I have backups of this stuff going back YEARS.

And yes, in the case above, I did end up providing both the original document AND copies of backup tapes demonstrating just how far back I had been working on it. I've always been a bit on the paranoid side when it comes to backups, but this made it even worse.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSat 06-Apr-13 10:58 PM
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#6. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 5


Philadelphia, US
          

Excellent suggestion for serial number proof. I also suggest registering all cameras (lenses, speedlights, etc.) at Nikon, on their website. Each person can do this on their country's site.

While I save all my photos as Photoshop files, once processed, to save my layers to make it easy to do further work when necessary, I never alter and always retain the original NEF file. After shooting I ruthlessly delete duplicates and lousy images, but have many more images than I end up processing. I keep all files I saved, and I still have more than 35 years of negatives stored too. I'm slowly converting them to digital files. I don't go back to the old files often, but I have on occasion.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSat 06-Apr-13 08:03 PM
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#4. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 2


Philadelphia, US
          

Claudia, I'm with Brian. It's extremely important that you defend your copyright. The image where someone else has claimed a copyright on your image is by far the most serious of the issues you presented, in my opinion.

17 U.S.C. § 1202(b)(1), provides that "no person shall, without the authority of the copyright owner or the law intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information. So if you had your copyright on your image, and they removed your mark and inserted theirs, that is virtually by definition "intentionally removing and altering copyright management information.

Therefore, their willful removal of the digital and visible watermarks from your photos is a violation of 17 U.S.C. § 1202, and thusly entitles you to damages under 17 U.S.C. § 1203. Under § 1203(c)(3)(b), you can recover "statutory damages for each violation of section 1202 in the sum of not less than $2,500 or more than $25,000."

Whether you want to pursue the statutory damages or not is clearly a judgment on your part which you'll need to consider, and if you want to go ahead, to consult an attorney. Yet those potential damages can also be used as a threat for your takedown notice. You can remind both Deviant Art and the person who stole your image than along with actual damages, by inserting a false copyright they are liable for up to $25K in statutory damages.

Like Brian I have a notice on my calendar to change the copyright notice in my cameras to the new year. You're using a D4. If you're not aware of it in the menu system, the setup portion, there is a place to insert your name and copyright information which will then be automatically inserted into the meta data of every image you make. If you haven't yet done this, you should do it right after you read this message, so you don't forget. I use the comment area to put in contact information.

The images on my galleries are well protected so I only find a few of these images stolen each year. I do takedown notices and now that Google cooperates, I get the images taken down quickly. Lately, I've started searching for photo published elsewhere. Between work I do for others, and my own writing which includes articles at many sources many photos of mine are published weekly. This year I've found about 50 stolen images so far. We've done takedown notices and in three cases went after damages. We settled in each case and therefore I can't talk about them as per the settlement, except to say we did receive damages in each case.

I do register my published images with the US Copyright Office.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
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cogrady Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Jan 2009Sun 07-Apr-13 01:32 AM
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#7. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


Salt Lake City, US
          

Excellent suggestions Ned and Brian. I absolutely have the NEF and it does have my copyright information embedded. After checking just now I see it also has the S/N of my D300s, which I used to take this image. And I still have that camera body.

I will send off my takedown demand to this guy on DeviantArt, and the citation you sent, Ned, is very very helpful.

The psychologist from Psych Today sent me an email response this afternoon. She claims that Psych Today tells bloggers that they should google images, and any image that doesn't have a copyright stamped on it is fair use. Shame on them, if that's true. She also claims she did not get it from my blog, which, after seeing how wildly distributed this particular image has become, I believe. I sent her the image with my copyright on it, and gave her permission to use it on her blog.

This stuff is so infuriating. And it's so widespread.


Claudia


Visit my Nikonians gallery.


www.one-eye-closed.com
www.lastlightphotographicstudios.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSun 07-Apr-13 11:03 AM
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#8. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 7


Philadelphia, US
          

It's our pleasure to help.

Claudia, many people are honest when they say they thought an image needed to show a copyright on their face or it wasn't copyrighted. That was the old law in the US. That being said, someone who publishes a magazine, journal, blog, etc. today, should know better considering it was in March 1989, more than 24 years ago that the US changed its copyright law to adhere to the Berne Convention, removing the need to place a copyright on the copyrighted material in order for it to be considered copyrighted under the law.

You might tell her that images may actually have a copyright written in them in the meta data, even when there is no copyright notice on the face of the photo. I would definitely tell her that she needs to take a refresher about copyright law, that every image is copyrighted automatically when it's made and that whether or not a copyright notice is in or on the image has no effect on what is or isn't fair use.

You might suggest she look at this well written article about fair use which she clearly doesn't understand at all.

http://www.photoattorney.com/2008/05/fuss-about-fair-use.html

Good luck and let us know what happens with Deviant Art please.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sun 07-Apr-13 01:49 PM
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#10. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 8


Atlanta, US
          

Here's another link on Carolyn Wright's site that will help with a plan.

http://www.photoattorney.com/2009/05/help-ive-found-infringement.html

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
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Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Sun 07-Apr-13 01:14 PM
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#9. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


Toronto, CA
          

Claudia - I echo Ned's advice, but note that, at least in the U.S., obtaining statutory damages are not as much of an uphill climb if you have previously registered your images. What that means is literally hitting the U.S. electronic copyright registration web site to register multiple images at a time (for a single fee) before you ever upload them to your own web site or Flicker or Photo.Net or SmugMug or publish them in any other way.

Actually registering your copyright with the copyright office provides you with a lot more leverage. As has been mentioned in a number of different Nikonians podcasts (and other podcasts) and print articles in the photo mags in recent years, your copyright is present as soon as you create something and declare it. But actually giving teeth to your enforcement of a copyright means you have to register your work.

I recently went after marthastewart.com for use without permission of a photo I made in France a few years ago that had been published on my Photo.Net page. One of the marthastewart.com stringers used one of my photos to illustrate her article on poverty and street begging. Tineye and Google image search and aggregator-style image search browser tools such as WhoStoleMyPictures work fairly well. The tools aren't comprehensive though, so I think that any photographer (amateur or pro) who has published good photos in any way (private web site, someone else's web site, Flickr, SmugMug, 500px, Photo.Net, FaceBook, etc., etc., etc.) has to be diligent about protecting their photos. It's a royal pain.

People who are relative strangers to us spout all manner of nonsense and idiocy when confronted with a perceptible copyright violation. There are definitely thoughtless people out there too - I'm not suggesting that every miscreant in these situations is acting mendaciously - but they need to be educated tersely and quickly before they have a chance to settle too deeply into a unresponsive attitude because they've been in 'possession' of a photo for too long. That's just another reason, I think, for us all to be diligent about maintaining control of our photos.

My Photo.Net Gallery
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Howard Carson

  

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Shena Registered since 07th Jan 2013Mon 08-Apr-13 12:20 PM
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#11. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Hi Claudia,
I am a fairly new member (not new to Nikon - just Nikonians)and after seeing your post saw that you have some great images. But in checking out a lot of the images on this site I have noticed that many people here do not put a watermark on their images. I hope this is not a sore subject but I was curious about it. It definitely affects the viewers ability to fully appreciate the image but it is also probably a great deterrent. Since so many folks here do not use watermarks or copyright stamp- could someone enlighten me? I know the pictures all have our camera ids and such embedded but it seems like it would be almost impossible to keep track of them and prevent unauthorized use. I had never heard of the Google reverse search and Tineye but will check them out now. Good luck with recovering your images (and I guess we know why that one guy works at Deviant Art- it isn't just the art that is deviant).
Shena

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Mon 08-Apr-13 01:34 PM
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#12. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 11


Atlanta, US
          

The images on this site are sized small enough that use is limited to the web. That reduces the risk but does not eliminate it completely.

I generally put a copyright in the corner of my images, but that does not work all the time. I'd rather display an image well than have it cluttered by a watermark in the center. With Facebook, I typically post images with copyright on the image and in the file. I also post images that have less editing than a finished image since the purpose is just web viewing.

Many image buyers will not accept an image with original shooting and copyright data missing or modified. If the image is stolen - or even might have been stolen - they want no part of it.


Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
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Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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Shena Registered since 07th Jan 2013Tue 09-Apr-13 12:23 PM
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#20. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 12


US
          

Hi Eric,

I agree that a watermark effects the viewing pleasure of an image. I always hate to see watermarks but understand why they are there. Reducing the image size also effects the images "usefulness" to the print world and is definitely a good tool to deter unauthorized use. The web is the source of the stolen pictures but it provides more opportunity to do business legitimately and promote your work than any other source as well. I had just noticed that most of the images I see displayed here are not watermarked and when the theft issue came up it got me to thinking. Thanks for your thoughts.

Shena

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Mon 08-Apr-13 02:36 PM
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#13. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 11
Mon 08-Apr-13 02:45 PM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

>I
>know the pictures all have our camera ids and such embedded
>but it seems like it would be almost impossible to keep track
>of them and prevent unauthorized use. I had never heard of the
>Google reverse search and Tineye but will check them out now.

On a recent TWiP podcast, three of the regular co-hosts (plus Frederic Van Johnson, a mixture of pros and amateurs) were more or less split on the watermark/no watermark issue. I think that for any photographers (amateur or pro) who want to show their work publicly online, faint or coarse obscuring of details due to the presence of a visible watermark tends mainly to push people away from any interest in the photos.

I think, for some pro photographers, that Digimarc is a better solution than conventional watermarking because it is often undetectable. The problem is that Digimarc is a subscription service tied to either a stand-alone app, a custom workflow embedment, or Photoshop plug-in. The annual subscription fee finances Digimarc's tracking of any and all photos that the software has marked no matter where those photos eventually show up (legitimately or otherwise) online and in other formats. The main issue for pros and amateurs who use Digimarc is that each account can only mark and track a limited number of photos each year. For prolific photographers, that's a serious downside and prevents comprehensive use of Digimarc. As well, if a photographer ever drops the Digimarc subscription, the company ceases tracking the digital watermark associated with the account.

>Good luck with recovering your images (and I guess we know why
>that one guy works at Deviant Art- it isn't just the art that
>is deviant).

Deviant Art is a site that has been around for a long time. I'm not sure that the site has any more of these sorts of problems than other interesting sites of that kind. Same is true for my own complaints about photo thefts from my online galleries. So far, none of the sites on which my photos have ended up without permission are operated by thieves. To many bloggers, in particular, anything that is publicly available is fair game for uncompensated use. One of the problems is that, IMO, 99.999% (or more) of bloggers are not true journalists and consequently haven't been educated with a journalistic, editorial or professional set of ethics and legal foundations. They don't know what they're doing, ergo, if (and I emphasize "if") an editor at some legitimate news or information site queries a contributor or blogger these days about usage rights to an illustrative photo, very often the contributor or blogger will respond with "No problem." Few editors these days have the time or resources to double-check.

Basically, if any of us never want to be ripped off online, don't put your photos online in any form. Half of the rip-offs of my photos are vaguely flattering, because somebody thought the photo was good enough to use. Then again, so far none of the rip-offs have been to illustrate what a bad photo looks like. Obviously, if that sort of rip-off happens to me I won't be flattered. S'a mixed bag no doubt.

With no practical way to protect photos, amateur photographers (myself included) I think have to weigh the community participation, publicly available critique of photos (on Nikonians and elsewhere), appreciation of others who are looking at their photos online (family, friends, strangers), and so on, against the possibility of being ripped-off in some way. I think the benefits still outweigh the risks. I've published a thousand photos online. Only about ten have been ripped-off. Not exactly a huge headache, and I've been able to easily track down the principle individuals concerned.

Companies such as iStockPhoto are extremely diligent about securing rights, eliminating ripped-off photos from the company databases, and preventing from entering the databases in the first place. The same is true for the other stock photo, video and illustration agencies. Still, some things slip through. It's completely unsurprising given the billions and billions of photos posted and published online every year.

The one thing that pro and amateur photographers shouldn't do is get bent out of shape or stressed out over a rip-off. Establish a regular habit of spending an hour (or so) a week to do image searches for your photos. Establish a process and a standard (DMCA in some cases) take-down letter to notify anyone or any site that is using your photos without permission. In other words, settle into a routine and make it part of your amateur or pro pursuit of photography. It's the new reality for many of us, I think, because this particular genie is out of the bottle and there is no pervasively distributible or enforceable technology or application available now or on the visible horizon which is going to change things.

Protect your rights in the first place by registering the copyright of every photo you plan to put online or print well before the photo is ever uploaded or printed. Copyright registration costs money too, but it provides photographers with a lot more teeth and bite than inherent copyright alone.

Never publish full-size/full-resolution photos online for any reason - there's no sense in it. All you're doing is essentially providing a freely copyable master of your photo to anyone who wants it. Seems a bit counter-productive if you ask me.

Publish photos online at the smallest size and lowest resolution which provide an appreciable view. Nothing better. Doing so won't get rid of the cheap kibitzers but it certainly will eliminate the more serious rip-offs.

There's one other fact, I think, that more of us should take into account. The vast majority of what any of us publish online is of no interest to anyone but us as individuals. I've moved to try watermarking and other forms of protection for photos that nobody on Earth besides me cares about. Acknowledging up front that we can't guess correctly all the time, we still have to be judicious (and personally vicious) about how we spend our tracking time. Wasting precious hours doing image searches on goofy family photos, OOF portraits of kids who are half out of the frame in the first place, semi-focused shots orangutans (partly obscured by cage bars) from the last trip to the zoo, and a million other personal and public subjects is a huge waste of time. The photos are simply of no interest to anyone else.

Worrying about such photos is a monumental waste of time. We have to be brutally honest with ourselves. We have to ask ourselves why we ever bother publishing/posting/storing such photos online in the first place. My point here is that we can also help lower our worry level about what we've got online by being an awful lot more selective about what we put online in the first place.

