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Author Topic: Who is responsible of copyright infringement of a photo  (Read 1864 times)

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« on: August 17, 2018, 01:00 »
0
I'm interested to know who is responsible if copyright infringement happens.
For example, a photo of a building is sold on Shutterstock but the authorized representative of the building does not allow licensing it for public use.
Let's say the representative of the building finds out the photo is used on a website without permission, who is responsible, Shutterstock or the person who bought the photo?

The reason I am asking is
I am planning to sell stock photos on my own website and I am not sure if some of the photos should have a property release for licensing.
Can I just sell the photos (without property releases) and say that the customer is responsible if any legal consequences occur?




SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2018, 03:10 »
0
Usually the person who uploads the photo. As long as the buyer is using the photo in a way that is allowed under the license they've purchased, then there's not much they could be liable for. And Shutterstock does say...

"Welcome to Shutterstock! We license images you can confidently use for any project. Legal protection you don't get from free sites. Peace of mind if you need images of people or landmarks."

I guess SS could be held responsible, but it will be in the terms that you take responsibility for the content you upload and you have the right to upload them etc etc... so if it came down to it, it would probably be on the contributor. In theory.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2018, 08:38 »
0
Quote
Usually the person who uploads the photo.

Do you mean the photographer or the publisher here? The publisher is the one that puts the image out in front of a wide audience in their magazine, website or advert. They are the one that either use the photo in a purely editorial sense or imply some sort of product or commercial validation which would definitely not be appropriate if the building is protected in some way.

As long as the image was taken from a public place and there was no deception about whether a release was available then the photographer is not at risk (I know that in the US anyone can sue anyone else, but in law I don't believe they are at risk)

Steve

« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2018, 09:10 »
0
I beg to differ. All that have deep pockets can be held reasonable for any miss used photos. A good friend of mine is in the legal business. He is only somewhat a slime bucket. His firm will go after anyone who has money or wealth. They do a research on who they are going to sue. If their research comes up with either enough insurance or cash they will go after you. So at the end of the day you the photographer can be sought after legally if you have assumed liability and money in the bank. Good luck..Welcome to America.... PS if you are broke not much to worry about....

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2018, 09:43 »
+1
I don't disagree - but there is a difference between who the law says is responsible versus who a slimy lawyer will try to sue. So the most likely ones in danger are the publisher (the buyer), the agency (as they have money) and finally the photographer. But I still believe that if the photographer has not lied about releases, and has taken the photo from a public place in the US, then they are not strictly liable for usage.

Steve

« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2018, 10:38 »
0
I don't disagree - but there is a difference between who the law says is responsible versus who a slimy lawyer will try to sue. So the most likely ones in danger are the publisher (the buyer), the agency (as they have money) and finally the photographer. But I still believe that if the photographer has not lied about releases, and has taken the photo from a public place in the US, then they are not strictly liable for usage.

Steve

It matters not that "there is a difference between who the law says is responsible versus who a slimy lawyer will try to sue", what matters is that indemnity is offered by the agency to the buyer to defend even in spurious cases. 
In the original post the question posed is "who is responsible if copyright infringement happens"?  That's when the game of pass the buck comes in and whoever has not kept within the Terms and Conditions ends up screwed, and you can be pretty sure it won't be the agency.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2018, 11:05 »
0
I'm interested to know who is responsible if copyright infringement happens.
For example, a photo of a building is sold on Shutterstock but the authorized representative of the building does not allow licensing it for public use.
Let's say the representative of the building finds out the photo is used on a website without permission, who is responsible, Shutterstock or the person who bought the photo?

The reason I am asking is
I am planning to sell stock photos on my own website and I am not sure if some of the photos should have a property release for licensing.
Can I just sell the photos (without property releases) and say that the customer is responsible if any legal consequences occur?

Everyone is responsible to some extent. Whether they will come after you, the artist or the publisher, is just as mentioned, depending on if the lawyers think there's any return in suing. Steve is also right, that if you license properly and legally, you could still get sued, but then it becomes interesting because there are costs involved in defending, even if you are not guilty.

Winning the defense should include having the claimant pay your legal fees.

Much of this is why SS and other sites, reject photos that should be legal to license commercial. Also say the license on a site is Editorial and the buyer decides to use it commercial, you / the site, are not liable, because you listed and licensed it properly.
 

« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2018, 14:38 »
+4
Look at the Dance Steps legal tangle to understand that you can get caught up in litigation even if you offer to take down the offending photo from your agency or site

http://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/doubt-about-when-model-release-is-needed/msg512201/#msg512201

If I were you, where you think there is an issue, offer it only with an editorial use license, not commercial use. It will limit your sales potential, but also your legal risk.

Unless you are a lawyer and/or have tons of free money and time to spend on legal issues should they arise, I'd suggest that any money you might make licensing the photo is too small to make taking the risk worth it.

You just have to decide how risk prone/averse you want to be.


 

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