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Microstock Photography Forum - General => General Stock Discussion => Topic started by: grafix04 on June 07, 2012, 00:12

Title: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 07, 2012, 00:12
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 (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 (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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: bunhill on June 07, 2012, 00:25
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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Amanda_K on June 07, 2012, 00:29
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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 07, 2012, 00:39
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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: sharpshot on June 07, 2012, 00:58
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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: stormchaser on June 07, 2012, 02:24
I routinely send invoices for usage on non micro stuff. Happens all the time. Have never used the Paypal button though.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: drugal on June 07, 2012, 02:54
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:

[url]http://my.yourwebsite.com/imagepage.jpg[/url] ([url]http://my.yourwebsite.com/imagepage.jpg[/url])

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:

[url]http://www.yoursite.com/screenshot.jpg[/url] ([url]http://www.yoursite.com/screenshot.jpg[/url])

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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 07, 2012, 04:23
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. 
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: cathyslife on June 07, 2012, 07:22
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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: cathyslife on June 07, 2012, 07:25
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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Ed on June 07, 2012, 07:45
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).
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Anyka on June 07, 2012, 08:30
You could replace the PP button by "please pay XXX to my paypal account on [email protected]".
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: click_click on June 07, 2012, 09:03
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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: antistock on June 07, 2012, 09:08
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
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 07, 2012, 10:06
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 (https://www.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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: WarrenPrice on June 07, 2012, 10:37
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 (https://www.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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: mtkang on June 07, 2012, 10:43
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 (https://www.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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 07, 2012, 11:12
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. 
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Ed on June 07, 2012, 11:33
Another option I found is to use ImageRights.com (https://www.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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: antistock on June 07, 2012, 21:53
...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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 08, 2012, 01:04
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.  :)
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: antistock on June 08, 2012, 02:02
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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: drugal on June 08, 2012, 14:24

...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 * :)
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: cathyslife on June 08, 2012, 17:39
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.  ;)
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Ed on June 08, 2012, 19:55
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.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: cathyslife on June 08, 2012, 22:45
Thats exactly the problem...not nearly enough people getting defensive about it. Too many people saying oh well, get over it.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 09, 2012, 00:07
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.

I have no idea why you believe that collecting money from infringers is impossible.  I already collect a fair bit of money from them.  I just plan on collecting more.  Lots more in fact.  I'm not going to send them to my agent and collect as low as 17%.  I'm going to collect 100% and even more if I ask for more, depending on the infringement.  When I email these people direct, they often send me an apologetic email and have no problem paying the money.  Especially those that are using the image for commercial use.  Many of them prefer that than having the image or their blogs taken down.  They also learn from it, and chances are, they don't do it again.  I just had an embarrassed doctor apologize and explain that his assistant uploaded the image thinking that it was free to use.  Whether this is true or not, who cares.  I received $20 for an XS size this morning.  As far as I'm concerned, the greatest amount of time is searching, finding their contact details, their host and sending DMCAs.  If you go to the agent, often you don't hear back from them or they take weeks.  Some are okay but I find most are pathetic.  In this time, you could have sent an email to the person directly, asking (not demanding) to be reimbursed for usage.  Not all will pay for it.  For those people, you then send a DMCA and have the image or their site/page removed. 

Collecting money isn't that difficult.  I'm just looking for ways to speed up the process.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: antistock on June 09, 2012, 01:40
maybe there's some hope !

user LindaM in the Alamy forum claims to have recovered "6 figures" $ in the first 6 months of 2012 from copyright infringment after sending 1400 (!!) DMCAs in the US.

http://alamy.com/forums/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=13140 (http://alamy.com/forums/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=13140)


that's an average 71$/DMCA if she made roughly 100K $ ... almost worth to open a business with office and employees :)
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: drugal on June 09, 2012, 06:06
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.  ;)

Your RPD in micro is around $10?
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 20, 2012, 09:02
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.

It's been positive so far.

Has anyone tried this?  I didn't use the PayPal button but I gave them my PayPal email to pay into.  I might try it another time or try PayPal's invoicing option.  I got a bit paranoid about PayPal deleting my account.  I don't think it will happen but just in case, I might set up another PayPal account (you're allowed two, one for business, one personal) or have my partner set one up for this purpose.  I've spent maybe four full days tops chasing these and it's paying off.  Not all of them have paid.  Some have taken down the images.  Others I haven't heard from so I've sent DMCAs to their host site to get them removed.  I'd say more than half have  paid.  I even had one woman pay me and then contact me directly to purchase another similar image, so that was a little bonus.  So instead of cringing when I find my images stolen, I now can't help getting a little excited  ;D

I didn't bother with Facebook and Pinterest but often they had links to their websites that had a watermarked image there.  I also found a few websites that were hosting high res images and have asked them to re-size them for web usage.  One of them I resized it and sent it to him for his convenience.  Guess where he purchased it from?  Yep, 123RF who doesn't specify a size limit! If I wasn't doing this I probably would have missed them.  Who knows how many have stolen them from there?
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Karimala on June 20, 2012, 09:29
Just a friendly reminder that IS will terminate your account without hesitation, if they find out you have incorrectly sent a DMCA to one of their customers.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 20, 2012, 09:36
Just a friendly reminder that IS will terminate your account without hesitation, if they find out you have incorrectly sent a DMCA to one of their customers.