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Shena Registered since 07th Jan 2013Tue 09-Apr-13 02:20 PM
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#21. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 13


US
          

I appreciate your comments.
And just to clear the air I was not slamming Deviant Art or their workers. The irony of the name of the site involved in this particular incident was amusing. That said, I think the idea that most of the people doing this kind of thing (using images without permission) don't realize it is not O.K.to do this, is kind on your part. If they are intelligent enough to produce a blog, post it on the web, change copy right info embedded in an image, etc., they have to at least at some point been exposed to enough information from hanging out on the web to know that it is not OK to do that. They certainly know that they didn't take the picture. Plagiarism is a big deal even in high school and in every class I ever took in college related to the internet we discussed copyright issues. The nonchalance (or feigned ignorance) of the bloggers and editors may be a bit convenient. However, there is not much we can do other than take the precautions with our images as you suggested, practice due diligence in terms of monitoring our images (without going crazy, and follow up when transgressions are found.

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 09-Apr-13 10:26 PM
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#22. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 21
Tue 09-Apr-13 11:08 PM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

>And just to clear the air I was not slamming Deviant Art or
>their workers. The irony of the name of the site involved in
>this particular incident was amusing.

I agree completely. I hope the Deviant Art links I provided and the links and suggestions provided by Ned will help.

>That said, I think the
>idea that most of the people doing this kind of thing (using
>images without permission) don't realize it is not O.K.to do
>this, is kind on your part.

Thank you for your diplomatic reponse! But I think that only some of them are ignorant of copyright.

>If they are intelligent enough to
>produce a blog, post it on the web, change copy right info
>embedded in an image, etc., they have to at least at some
>point been exposed to enough information from hanging out on
>the web to know that it is not OK to do that.

These days, I think it takes no intelligence at all to start and operate a blog. It certainly takes intelligence to operate a good blog, mind you, but that's not what most blogs are.

>They certainly
>know that they didn't take the picture. Plagiarism is a big
>deal even in high school and in every class I ever took in
>college related to the internet we discussed copyright issues.
>The nonchalance (or feigned ignorance) of the bloggers and
>editors may be a bit convenient.

I think we're getting around to the idea that the format and ease of accessibility to images online has created an easily assumed willful denial about what constitutes theft, copyright violation and other bad actions. If so, I agree. Over half the misuse of my photos by bloggers and by legitimate journalists, took place simply because they either thought nobody would notice or they thought nobody was looking. It's self-serving 'logic' on their parts every time. By far, the smaller number of instances of misuse I've found were committed knowingly and just as you put it - with time taken to scrape the EXIF clean, time taken to crop off a copyright, etc., etc. In one case, an image of mine was reprocessed with the use of art filters and then false copyright was embedded. I got a lot of money for that one. One part of me wishes it happened more often because I got a lot more from the ones who stole the photo than I would have been able to originally charge them for a simple license! The miscreants turned out to be people who knew me through my investigative research business and who literally thought, "Oh, it's just one of Howard's photos and we know him so he won't mind, and even if he kicks up a bit of a fuss we'll be able to work it out." They were right - we did work it out, but their business partner wasn't at all happy about the legal fees they had to cover or the final settlement. Lucky me. Can't count on that happening very often, let alone count on being able to track down each and every violation. The (high res) photo came out of a small collection stored on a Blu-ray disc that had been used for a research report. Somebody let both the research report and its backup files partly into the wild. I also had a long talk with the former client about that one.

>However, there is not much we
>can do other than take the precautions with our images as you
>suggested, practice due diligence in terms of monitoring our
>images (without going crazy, and follow up when transgressions
>are found.

You've emphasized the new reality for photographers who publish online in any way. I agree completely. We have to make the precautions and post-publication diligence a part of our routine.

ADDED: Obviously, I haven't mentioned the photo thefts that I haven't been able to recover. There have been several of those - two of them my own fault, and one in particular that involved a company with far too much money and far too many lawyers to battle. Life in those situations, as they say, is too short to waste in an ultimately futile battle. We've got to pick our targets properly.

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberTue 09-Apr-13 11:05 PM
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#23. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 22


Philadelphia, US
          

"I think we're getting around to the idea that the format and ease of accessibility to images online has created an easily assumed willful denial about what constitutes theft, copyright violation and other bad actions. If so, I agree. Over half the misuse of my photos by bloggers and by legitimate journalists, took place simply because they either thought nobody would notice or they thought nobody was looking. It's self-serving 'logic' on their parts every time. By far, the smaller number of instances of misuse I've found were committed knowingly and just as you put it - with time taken to scrape the EXIF clean, time taken to crop off a copyright, etc., etc."

I think more and more that it's not ignorance on the part of photo thieves (I thing "theft" describes the action better than "infringement."), and less and less that they don't understand copyright law and fair use. That being said, I do think there are many out there in Internet world, especially in blogs, good, so-so and bad, who have never been exposed to copyrights, as they've never written for publication, nor produced images or graphics for publication, and only know the side of copyright they've seen in school, where teachers routinely copy images and text from books and magazine, sometimes whole chapters and scores of images, saying it's fair use, even though it's not.

In many of our schools and universities, copyright law is severely violated each and every day, and only a few schools and universities have tried to stop the illegal actions of their educators. I have a neighbor, who's son brought home a photocopy of a complete 75 page book which was given out to every child in the class. It's a book they are studying this semester. Heaven forbid they would actually purchase more than the one copy of the book they used to photocopy. Stop the presses, they didn't even buy the single copy. It was a book borrowed from the local library.

When high school and college students see this kind of behavior every day, can we be surprised by their actions as adults?

"You've emphasized the new reality for photographers who publish online in any way. I agree completely. We have to make the precautions and post-publication diligence a part of our routine."

Indeed! I have "Scan for unauthorized copies of my images" scheduled in my calendar. I find some every month.

I happen to be speaking to my attorney today. We've formulated a new strategy. We're not going to assume naiveté any more.

If my copyright or contact information has been altered or removed in any way from an image, or if it's clear the copyright thief should have known what they were doing, we are going for statutory damages with the takedown immediately, via a letter. We'll decide whether to sue or not, based on the response.

If the copyright hasn't been disturbed and there is a question about the knowledge of the "perp," we're going to send the takedown notice with a deadline. If the deadline isn't met, we'll ask for damages. Again, we'll decide whether to sue or not, based on the response.

I think it's time that authors and artists need to claim their rights or we will be continually "walked over" as is being done today. Our work is our income. Stealing our images is like stealing our money from our bank accounts. And it doesn't matter whether the thief stole from an amateur or pro. It's still stealing.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 09-Apr-13 11:38 PM
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#24. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 23


Toronto, CA
          

>In many of our schools and universities, copyright law is
>severely violated each and every day, and only a few schools
>and universities have tried to stop the illegal actions of
>their educators. I have a neighbor, who's son brought home a
>photocopy of a complete 75 page book which was given out to
>every child in the class. It's a book they are studying this
>semester. Heaven forbid they would actually purchase more than
>the one copy of the book they used to photocopy. Stop the
>presses, they didn't even buy the single copy. It was a book
>borrowed from the local library.

My brother-in-law is a math teacher who regularly make photocopies of textbooks, the excuse being that budget constraints supply purchasing errors have left his classes short of certain books. He's no dummy though, so when he pointed out to his principal and to a school board member visiting the school for a meeting on the matter that the photocopy costs were significantly higher than the wholesale purchase of the textbooks he was met with blank stares. Sanctioned, rampant copyright violations plus willfully insistently feigned ignorance (or whatever you want to call it) equals authors who don't get a royalty cheque.

>When high school and college students see this kind of
>behavior every day, can we be surprised by their actions as
>adults?

It starts even younger, with parents who used to freely download music and movies now having kids of their own and, at least in some homes, teaching the kids where to find good stuff for free.

As long as we continue to sell or give or make available things such as perfectly copyable masters of music, movies, photos and ebooks, people will steal them. The music industry inadvertently left perfectly copyable masters (CD discs) in the hands of the common consumers and then acted with outraged shock and surprise when the masses began copying them on the very same day that the first CD burners hit store shelves. That doesn't excuse the rampant theft, doesn't excuse the massively corrupted 'definitions' of fair use, and it doesn't excuse willful, turning-a-blind-eye denial of photo theft. But it does stress the idea that none of the photo theft we battle should come as any surprise to any of us. I'm not suggesting that it's ever been a surprise to anyone posting or reading this thread, merely that we're faced with a reality we always knew would hit us full in the face.

>Indeed! I have "Scan for unauthorized copies of my
>images" scheduled in my calendar. I find some every
>month.

I've just included your calendar quote because it bears repeating!

>I happen to be speaking to my attorney today. We've formulated
>a new strategy. We're not going to assume naiveté any more.

I think you're right. Give no quarter on the matter. It's an attitude my business partner and I assumed decades ago in the research business. If I was an active professional photographer, I'd been doing the same thing.

>I think it's time that authors and artists need to claim their
>rights or we will be continually "walked over" as is
>being done today. Our work is our income. Stealing our images
>is like stealing our money from our bank accounts. And it
>doesn't matter whether the thief stole from an amateur or pro.
>It's still stealing.

It's a time suck for me - and I'm not a professional photographer. I don't like thinking about what sort of time constraints it imposes on working pros like you whose time is better spent on photography, client management, post processing and family. It's safe to say then, I think, that the weekly, recurring "Scan for unauthorized copies of my images" calendar entry is now officially a part of every working photographers, um, photography.

I wonder when we'll see this sort of diligence and copyright management and control become part of photography courses?

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberWed 10-Apr-13 12:26 AM
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#25. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 24


Philadelphia, US
          

"I wonder when we'll see this sort of diligence and copyright management and control become part of photography courses? "

I do quite a few workshops every year and no matter what the subject matter (My next workshop is on wildlife photography.) in a full day workshop, I include at least a 30 minute short on copyrights and copyright management. My sponsors always get an outline of the workshop in advance for approval and they usually say to me, "We don't know why more photographers don't include that in their workshops, the way the Internet is these days."

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
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AMusingFool Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Dec 2012Wed 10-Apr-13 08:00 PM
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#29. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 23


Arlington, US
          

I'm sorry, Ned, I have a lot of respect for many of the things you've said in the forums here, but I need to take exception with several things said or implied in this post.

The first is simply that, in no sense is infringement the same as theft. Neither legally nor morally. There's a reason that only one of them is actually addressed in the Constitution.

Can you name a single instance of actual, financial damages from those images being used without your consent? (ie: not opportunity costs, but actual money out of pocket.)

Digital distribution is a tool, and a damned powerful one. Chucking it overboard in the interests of creating false scarcities is seriously throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Not saying copyright shouldn't matter at all, but for sure it should be a lot more limited than it is. (As a side note: I do have a lot of problems with someone removing your copyright info from your images, especially if they're claiming it for their own. But that's a much different issue from someone making an unauthorized copy of a picture, particularly when, as is the case for most infringement, it's for noncommercial purposes.)

If you want to talk about fair use, educational use is, in fact, generally fair. It can be abused, for sure, but it takes a lot of effort. Is this where we want education to go?

You might want to also note the large number of recent instances of copyright being used to stifle criticism as another problem. It's also frequently used as an excuse for national censorship (the UK being the biggest case of which I'm aware). There's also been attempts to get rid of due process entirely, in the interest of copyright enforcement (look into the details of what went down with megaupload, especially. No matter what you think of their business, you should be scared of how they were treated. Due process did not enter into it, and a number of laws were broken (certainly in New Zealand, but probably in the US, as well). Note, especially, that the company has effectively been shut down, without the government ever proving that something illegal was going on. And there were people hurt in the process.)

Howard's comment about getting more suing than he likely would have ever gotten by licensing an image is also disturbing to me. One of the legal differences between copyright infringement and stealing is that suing someone who stole from you will never lead to you getting more value back than what was taken (plus legal fees, perhaps).

There's also the many attempts made to break the operation of the entire internet in order to perpetuate a few, specific business models. SOPA and the Protect IP Act being the big ones, but there were others.

You might also want to consider the case of Trey Ratcliffe, who makes no attempt to police his images. Here's his explanation on why. Does it seem to have hurt him?

It penciling that time in really worth it?

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Wed 10-Apr-13 08:56 PM
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#30. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 29


Toronto, CA
          

>Howard's comment about getting more suing than he likely would
>have ever gotten by licensing an image is also disturbing to
>me. One of the legal differences between copyright
>infringement and stealing is that suing someone who stole from
>you will never lead to you getting more value back than what
>was taken (plus legal fees, perhaps).

This part of your comment is not accurate. If some person or some commercial entity uses a photo of mine without permission and for any purpose, remunerative or not, that person or entity has to answer both for fees I would have received and for punitive damages I claim and thereafter negotiate to reach a settlment. A mediator may eventually advise that a claim for punitive damages be significantly reduced or eliminated - sometimes, but not always by any means.

That approach to notifications about and pursuit of the use of my photos without permission is my practice and that's the practice of many other photographers who are in possession of the registered copyrights to their own photos. It's not new or surprising or unusual in any way. When I catch someone using a copyright registered photo of mine without permission, I smile, mouth a quiet "Yippee!" and look forward to a really good payoff.

The message to anyone thinking of using without permission and fee the few photos I've managed to not be embarrassed about and published online or in research reports is the same as Ned's message I think: If people copy and use what doesn't belong to them without first asking for and obtaining permission, I'm going to come after them.

Some of my good photos have come easily to me and some have come with significant effort. Whatever the case, those photos are the result of my creative efforts. I regularly choose to give some of them away (with attribution of course), I license a few here and there, and I sell a few here and there (while still retaining copyrights). I get to say - nobody else, ever - how my photos are used and by whom, and certainly not by complete strangers eager to offer rationales and false logic about why I should really be better off giving away my work.

Unlike Trey Ratcliffe, I do not eat, sleep and breathe photography as my principle business. It's all well and good for Trey to dedicate this part of his life to his successful pursuit of professional photography, book writing, teaching, blogging, podcasting and whatever else he can think of. I think he's an inappropriate comparative though, because he runs a radically different career path from me and from many of his peers.

For every Trey Ratcliffe (love the guy's work, BTW) I can name many other professional photographers who simply aren't interested in Trey's approach because those other photographers are deeply into their local/regional wedding photography business or their work as photojournalists or their work as art photographers and printers or their photography in a number of other fields which simply don't mesh with the pervasive, near-global footprint that Trey is chasing. All of those other professional photographers are striving to protect their work as diligently, I think, as Ned and me and many other Nikonians.

