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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    A few years ago I took some pix of my friend's dog as a favor among friends. It's not like I'm a pro photog or anything.

    This same friend sent me an e-mail today, upset after finding a link to a web site that is using the photo of her dog as a check design.

    I just contacted the company via e-mail asking where they got the image (I imagine it will take a few days to hear back from them) and then started researching how/where it could have been acquired.

    It's this photo .. http://gallery.photographyreview.com...&ppuser=237891 and it's being used here ... http://www.checksyourway.com/htm/ite...hp?item_id=566

    In addition to being posted on this site, I gave an electronic copy of the image to my friend, but she sounded upset enough by the discovery that I don't think she's the one who provided the image. But who knows, maybe she gave the image to someone who gave it to someone else. I'll have to ask her some more questions.

    Someone even took the time to photoshop out the collar. And it's been cropped. Does that mean the photo is no longer mine because it's been altered?

    I don't really know where to go with this. What's your 2 cents?

    An old friend of mine from PhotographyReview.com used to tell me *all* the time to put copyright info on all of my pix that I post and circulate via e-mail. In this case, I did, but it's pretty small and indescreet.

    Sigh ... I dunno. It doesn't feel like a big deal to me, but it's the principal of the thing. Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Kentucky Wildlife
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    That does look like the same shot to me, altered, cloned (I can still see a little orange around his neck) and noisy, like a low-resolution image copied from here. Looks to me like you've got a case, and I would take printed copies of your image and the webpage to a copywrite lawyer.
    Print the webpage now. If you've already emailed them about it, they may just remove it quickly and trash the image.

  3. #3
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Legally, you probably can't afford the cost of going to court.
    But you may not have to, just email followed up by a letter may be enough.

    BUT from what's on the cheque, there is more to the left than the image you posted here.
    Pretty poor cloning out of the collar too, I could do better

    from that image on the cheque:
    Exif IFD0

    * Camera Make = Canon
    * Camera Model = Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL
    * Picture Orientation = normal (1)
    * X-Resolution = 72/1 = 72
    * Y-Resolution = 72/1 = 72
    * X/Y-Resolution Unit = inch (2)
    * Software/Firmware Version = Adobe Photoshop CS Macintosh
    * Last Modified Date/Time = 2007:05:04 11:49:02

    I was wondering if your copyright was still in the image data - you DID put copyright in the EXIF didn't you? My Canon will put my name and copyright in each photo in the metadata. Someone who doesn't have a clue would leave all that in

    Exif Sub IFD

    * Exposure Time (1 / Shutter Speed) = 1/125 second = 0.008 second
    * Lens F-Number/F-Stop = 45/10 = F4.5
    * ISO Speed Ratings = 100
    * Original Date/Time = 2006:06:04 07:16:14
    * Digitization Date/Time = 2006:06:04 07:16:14
    * Compressed Bits per Pixel = 9/1 = 9
    * Shutter Speed Value (APEX) = 456510/65536
    Shutter Speed (Exposure Time) = 1/125 second
    * Aperture Value (APEX) = 284416/65536
    Aperture = F4.5
    * Exposure Bias (EV) = 0/3 = 0
    * Max Aperture Value (APEX) = 111149/65536 = 1.7
    Max Aperture = F1.8
    * Metering Mode = average (1)
    * Flash = Flash did not fire
    * Focal Length = 50/1 mm = 50 mm
    * Colour Space = sRGB (1)
    * Image Width = 450 pixels
    * Image Height = 225 pixels
    * Focal Plane X-Resolution = 3072000/892 = 3443.95
    * Focal Plane Y-Resolution = 2048000/595 = 3442.02
    * Focal Plane X/Y-Resolution Unit = inch (2)
    * Image Sensing Method = one-chip color area sensor (2)
    * Custom Rendered = normal process (0)
    * Exposure Mode = manual exposure (1)
    * White Balance = auto (0)
    * Scene Capture Type = standard (0)

    It's probably the same source image, but without a camera serial number or other identifier I can't be sure. Same time, same date, same subject, same exposure parameters.
    I would say it's the same original image that was used to make the one you posted here but it was NOT copied from that image you linked to.
    PAul

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  4. #4
    Kentucky Wildlife
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Hey Wombat,
    Do you have any idea how I can put my copywrite info in my Pentax image files?

