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Author Topic: how would you feel? Images removed b/c of copyright infringement  (Read 10849 times)

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saniphoto

« on: December 09, 2009, 11:52 »
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suppose somebody threat to take legal action against agency XX claiming that one concept/idea is his copyright and the agency decide to avoid 'troubles' and delete your images that are even related to this concept. How would you feel about it?

Obviously is a personal case, that involve a few of my images, but I feel the whole thing is wrong, because doesn't exist copyright on ideas or concept.
 
As support for discussion, read this passage from Dan Heller book about copyright and trademark, that i find supportive of my idea about copyright:

It's the use of your actual image (or a portion of it) that requires permission, not the contents of the image, or even the idea behind it. Even if you are very well-known for a particular image, if someone else took a photo of the same thing, they own the copyright to their image and can license it without compensating you.

I am curious about your opinions about this case, as I think it can be of general interest.


« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 12:03 »
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So they just deleted your images without a reason?   You need to tell us a bit more If you need support on this.

« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 12:09 »
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You need to show us the images that were deleted and the images that were supposedly copied.

saniphoto

« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 12:13 »
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the reason is told in my post. Somebody (a photographer) claims that one concept/idea is his copyright. Not an image, the concept. Photo were deleted and then I was informed by the agency (by the way, agency said the think he is wrong, but deleted my images and somebody other as well, with similar concept, to avoid 'troubles').

I will not tell which agency, no names here. I am interested in the question from a legal point of view and in view of what could happen to anybody, if tomorrow a guy would claim that 'hand shaking' concept is his copyright...  all images of hand shaking would be deleted by that microstock agency (one of the main)?

I am not interested now in disputes and probably at the end will let it go, despite I am without any doubt damaged by this cancellation of my images. But the argument interest me and should interest all as involve the always slippery subject of copyright.


saniphoto

« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 12:16 »
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You need to show us the images that were deleted and the images that were supposedly copied.

here is not a question of showing images. I cannot show images, because this involve also other photographers than me (as the agency has told me), whose images were removed too. The matter here is if one can claim rights that one concept/idea is of him. I hope now is more clear.

« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2009, 12:27 »
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Yes, you are right. You can't copyright an idea. But, I think a lot goes into it, so it is not very clear without seeing. I like iStock's use of the term abusive inspiration because I think that describes some of the practices employed by contributors. In the end, it really doesn't matter if you violated another person's copyright. If the agency felt you weren't playing by the rules, it may just be easier for them to get rid of your images. It may not be fair, but it is their right to run their business how they see fit.

P.S. I'd feel terrible by the way if I was accused of this, so I feel for you.

« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2009, 12:49 »
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Not only are you not showing us the images involved, which makes it impossible for us to know 'how we would feel', you haven't actually stated whether or not you did copy the concept from others. It might be one thing using the idea but quite another if the execution has also been closely copied too.

Let's try your question the other way around __ if you came up with a useful genuinely new concept, which started earning you plenty of money, how would you feel if others just copied it?

WarrenPrice

« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2009, 12:55 »
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Yes, you are right. You can't copyright an idea. But, I think a lot goes into it, so it is not very clear without seeing. I like iStock's use of the term abusive inspiration because I think that describes some of the practices employed by contributors. In the end, it really doesn't matter if you violated another person's copyright. If the agency felt you weren't playing by the rules, it may just be easier for them to get rid of your images. It may not be fair, but it is their right to run their business how they see fit.

P.S. I'd feel terrible by the way if I was accused of this, so I feel for you.

I know that you are right, cthoman,   Sure they have a right to run their business as they please.  But there is another way of looking at this.  We are running a business too.  We HIRED the agency to sell our product.  There SHOULD be some consideration for the rights of the contributor's business, even those of us who have tiny portfolios.  Unfortunately, we are too divided to force such an issue.  

Again, I know that I am in the minority.  Just making more noise and continuing to shoot myself in the foot.   ::)

« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2009, 12:58 »
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This discussion is too theoretical to be interesting without knowing the specifics.  I'm going to guess that it's more than the concept that was copied.  Maybe the agency was out of line; maybe they weren't.  Without seeing the original and the copy, it's a case of "he said, he said". 

« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2009, 13:03 »
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Clearly this is a gray area, one that would require specific examples to review.

The example of a generic handshake is clearly one that should NOT be considered infringement.  But if you had two businesspeople shaking hands on top of a big blowup of the word DEAL, then the image is much more specific and if someone were to create a pic with similar looking businessmen at the same angle, same colors, fonts, etc., many of us would feel that the concept of the original image was copied and the duplicates should not be allowed in the microstock sites.

I think defining copyright infringement in cases like this is similar to how a US court famously defined pornography... "you know it when you see it."

« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2009, 13:09 »
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There SHOULD be some consideration for the rights of the contributor's business, even those of us who have tiny portfolios.  Unfortunately, we are too divided to force such an issue.  