First off they are not IS's customers, they are our customers.  Secondly, I've only been chasing payment for those who have stolen images with the watermark so at that moment, they're nobody's customers, just thieves. 

I'm also finding that the majority of stolen watermarked images used are from DT and 123rf.  Anyone else seeing the same trend?
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: cathyslife on June 21, 2012, 06:02
Just a friendly reminder that IS will terminate your account without hesitation, if they find out you have incorrectly sent a DMCA to one of their customers.

First off they are not IS's customers, they are our customers.  Secondly, I've only been chasing payment for those who have stolen images with the watermark so at that moment, they're nobody's customers, just thieves. 

I'm also finding that the majority of stolen watermarked images used are from DT and 123rf.  Anyone else seeing the same trend?

I wouldnt be surprised, seeing how DT (i dont know about 123) is actively posting images up on pinterest.  >:(

But in the past I have done searches for stolen images and found many from isock and SS too. I dont think the thieves are discriminatory.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: ruxpriencdiam on June 21, 2012, 06:22
For those of you thinking this is only about $1.00 IMAGES AND THIS IS DIRECTED AT Drugal especially these images being stolen are generating hundreds and thousands of dollars by being sold as huge wall prints and as wallpapers or other items as well as Print On Demands.

There are many people who do go after copyright infringement and make money off of them.

You can also have all of your images copyrighted at the US Copyright/Trademark Office and it is one fee be it 10 or 1000 images this here will also add power to the infringement claim especially if you were to end up in court.

Why should everyone sit back and say oh it's only worth pennies so a lawyer cant help that is complete BS.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 21, 2012, 12:05
I wouldnt be surprised, seeing how DT (i dont know about 123) is actively posting images up on pinterest.  >:(

But in the past I have done searches for stolen images and found many from isock and SS too. I dont think the thieves are discriminatory.


I thought it may have been due to the poor watermark, but that could be it too.  Are DT staff the ones who are actively posting or is it just contributors?

I noticed something funny happening on the DT's 'pins' yesterday but I put off posting about it because I wanted to track it for a few days.  I wish I had mentioned it here because they've disappeared.  When I checked DT's source page (http://"http://www.pinterest.com/source/dreamstime.com), I noticed that all of their 'pins' were 're-pinned' - every one of them.  At first I thought it was DT staff 're-pinning' but on a closer inspection I found that it wasn't.  It was one user by the name of Silver Dreams (or something like that) who re-pinned them all.  He had more DT images than appeared on the DT Source page, way more in fact.  He had more than 20 boards filled with pins, all with 're-pins' of only DT watermarked images but had changed the links to various other micro sites  ;D  I thought it was hilarious.  He mostly linked to the photographer's same image on another micro or he linked to the search results on a different micro.  They were linking to all of the micro sites so it wasn't one agency doing it.  I wish I had mentioned it but I wanted to wait and check it out some more.  Maybe DT complained and had him booted?  Shame because he put in a lot of effort into whatever he was scheming or whatever message he was trying to put across.  

That was one way to redirect traffic away from a site  :D

I just remembered, he had a hand drawn winking smiley face and a MASH quote that was about doing the right thing.  I'll have to try and find it.  

ETA:  here it is:

"Just remember, there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way."  ~Colonel Potter

He was definitely trying to send a message to DT and they must have received it ;D
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: djpadavona on June 21, 2012, 12:22
Just a friendly reminder that IS will terminate your account without hesitation, if they find out you have incorrectly sent a DMCA to one of their customers.

I agree. I would expect account termination from all agencies eventually. Even if you find 9 out of 10 instances where the image has been stolen, the 1 out of 10 you find that were legitimately purchased will land you in far more trouble than you are considering. Account terminations, problems with Paypal, backlash from DMCA, and maybe even lawsuits from disgruntled buyers. There are a lot of landmines waiting.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: cathyslife on June 21, 2012, 12:22
I wouldnt be surprised, seeing how DT (i dont know about 123) is actively posting images up on pinterest.  >:(

But in the past I have done searches for stolen images and found many from isock and SS too. I dont think the thieves are discriminatory.