As far as I'm concerned right now, the subtley persuasive and pernicious influences which are leading so many people to feel that it's okay to share anything they want to share or use anything they want to use for many different purposes (remunerative or otherwise) is an argument supported most clearly by Big Media to help populate and promote photo content ubiquity in favour of Facebook, Google, Flickr and a thousand other major players. They're attempting to con us all, and they're having some success at it.

Slowy, inexorably, the major players in media and content distribution of all kinds are succeeding in the progressive devaluation of creative photo work and the essence of creative commons. I don't like it and I don't buy the self-serving arguments in favour of giving everything away because it will somehow benefit me. That's an argument that con men and scammers have always used. Just because big media and a few 24/7-dedicated individual players are making it work beautifully for them does not make me part of their scheme.

I won't give up or reduce or moderate my copyrights. For anything I've created, I demand control. If I choose to give it away, so be it. If I choose to ask for a fee, so be it. If I choose to license it for nothing more than attribution, so be it. But I'm the one who gets the sole right to choose - nobody else. The pervasively miasmic pall of self-entitlement I see everywhere outside of Nikonians - the sort of self-entitlement which leads tens or hundreds of millions of people to believe that theft or free use of any kind is always okay simply because the digital age and the 'net has made it easy to do so - is a sickening development in contemporary society.

I've had the rare pleasure of watching a couple of formerly young guys who cheerfully and blithely downloaded 'free' tunes and movies and you-name-it for years, grow up into designers and producers of things that, in a couple cases, were ripped off, knocked off, copied, used without permission and so on. To say the very least, their attitude seems to have changed now that they're on the receiving end of thieves who've simply stolen the results of weeks or months or years of hard work, and when caught, simply responded with, "Hey what's the big deal?"

We must not devalue the creative work of others or allow our own creative work to be devalued. Doing so simply helps to erode the boundaries we must maintain in a truly civilized and respectful society.

If my thinking becomes outmoded, so be it too. I won't go down without a fight though. Let the self-entitled and self-righteous (present company excepted I hasten to add) take their attitude of "I can have because I want it" somewhere else. I have no patience for it.

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AMusingFool Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Dec 2012Wed 10-Apr-13 09:47 PM
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#32. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 30


Arlington, US
          

Your first paragraph is, so far as I can decipher it, a complete non sequitur. I wasn't saying what your rights are or aren't in that paragraph, I was saying that this is an example of copyright infringement being treated more harshly than actual theft. I do not consider that a just, or desirable, situation.

I'm not questioning your right or ability to track those things either. I am generally questioning whether it is worth the effort you spend. But of course, it's your choice, and your time.

But claiming you have sole right to decide how your image is used is fundamentally wrong. You have a great deal of control, but it is not absolute. If you want complete control, do not distribute at all, because that's the only way to keep that much control.

Also, consider that, if you aspire to create an image that really makes a difference (think the Afghan Girl photo, or something along those lines), in some sense, you must give up control. That image going viral requires sharing (ie: copyright infringement). Another illustrative example here is Psy. He gave away his "Gangnam Style" video on YouTube, and has reaped massive rewards because of it. That's the longest of long shots, obviously, but complete control removes the possibility. Just food for thought.

My point in mentioning Ratcliff is that he's found business models (writing, teaching, blogging, podcasting, king of social media, as you mention) that do not rely on artificial scarcity through draconian enforcement of copyright. It is particularly pertinent here because Ned's business, as near as I can tell (and correct me if I've misunderstood some of your other posts, Ned) is identical to Ned's. So he, especially, might have something to learn there.

I have no doubt you're correct about those other photographers, but I have my doubts about the benefit of such zealous control of content. If you're trying to drum up business, which is the bigger problem, someone having copied your photo(s), or potential customers having never heard of you?

As far as Big Media, I can't say as I've given them a lot of thought specifically in reference to photography, but they are the ones who have driven copyright laws to their current insanity (the RIAA and MPAA being the major culprits, here).

The way giving things away works for you is that you find ways to use those photos you've given away to drive business for truly scarce goods (time, attention, authenticity, physical goods, etc. You know, all those things you pointed out that Trey is doing). That isn't a con game, it's business.

Nothing I've said says that creativity should be devalued, nor do I think it should. But current copyright law severely overvalues it. Witness the number of copyright suits where only the idea behind, say, a composition, was copied. That isn't valuing creativity, it's stifling it.

How do people learn? Generally they start by copying others, and then finding their own style. If step one is illegal, how do you get to step two? Again, that is stifling creativity.

"Geeks of All Nations, Compile!"
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberWed 10-Apr-13 11:12 PM
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#33. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 32


Philadelphia, US
          

"But claiming you have sole right to decide how your image is used is fundamentally wrong. You have a great deal of control, but it is not absolute. If you want complete control, do not distribute at all, because that's the only way to keep that much control."

I really don't think that Howard believes he as total control, and he's more than capable of speaking for himself, but I wanted to jump in. He's a realist. Total control of one's creative art whether text, graphical, or musical is an illusion. Using portions of another's work (maybe or maybe not fair use) derivative works, etc. has been around for centuries. We're talking about using our work, as is, without so much as a "how do you do." We do pretty much have total control under that circumstance. Moreover, when one makes a derivative work there is normally at least attribution, and often, and actually normally payment. For example, a book made into a movie or play, or a song used in a show means compensation for the originator.

"Also, consider that, if you aspire to create an image that really makes a difference (think the Afghan Girl photo, or something along those lines), in some sense, you must give up control."

I've seen photos going viral, but while those photos are found on tons of places, it's actually rare that the photographer wasn't well compensated by the original publisher, and that the notoriety isn't also compensation, but that example isn't really the point here. Few artists have anything go viral and yet somehow they still have to make their way in the world.

And there are many ways to create images which really make a difference.

We're not talking about "life" photos, at least I'm not, and I've got to tell you that many of my photos make a real difference in the world.

I've got touristcentric organizations, such as chambers of commerce and tourist bureaus in countries all over the world who use my photos to entice people to visit their cities and countries. Those photos, which they paid to use are helping to pay the wages of tens of thousands of people, probably more, by helping people decide to visit where they live and work.

Wildlife conservation, and habitat restoration experts and teachers are using many of my wildlife photos in educating children and adults about the natural world and what we must do to save it. In fact, a slide show of more than 50 of my wildlife photographs was shown last year at a National Wildlife Refuge workshop where adults were learning about wildlife and their habitat and what they could do to ensure these magnificent creatures remain in our world.

Pardon me, but these are photos making a real difference in the world. We don't have to create an image which goes viral, or is on the cover of National Geographic, or on the home page of CNN, or the front page of the NY Times to have that image make a real difference in the world and contribute to the well being of the world. I will add that all of these images remain exactly how I envisioned them and their use remains under my license.

I've already said what I need to say about Ratcliff. His model isn't mine, nor do I aspire to work in his model. I'm very happy in my life, with my family, my work, and my community, and volunteering.

As to drumming up business. People can see my work without it being appropriated. In fact, copyright infringement is a bane to drumming up business because either no one knows whose work it is or if they do, if you allow your work to be stolen and do nothing about it, it shows you think your work has little value.

"Witness the number of copyright suits where only the idea behind, say, a composition, was copied." I'm sorry, but there is a big difference between bringing a copyright suit, and winning.

You can't copyright an idea. You're mixing up copyrights and patents.

"That isn't valuing creativity, it's stifling it."

Let's be very clear on this because, in my opinion your premise is just not remotely close to being true. Copyrights aren't stifling creativity at all. They most certainly promote creativity.

From the US Copyright Office,

"Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed."

Please note, you can't copyright an idea. You can copyright how an idea is expressed.

For example, a few weeks ago, there was a magnificent great horned owl that I captured some wonderful images of, along with 6 other photographers who were with me at the time. I was running a wildlife photography workshop and walk that day.

None of us can copyright the idea of photographing a great horned owl in a poplar tree, in a national wildlife refuge, yet each of our photographs were copyrighted the second we took them. What is copyrighted is each of those images and the way we've specifically chosen to express what we saw. Our color rendition, framing, focus or lack thereof, and all the other factors that went into that image aggregately forming that image is what's copyrighted. So, each of our images is copyrighted yet, if someone goes out right now and the owl is in the exact same location, and they're standing exactly where I was, they can still create their own copyrighted photograph, as anyone can. How does that stifle creativity or competition? The answer is, it doesn't.

In fact, what the copyright law is saying is, if you don't want to pay for my photograph, be creative, and make your own. Copyrighting literally sponsors creativity and begs for creativity.

Now, if you want to talk about locking up ideas, then talk patents, but do it somewhere else, because we're talking copyrights, and it's an entirely different animal, and it's serving the world quite nicely.

I will say this though. We have to jealously guard against those who would create new law which does indeed stifle creativity and corporatize it, trying to take it away from the real creators. That said, current US copyright law doesn't do that.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
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AMusingFool Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Dec 2012Thu 11-Apr-13 07:31 PM
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#46. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 33


Arlington, US
          

We're not talking about "life" photos, at least I'm not, and I've got to tell you that many of my photos make a real difference in the world.


My apologies, I did not phrase what I meant very well (I really was talking about things becoming part of pop culture, in general). You should certainly be proud of those things, and I was not trying to imply that you shouldn't.

"Witness the number of copyright suits where only the idea behind, say, a composition, was copied."

I'm sorry, but there is a big difference between bringing a copyright suit, and winning.

You can't copyright an idea. You're mixing up copyrights and patents.


I wasn't mixing them up. This mentality that every expression needs to be owned feeds into people trying to (and sometimes succeeding) in enforcing copyright on things that are not nearly exact copies.

Few artists have anything go viral and yet somehow they still have to make their way in the world.


Which was why I specified that that is the longest of long shots. I just mentioned it as another data point in why trying to maintain complete control might not be the optimal path, either for the artist or for everyone else.

We have to jealously guard against those who would create new law which does indeed stifle creativity and corporatize it, trying to take it away from the real creators. That said, current US copyright law doesn't do that.


I would agree with that paragraph in its entirety.

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 11-Apr-13 12:51 AM
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#34. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 32


Toronto, CA
          

>Your first paragraph is, so far as I can decipher it, a
>complete non sequitur. I wasn't saying what your rights are
>or aren't in that paragraph, I was saying that this is an
>example of copyright infringement being treated more harshly
>than actual theft. I do not consider that a just, or
>desirable, situation.

Non sequitur? I don't agree at all obviously. You are certainly free to create nuance or describe existing nuance around infringement vs. actual theft, but I believe it's all just theft of varying degrees. The settlements I've negotiated for various infringements, thefts, misappropriations and call-it-what-you-want over the years with people and companies that have used my research work, writing and photos without my permission clearly reflect the degree to which both old and new copyright laws support my efforts and my rights. I don't track down everything - I know that's impossible - but I can and do pursue everyone I do catch with the full weight of copyright law behind me.

It seems to me that you might be describing a viewpoint based on not really having any skin in the game. Complete an investigative research project in a difficult part of the world, get paid for it, then find out that the client blithely resold the material to a third party in violation of the contract and rights. You won't stand still for it. Alternatively, publish a photo online on Flickr or Smugmug or Photo.Net and then find out (through an image search) that some journalist/blogger doing a piece for a large, for-profit online publication used the photo to illustrate the piece. You won't stand still for it. Outright theft as you put and which clearly describes my first example, or infringement as you put it and which clearly describes the second example - it's all just varying degrees of theft. If you want a nuanced discussion of the various levels of theft, euphemistically called infringement or violation or theft or misuse, etc., etc., etc., that's my position and I repeatedly make it stick. Settlements for lesser thefts like the so-called infringements or misuses obtain smaller amounts, punitive damages plus standard fees plus legal fees though they still often are. That last is the only nuance I care about.

>I'm not questioning your right or ability to track those
>things either. I am generally questioning whether it is worth
>the effort you spend. But of course, it's your choice, and
>your time.

The contention that protecting copyright is a valid notion is ensconced in our thinking and in our cultures, many and varied as they are. That some writers, photographers and composers choose to pursue their rights and some do not is of no concern to me. I can only speak for myself and propose that we will fall into a bottomless trap if we allow ourselves to be convinced by pervasive and subtle social engineering that nuanced definitions of rights should precede the assertion of ownership at all times. Falling prey to those particular nuance, I believe, can lead to simply and blindly feeding the avarice and greed of all the owners of Facebook, Google and a thousand other businesses who laugh gleefully every time somebody uploads yet more content to their pages that Facebook, Google, et al can then monetize (no matter where the content actually originated). I actually don't have a problem with it and I regularly post specific photos on Facebook knowing full well that many of them will end up on Pinterest and dozens of other places. But we can't just transfer that free access thinking to the front page of someone's annual financial report or someone's product marketing campaign - not unless they really want to pay me anywhere from 20 to 100 times what they would have paid if they'd just asked me for a royalty free license in the first place.

>But claiming you have sole right to decide how your image is
>used is fundamentally wrong. You have a great deal of
>control, but it is not absolute. If you want complete
>control, do not distribute at all, because that's the only way
>to keep that much control.

I live in the contemporary world, just like you. I know you realize that, but it bears stating anyway. I have the sole right to decide whether or not someone or some business uses my photos and writing. I cannot control how carefully people and businesses respect those rights. Let's not confuse my ownership of my photos and writing with the desire or willingness of others to disregard that ownership for self-serving and self-entitled reasons.

>Also, consider that, if you aspire to create an image that
>really makes a difference (think the Afghan Girl photo, or
>something along those lines), in some sense, you must give up
>control. That image going viral requires sharing (ie:
>copyright infringement). Another illustrative example here is
>Psy. He gave away his "Gangnam Style" video on
>YouTube, and has reaped massive rewards because of it. That's
>the longest of long shots, obviously, but complete control
>removes the possibility. Just food for thought.

We cannot discuss once-in-a-lifetime photos or relatively rare gems as the basis for some sort of guideline or benchmark for conduct. It's unrealistic. By far the vast majority of photos and written works that are covered by a creator's copyright are not earthshaking or seminal or foundational works. The food for thought you've proposed is nonetheless perfectly reasonable, as far as it goes. I do not follow Steve McCurry's career model. I do not engage in the business approach that Psy has taken.