Again, I know that I am in the minority.  Just making more noise and continuing to shoot myself in the foot.   ::)

I didn't mean to insinuate that we shouldn't have rights as well, but contributors that just copy ideas from the best sellers seem kind of predatory. These people may not have violated any copyright, but their practices aren't necessarily what the agency or contributors want. Obviously, I'm not accusing the original poster of this, but I'm trying to point out that something doesn't have to be illegal to be wrong.

« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2009, 13:11 »
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"you know it when you see it."
That's what I was going to write originally, but I decided to blab on instead. :D

« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2009, 13:25 »
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I didn't mean to insinuate that we shouldn't have rights as well, but contributors that just copy ideas from the best sellers seem kind of predatory. These people may not have violated any copyright, but their practices aren't necessarily what the agency or contributors want. Obviously, I'm not accusing the original poster of this, but I'm trying to point out that something doesn't have to be illegal to be wrong.

Agreed.  There's a whole lot of room between violation of Federal statutes and behavior an agency wants to discourage before it leads to an exodus of frustrated suppliers.  It doesn't have to be illegal to be bad.

« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2009, 13:48 »
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If you have done nothing wrong, and did not copy another photographers picture, then why do you have a problem showing us the image? I don't understand your reluctance.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2009, 13:54 »
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This discussion is too theoretical to be interesting without knowing the specifics.  I'm going to guess that it's more than the concept that was copied.  Maybe the agency was out of line; maybe they weren't.  Without seeing the original and the copy, it's a case of "he said, he said". 

Agreed.  When comes to choosing sides ... I tend to be Ready Fire Aim.   :P

saniphoto

« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2009, 14:10 »
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Not only are you not showing us the images involved, which makes it impossible for us to know 'how we would feel', you haven't actually stated whether or not you did copy the concept from others. It might be one thing using the idea but quite another if the execution has also been closely copied too.

Let's try your question the other way around __ if you came up with a useful genuinely new concept, which started earning you plenty of money, how would you feel if others just copied it?

I know, I know... but you must forgive me if I cannot show images, because as said, there are other photographers involved, apparently (in the email sent to me, that was said) and my was more a curiosity about the fact that one photographer with platoon of attorney menaced to bring to court the agency, evidently, so they have removed my images and others. Now reading the kind answers and thoughts posted here, the problem is not that simple as I was at first thinking. Thank you for having made my mind more clear about it.

Oh, I notice that I forgot completely to tell that the photographer claiming the copyright infringement is not a microstocker.

I cannot honestly say that one of my images wasn't similar in concept, to the one he claim I have copied (but I haven't copied). The problem is that I know I didn't copy because I didn't know his work at all.  But rightly the coincidence' would make anybody doubt my words. I recognize that. I feel like that criminal in prison, that was set up and we see in so many movies or tv series...   :)

One fact I would say in my defense, is that he has in his website 5-6 concept idea, very old. I have a microstock portfolio with dozens of creative ideas.  It should be a small proof that I usually do creative work by my own mind and I haven't problem to create often new ideas, so why stole others ones? With this I answer the question: no I wouldn't mind if they would copy my concepts/ideas. I'm not happy when they do, but I move on because I have no problem to have tomorrow another idea and the day after another one... the problem is for who cannot have ideas.

What lead me this experience anyway is that now I am a bit freaked out to produce original concepts, if the risk is so high. Better shoot a red apple or my dog!   :(

Thanks again for your insights and opinions about this subject. When I will have answers from the agency, I will follow up updating on the case and his development.


saniphoto

« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2009, 14:14 »
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If you have done nothing wrong, and did not copy another photographers picture, then why do you have a problem showing us the image? I don't understand your reluctance.


I make you notice that in my post above I wrote that the agency itself declared to me that they think he is not right
 I don't want to show images for reasons I have tried to explain and I consider I'm right in doing so for respect of other persons involved (it it was just me, I wouldn't have problem, believe me)


« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2009, 14:19 »
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Oh, I notice that I forgot completely to tell that the photographer claiming the copyright infringement is not a microstocker.


That is interesting. Sounds to me that this guy is going to have a big job on his hands trying to hold back all microstock sites though!

Actually I'm pretty disgusted that a 'major microstock agency' has caved in on this issue __ their access to legal advice/action is going to be far greater than any individual photographer. Which agency was it? I think we should be told.

saniphoto

« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2009, 14:42 »
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Oh, I notice that I forgot completely to tell that the photographer claiming the copyright infringement is not a microstocker.


That is interesting. Sounds to me that this guy is going to have a big job on his hands trying to hold back all microstock sites though!

Actually I'm pretty disgusted that a 'major microstock agency' has caved in on this issue __ their access to legal advice/action is going to be far greater than any individual photographer. Which agency was it? I think we should be told.

