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Author Topic: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash  (Read 14807 times)

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grafix04

« on: June 07, 2012, 00:12 »
0
Forget sending requests for DMCAs through your agent.  That's proven to be a waste of time and you don't get any value (or real satisfaction) out of it.  Sending an email ourselves isn't any more of an effort than gathering all the details to provide our agents for them to send one.  Sending it ourselves allows us a chance to earn money, reimburses us for the stress this causes, educates violators to reduce the number of incidents in the future, while at the same time, directing traffic to our own websites/blogs.

Here's how it's done:

PayPal provides us with tools that enable us to request money from buyers.  We can use the Buy Now now buttons and PayPal gives us two options for this:

1. If you use Outlook Express, you can attach a Pay Now button on your email.  

2. If you don't use Outlook Express, you can create a button on PayPal and add the html code on a page on your website or blog.  When you send your email, direct the buyer to that page and you will increase traffic to your site.


Your email can be something like this:

You have used an image from {my business name} without purchasing an appropriate license and have therefore infringed on copyrighted content.  The original source of the image can be found here:

http://my.yourwebsite.com/imagepage.jpg

Below you will find a link to a screenshot of the image that you have used without a license, to be recognized in a court of law as evidence of the copyright infringement:

http://www.yoursite.com/screenshot.jpg

If you pay ${specifiy an amount} using the {Paypal button/link} provided below, no further action will be taken and the payment will be accepted as a license to use the image as it's currently being used on that page only.

If this request for payment is ignored, formal proceedings will ensue.


Formal proceedings could mean anything - taking legal action or sending a DMCA.  They don't need to know what you plan to do.  Leave them guessing. This way they're more likely to pay up.

You would have to alter the text depending on where the infringement is at.  You might word it differently for people stealing your images on Pinterest and ask for a different amount for commercial and non-commercial uses.

The way I see it, this could turn out to be just as profitable as microstock.  It will gain you some extra traffic on your site and I'm confident that person will think twice before stealing another image.

I might even leave my the Pinterest 'pins' of my images there and if people take the image, using the embed code, I will send them one of these emails.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 00:18 by grafix04 »


« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2012, 00:25 »
+1
3 problems with this very bad advice:

1. How do you know that the website or blog has not licensed your RF image legitimately from your agent ? Even at a site like Pinterest there may be users who have licensed your RF image.

2. There is a good chance that sending out these sorts of letters will result in your Paypal account being suspended. At least pending further investigation.

3.  It is the job of your agent to liaise with clients. If you are not happy that your agent is doing enough then you need to address the issue to them.

« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2012, 00:29 »
0
3 problems with this very bad advice:

1. How do you know that the website or blog has not licensed your RF image legitimately from your agent ? Even at a site like Pinterest there may be users who have licensed your RF image.

2. There is a good chance that sending out these sorts of letters will result in your Paypal account being suspended. At least pending further investigation.

3.  It is the job of your agent to liaise with clients. If you are not happy that your agent is doing enough then you need to address the issue to them.

All very very good points.  It's so easy to get caught up in spending to much time, effort and negative energy into assumed violations.

grafix04

« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2012, 00:39 »
0
3 problems with this very bad advice:

1. How do you know that the website or blog has not licensed your RF image legitimately from your agent ? Even at a site like Pinterest there may be users who have licensed your RF image.

2. There is a good chance that sending out these sorts of letters will result in your Paypal account being suspended. At least pending further investigation.

3.  It is the job of your agent to liaise with clients. If you are not happy that your agent is doing enough then you need to address the issue to them.

1.  The same way I know now.  If it's a watermarked image, it's obvious.  If it's hotlinked, it's obvious.  I won't know for a lot of them but I do for most of them.  Why not earn money from it?

2.  Why would my PayPal account be suspended?  It's a legitimate request for money in exchange for a license they need to purchase to continue using the image.

3.  You don't always know which agent the image belongs to and most agents don't bother doing anything.  The agents now are adding to the problem by adding a 'pin-it' button under our images.  DT suggested we send our own DMCA to Pinterest.  We are allowed to send a DMCA for the infringement of our propery.  I do that anyway.  All I'm doing is asking for payment before I do anything further which is fair.  It's my image, it was stolen, I'd like a license purchased.

This isn't something I've made up.  I've seen photographers do this already and make money from it.

« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2012, 00:58 »
0
It will be interesting to know if this works.  I'm not inclined to spend time searching for illegal use of my images at the moment, because all it does is make me angry and it's time consuming.  If there was something positive that could be done, I might spend some time doing it.  So if people do try this, please report back here with how it's going.

« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2012, 02:24 »
0
I routinely send invoices for usage on non micro stuff. Happens all the time. Have never used the Paypal button though.

drugal

    This user is banned.
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2012, 02:54 »
0
Forget sending requests for DMCAs through your agent.  That's proven to be a waste of time and you don't get any value (or real satisfaction) out of it.  Sending an email ourselves isn't any more of an effort than gathering all the details to provide our agents for them to send one.  Sending it ourselves allows us a chance to earn money, reimburses us for the stress this causes, educates violators to reduce the number of incidents in the future, while at the same time, directing traffic to our own websites/blogs.

Here's how it's done:

PayPal provides us with tools that enable us to request money from buyers.  We can use the Buy Now now buttons and PayPal gives us two options for this:

1. If you use Outlook Express, you can attach a Pay Now button on your email.  

2. If you don't use Outlook Express, you can create a button on PayPal and add the html code on a page on your website or blog.  When you send your email, direct the buyer to that page and you will increase traffic to your site.


Your email can be something like this:

You have used an image from {my business name} without purchasing an appropriate license and have therefore infringed on copyrighted content.  The original source of the image can be found here:

http://my.yourwebsite.com/imagepage.jpg

Below you will find a link to a screenshot of the image that you have used without a license, to be recognized in a court of law as evidence of the copyright infringement:

http://www.yoursite.com/screenshot.jpg

If you pay ${specifiy an amount} using the {Paypal button/link} provided below, no further action will be taken and the payment will be accepted as a license to use the image as it's currently being used on that page only.

If this request for payment is ignored, formal proceedings will ensue.


Formal proceedings could mean anything - taking legal action or sending a DMCA.  They don't need to know what you plan to do.  Leave them guessing. This way they're more likely to pay up.

You would have to alter the text depending on where the infringement is at.  You might word it differently for people stealing your images on Pinterest and ask for a different amount for commercial and non-commercial uses.

The way I see it, this could turn out to be just as profitable as microstock.  It will gain you some extra traffic on your site and I'm confident that person will think twice before stealing another image.

I might even leave my the Pinterest 'pins' of my images there and if people take the image, using the embed code, I will send them one of these emails.


Just keep doing that to get banned all over the place, suspended and/or banned at payment systems, and get in a lot of serious trouble and lawsuits. Would you like to get charged with extortion? Just one slip, you misinterpret a situation and with that quoted routine of yours you lost before you go to court. You' are going mental there, dude. You seriously need a reality check.

grafix04

« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2012, 04:23 »
0
I routinely send invoices for usage on non micro stuff. Happens all the time. Have never used the Paypal button though.

Yea I have too for non micro.  And a few for micro but I've sent them to purchase a license from the relevant agent (from eyeballing the watermark).  I know an artsy photographer who sells his prints on fineartamerica and similar sites.  He's started chasing his own copyright infringements every couple of months and nets an average of about $300 each time.  That would help take the sting away from these infringements and having these people pay money makes them think twice about stealing again. 

« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2012, 07:22 »
0
3 problems with this very bad advice:

1. How do you know that the website or blog has not licensed your RF image legitimately from your agent ? Even at a site like Pinterest there may be users who have licensed your RF image.

2. There is a good chance that sending out these sorts of letters will result in your Paypal account being suspended. At least pending further investigation.

3.  It is the job of your agent to liaise with clients. If you are not happy that your agent is doing enough then you need to address the issue to them.

That is exactly correct. Only in the case of DT, they are enabling the copyright infringements by adding Share buttons right below images. The issue has been addressed with them. They have not even mentioned the words copyright infringement, they are only concerned with how much traffic it might bring to the site. Whether that traffic translates to dollars remains to be seen, but in the meantime how many thousands of copyright infringements of work that does NOT belong to DT are happening? Gambling with other people's property, without their permission, is wrong. Period.

« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2012, 07:25 »
0
It will be interesting to know if this works.  I'm not inclined to spend time searching for illegal use of my images at the moment, because all it does is make me angry and it's time consuming.  If there was something positive that could be done, I might spend some time doing it.  So if people do try this, please report back here with how it's going.

Same here. I have found my images used illegally in the past and have sent DMCAs with a link to where the image can be purchased, but the images have always just been removed. Adding the Paypal button sounds like a great idea.

Ed

« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2012, 07:45 »
0
Paypal will shut you down in a heartbeat because someone will complain that you are sending fraudulant invoices.  Then, you won't be able to get your payouts from the agencies and you've doubled your trouble (it is a good thought though).

« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2012, 08:30 »
0
You could replace the PP button by "please pay XXX to my paypal account on [email protected]".

« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2012, 09:03 »
0
Paypal will shut you down in a heartbeat because someone will complain that you are sending fraudulant invoices.  Then, you won't be able to get your payouts from the agencies and you've doubled your trouble (it is a good thought though).
Yeah I believe this may violate Paypal's terms in some way so they can shut you down. Too risky I'd say.

antistock

« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2012, 09:08 »
0
why not just setting up a payment gateway on your web site ?

why putting any faith on the unreliable Paypal ?

a stranger asking me money providing a paypal link would instantly look like a scam to me ... and how can i know you're the legitimate owner of the photo ? at the very least you should provide your company's address, phone number, mobile number, etc

grafix04

« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2012, 10:06 »
0
It doesn't matter if you don't use the PayPal button.  That's just a tool that I'll use because my photographer pal seems to be doing okay with it.  I may even go a different route and use PayPal's invoicing so that PayPal can see the evidence of the infringement themselves.  Requesting payment for goods or services rendered definitely does not go against PayPal's policies.  That's what they're there for.  I also doubt they would go ahead and close your account.  The buyer (infringer) would have to raise a dispute and it would have to be investigated.  I've done that several times as a buyer myself.

The point however is getting paid.  It doesn't matter how you do it.  You can send them to your own site to purchase a license if you have one, or you can send them to your favorite agent.  The point is to turn these annoying infringements into cash which would give us an incentive to chase them and educate people about copyright.

We're never going to resolve the issue and it's only going to get worse over time.  If we find a ways to find infringements faster and convert a good portion of them into cash, they become easier to swallow.  Suddenly, copyright infringements aren't so bad.  We may even begin to look forward to them  ;D

Another option I found is to use ImageRights.com  Probably more handy for RM but it looks interesting.  The technology is similar to Tineye and the upside is it's free to use for up to 2000 images.  I briefly scanned through it and from what I gathered, you upload your images and as they find potential copyright infringements, they contact you and you decide if they're legit.  If not, they chase and recover payment and take a 50% cut.  Which isn't too bad if you're looking for something to save you time.  The downside is, the images have to be registered for copyright.  For someone who already has their images registered, it might be worthwhile.  I've seen a few people talking it up on the Alamy forums.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2012, 10:37 »
0
It doesn't matter if you don't use the PayPal button.  That's just a tool that I'll use because my photographer pal seems to be doing okay with it.  I may even go a different route and use PayPal's invoicing so that PayPal can see the evidence of the infringement themselves.  Requesting payment for goods or services rendered definitely does not go against PayPal's policies.  That's what they're there for.  I also doubt they would go ahead and close your account.  The buyer (infringer) would have to raise a dispute and it would have to be investigated.  I've done that several times as a buyer myself.

The point however is getting paid.  It doesn't matter how you do it.  You can send them to your own site to purchase a license if you have one, or you can send them to your favorite agent.  The point is to turn these annoying infringements into cash which would give us an incentive to chase them and educate people about copyright.

We're never going to resolve the issue and it's only going to get worse over time.  If we find a ways to find infringements faster and convert a good portion of them into cash, they become easier to swallow.  Suddenly, copyright infringements aren't so bad.  We may even begin to look forward to them  ;D

Another option I found is to use ImageRights.com  Probably more handy for RM but it looks interesting.  The technology is similar to Tineye and the upside is it's free to use for up to 2000 images.  I briefly scanned through it and from what I gathered, you upload your images and as they find potential copyright infringements, they contact you and you decide if they're legit.  If not, they chase and recover payment and take a 50% cut.  Which isn't too bad if you're looking for something to save you time.  The downside is, the images have to be registered for copyright.  For someone who already has their images registered, it might be worthwhile.  I've seen a few people talking it up on the Alamy forums.

That's probably a good idea.

« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2012, 10:43 »
0
the image rights are asking for $50 for every case, and it will take 50% of whatever it got. I think it may works for RM case.

basically if the website hosting company will back up to punish those copyright infringement then that will really bring down all violations, most of the site won't take the risk to get suspended for few days.


It doesn't matter if you don't use the PayPal button.  That's just a tool that I'll use because my photographer pal seems to be doing okay with it.  I may even go a different route and use PayPal's invoicing so that PayPal can see the evidence of the infringement themselves.  Requesting payment for goods or services rendered definitely does not go against PayPal's policies.  That's what they're there for.  I also doubt they would go ahead and close your account.  The buyer (infringer) would have to raise a dispute and it would have to be investigated.  I've done that several times as a buyer myself.