And, without putting too fine a point on it, Psy has made a fortune though YouTube because he monetized his account stream with ads from which he has earned millions in affiliate revenue. Just because nobody has to pay to watch it doesn't mean it's not earning money. You're right about that. Just as well though, it's not the only way to earn money. I just don't choose to get sucked into YouTube spending a significant amount of time trying to come up with a viral video. I'm a researcher, a writer, a software developer and a photographer and the enjoyment I get out of all of those pursuits overarches most other business considerations. I'm not engaged in a competition to participate in new media. I don't care about Psy or Steve McCurry for that matter (although I like his photography). They've chosen to do various things. Good for them.

>My point in mentioning Ratcliff is that he's found business
>models (writing, teaching, blogging, podcasting, king of
>social media, as you mention) that do not rely on artificial
>scarcity through draconian enforcement of copyright. It is
>particularly pertinent here because Ned's business, as near as
>I can tell (and correct me if I've misunderstood some of your
>other posts, Ned) is identical to Ned's. So he, especially,
>might have something to learn there.

"artificial scarcity through draconian enforcement of copyright"

This is a straw man. It implies that if I do my best to fully control my photos and my writing that someone, somewhere will feel put upon or upset or somehow disadvantaged. That's not true. Anyone who feels that my control of my own work represents draconian enforcement has never, ever had any skin in the game. Just because somebody wants to use something of mine or wants to take away something of mine, doesn't perforce mean that if I say "No!" I'm being draconian, or that if I chase them over an infringement or theft that I am being draconian. It is my creative work and I may let someone use it, or, not as I see fit.

I have been confronted several times in recent years by people who have wanted to get their hands on one of my product reviews or a piece of investigative research of mine or some of my photos - people who thought/think that simply because they have a want or a need that it is perfectly logical for me to accede to their wants or needs by letting them freely have what they've asked for. It's an outrageous attitude as far as I'm concerned, and reeks of vapid self-entitlement. Just because somebody wants something doesn't mean they can have it. That fact that my participation online and in the contemporary world makes me vulnerable to such entreaties also doesn't mean such entreaties are sensible, fair to me, or legal.

>I have no doubt you're correct about those other
>photographers, but I have my doubts about the benefit of such
>zealous control of content. If you're trying to drum up
>business, which is the bigger problem, someone having copied
>your photo(s), or potential customers having never heard of
>you?

I respect your doubts. Seriously. But I also think you need to get some skin in the game in order to balance your thinking on the issue. As far as drumming up business goes, I have my own methods (successful, by and large, for decades), that have evolved and which continue to evolve. "Sweat Equity" is what we used to call giving away work for free in order to convince someone or some company that you were worth a contract or a sale or a deal of some sort. It was reserved for young, newb, startup and other greenies who didn't know any better. The work that someone gives away for nothing is, by and large, valued at nothing. Go ahead, give away your work or your services or your creative output for free to a client. Then go back to that client and try to charge him regular rates for the next job. He'll show you the door and look for some other poor schmoe who is so desperate for work that he'll give some of it freely for the empty promise of "good money on the next project once I see that you can truly get this one done for free." Meh! It's fine for interns, co-ops and noobs who need to get some experience or earn points or whatever. It's not for grown men and women who have to put food on the table and pay the rent or the mortgage.

When it works, it's great, but there are corporate content accumulators, aggregators and resellers who have been working very hard to socially engineer all of us into thinking that it's great to share. All the while, they're monetizing what hundreds of millions of people are freely giving them, and all for a free account on Facebook? Seems like a lousy deal to me. Copyright will die hard if this continues for too long without retrenched protections - of that I have no doubt.

>As far as Big Media, I can't say as I've given them a lot of
>thought specifically in reference to photography, but they are
>the ones who have driven copyright laws to their current
>insanity (the RIAA and MPAA being the major culprits, here).

Big Media is no longer the domain of the RIAA and MPAA. Big Media now includes Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Comcast, etc., etc., etc. They want more and more people to share and post freely online through Facebook and a hundred other vectors. Then they attach, integrate or wrap paid ads and promotions and marketing around all that free content that they've freely acquired through the willing participation of all their members and subscribers. What a great business! But it doesn't translate to the free use of my photos or my writing.

>The way giving things away works for you is that you find ways
>to use those photos you've given away to drive business for
>truly scarce goods (time, attention, authenticity, physical
>goods, etc. You know, all those things you pointed out that
>Trey is doing). That isn't a con game, it's business.

I never meant to imply the Trey's business is a con. If I did, it was inadvertent and I apologize. Trey eats, sleeps and breathes this stuff. He doesn't have one or two revenues streams in play, he's got fifteen or more revenue streams in play. Trey also does not swipe anybody else's content - photos, writing, IP, nothing. Trey produces all of his own content and he has some staff to help manage his web sites, blogs, podcast appearances, interviews, lectures, workshops, etc., etc. He produces all of his own content himself specifically in order to monetize it. I'm not in that business. I'm in several different businesses. None of my businesses entail giving away my work and I have no plans to do get into such businesses.

>Nothing I've said says that creativity should be devalued, nor
>do I think it should. But current copyright law severely
>overvalues it.

I beg to differ. Current copyright law merely sets minimum and/or maximum penalties for certain infringements. It's up to individual copyright holders to act to protect their copyrights. I am sorry to repeat the challenge, but when you get some serious skin in the game I think you may feel that current copyright law is not overvaluing anything.

I fully agree that you've clearly expressed that you don't think creativity should be devalued. Trey isn't devaluing himself in any way because he has created structure and monetization and management around and through his efforts. Psy didn't really give anything away either because he monetized his YouTube stream. People who plagiarize one of my product reviews or misappropriate research or use one of my photos without permission don't afford me the opportunity to capture an audience from whom I can claim indirect recompense. They're just thieves, and some of them will try to hide behind the notion of a socially democractic web sharing experience in an attempt to defend or justify what they've done. Sorry - it doesn't wash.

>Witness the number of copyright suits where
>only the idea behind, say, a composition, was copied. That
>isn't valuing creativity, it's stifling it.

In some cases yes, in some cases no. I think that pointing at an example which represents the tiniest minority of cases overall doesn't really serve the discussion well.

>How do people learn? Generally they start by copying others,
>and then finding their own style. If step one is illegal, how
>do you get to step two? Again, that is stifling creativity.

Let's not cofuse apprenticeship with professional conduct. When an art student that I nearly trip over in the National Gallery in London is busy copying a Renoir or a Constable, we say that they are learning their craft and art by imitating the masters - a time honoured tradition and a great challenge. When a graduate then copies a Renoir or a Constable and tries to pass it off as an original, we say that he or she is an art forger and if they're caught they end up in serious trouble. Creativity has not been stifled. The forger and thief are not being creative. They're attempting to steal (through forgery) the creative work of others.

The problem here is that we're not talking about a good writer who has been influenced by my reviews or research. We're talking about someone who plagiarizes my work and passes it off as his own. That's not creative; that's theft. We can paint it with less confrontational descriptions such as infringement or misuse or unlicensed usage and so on, but it's all just theft.

If a person looks at my stuff and wants to use it or license it or buy it some form, I'll be happy to talke to them as I have a thousand times before. Those are the rules. My 'door' is always open. If I can't come to an agreement with someone, they can find some other source for what they want or need. There are lots of other choices out there, some better and some worse. No biggie. But if they just take without asking, they're going to get spanked. That's always been the way of the world and for the most part I don't see any reason to think different.

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AMusingFool Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Dec 2012Thu 11-Apr-13 03:31 AM
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#36. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 34


Arlington, US
          

<blockquote>And, without putting too fine a point on it, Psy has made a fortune though YouTube because he monetized his account stream with ads from which he has earned millions in affiliate revenue.</blockquote>

Yes, but my point was to have been (I seem to have missed the step of writing down that sentence or two. Sorry) that he made no attempt whatsoever to keep it from appearing elsewhere. Or from being modified on YouTube (he did not monetize the parodies that other people did, for instance). He didn't monetize distribution outside of youtube, or even try to stop it, and still made plenty of money.

<blockquote>It seems to me that you might be describing a viewpoint based on not really having any skin in the game.</blockquote>

Eh... Arguable. For the software I write, I sell my time, not my specific output.

And certainly I'm not making any money in photography. I've been debating about whether to try to change that.

<blockquote>"Sweat Equity" is what we used to call giving away work for free in order to convince someone or some company that you were worth a contract or a sale or a deal of some sort. It was reserved for young, newb, startup and other greenies who didn't know any better.</blockquote>

I wasn't thinking of it being useful going back to the same source, but using it when talking to other potential clients. The person who recently sold Time what turned out to be a cover photo for $30 certainly should have been able to turn that into plenty of other opportunities.

<blockquote>"artificial scarcity through draconian enforcement of copyright"

This is a straw man. It implies that if I do my best to fully control my photos and my writing that someone, somewhere will feel put upon or upset or somehow disadvantaged.</blockquote>

Perhaps badly phrased. But copyright in digital distribution is, fundamentally, about creating artificial scarcity. When supply is infinite, what does basic economics imply cost must be?

And as I talked about in my reply to Ned, it's the extreme imbalance of statutory damages that can make it draconian. Only the extremely rich are not going to feel put upon when being sued for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, regardless of their intentions.

To take your specific example of someone taking your research to a third party. They could be saying, "Hey, look at this great research we did. You should hire us." Or they could be saying, "Look at this great research Carson did for us. You should hire him for problem X that you have." Copyright law looks at those as equivalent, and they are anything but.

To be even more explicit, I was talking about just putting up a copy of someone else's picture. Passing it off as my own work is a whole other ball of wax, and I might go along with considering that theft.

<blockquote>I never meant to imply the Trey's business is a con.</blockquote>

I did not interpret your statement as implying that; sorry if I implied that I did. I was merely trying to show how Trey was monetizing other things than just his actual pictures, and how his results showed that it isn't a con job to think in those terms.

"Geeks of All Nations, Compile!"
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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 11-Apr-13 12:01 PM
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#39. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 36


Toronto, CA
          

>Yes, but my point was to have been (I seem to have missed the
>step of writing down that sentence or two. Sorry) that he
>made no attempt whatsoever to keep it from appearing
>elsewhere. Or from being modified on YouTube (he did not
>monetize the parodies that other people did, for instance).
>He didn't monetize distribution outside of youtube, or even
>try to stop it, and still made plenty of money.

Psy, like me, is free to manage his copyright as he sees fit. I don't tell him how to make his money, and I can confidently guarantee you that he does not tell me how to make my money and it not interested in doing so. There is no parallel here, except my own point, that creators own their copyright and can do with it as the please. One person's feast is another person's famine. There is no reason for me to follow Psy's example. It is only of passing interest.

>Eh... Arguable. For the software I write, I sell my time, not
>my specific output.

Great. The time will come, if you stick with programming long enough (or maybe it will happen tomorrow), that you're moved to write something that you prefer to license. At some point in your career, that will matter. If you independently develop original code under your own auspices, you own the copyright. You can sell it, give it away, license it, and so on. If your intention is to license it under any sort of arrangement you choose, e.g., creative commons or sole ownership or whatever you prefer at the time, and someone or some company then takes it without compensating you. It will matter. with your copyright in place, you'll be able to take a crack at obtaining the compensation that you calculate yourself or that previous efforts by people like me have obtained.

>And certainly I'm not making any money in photography. I've
>been debating about whether to try to change that.

Whatever you decide. Protect your copyrights at all times.

>I wasn't thinking of it being useful going back to the same
>source, but using it when talking to other potential clients.
>The person who recently sold Time what turned out to be a
>cover photo for $30 certainly should have been able to turn
>that into plenty of other opportunities.

Maybe. It's the photographers choice. Nor do I know that the photographer won't turn or isn't turning a Time cover into other opportunities. I don't want the concept of "free everything for everyone any time they want it" forced on me, any more than I think the creative world should always be considering Psy's approach to YouTube. I simply respect the copyright decisions made by photographers who are in control of their photos. All others need to understand that the good work that gets out of their control because they haven't asserted copyright or because they've posted freely accessible, full-res photos online just makes it harder for those of us who want to maintain some semblance of copyright control over the creative work we produce.

>But copyright in digital distribution
>is, fundamentally, about creating artificial scarcity. When
>supply is infinite, what does basic economics imply cost must
>be?

You're mixing metaphors. Implicit in a conversation I had with Ned on the subject of copyright was the fact that he sometimes encounters people who mix together some of the distinctions between copyright and patent. They're both IP classes, but very distinct. I'm suggesting that on this point you may be mixing copyright with patent protection. The two matters are distinct in too many ways to cross-purpose.

Copyright initially was conceived for two reasons, going back to the regulation of printed books in England (Licensing of the Press Act, 1662), and in the more formal copyright conventions in the Statute of Anne of 1710, which was titled as "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies." The contemporary intent of copyright is to promote the creation of new works by giving authors, photographers, and artists (among others) control of and profit from them.

Just because someone wants something for free but can't have it for free, doesn't mean its supply is artifically restricted. We teach this concept to our kids when they're very small. When I have the copyright for something I've created, not letting someone else use it is not an act of creating artifical scarcity. I am not so foolish as to think that the usage restrictions I impose are creating artificial scarcity that is somehow increasing how much my market will bear. I just don't have that many people knocking on my door and my businesses are fine thank you very much. Nor are such actions on my part contributing to the creation of artificial scarcities of anything anywhere else. Artificial scarcity is a widely voiced contention I think, but it is also a straw man argument because it doesn't hold up under even the briefest scrutiny.

>And as I talked about in my reply to Ned, it's the extreme
>imbalance of statutory damages that can make it draconian.
>Only the extremely rich are not going to feel put upon when
>being sued for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars,
>regardless of their intentions.

It only feels draconian to the individuals or companies that engaged in the theft in the first place and then found themselves at the wrong end of a legal action. Too bad, so sad. It might also appear draconian to outside observers who are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with relatively big numbers. That doesn't make it so.