Hi gostwyck

I will not reveal at this moment any names, but as this matter will unfold I will see if to tell the whole story or not (depends also on the agency behavior, if they will comply to my requests for explanations and answer to my questions for example).
I can say the agency is one of the big 3...  that should be anyway enough to say that sometimes even them are without a clue as what to do in such cases. This is my impression at least. 

This fact that some 'big guys' from macro stock could one day start to hunt down microstock for copyright infringements is something that in fact was crossing my mind earlier today...  maybe another way to take back the money they lose because of microstock?   ;)

« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2009, 14:52 »
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This fact that some 'big guys' from macro stock could one day start to hunt down microstock for copyright infringements is something that in fact was crossing my mind earlier today...  maybe another way to take back the money they lose because of microstock?   ;)


I just can't see this. As you've said yourself you can't copyright ideas so the complaining photographer really shouldn't have a legal leg to stand on.

About the only similar instance I can recall was about 4 years when an IS contributor uploaded some 'classical' b&w images of a reclining girl. They made the guy AOTW until it was pointed out that the images were near-identical set-ups of the works of a famous photographer. IS removed the guys account if I remember correctly.

« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2009, 16:10 »
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My question is what if a photographer comes up with some great "Original Idea" and submits it only to find out (due to lack of research) that someone else has previously submitted a nearly identical image?

This new photographer did not "copy", as they thought that their shot was original. Some concepts are just so easy to visualize that some repetition becomes inevitable even without copying.

ap

« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2009, 16:28 »
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My question is what if a photographer comes up with some great "Original Idea" and submits it only to find out (due to lack of research) that someone else has previously submitted a nearly identical image?

This new photographer did not "copy", as they thought that their shot was original. Some concepts are just so easy to visualize that some repetition becomes inevitable even without copying.
this happens all the time, with artistic creations, writings, and inventions. it would really be down to a race with time in terms of not only who originated it first, but can prove it with registered copyright and patents or simple publication.

in this case, the macrostocker who hired the attorney obviously feels he has the proof in terms of a much older portfolio.

« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2009, 17:50 »
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I think wiseguy is trying to say that the agency took his photos down while they do more investigating. The agency doesn't think he copied, but they must do the investigating before making any decisions.

This topic comes up every couple of months. We are all human beings, experiencing relatively the same events in the same world. Sure, some are more creative than others, but for the most part, a lot of contributors are going to shoot the same thing someone else has already shot, just by accident, not because they copied.

I see stuff pass through the queue all the time that looks pretty much exactly like something in my port. Nothing I can do about it. Keep shooting, try to be more creative, use backgrounds/fabrics/props/models that bring a different look to the photo.

Without seeing wiseguys' photo and the one this photographer claims he copied, I would never be able to make a decision or take sides.

RacePhoto

« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2009, 18:47 »
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This fact that some 'big guys' from macro stock could one day start to hunt down microstock for copyright infringements is something that in fact was crossing my mind earlier today...  maybe another way to take back the money they lose because of microstock?   ;)



I just can't see this. As you've said yourself you can't copyright ideas so the complaining photographer really shouldn't have a legal leg to stand on.

About the only similar instance I can recall was about 4 years when an IS contributor uploaded some 'classical' b&w images of a reclining girl. They made the guy AOTW until it was pointed out that the images were near-identical set-ups of the works of a famous photographer. IS removed the guys account if I remember correctly.


Correct. I can't copyright a concept or idea but if someone shoots what may be a replica or nearly identical setting and shot, it can be infringing. How specific is the original shot? Two people on a park bench? Not very uncommon. Two people sitting on a red and white stripped pole with one arm hanging down, holding candy canes, back lighted. That's pretty specific.

Another shot was a couple kissing on a merry-go-round. Claim was, it's co-incidence. Similar? The polka dot dress was the same, lighting the same, hair the same, head angles the same... Some things are way beyond co-incidence. The original photographer won the case.

Since we can't see the photos, it's all guessing and hypothetical discussion. Kind of like the giant invisible purple frog that lives out in my back yard. Prove that it doesn't exist? I see it nearly every day.  ;D

Sorry Wiseguy but unnamed agency, invisible photo, someone who isn't a microstock contributor, talks of lawyers and who's right and wrong and closed account, but it's all just words on a forum. If you could link to his photo and your photo, it would make for a more intelligent guess. There's no evidence that anything exists at this point.

Interesting decision in photographer, Penny Gentieu vs Getty, please read. Not that it's right but it does point out some of the obstacles to claiming someone owns the concept of an image. Her case is the extreme for the other side, agency vs photographer. But it points out what someone may need to prove to say they own a particular shot style or setup.

http://www.illustratorspartnership.org/01_topics/article.php?searchterm=00135
 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 01:39 by RacePhoto »

« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2009, 19:54 »
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I would love to see the declaration from the copyright office that includes the registration number and the length of copyright.  Since his photo is copyrighted and all  ;D


 

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