The point however is getting paid.  It doesn't matter how you do it.  You can send them to your own site to purchase a license if you have one, or you can send them to your favorite agent.  The point is to turn these annoying infringements into cash which would give us an incentive to chase them and educate people about copyright.

We're never going to resolve the issue and it's only going to get worse over time.  If we find a ways to find infringements faster and convert a good portion of them into cash, they become easier to swallow.  Suddenly, copyright infringements aren't so bad.  We may even begin to look forward to them  ;D

Another option I found is to use ImageRights.com  Probably more handy for RM but it looks interesting.  The technology is similar to Tineye and the upside is it's free to use for up to 2000 images.  I briefly scanned through it and from what I gathered, you upload your images and as they find potential copyright infringements, they contact you and you decide if they're legit.  If not, they chase and recover payment and take a 50% cut.  Which isn't too bad if you're looking for something to save you time.  The downside is, the images have to be registered for copyright.  For someone who already has their images registered, it might be worthwhile.  I've seen a few people talking it up on the Alamy forums.

That's probably a good idea.


grafix04

« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2012, 11:12 »
0
the image rights are asking for $50 for every case, and it will take 50% of whatever it got. I think it may works for RM case.

basically if the website hosting company will back up to punish those copyright infringement then that will really bring down all violations, most of the site won't take the risk to get suspended for few days.

Thanks, I missed that!  And oops it's 1000 images not 2000.  $50 is a bit much but I suppose that's why that want the images registered with the US Copyright Office.  That way they can recover more. 

Ed

« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2012, 11:33 »
0
Another option I found is to use ImageRights.com  Probably more handy for RM but it looks interesting.  The technology is similar to Tineye and the upside is it's free to use for up to 2000 images.  I briefly scanned through it and from what I gathered, you upload your images and as they find potential copyright infringements, they contact you and you decide if they're legit.  If not, they chase and recover payment and take a 50% cut.  Which isn't too bad if you're looking for something to save you time.  The downside is, the images have to be registered for copyright.  For someone who already has their images registered, it might be worthwhile.  I've seen a few people talking it up on the Alamy forums.

I've been with Image Rights for almost a year.  They DO NOT WORK LIKE TINEYE OR GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH.  I can't emphasize that enough.  They do look for your images, but they look in places where they are likely to get lifted, and where you are likely to get payment for the lifted image.  You will not find your images in use everywhere as you would expect.  I've been better off looking for the images myself.

They recently changed their terms.  Previously, they would not pursue a case unless the infringement was worth more than $350.  This is worthless to Micro shooters. If Bigstock or iStock sells your image for 20 dollars and you have registered the image with the U.S. copyright office and are eligible for "damages", then you have a $100 case against an infringer (damages are calculated as 3 - 5x the license amount).  This was an explanation I received last March when I tried to pursue a case about an image that had been stolen from Bigstock.  The advice I received was "file a DMCA notice".

...this is another one of the reasons I'm moving away from microstock.  If you sell your image for pennies, then logically, that image is worth pennies and it's not even worth your time to pursue those who steal your work.

This may change in the future with the establishment of a small claims court for copyright violations but that's the reality of it these days.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 11:35 by Ed »

antistock

« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2012, 21:53 »
0
...this is another one of the reasons I'm moving away from microstock.  If you sell your image for pennies, then logically, that image is worth pennies and it's not even worth your time to pursue those who steal your work.

This may change in the future with the establishment of a small claims court for copyright violations but that's the reality of it these days.

this is exactly what i'm saying since the RF licence became popular.

first, price apart how can you spot legitimate buyers from unlawful buyers ? how do you if a web site is using a legal RF photo but their web site was done by a 3rd party and they've no idea where the image came from ?

secondly, as you discovered yourself, if the selling price is too low you've simply no chance to get any money back and lawyers will tell you to forget about it.

but this is now valid also for cheap RM .. alamy but also getty are now selling promotions with 5$ web-size images !
and the average RM sales i'm having at alamy are 30-50$ per image, not a big deal indeed !

a court for small claims would be a godsend but it ain't gonna happen, as there's nothing also for small thefts .. that's why there are so many scammers on sites like Ebay, they know police will not move a finger for a 50$ scam, all they need to do is scamming in big volumes, i mean by direct experience police don't move a finger anyway unless there are big money at stake, try go to police station and telling them somebody stole your cell phone, or your bicycle and good luck .. but if it's your 30K euro car that's another story, they're simply understuffed and small crimes are the very last in their priority list.