And . . . "imbalance of statutory damages" compared to what? Compared to fees that creators establish as a means of making their living through the controlled licensing or sale or fee-for-use of their creative work? Right on! Nobody gets to take my stuff without recompense and then, after I've spent time, money and effort to chase them down, throw a few bucks in my face and say, "Oh here's your stupid little fee, now go away and don't bother us." When I catch someone who has picked my pocket, they get lawfully 'slapped' as hard as possible. The takeaway from this, I believe, is that theft in all its forms is unacceptable. As Ned has stated elsewhere, copyright exists in part to help creators bring violators to account and to punish through settlements that are harsh enough to make at least some of them think twice about doing it again.

When nobody steals from me, the subject of draconian settlements or harsh judgements or restrictive controls never seems to come up.

>To take your specific example of someone taking your research
>to a third party. They could be saying, "Hey, look at
>this great research we did. You should hire us." Or
>they could be saying, "Look at this great research Carson
>did for us. You should hire him for problem X that you
>have." Copyright law looks at those as equivalent, and
>they are anything but.

I think such actions by some clients on rare occasions do occur. I'm experienced enough to be able to distinguish opportunity from misadventure. Word of mouth is one of the foundations of a successful investigative research business. But no worthwhile client actually shows anyone else the confidential research that he paid for during the course of recommending me. Instead, that client may say, "You're looking for this kind of company? The one I used did good work for me. Here's his phone number." That's how it works - on trust, not on the illegal distribution of confidential information. Anyone who offers confidential and restricted research, gets caught doing it, and then uses the I-was-just-showing-the-other-guy-how-good-it-was defense is destined to pay me money and will at most turns encounter lawyers and mediators who don't believe him any more that I do. That said, from time to time and just as music licensors agree to let Apple provide playable portions of songs in the iTunes store, so do I and many other writers, researchers and photographers provide potential clients with samples of work to help promote business. But I get to decide what material to use.

>I did not interpret your statement as implying that; sorry if
>I implied that I did. I was merely trying to show how Trey
>was monetizing other things than just his actual pictures, and
>how his results showed that it isn't a con job to think in
>those terms.

We're cool. Trey Ratcliff's business model has litle impact in this discussion. He picks and chooses the content that he puts out freely. But he does not put all of his content out there. Trey protects his copyright as he sees fit. Nor does Trey come to me or anyone else that I've heard of to try to convince them that his way is best or that people should give away all of their creative efforts. More than many other people, Trey understands that what he does and the manner in which he operates his businesses is something which suits his particular interests and mindset. More important, Trey doesn't take my stuff (or anyone else's) without permission and then try to convince me that it's okay to do so. Trey produces all of his own material - he doesn't steal from me or anyone else, he doesn't copy anyone's work to pass off as his own, and he doesn't approach me or anyone else I know of to simply give away creative work without also having in place a method of monetizing that action in some reasonable way. Trey is just not a part of this discussion.

I do not confuse Trey Ratcliff with the individuals and companies who without permission take what belongs to me and then try to hide behind some ephemeral, gauzy veil of so-called Internet freedom or self-serving definitions of fair use or excuses like "I didn't know" or some other silliness like "Hey you put it out there so I thought it was free for the taking and isn't that, like, you know, public domain or something?" that I stopped falling for at the age of 12.

My copyright is a foundation of my creative freedom. How I manage it and protect it is, I think, a measure of part of the security and ownership of intellectual property I enjoy.

My Photo.Net Gallery
My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson

  

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AMusingFool Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Dec 2012Thu 11-Apr-13 07:02 PM
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#45. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 39


Arlington, US
          

Psy, like me, is free to manage his copyright as he sees fit.


Of course. I mention it to illustrate that the way you're managing yours is not the only way to make money.

The time will come, if you stick with programming long enough (or maybe it will happen tomorrow), that you're moved to write something that you prefer to license.


I've been at it for over twenty years; we'll see.

Whatever you decide. Protect your copyrights at all times.


Definitely something to be aware of, which is why I joined the discussion.

Artificial scarcity is a widely voiced contention I think, but it is also a straw man argument because it doesn't hold up under even the briefest scrutiny.


I'm curious how you think I getting confused with patents. Really, I don't understand it.

Artificial scarcity has to do with the cost of a digital copy being, for all intents and purposes, zero. That implies infinite supply. When you limit the supply (via copyright enforcement), that is attempting to create scarcity. It really is that simple.

When nobody steals from me, the subject of draconian settlements or harsh judgements or restrictive controls never seems to come up.


I think (correct me if I'm wrong) we've been talking past each other a bit, because we're coming at this from different concerns. You're concerned about large companies using your stuff to advance their own aims. I'm more concerned about damage caused by enforcement on private individuals. But it's those private individuals who are going to be the vast majority of infringement, and wielding threats of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over those people is, yes, vastly disproportionate.

Trey Ratcliff's business model has litle impact in this discussion. He picks and chooses the content that he puts out freely. But he does not put all of his content out there.


Actually, it's his business model(s) that is (are) the point, to me. He might not put all of it out there, but he does put a lot of it out there (at least one shot a day), he does do it at full resolution (and without watermarks), and he doesn't attempt to keep people from copying it. And he makes plenty of money, while you and Ned have implied that his work is devalued, possibly even worthless, because it's available so easily. If people weren't buying prints of his (repeated for emphasis: freely available) work, he wouldn't be offering it for sale (certainly not at the prices he charges (and gets, I assume)).

"Geeks of All Nations, Compile!"
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberWed 10-Apr-13 09:33 PM
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#31. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 29


Philadelphia, US
          

>I'm sorry, Ned, I have a lot of respect for many of the
>things you've said in the forums here, but I need to take
>exception with several things said or implied in this post.

We're open here at Nikonians and everyone is free to state their opinion within our TOS, as you have clearly done.

>The first is simply that, in no sense is infringement the same
>as theft. Neither legally nor morally. There's a reason that
>only one of them is actually addressed in the Constitution.

I never implied that legally copyright infringement is theft, but in my opinion, from a loss standpoint it is. It's like putting one's hand in the wallet of the photographer and liberating the cash in it.

>Can you name a single instance of actual, financial damages
>from those images being used without your consent? (ie: not
>opportunity costs, but actual money out of pocket.)

When I lose a sale because someone thinks its their right to steal the use of my photo or one of my articles, that's a financial loss for me. You have to pay to use my hard work. My income is derived from my writing and my photography. Without those payments, I can't pay my bills.

>Digital distribution is a tool, and a damned powerful one.
>Chucking it overboard in the interests of creating false
>scarcities is seriously throwing the baby out with the
>bathwater.

I've never advocated eliminating digital distribution. I've never advocating making digital distribution more difficult. Why should I. I distribute my work digitally all the time.

>Not saying copyright shouldn't matter at all, but for sure it
>should be a lot more limited than it is. (As a side note: I
>do have a lot of problems with someone removing your copyright
>info from your images, especially if they're claiming it for
>their own. But that's a much different issue from someone
>making an unauthorized copy of a picture, particularly when,
>as is the case for most infringement, it's for noncommercial
>purposes.)

If you're going to advocate limiting copyrights, then you've got to explain what limits you advocate.

That said, I couldn't disagree more. Maybe you don't understand what commercial photography is or is not. Commercial photography is essentially photography used in advertising.

Photography used in an article in an online newspaper or newsletter, for example, to illustrate or illuminate the article, is not commercial photography. Nevertheless, the photographer who made the photograph is due payment for that work, even when attribution is given and the copyright maintained.

A photograph on the home page of a website to make it look better and attract people to it is rarely considered commercial unless the page is directly advertising for some product or service, yet the photographer who created that photograph needs to be paid.

Are you saying there are some instances that stealing the use of my work is okay? I think not. Every time someone uses my work without my permission they are devaluing my work. My work cost me my valuable time, my capital expenses for my equipment, my direct expenses for travel, power, disposables, etc. My work cost me the training I pay for even these days to improve my craft. Every time someone uses my work without my permission they are denying me the income necessary to pay all those expenses, and actually make a profit so I can save for rainy days like everyone else. My work is my income.

>If you want to talk about fair use, educational use is, in
>fact, generally fair. It can be abused, for sure, but it
>takes a lot of effort.

Fair use is pretty darn well defined.

The four factors to be considered when determining if the use is fair are:

The purpose and character of your use
The nature of the copyrighted work
The amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
The effect of the use upon the potential market.

I see educators copy whole chapters from books often. Sometime they even copy multiple chapters. That's not fair use. That's avoiding paying for the book. A few years ago, someone writing an online photography course for an art school used every photo (6) in an article I wrote about cityscape photography for their article. They included 3 of their own photos too. They removed my copyrights from the face of the photos, but didn't change the metadata, by slightly cropping them. That's not fair use. A student who thought it was unfair, dropped a dime on the teacher. I would not have know about it otherwise.

I've found that educators, for example, routinely copy far too much of text books and other books, whole articles from magazines, including illustrations over and over again. That's not fair use.

>Is this where we want
>education to go?

Of course not. The University should be ashamed to have chosen that book and required its purchase. There are plenty of other "Art" books from which to choose, and more and more are e-books, which cost much less.

>
>You might want to also note the large number of recent
>instances of copyright being used to stifle criticism as
>another problem. It's also frequently used as an excuse for
>national censorship (the UK being the biggest case of which
>I'm aware). There's also been attempts to get rid of due
>process entirely, in the interest of copyright enforcement
>(look into the details of what went down with megaupload,
>especially. No matter what you think of their business, you
>should be scared of how they were treated. Due
>process
>did
>not enter into it, and a
>number
>of
>laws
>were
>broken
>(certainly in
>New
>Zealand>, but
>
probably
>in
>the
>US,
>as well). Note, especially, that the company has effectively
>been shut down, without the government ever proving that
>something illegal was going on. And there were
>people hurt in the process.)

I know about the case. Extrapolating governmental actions of one case to all or even intimating it's a major trend in copyrighting for authors and artists is stretching it. Moreover I believe in the rule of law, due process, etc. I've never condoned unconstitutional anything by the government or anyone else. I don't see how any of the US Copyright Law infers or allows in anyway a loss of Constitutional Rights.

>
>Howard's comment about getting more suing than he likely would
>have ever gotten by licensing an image is also disturbing to
>me. One of the legal differences between copyright
>infringement and stealing is that suing someone who stole from
>you will never lead to you getting more value back than what
>was taken (plus legal fees, perhaps).

The Copyright Laws of the US have included Statutory Damages in excess of Actual Damages for those who register their work since their inception. The idea was to create a deterrent for those who would use copyrighted material unfairly without authorization. Plaintiffs who can show willful infringement may be entitled to damages up to $150,000 per work. Defendants who can show that they were "not aware and had no reason to believe" they were infringing copyright may have the damages reduced to $200 per work.

In addition under the DMCA, if someone willfully removes copyright information from a work, they can be assessed up to $25,000 for statutory damages per work.

Damages in excess of actual damages has been part of US jurisprudence since the country's beginnings. The damages are to teach people a lesson and provide a deterrent to prevent recurrences. I believe in that concept and think it's necessary.

>There's also the many attempts made to break the operation of
>the entire internet in order to perpetuate a few, specific
>business models. SOPA and the Protect IP Act being the big
>ones, but there were others.

Wow, you're rolling an awful lot into this post way beyond copyrights and the protection of authors and artists. SOPA/PIPA were clearly extremely bad proposed laws which had both intended and unintended consequences which would have unfairly and ridiculously penalized people who did nothing wrong. But this has nothing to do with anything I've discussed previously in this thread.

>You might also want to consider the case of
>Trey Ratcliffe, who makes no attempt
>to police his images. Here's his
>explanation on why. Does it seem to have hurt him?
>
>It penciling that time in really worth it?

I believe that Ratcliffe's model is fine for what he wants to do, but I don't agree with it, and it doesn't work for the kind of work I do. I also don't believe that Ratcliffe's base assumptions hold water generally. If they did, there wouldn't be so much theft on the Internet, and there would be many more people using others' work who offer reasonable payment for the use.

My contact information is easily found in my photos and on my websites, and I get many people contacting me to use my work whether articles, columns or photographs. Sometimes its a school and I often give them limited use which they've asked for with only attribution as payment. Sometimes its a company which wants an article or photo for their website or newsletter and they pay a reasonable price we mutually set. Sometimes I uncover a photo leading off someones interesting blog article and they haven't contacted me at all, even though they are monetarily benefiting from my work without compensation. In a couple of cases I found whole articles I've written being used, not just without permission or compensation, but without attribution, quotation, etc. I'm not the only author and photographer who finds this on the Internet over and over again.

My searches for stolen photos are quickly and easily accomplished. The tools are getting better and better. I'm certain I only find the tip of the iceberg, but it's worth it. What these people do is wrong, and they need to be held accountable.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
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AMusingFool Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Dec 2012Thu 11-Apr-13 02:45 AM
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#35. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 31


Arlington, US
          

<blockquote>I never implied that legally copyright infringement is theft, but in my opinion, from a loss standpoint it is. It's like putting one's hand in the wallet of the photographer and liberating the cash in it.</blockquote>

This statement gets right to the heart of the difference between theft and copyright infringement, and then ignores it. It is fundamentally different from pulling money out of someone's pocket.

<blockquote>When I lose a sale because someone thinks its their right to steal the use of my photo or one of my articles, that's a financial loss for me. </blockquote>

This fundamentally ignores supply and demand. If that person would have been willing (and able) to pay for it, outside of that option, then yes, you have lost a sale. But that is not what I have seen for why people do it.

But this also ignores that good can redound upon you from having the picture out there being seen by more people than would have otherwise seen it. More awareness of your work equals more possible sales. This is particularly true if the person is expressing admiration for your work (which possibility your statement completely ignored).

You've also ignored the possibility that someone is copying it who lives somewhere where it is impossible to buy your work (I actually don't know if this case can occur with your work, specifically, since I don't know anything about your distribution, but it certainly happens in the music and movie industries).

<blockquote>I've never advocated eliminating digital distribution. I've never advocating making digital distribution more difficult. Why should I. I distribute my work digitally all the time.</blockquote>

The DMCA's takedown procedure is fundamentally about hamstringing digital distribution. If it wasn't, it would require proof, not a bald assertion. And there would be real enforcement of false DMCA claims (which there isn't).