  5. #5
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    If you're using Lightroom it can add it automatically during the import.

    You can also add it in most photo editors.

    It should be possible to make it automatic as an action in photoshop, but I don't know how, and to make it do it on export for the web too, but I'm not a PS expert.
    PAul

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  6. #6
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Go to this link, and watch episodes 168 & 169. There is a great interview with a copyright lawyer. Lots of great advice from an actual attorney.

    http://www.photoshopusertv.com/

    If your image isn't registered with the copyright office, I think you would have a hard time finding an attorney to take your case, but you still may be able to get something from this company.
    Mike

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  7. #7
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    What does this mean in the FAQ section?

    ---
    : Can I use someone else's photos or images?
    : Not without permission. Generally, if you took the photo or did the drawing, or paid someone to design it for you, you own the copyright and can do with it whatever you wish. If someone else did it, then they own it (even a professional photographer you paid), and the rights. You must get permission from the owner to use it. There are certain "fair use doctrine" exceptions, discuss these with a lawyer, or decide for yourself if you understand these areas of copyright law. We are not selling you the image, but selling you a product and placing your image on that product, except for the posted images which are properly licensed from the owners.

    Checks Your Way Inc. reserves the right to refuse to print any photo, image or artwork for any reason.
    http://www.checksyourway.com/htm/web_pages/faq.htm#1


    So perhaps they purchased the image from an image thief? They may be willing to work with you after all, if you show them the above data. Can you prove that YOU didn't steal it off the internet and turn around and make a claim that it's yours? Do you have the original on backup?
    Drink Coffee. Do stupid things faster with more energy.


  8. #8
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Kruger
    That does look like the same shot to me, altered, cloned (I can still see a little orange around his neck) and noisy, like a low-resolution image copied from here. Looks to me like you've got a case, and I would take printed copies of your image and the webpage to a copywrite lawyer.
    Print the webpage now. If you've already emailed them about it, they may just remove it quickly and trash the image.
    Thanks. I took a screen shot of their web page before I sent the e-mail to them.

  9. #9
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Wow, SmartWombat, that is some good sleuthing! I'm not sure how you got it all, but thank you.

    To answer your question "you DID put copyright in the EXIF didn't you?" I don't know. My friend from PhotographyReview told me to put a watermark via PhotoShop on the image, which I did, but if there was more I was supposed to do, to somehow embed it in the file, I doubt I did that. Or I did it when I first purchased the camera and forgot all about it.

    I gave the camera to my friend, but I think she still has it and I can get the serial number from her.

    Thanks again! I appreciate your help, expertise and time.

  10. #10
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Quote Originally Posted by opus
    Can you prove that YOU didn't steal it off the internet and turn around and make a claim that it's yours? Do you have the original on backup?
    Great question! I *should* have it on one of my computers and/or a CD backup. Thanks for the asking. I'm going to find it now!

  11. #11
    Senior Member brmill26's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Maplegirlie - please go see a copyright attorney about this. As cases go, this sounds like a slam dunk. What Paul said is not true in the US. Once you find out about the infringement, you have a short amount of time to register your work with the Copyright office - this only costs $30 I think. But it MUST be done within very quickly - I think 90 days is the limit, maybe 180; I can't remember. But the important thing, if you do that, attorney fees and court costs are awarded as part of a Copyright suit!

    Go see a copyright attorney about it and he will know more. That company is blatantly taking advantage of your (excellent, by the way) photo. They've done a lot of things wrong that are very obvious, including editing your image. You said you've already taken a screen shot which is great. I'd also save the page, just for good measure. To do that, open the page, then in your browser, go to "File" and you should see "Save Page as..." and just save it. That way you're double covered.