grafix04

« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2012, 01:04 »
0
I've been with Image Rights for almost a year.  They DO NOT WORK LIKE TINEYE OR GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH.  I can't emphasize that enough.  They do look for your images, but they look in places where they are likely to get lifted, and where you are likely to get payment for the lifted image.  You will not find your images in use everywhere as you would expect.  I've been better off looking for the images myself.
[/quote

That's no good.  The technology sounded promising.  They mentioned somewhere that they scan your images and they'll notify you when anything new pops up.  That's what I'm looking for.  I want something like Google images - where we can do a search on the drag and drop and then set a Google alert for it so that I get an email  when something new pops up, rather than having to sift through pages of the same ones each time.   Who knows, maybe in future Google will do it.  Maybe if I type the word GOOGLE several times, they'll see this post.  Maybe Google in bold.  :)

antistock

« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2012, 02:02 »
0
i can tell you this technology is going nowhere.

to be effective they should dump the whole internet in a datacenter, that means millions of Petabytes of data, and then run their image-comparison algo on your photos, one by one !

how much would this cost ?

on top of this, they can't dump images embedded in Flash, or images served via AJAX and javascript, nor they can dump images protected via .htaccess and other less known server-side tricks.

they cant also spy inside zipped files stored in sites like MegaUpload nor they can sniff in torrent and P2P networks.

no matter how much cpu power and storage space will become cheap in the future, it will still be unsustainable business-wise, that's exactly why TinEye is only indexing a small bunch of web sites in their database but i don't think they're gonna stay in business for long since they've no business plan at the moment.

after all there's a good reason if all the other specialized image search engines are barely surviving and others went bankrupt when they finished the VC's money.

drugal

    This user is banned.
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2012, 14:24 »
0

...this is another one of the reasons I'm moving away from microstock.  If you sell your image for pennies, then logically, that image is worth pennies and it's not even worth your time to pursue those who steal your work.

This may change in the future with the establishment of a small claims court for copyright violations but that's the reality of it these days.


I'v been telling this to everyone since forever. Ppl either realize and live with the fact that this model itself is a copyright-killer because nobody in the effin universe is going to represent anyone for $1 infringements on confusing, near limitless usages - or they are naive. Of course as children usually do, they came up with an all-solving logical answer to this: I'm a dribbling evil troll : ) * sigh * :)

« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2012, 17:39 »
0
I don't make $1 on a lot of my images...I make more than that. I have a small portfolio, but someone with 6000 images x $5, $10 or $15, well, that's not pennies. Multiply that by the number of contributors this is affecting. That's not nothing.

You can belittle the contributors who only have 100 images in their portfolio, who might just make cents on their images, but just remember, they are part of a multi-million dollar microstock industry. The copyright infringement problem affects a good majority of those contributors. That's not nothing. 

There are always going to be people who blow this off because they think contributors are powerless. Those people have the right to give up, sit around, and do nothing. But you shouldn't belittle people who think they should try to do something. Chances are, whatever headway they make, will benefit you. Make sure you tell them thanks when the time comes.  ;)

Ed

« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2012, 19:55 »
0
I don't make $1 on a lot of my images...I make more than that. I have a small portfolio, but someone with 6000 images x $5, $10 or $15, well, that's not pennies. Multiply that by the number of contributors this is affecting. That's not nothing.

You can belittle the contributors who only have 100 images in their portfolio, who might just make cents on their images, but just remember, they are part of a multi-million dollar microstock industry. The copyright infringement problem affects a good majority of those contributors. That's not nothing. 

There are always going to be people who blow this off because they think contributors are powerless. Those people have the right to give up, sit around, and do nothing. But you shouldn't belittle people who think they should try to do something. Chances are, whatever headway they make, will benefit you. Make sure you tell them thanks when the time comes.  ;)

Cathy, I'm not belittling anyone and I'm surprised you're getting defensive about this.

When you find an infringer, that infringer hasn't stolen 6000 images - they've stolen one or two images from that contributor.  Generally, we are talking about web use.  Re-read my post and keep that in mind.

You can send out DMCA notices until you're blue in the face (I do this) but don't hold your breath with relation to collecting any money from these infringers when THAT image (the one sitting on that website stolen) is available to be licensed for $5, $10, or $15 as you mention.  It's you against the infringer for that particular image stolen.


 

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