<blockquote>If you're going to advocate limiting copyrights, then you've got to explain what limits you advocate.</blockquote>

Let's start with cutting term down to something reasonable. Something like 95% of copyrighted material has little or no economic value within five years, so I'd start with that. I'm actually ok with extending it longer, but I'd like it done with an escalating fee (starting at something nominal, and increasing exponentially so that, within fifty or sixty years, it would become financially impossible to maintain).

Then let's get rid of automatic copyright of anything put into concrete form. This can make it impossible to determine who created a work, even if you do want to put in the effort. It also means that it can be impossible to know how old something is, which would be required for evaluating whether something was still covered by copyright.

As mentioned earlier, let's put the burden of proof on the accuser, rather than on the plaintiff, for accusations of infringement (this is the single biggest problem with the DMCA).

The second biggest problem with the DMCA is the clause forbidding research into DRM, and forbidding cracking DRM, even for otherwise-legal purposes. This fails in that it stifles education (DRM is generally applied cryptography), as well as that it limits things like fair use. Less of an issue for photography, but still a significant issue, generally.

Let's stop using copyright for purposes of preventing competition. This would have many facets that I'm not inclined to get into right this moment (but an example would be putting a symbol on the back of a watch to keep someone from selling it in the US, or putting a code on an inkjet cartridge to assert copyright infringement when someone tries to make a competing cartridge. Yes, those are real cases.)

I would get rid of any law that would result in kicking a user off the internet (HADOPI in France, for instance, but there are similar programs in many places, including the US, now) for copyright infringement. Internet access is not only becoming ubiquitous (which makes it stupid from a practical standpoint), but it is also becoming necessary to functioning in society.

<blockquote>Fair use is pretty darn well defined.

The four factors to be considered when determining if the use is fair are:

The purpose and character of your use</blockquote>

Yes, and my point was that if the purpose of your use is education, you get very broad latitude with the other three factors.

<blockquote>Are you saying there are some instances that stealing the use of my work is okay?</blockquote>

Again with the stealing. And yes, I would say that there are instances where use of your images would be ok.

<blockquote>Every time someone uses my work without my permission they are devaluing my work.</blockquote>

This is an impossibly broad statement, and clearly not true. If someone gets a copy of one of your photos, figures out where it came from, and then buys one of your books, how has your work been devalued (and yes, this does happen).

<blockquote>I've found that educators, for example, routinely copy far too much of text books and other books, whole articles from magazines, including illustrations over and over again. That's not fair use.</blockquote>

It's impossible to make a broad statement like this. It's much too situational (which, let's face it, is another problem with copyright law. It's rarely cut-and-dried, and it's very expensive to litigate.)

<blockquote>The Copyright Laws of the US have included Statutory Damages in excess of Actual Damages for those who register their work since their inception.</blockquote>

That's certainly true, and even made sense back when it required a company with a lot of resources to distribute a copy. Now that it requires no resources at all (maybe public library access), it's horribly unbalanced.

In fact, those statutory damages have led to copyright being used as a shakedown on people who might even be innocent. "We have an IP address tied to your house, indicating that you shared three songs over a filesharing network. Pay us $5k now, or we'll sue you for hundreds of thousands of dollars." They try to calibrate the amount they ask for so that it is financially senseless to fight it, even if you're innocent. Defending a lawsuit is not free. Again, not a theoretical situation.

<blockquote>I know about the case. Extrapolating governmental actions of one case to all or even intimating it's a major trend in copyrighting for authors and artists is stretching it.</blockquote>

Perhaps you are also aware of the Rojadirecta case, where a site found legal in Spain (where it operates) was shut down by the US for quite a while (I believe it was eventually restored). There were some impressive logical contortions in the DOJ's arguments in that case (I forget exactly, but something along the lines of: we're not charging you (the operator) with a crime, but we're seizing your site and servers as accessories to a crime).

Perhaps you are also aware of the dajaz1 case, where a couple dozen music blogs were shut down without warning or recourse. That particular site was eventually given back (after a year of legal limbo) with no charges even being filed.

Perhaps you're also aware of Operation In Our Sites, where hundreds of sites have been shut down, and their homepages replaced with a big logo saying that they are copyright criminals, without trial (and usually without recourse to have the site restored).

It's a lot more than one case; that's merely the first one that came to mind.

Anyway, that's enough for the moment.

"Geeks of All Nations, Compile!"
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberThu 11-Apr-13 04:18 AM
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#37. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 35


Philadelphia, US
          

We're getting nowhere at this point. We have very different points of view. So here goes my final post. If you want to reply, please do, but this is it to me.

1. When someone takes something I own without my permission that's theft. The law may call it infringement, but to me it's theft.

2. "If that person would have been willing (and able) to pay for it, outside of that option, then yes, you have lost a sale." First it doesn't matter that the person who stole it was willing or able to buy it, as
a. If they stole it and used it, it clearly had value to them, but they decided that paying zero was better, and that deprived me of a sale, or
b. If they stole it and used it, it clearly had value to them, but if they had no way to pay for it (Of course since they never asked they have no idea if they could afford it.) by taking it and using it for free they devalued the sale to anyone else, as now it's been shown I hold it in little value because I've let it be used for free and haven't enforced ownership, and
c. Getting exposure at this point in time has very little if any value to me because I get more than enough exposure as it is and more exposure kills the exclusivity of owning one of my photographs, so again it's taking money out of my pocket. Why should anyone pay me for anything if I allow people to steal my work.

3. "But that is not what I have seen for why people do it." Why I create photographs and why I write has nothing to do with copyright, nothing. In fact it really doesn't matter to anyone but me. What has to do with copyright and protecting my creative work is simply it is my work product. I comes from my brain, and I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I've got a wife and kids. I had to put the kids through school, feed all of us, cloth us, and pay for all those things we all do and want to do. When it comes down to it, I need cash just like factory workers who get paid for their time with a pay check. I don't get that. I get paid when I sell my creative work. When people take my work for their use without paying me then I get zip, ziltch, nada. People have a choice, pay me and get to use my work product, or don't pay me and they don't get to use my work product. They can't use my work and not pay me. I don't care what you want to call it, it's stealing.

4. "You've also ignored the possibility that someone is copying it who lives somewhere where it is impossible to buy your work (I actually don't know if this case can occur with your work, specifically, since I don't know anything about your distribution, but it certainly happens in the music and movie industries)." This is ludicrous. You're saying they can figure out how to steal my work but they can't figure out how to purchase my work. Sorry, but every photograph I produce has my copyright inserted in the image and all my contact information. It's in every single image. Now if they are stealing it from someone who's already stolen it, the data may be stripped, but if they're honest, they can do the same kind of searching I do and they'll find me. You sound like Google who constantly complains about all these orphan photos on the Internet that they can't find out who owns them. It's hogwash.

5. "The DMCA's takedown procedure is fundamentally about hamstringing digital distribution." Absolutely false. Have you ever filed a takedown. I sure have and no one accepts them without some kind of reasonable proof. DMCA takedowns are about leveling the playing field. Before it artists would have to expend great sums of money to recover from the theft of their work and stop the perpetrator from further use. With the takedown it's possible to get action within a reasonable timeframe and at a reasonable cost, and with the statutory damages available to the point across to not steal again.

6. "Let's start with cutting term down to something reasonable. Something like 95% of copyrighted material has little or no economic value within five years, so I'd start with that. I'm actually ok with extending it longer, but I'd like it done with an escalating fee (starting at something nominal, and increasing exponentially so that, within fifty or sixty years, it would become financially impossible to maintain)." First, your assumption that copyrights of most things has little or no economic value after 5 years is nonsense. A quality photo which had good value in the first place may very well have more value as time goes on. I have some photos I'm selling now, of wildlife, which recently sold for more than I first sold them for. Think about hand signed lithographs from Chagall. Every year their value goes up and up.

7. "Then let's get rid of automatic copyright of anything put into concrete form. This can make it impossible to determine who created a work, even if you do want to put in the effort. It also means that it can be impossible to know how old something is, which would be required for evaluating whether something was still covered by copyright." Nonsense, especially for photos made these days, but when something is copyrighted it's copyrighted with a date. The entire world got together to protect artists at the Berne convention to decide that something is automatically copyrighted when it was first made. That sets the date and who owns the copyright. If it isn't obvious who and when the copyrighted material was made you have to do a good faith search. If you do a good faith and can prove it, the courts generally they will look favorably to you. Of course you have to prove that.

8. "Let's stop using copyright for purposes of preventing competition. This would have many facets that I'm not inclined to get into right this moment (but an example would be putting a symbol on the back of a watch to keep someone from selling it in the US, or putting a code on an inkjet cartridge to assert copyright infringement when someone tries to make a competing cartridge. Yes, those are real cases.)" Okay, at this point I'm stopping. Now you're talking patent and trademark again, not copyright. The cartridges are not copyrighted the program which controls them is. And by the way, I think that the copyright should be considered invalid, and we'll eventually see it that happens, because it appears that in the program what their pointing to as copyrighted isn't the code as written or expressed, which is copyrightable, but the idea expressed via the code which cannot be copyrighted. The DMCA, it is generally unlawful to circumvent technology that restricts access to a copyrighted work, but in this case if one changes the way the cartridge talks to the program, which is the copyrighted material that isn't circumventing because they haven't done a thing to the program and their cartridge has no program.

Put in your reply, I don't care. You get the last word, but Howard makes a good point, you don't appear to have any real skin in the game. You're ready to give away my work and every other artists work. If you want to know what will stifle creativity, devaluing the work of artists by allowing people to have it or use it and not pay for the privilege. Moreover, education can not be allowed to be an excuse for not paying for the privilege of using someone else's creative work.

Why do artist have to be altruistic about their work. If I made a car, I'd bet you would be against someone stealing it. If I made a saddle for a horse, I'll bet you would rail against someone for stealing it. How about if I made a sculpture, and someone stole it, copied it, and then gave it back, but then, for the next 20 years sold those copies and pocketed the cash for themselves. Should that be allowed? Don't you think that allowing that would stifle creativity. And lets say the guy who made the copies justs gives them away. Doesn't that take away the value of the original sculpture? Of course it does. He can't sell his copies because someone else is giving them away, and don't tell us he's getting exposure which has value to him for the future.

Okay that's it.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Thu 11-Apr-13 11:44 AM
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#38. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 37


Richmond, US
          

I have to say that my experience is similar to Ned's. I wrote about the worst experience in a post above, and in my admittedly very bitter opinion, there's just no difference between infringement and theft. Did I lose money in that scenario? Literally yes, but only in legal costs. At least as far as I know. Remember, as far as part of the Internet is concerned, *I* am the plaguarist, even though my side of this story is that my work was stolen from me and published as someone else's prior claim. Want to tell me that this is OK? Really? There's a lot of legal mumbo jumbo about the details. Did I have a copyright mark on the document? No, I didn't. Why would I for an incomplete draft that was not supposed to be in circulation? Going back a few years, does one need to put copyright marks on test prints? (ie the ones where one was calculating the exposure and contrast grade) I seriously doubt it. That's about as ludicrous as saying that if someone breaks into my camera and copies the file before the camera inserts the copyright notice, it's fair game. Sure, in my case, the item in question was a book, not an image - but what's the difference? They're just electronic bits that were assembled, forcibly, by human endeavor.

The argument that the copy that I claim was stolen was published for free just does not hold water with me, even though I did profit in the end from the publication of the book. It's not free to my reputation, and even if it really is cleaned up now, why should I have had to go through any of that at all? The fact that it was "free" does NOT to me in any way indicate that the supply exceeded the demand. To me that was simply opportunism at my expense.

And finally, the argument that most intellectual property is worthless in five years is ridiculous. Sure, most of it was worthless at the time it was created. But you can't write off the other five percent.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

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AMusingFool Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Dec 2012Thu 11-Apr-13 04:30 PM
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#42. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 37


Arlington, US
          

<blockquote>When someone takes something I own without my permission that's theft. The law may call it infringement, but to me it's theft.</blockquote>

You can keep saying it, and I'm sure you feel it, but that doesn't make it so. Unless they're removing it from you, somehow.

<blockquote>"If that person would have been willing (and able) to pay for it, outside of that option, then yes, you have lost a sale." First it doesn't matter that the person who stole it was willing or able to buy it</blockquote>

It matters, because if the person isn't willing and able to buy it, then you're never getting a sale, no matter what the copyright situation.

<blockquote>Why I create photographs and why I write has nothing to do with copyright, nothing.</blockquote>

Kudos to you. Seriously. No irony intended. I would much rather support artists like that.

<blockquote>What has to do with copyright and protecting my creative work is simply it is my work product.</blockquote>

I understand that, yes, that has been the pervasive business model over the last several decades. Part of the reason I spoke up was to point out that there are other options. At no point did I say (or imply, so far as I'm aware) that you shouldn't be able to make money.

<blockquote>Why should anyone pay me for anything if I allow people to steal my work.</blockquote>

Because people are willing to support people (whose work) they like.

In fact, study after study after study has shown that people who engage in file-sharing networks most are those who also spend the most. (Sorry, I don't know of any studies directly focused on photography.)

And let's also take a look back at another example. When radio stations were first starting to play music, did they pay for the right? No, they infringed. How did that work out for the artists? When there was money moving, which direction was it moving (if anyone doesn't know, look up payola)?

<blockquote>You're saying they can figure out how to steal my work but they can't figure out how to purchase my work. </blockquote>

I did prefix that by saying that I wasn't sure that was applicable to your work. But it certainly happens in the movie, music, and e-book industries, where works are only licensed for certain parts of the world. If you don't live in those parts of the world, you can't legally buy them, even if you have the money, and want to support the artist.

<blockquote>if they're honest, they can do the same kind of searching I do and they'll find me.</blockquote>

If they know that the tools exist, and how to use them, sure. This is not a universal skill. And yes, it's certainly preferable if people do do those things.