    If you need help finding an attorney, check www.findlaw.com or the Colorado state bar site http://www.cobar.org/directory/?by=area&area=62

    They won't charge you to meet with them and they'll be able to advise you on what to do.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member jetrim's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    This link may be useful:

    http://www.copyright.gov/

  13. #13
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Based on the interviews with the copyright attorney I linked to, I would consider ordering some of those checks with your image on them if you plan on following through with this.
    Mike

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  14. #14
    Senior Member brmill26's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Mike, while that would put evidence in your hands, that also opens the possibility for the company to argue that the photographer gave them the image to use on the checks for themselves. Then you'd have to start proving dates, which isn't always that easy when you're dealing with completely electronic stuff. You'd also open the door to them arguing that you approved of their use b/c you bought their product. My opinion is to not give them any extra arguments. There are other ways to prove this without purchasing your own evidence.

    If you do not purchase the checks yourself, then proving that the checks were made and for sale is merely a discovery issue in the legal process. The attorney would request they produce business documents showing a) when it went up and b) how many sales they've made. If the company does not comply, the court will order them. If they do not comply with the court, they go to jail.

    Again, though, go see an attorney before you do anything. He will be able to advise you on what to do or not to do, because little things you do or do not do can make a huge difference in a case.
    Brad

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  15. #15
    Almost There...... ciddog91's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Maple,

    While I do not have the background like some of the others here, I do think that you have a real case. I think Brad is 100% correct, GO SEE AN ATTORNEY!!!!! Don't give up your rights by letting time laps and you are out of the statutes of limitations.

    Just my .02

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  16. #16
    Senior Member jetrim's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Interestingly enough, a week later the photo is still up...
    I would have thought the first thing to happen would have been a letter fired off to the ISP which almost always results in the site being shut down immediately pending removal of the alleged infringement.

  17. #17
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    It's your photo - regardless of where or how they got it. It's your property and you didn't give them permission to use it. If they're using it to make money, you should get a piece of that money. You may be able to find a copyright lawyer who will take the case on a contingency basis. It sort of depends on how big the company is how much they're making from your stolen property. One thing to consider is, if they're done it once, they've probably done it twice. If there's a pattern of theft, it may be a bigger case and one a lawyer might stand to really make some money from.

    The first thing you should do is send them a letter telling them to stop using the photo.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member brmill26's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Indeed, you would think a smart business would realize the risk it was taking (whether by mistaken use or knowing infringement) and take the photo down to mitigate damages. But it seems they don't care. If they're doing this with one image to which they don't have rights, then how many other images are they using illegally? Who knows; their entire business could be based upon using images illegally.

    Maple, it's up to you to take the initiative and stop them from stealing from you and no telling how many others. And to be clear, understand that going to an attorney does not mean you have to take up a lawsuit you don't want. If you want to, you can simply get the company to sign a license agreement with you. That would allow them to continue to use the image, but would compensate you for that use. But I'm pretty sure the threat of a lawsuit would be needed to accomplish that, seeing as they're already using the image illegally.

    Edit: John posted while I was writing. I again want to reiterate that if you follow the Copyright provisions properly (by registering your image w/in 180 days), the attorney fees will be awarded by statute. In other words, the case will almost always be taken by a lawyer because he is guaranteed to have his fees paid if you have taken the right steps! So don't worry about how big the company is or whatever - just go talk to an attorney!
    Brad

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  19. #19
    Senior Member jetrim's Avatar
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    The first thing you should do is send them a letter telling them to stop using the photo.
    Seriously,
    I've been through this time and time and time again, not with photos, but with text and other digital graphics. Do a whois search and find out who is hosting their site, THAT'S who you send the letter to. Other than a select few Dutch companies, they will invariably pull the site off the internet temporarily (usually with a note stating it was due to alleged infringement). That does get peoples attention very quickly, especially e-commerce sites and they are WAY more than happy to work with you to get the matter resolved once you interupt their cashflow. A letter like that, from an attorney, will have this matter resolved in a matter of HOURS not months.

  20. #20
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    Re: Photo being used for profit w/o my consent

    It is always a good thing to copy right your Photos before any publication. You do not have copy right one at a time. The cost for ten thousand is the same as one.

    The link provided by jetrim should be a must read for any photographer.
    K10d pentax 50-200 f4-5.6 sigma 100-300 f4 sigma 18-50mm f2.8 ex dc macro Kenko AF 1.5 DG

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