<blockquote>I have some photos I'm selling now, of wildlife, which recently sold for more than I first sold them for.</blockquote>

I have no doubt that's true. But my point is that that is, what? 1% of 1% of your output? But as things stand now, 100% of your output has copyright that would last another 75 years if (God forbid) you were to keel over and die today. That's why I put in about being able to pay to extend copyright, because some stuff does maintain value. But not much of it.

<blockquote>Think about hand signed lithographs from Chagall.</blockquote>

Thank you. This is along the lines of what I've been saying. You can't digitally distribute those. Fundamental impossibility. Scarce good. Whether that litho is under copyright is irrelevant to its value. This is an example of what I mentioned as paying for authenticity.

<blockquote>Nonsense, especially for photos made these days, but when something is copyrighted it's copyrighted with a date. The entire world got together to protect artists at the Berne convention to decide that something is automatically copyrighted when it was first made. That sets the date and who owns the copyright. If it isn't obvious who and when the copyrighted material was made you have to do a good faith search.</blockquote>

Photos frequently have metadata to indicate. Less of an issue there. But still an issue if the metadata is missing (plus, there's the issue of whether it's reliable). More fundamentally, there's no longer any canonical way to look something up. Even worse, what does exist in the US is largely not computerized, so you're potentially talking about hand-searching decades worth of paper records to figure out if something is copyrighted.

You've made every effort you can to make it easy to track you down. Most people do not.

And statutory damages have no care for whether you made a good-faith effort or not, anyway. Do you want to rely on a judge and jury saying you tried, and therefore you owe hundreds or (single-digit) thousands versus tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars? You've implied that everyone using a picture in a blog post should have to consider that. That's a large burden, generally.

You might also want to look into cases like the DVD publication of the old TV show Welcome Back, Kotter. Or see what excessive enforcement of copyright is doing to availability of old documentary movies.

<blockquote>Okay, at this point I'm stopping. Now you're talking patent and trademark again, not copyright.</blockquote>

No, in fact I am not. And that was my point.

"Geeks of All Nations, Compile!"
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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 11-Apr-13 02:32 PM
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#40. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 35
Thu 11-Apr-13 02:56 PM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

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>This statement gets right to the heart of the difference
>between theft and copyright infringement, and then ignores it.
> It is fundamentally different from pulling money out of
>someone's pocket.

You're right, but only in the strictest sense of the definitions. Pulling money out of someone's pocket is a direct theft. Infringing someone's copyright may reduce the copyright owners' ability to earn money from their work, but that only changes the definition to indirect theft. It's all a form of theft.

><blockquote>When I lose a sale because someone thinks
>its their right to steal the use of my photo or one of my
>articles, that's a financial loss for me. </blockquote>
>
>This fundamentally ignores supply and demand. If that person
>would have been willing (and able) to pay for it, outside of
>that option, then yes, you have lost a sale. But that is not
>what I have seen for why people do it.

I think there is a gap in your thinking here. Supply originates with creators and designers and manufacturers, not with distributors. Distribution is a vehicle for supplier/originators, not a means to an end. It is retail, licensing, fee for use, designated free use and other controlled vectors that are the means to end. If, as an originator of a creative work, I choose to sell, not sell, license, not license, freely distribute or hide in a deep dark hole some piece of my work, that is my right. If I choose to promote my work and create demand for it, then I may or may not choose to take advantage of such demand. People do not have the right to misappropriate my work no matter how they choose to believe it has been supplied. Nor can they legally redistribute it without my permission, unless I have mistakenly let it out into the wild without proper protection. Supply and demand has little place in this dicussion I think because it is not a principle of copyrights but rather a factor of economics, philosophy and business.

>But this also ignores that good can redound upon you from
>having the picture out there being seen by more people than
>would have otherwise seen it. More awareness of your work
>equals more possible sales. This is particularly true if the
>person is expressing admiration for your work (which
>possibility your statement completely ignored).

This seems to be an inadvertent false premise on your part. It narrowly construes a benefit which might be possible for a few creators in the context of a discussion of copyright with rights holders who've actually been repeatedly burned through the means you tout as a potential benefit. Sorry, but that dog won't hunt.

>You've also ignored the possibility that someone is copying it
>who lives somewhere where it is impossible to buy your work.

I realize you replied to Ned, but this affects me too. We cannot, in the context of a discussion of copyright, and the ease with which things can be copies/stolen/misued/misappropriated online, and the attendant ease with which people can contact each other these days, defend anyone who has taken something of mine (or yours, or Ned's) in an environment in which it is absurdly easy to contact us. The congregate sensation, on all our parts, should be abject disbelief of anyone who says, "Well I tried to contact you but, you know, I, like, couldn't, and so, you know, I just took the review/research/article/course/photo/music/whatever and used it. Um, sorry." I don't buy it.

Among other examples, I didn't buy it in 1974 when somebody stole a radio play I wrote (with my name, address, and agent's contact information printed front and back). I didn't buy it in 1983 when two different magazines "repurposed" technical articles I produced for a client (they made up a claim that they thought my name was actually "Harold Parsons" and thus were unsuccessful in contacting me, but never actually read the articles and therefore failed to find my name and copyright embedded in the text - something which many writers have done for many years to help protect themselves). I didn't buy in in 1992 when a review I published in my own magazine appeared without permission in a much larger publication without permission or attribution (they claimed that one of their stringers had submitted it with his own rights attached, and the stringer claimed he had just come across the review "Somewhere, unattributed, in a newsletter or something and couldn't find out who'd written it or some other babble to that effect). I didn't buy it in 2000 when a small collection of photos I had included in a private investigative research report showed up in a large research paper by a very large research company (their excuse being that they knew my name but simply could not find any contact or location information for me, which seemed strange because I was a regular customer of the research company). I could go on and on with examples from literally over 40 years in business. I'm not arguing my authority here - please don't misunderstand; I'm just discussing the issue and I don't don't consider myself the final authority - I'm only presenting my experience with the depth and range of human reaction when individuals get caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

If any person or business is intent on conducting itself and operating ethically and as free as possible from the consequential aggravations resulting from copyright violations, they cannot follow the path of least resistance. They have to get up off their behinds and do the work necessary to respect the rights of other, obtain a license or some other form of legitimate permission from rights holders, and then proceed to publish, repurpose, reuse, resell and so on as their agreements with rights holders allow. Everybody then makes money, reputations improve, relationships develop and grow, quality and attendant authority improves.

>Let's start with cutting term down to something reasonable.
>Something like 95% of copyrighted material has little or no
>economic value within five years, so I'd start with that. I'm
>actually ok with extending it longer, but I'd like it done
>with an escalating fee (starting at something nominal, and
>increasing exponentially so that, within fifty or sixty years,
>it would become financially impossible to maintain).

It's a thought, but the question I would ask (if you were able to formally propose such a thing to legislators) is why? What would it accomplish? I see nothing good coming from such an approach, nor do I see such an approach creating any incentive or security for creators. I think that all you're proposing is an approach which will help people get stuff cheaper and with less concern for the reasons that creative people do what they do in the first place. That's a view, I think, that clearly reflects the thinking of a very large percentage of the current generation which at its foundation views the digital world as an end in and of itself. That is a limited view which fails to account for the foundational importance of motivated creators. Zuckerberg, Brin, Wang and a couple of hundred others would have us all connected to each other, 24/7, sharing every single thing we come across, to create a global data mine into which the owners of big data can tap for profit. That's what they're doing, and they'd absolutely fall over themselves with unbridled glee if all the photographers, writers, artists and other creatives simply started releasing large portions of their efforts into the public domain. All the creatives would make far less (if anything at all) because their work would be grossly diluted, while big data would be boosted by all sorts of works that big media could then mine for integration with paid advertising. I won't participate in this. Common goofballs like me are simply being conned. "Come on!" Zuckerberg says, "give me all your stuff by posting it on Facebook. Then when all your stuff has been cheapened to the point of diluted worthlessness because you gave it to me, and you're now having a hard time getting so much as a rusty farthing for a license fee, spend ten times as many hours as you did before on marketing, glued to Facebook and Flickr and so on to promote yourself endlessly just to make enough money to buy a bag of bagels once a week. It's great! You'll love it!"

Please spare me any persuasion that I should participate in the corporate hegemony run by digital age mandarins intent on scouring and scraping everything they can get their hands on. Woe betide the helpless fool who bumps his melon on Facebook's policies too. What too many people don't seem to get is that the digital world online in which they participate is all owned by very large companies, most of which are intent on convincing us all that copyrights are for suckers. A significant portion of the current generation has been suckered into believing it - I accept that. But don't you dare even think of stepping on any copyright belonging to Facebook unless you'd really like to find out how Armeggedon feels. The discussion I've had with my own kids (well, they haven't been kids for a long time - 35, 28 & 25) has taught me a lot about contemporary attitudes and helped also to plug me into new thinking I might have taken a long time to figure out on my own or maybe not ever figured out at all. I have modified and evolved my own business practices to take advantage of the digital online world where it suits my needs. When I was building my own, first web site in 1993, I had a myopic view of the whole thing that was limited by my own thinking for sure. It didn't take long to figure out that accommodations for low res GIFs would eventually give way to accommodations for much higher res content. Copyright was quickly asserted for everything posted online thereafter - images, writing, research, you name it. It was obvious to even the most casual observer that everything posted online back then was free for the taking. And take we did. That's when the fur started to fly and that's when we relearned the lessons that we'd previously learned pre-Internet - if you let it out of your control, somebody will eventually steal it and then concoct all sorts of babble about how it's okay to do so. Meh! It wasn't right in 1662, it wasn't right in 1972, it wasn't right in 1992 and it's not right today. Theft and comoditization of individual creativity has only rarely been a vehicle for value, and then only for those few people willing to take large risks. Frankly, the vast majority of creators are not interested in or prepared to take such risks. They have a legitimate way to make money and proceed to create a good life for themselves through their creative efforts. I refuse to let big media and big data subvert that.

>As mentioned earlier, let's put the burden of proof on the
>accuser, rather than on the plaintiff, for accusations of
>infringement (this is the single biggest problem with the
>DMCA).

I think you've made an important point here. There are cases where stupid or gullible or panicked or scared managers have been leverage into doing inappropriate takedowns. But those cases are the exception, not the rule. DMCA places the burden of proof on the rights holder already.

>The second biggest problem with the DMCA is the clause
>forbidding research into DRM, and forbidding cracking DRM,
>even for otherwise-legal purposes. This fails in that it
>stifles education (DRM is generally applied cryptography), as
>well as that it limits things like fair use. Less of an issue
>for photography, but still a significant issue, generally.

Nobody can apply DRM to my works unless I say so. Companies and individuals can only apply DRM to their own rights-managed works. I may not like it in some cases, but that's just too bad for me. Who are you or I to tell a rights holder that some works should be more freely available to us. To me, that notion is outrageous. Just because I have a reason to want something doesn't mean I can have it. That's the way the world is. Battle or engage in discussion to try to change it - you're free to do so - but I won't give up my copyright and I'll act to protect it as time, energy and money permits.

>Let's stop using copyright for purposes of preventing
>competition. This would have many facets that I'm not
>inclined to get into right this moment (but an example would
>be putting a symbol on the back of a watch to keep someone
>from selling it in the US (...)

That's not accurately stated. Omega and Swatch Group etched the back of some Seamasters in order to track where they were appearing (at Costco) in North America. The specific sorts of Seamasters being tracked are sold widely in North America at both authorized and non-authorized retailers. The story unfolded as it did because of legitimate Swiss and German Omega retailers who were deliberately ordering high volumes in order to feed a side business of jobbing to third-parties. Those two third-parties in turn, middled the watches to a buyer in New York, who then supplied them to Costco.

Omega and Swatch Group were acting to protect their control over where their brand was appearing and to control the competitive market pricing and discounting to also preserve their market position in some parts of North America. Omega and Swatch Group got slapped over the pricing issue, but won the battle for control of distribution and Costco paid off handsomely as a result. It had nothing to do with control of copyright; everything to do with control of trademark and distribution.

>I would get rid of any law that would result in kicking a user
>off the internet

Why? The Internet may be important us for now, but it is not sacrosanct and access to it is not a gobal right. You may be part of a generation which feels it has the most say over how and why the Internet is used, and you may be at least partially correct. What we need to all agree on though is just that life, the Internet part of it included, is a competition. You want to do something online that I think is affecting my copyright? Okay. I'm going to come after you.

Kim Dotcom and the originators of Pirate Bay, to name just two recent examples, never expected to be ignored. Quite opposite, they craved to be seen. They all flew deliberately in the face of convention, copyright, trademark and on and on. So I'm having lunch with my oldest kid in 2010 or 2011 and he starts talking about the latest version of ProTools (he's a busy musician). So, like a dummy, I pipe up with something like, "Geez I noticed ProTools online just the other day and it's just stupidly expensive." So my kid looks at me like I just fell off a turnip truck, adn then laughs and says, "For pete's sake Dad, I'm not paying those prices for ProTools. Are you out your mind? I downloaded it." Kim Dotcom and Pirate Bay and plenty of others, along with file sharing and general digital data sharing technologies including BitTorrent, enable the point of DRM removal, encryption cracking and all sorts of control leveling and control removal in order to freely provide software to people who can't or won't pay for it. Enablement does not equal rights. In these cases, the enablers have challenged the presence of certain rights and gotten roundly pounded for doing so. Kim Dotcom seems to be trying to go straight now. Lesson learned perhaps.

Some legitimate enablers get painted with the wrong brush. They need to do a much, much better job of differentiating themselves in order to avoid becoming targets for the other people who need to do a better job of distinguishing the difference between a crook and a legitimate operator. My point here is that holding up examples of digital age growing pains does not support your position one way or another. Moreover, any thinking that people and companies who participate in all sorts of edgy adventures online aren't going to get burned (rightly or wrongly) from time to time is just unrealistic.

>This is an impossibly broad statement, and clearly not true.
>If someone gets a copy of one of your photos, figures out
>where it came from, and then buys one of your books, how has
>your work been devalued (and yes, this does happen).

Nice set up. Too bad it doesn't happen often enough to support so much as the purchase of a tank of gasoline. We can't operate our creative businesses through 20, 30 or more different revenue vectors. It's impossible to manage while at the same time finding the energy (and the time) to do actual creative work. Creators have to allot time and energy to the sorts of revenue streams they're comfortable handling. They also have to allot time to controlling their copyrights, marketing their brand in some sense, and meeting the needs and interests of clients or customers. If someone buys something of mine because they saw some copy of something else I did, I'll likely never know about and it is beneath my notice anyway because there is no way to track it or assess it or be informed about in the normal course of events. It's a tiny consideration and, I think, irrelevant to my concerns about copyright.

The "someone" in your example is a bit at odds with the someone in an earlier example of yours who couldn't find me. They're both true examples for certain. One is worth pursuing for a copyright violation, while the other is a rare customer that I'll never directly know about.

>Perhaps you are also aware of the dajaz1 case, where a couple
>dozen music blogs were shut down without warning or recourse.
>That particular site was eventually given back (after a year
>of legal limbo) with no charges even being filed.
>
>Perhaps you're also aware of Operation In Our Sites, where
>hundreds of sites have been shut down, and their homepages
>replaced with a big logo saying that they are copyright
>criminals, without trial (and usually without recourse to have
>the site restored).

So look to better legal solutions? Me too. The lesson here, for everyone reading the thread I think, is that the Internet and the digital global community are very young. What you're describing here are growing pains. A new generation of bloggers, IP sharers and pundits want to do and say anything they think is legitimate and, in some cases, anything that tweaks them in some satisfying way. The problem with that sort of freedom is that it walks hand-in-hand with the freedom of others to challenge and assert perceptions of rights and interruptions. Just as easily, I can stand on a street corner and howl madly about some government policies and nobody will bother with me. If I start naming names and libeling specific individuals, I can get into trouble PDQ. I can open a lending library in the basement of my house if I want, as long as it's not provisioned with photocopied books. I can't build a library 'business' on the backs of others literary rights holders without also paying them for the privilege of being able to do so.

Web site owners of various stripes and philisophies can invent all sorts of rationalizations for without permission using or otherwise freely providing the works others. Just don't say "What?!" when justifiably alarmed, angry, enraged or merely curious rights holders (or their representatives) subsequently come along and say no. One naturally follows the other.

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AMusingFool Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Dec 2012Thu 11-Apr-13 05:28 PM
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#44. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 40


Arlington, US
          


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Dammit, and I noticed that happening on another board here previously. Sorry.

We cannot, in the context of a discussion of copyright, and the ease with which things can be copies/stolen/misued/misappropriated online, and the attendant ease with which people can contact each other these days, defend anyone who has taken something of mine (or yours, or Ned's) in an environment in which it is absurdly easy to contact us.


I responded to Ned in some detail about why I brought this up.

Among other examples, I didn't buy it in 1974 when somebody stole a radio play I wrote


I did specifically say that I was not talking about cases of someone claiming your work as their own. I would never defend someone doing that.

I think you've made an important point here. There are cases where stupid or gullible or panicked or scared managers have been leverage into doing inappropriate takedowns. But those cases are the exception, not the rule. DMCA places the burden of proof on the rights holder already.


Yes and no. The problem is that the service provider (ISP, forum, etc) can become liable for the activity if they do not immediately (ie: before giving the complainant a chance to respond) take the material down. Yes, counternotices are possible, but the content is already down at that point (and, in some cases, impossible to restore (note: I wish I'd remembered this case sooner, as it directly relates to photography)).

It's a thought, but the question I would ask (if you were able to formally propose such a thing to legislators) is why? What would it accomplish?


The point is to have a rich public domain. You keep saying that such work is worthless, but that's demonstrably not true. Shakespeare's work was never under copyright; does it sell today? Grimm's fairy tales?

How many movies and TV shows have come out in the last few years that were based on fairy tales? If the original stories were still under copyright, would it be a good thing that 'The Little Mermaid', or 'Once Upon a Time', or 'Snow White and the Huntsman', or 'Jack the Giant Slayer', or 'The Brothers Grimm', or... The point is that those things are built on, and we're all enriched (well, ok, not much in the latter case, but that's not the point . Enter infinite copyright, and most or all of those things never get made at all.

Nobody can apply DRM to my works unless I say so. Companies and individuals can only apply DRM to their own rights-managed works.


Of course. And DRM isn't even really relevant to photography (thank goodness), but Ned asked about how I'd change copyright, and that's one of the ways.

Fundamentally, products are about creating value for the consumer. No value, no sale. DRM is all about reducing value for the consumer.

"You might have bought a phone from me, but I still control it."
"You might have bought that Playstation 2 to run linux on it, but I'm going to use DRM (and a firmware update) to eliminate that ability after it's been on the market for a couple years."
"You might have bought this DVD to watch this movie, but you can't take still frames out of it for any reason."
"You might have paid for this music, but you can't play it anymore after I shut down the key servers." (see WalMart and Microsoft)
"You might have bought this blu-ray player, but you can't skip past the FBI warning that I put at the beginning, even though you obviously paid for the content."

You might want to also look up ubisoft, and their track record with DRM, and how well that has worked for their customers. Or EA (especially note how their latest SimCity release went). Or Sony putting rootkits into DRM'ed CDs.

Nice set up. Too bad it doesn't happen often enough to support so much as the purchase of a tank of gasoline.


As you said, you wouldn't know if it did. I've got albums that I bought after getting individual songs from them for free (via Amazon). I didn't exactly go email the artists to tell them about it.

I linked to studies in my reply to Ned that talk about how much it happens.

It had nothing to do with control of copyright; everything to do with control of trademark and distribution.


I'm impressed that you knew about it. And yes, that's what it was about, but copyright was the mechanism. This is not why copyright exists, nor should it be possible to use it in this way.

Why? The Internet may be important us for now, but it is not sacrosanct and access to it is not a gobal right


Actually, I believe the European Court of Human Rights has declared that it is a human right (in Europe, at least). And I said exactly why: because it is becoming necessary to function in society.

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberMon 08-Apr-13 02:50 PM
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#14. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 11


Philadelphia, US
          

My images on the web, except some in my galleries (where right click save is disabled) have a copyright placed on the face of the image. I don't like watermarks and feel they really destroy looking at the image.

Without exception, all my images posted on the Internet or in unpublished files contain my copyright and contact information embedded in their metadata. In fact, prior to storing my original nef files on my computer, detailed copyright and contact information are embedded in the metadata for each and every image. Plus, my cameras embed basic copyright and contact information in each image's metadata each time an image is created and stored in the cameras. I use the cameras' copyright and comment items to do that.

I register my published images with the copyright office.

Personally, I think watermarks kill sales along with ruining the enjoyment of my posted photos by family, friends, and clients.

Along with the copyright and contact information embedded in the photos, and the copyright on the face of photos when posted outside my galleries, all my photos posted on the web are no larger than 800 pixels on their longest side, and the resolution at no more than 125 pixels/inch. If you try to print them they're ugly. Most of the photos, published outside my galleries, accompanying articles are even smaller than 800 pixels on their longest side. Of course, my DSLRs' serial number is in the metadata of every photo too.

My images are published all over the Internet, including accompanying columns and articles in the travel columns and articles I write for various websites and newsletters. There is no way those images can be watermarked. The publishers wouldn't stand for it, and rightly so.

My images are stolen regularly. It's the price we all pay for such easy access to information and all kinds of visual art. I patrol and use take-down notices etc. I have occasionally sued, and fortunately the threats so far have gotten reasonable settlements.

What burns my britches is that so many don't think Internet theft of written and visual material (photos for example) is a big deal or even illegal. They think if they can take it, it's just fair use, or that someone has already paid for it and they can piggyback as it's not costing the writer or photographer or artist anything. That's especially bad when it's a company which publishes its own copyrighted work, yet steals from others hiding under "fair-use," yet knowing it's not "fair-use," like a company in the OP's example. Of course, the most egregious issue in the OP was of Deviant Art. There is clearly no excuse for their stealing someone's work, removing their copyright notice, and claiming the copyright for themselves.

Ned
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cogrady Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Jan 2009Mon 08-Apr-13 02:52 PM
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#15. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


Salt Lake City, US
          

Shena, welcome to Nikonians and thanks for your input!

FWIW, both images that I found heavily circulated on the web did have a small copyright stamp on the front. It had been removed, probably just by cropping it off.

Now that a few days have passed I've calmed down. The psychologist using my image was very apologetic. We've exchanged information and I hope that I've educated her on the use of images found on the web. I passed along the photo attorney links (which I highly recommend everyone reading!). I agree that most people are not being malicious about this kind of use. They are unschooled on the laws surrounding the issue.

This has been an eye opener for me, both in terms of understanding how easy it is to become a victim of misuse or theft, and also what more I can be doing to protect my ownership rights.

So far I've had no response from the guy on DeviantArt. As far as I can tell, he lives in the U.K., which could certainly make a resolution more difficult.

Claudia



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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Mon 08-Apr-13 03:14 PM
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#16. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 15


Toronto, CA
          


>So far I've had no response from the guy on DeviantArt. As
>far as I can tell, he lives in the U.K., which could certainly
>make a resolution more difficult.

It's probably best to have a quick read of the DeviantArt Deviations Policy and then contact the site with your report of misuse at: violations@deviantart.com

Include the username and link to the photo when you make your complaint.

DeviantArt is a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) compliant site and company.

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberMon 08-Apr-13 03:36 PM
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#17. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 15


Philadelphia, US
          

Claudia, I would forget trying to contact the guy on DeviantArt who stole your photo. He likely thinks you'll just go away.

I'd contact DeviantArt directly, and if it were me, I'd send them an immediate DMCA Takedown Notice.

Here's a link to DeviantArt's copyright policy which explains what they need for the Takedown Notice and how you contact them about it.

http://about.deviantart.com/policy/copyright/

Personally, I think this is the best and most appropriate way for you to pursue this at this point.

The information they want is pretty much SOP. You'll need a DeviantArt account to use their Takedown Notice form which would probably be the best way to go to most easily, cheaply, quickly, and successfully pursue this matter, but the account is free and you can always cancel the account once you finish with the matter, if you want.

Let us know how you make out, and how responsive DeviantArt is to your Takedown Notice.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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cogrady Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Jan 2009Mon 08-Apr-13 04:17 PM
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#18. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 17


Salt Lake City, US
          

Ned, this is great info! Thanks! I got a DeviantArt account so that I could contact the guy who is using my image, so I'm ready to go. I didn't even think to contact DeviantArt directly but you're right, this is the way to go.

I will make contact today and I'll keep you all posted.

Claudia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.


www.one-eye-closed.com
www.lastlightphotographicstudios.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberMon 08-Apr-13 04:25 PM
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#19. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 18
Mon 08-Apr-13 04:26 PM by Ned_L

Philadelphia, US
          

You're very welcome. I spoke to a friend about DA. He said they have a reputation of being very serious about copyright issues and cooperate with the copyright holder. I think you'll likely have success with the Takedown.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

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Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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Shena Registered since 07th Jan 2013Wed 10-Apr-13 11:54 AM
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#28. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 15


US
          

Thanks for posting on this issue. We all need to be aware of what can happen. The links to the photo attorney's info and the discussion on Tineye, reverse Google searches and the rest was certainly enlightening. Not to mention all of the ways people have had images taken or used inappropriately. Awareness is always good.

  

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RockyIII Gold Member Nikonian since 27th May 2006Wed 10-Apr-13 03:00 AM
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#26. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


Raleigh, US
          

I can't imagine that anybody would want to steal my images, but I seldom if ever put them online, in part for that reason.

Rocky

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberWed 10-Apr-13 03:30 AM
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#27. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 26


Philadelphia, US
          

Rocky, sometimes I long for the days before the Internet became so important to brick and mortar news organizations, when writing and photographs were printed on paper, not on screens.

Naa, I really like where we're headed generally, but it sure has brought on challenges I never imagined, even just a decade ago.

Of course, image and article theft is nothing new, it's just easier to accomplish and get away with these days.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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myname Registered since 11th Apr 2013Thu 11-Apr-13 04:14 PM
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#41. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

It seems to me that you are not going to be able to do much about this:
If the image is displayable on a monitor screen, anyone can (as a minimum) do a screen copy and have a decent image for web use...

If you are concerned about this, there are 3 ways to deal with this:
1. Do not post any...
2. Post only very low resolution images
3. Add a water mark ACROSS (or in a prominent place on) the image.

Cheers,

Sam

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberThu 11-Apr-13 05:22 PM
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#43. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 41


Philadelphia, US
          

Sam, I agree that you're not going to be able to stop screen capture, but there's more that can be done than you list.

I do start with keeping the photo within specific sizes and keep the resolution at 125 ppi or less. I don't watermark.

While it doesn't stop theft, I scan for copies of my images every month, with various tools including TinEye and Google Image Search. They actually work quite well. Having found these images, according to my perception of who they are used by, I send a message to them reminding them that they are copyrighted and they are in violation of the copyright law.

I'll ask them to takedown the photo, unless they want to pay for it, and according to the situation may or may not ask for damages, actual and/or statutory. With few exceptions that first message gets satisfactory results.

I'm sure that I don't find every instance of my images out there without permission, but just the act of policing what I can shows that I value my photos. That's important.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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spiritualized67 Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Mar 2007Thu 11-Apr-13 08:29 PM
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#47. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


Western PA, US
          

Thanks for the thought-provoking post Claudia.

I tested out the reverse image look-up on Google for myself - and did in fact find a few of my images being used in an un-authorized fashion.

One was on a rather large website for free desktop wallpapers - but after an email to their copyright agent, it was removed (and quite quickly might I add).

Another did list my name as the photographer of record and is a non-profit, so I’ll probably leave that one alone.

The Internet is like the Wild West - and people just have no disregard for copyrights any more.

A few of my photos have been copyrighted - although your post has glaringly reminded me to send in a new batch.

~Dan
www.danielstainer.com

  

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benveniste Moderator Awarded for is high level skills in various areas, including Macro and Landscape Photography Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Thu 11-Apr-13 08:29 PM
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#48. "RE: Unauthorized use of my images"
In response to Reply # 0


Boston Area, US
          

I think everyone has had their say, so I'm locking this thread. Thank you for your participation.

"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck

  

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