I thought it may have been due to the poor watermark, but that could be it too.  Are DT staff the ones who are actively posting or is it just contributors?

I noticed something funny happening on the DT's 'pins' yesterday but I put off posting about it because I wanted to track it for a few days.  I wish I had mentioned it here because they've disappeared.  When I checked DT's source page (http://"[url]http://www.pinterest.com/source/dreamstime.com[/url]), I noticed that all of their 'pins' were 're-pinned' - every one of them.  At first I thought it was DT staff 're-pinning' but on a closer inspection I found that it wasn't.  It was one user by the name of Silver Dreams (or something like that) who re-pinned them all.  He had more DT images than appeared on the DT Source page, way more in fact.  He had more than 20 boards filled with pins, all with 're-pins' of only DT watermarked images but had changed the links to various other micro sites  ;D  I thought it was hilarious.  He mostly linked to the photographer's same image on another micro or he linked to the search results on a different micro.  They were linking to all of the micro sites so it wasn't one agency doing it.  I wish I had mentioned it but I wanted to wait and check it out some more.  Maybe DT complained and had him booted?  Shame because he put in a lot of effort into whatever he was scheming or whatever message he was trying to put across.  

That was one way to redirect traffic away from a site  :D

I just remembered, he had a hand drawn winking smiley face and a MASH quote that was about doing the right thing.  I'll have to try and find it.  


It's my understanding that DT has an account as is actively pinning contributor's watermarked images. Here's the quote in the DT thread from Achilles (Serban)...I've bolded the relevant part:

Quote
Message edited at 05/18/2012, 13:55:25 PM by Admin    Quote
   @Cathyclapper, judging by your post, you misinterpreted something you read somewhere about our policies. Nobody is allowing your images to be shared for free in Pinterest. If we would do that we would be denying our own business model and our efforts and hard work to protect photographers rights.

Dreamstime has only two features that interact with Pinterest at this moment. One is through our own account, that shares thumbnails (with our watermark all over them and site address) AND link these images to their own page on Dreamstime. There, the visitor can purchase the photo, obviously.
The other allows users to pin a photo for their Pinterest boards. That photo is also linked to its page on our site and also includes watermark and site name. Others can take them, but they are watermarked. They can take them from our own website too.

These are both tools that help us promote the site to a new medium. There are other agencies that may prefer to wait and tolerate images being used there as long as there is no profit and react only when profits show up. This link may be useful to you: LINK. Not necessarily wrong but we prefer to put this new model into work right away. It doesn't mean we ignore or don't pay attention to potential conflicts or dangers. But it is a new model that along with others has potential to revolutionize the industry just as microstock revolutionized stock photography. Ignoring it would mean to be stuck into the past.

Just as a knife, a powerful new model can be used to do something useful or to destroy something. I'm not saying Pinterest is perfect either, just as Facebook isn't. I've been advocating watermarked-only stock photos for quite a while now.
There are major stock agencies out there still not using watermarks and we're blaming Pinterest now?

Again, rest assured, nobody is giving your work for free. But Pinterest has better potential than Facebook in some way and it would be a pity not to direct those people looking for images to a stock website, where they can license them properly.


Notice he mentions nothing about copyright infringement. And I love the way he deflects the issue back to me, saying that I misunderstand something.

Interesting about that other issue you talked about. Yeah, wonder what was going on there. But I totally expect more of the same. Talk about a can of worms...
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: grafix04 on June 21, 2012, 21:28
Thanks Cathy.  I remember seeing some pinned from DT early on in the game, but nothing recently.  All of them have been from contributors or random 'pinners'.  It wouldn't surprise me if DT has created a bunch of fake Pinterest accounts and is still 'pinning' without being obvious.

Yes I noticed there was no mention of copyright. 

Quote
That photo is also linked to its page on our site and also includes watermark and site name. Others can take them, but they are watermarked. They can take them from our own website too.

He has a problem understanding that there is a big difference between thieves stealing our images and DT giving them permission to do so.

What annoys me more than Serban's condescending comments in the forum is that photographers continue to support him and his decision to keep the 'pin' button there.  There are over a hundred thousand DT contributors and only a handful of people are screaming about it.  They whine about the smallest of things but something as big as this that has the potential to damage their property, they let slide.  It's disappointing to see.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Hummingbird on June 22, 2012, 11:35
OP gives useful advice.

I will try to adapt it to my own material and the way it's being infringed.

I need to think about this a lot to do it correctly and get the effect I want.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: mtkang on August 17, 2012, 01:13
up this thread, i found one of my images are being used in a website.. which is not available through microstock agencies, It is likely it was got from my photodeck site and crop always the watermark.

I email the website since it is selling an app for phone, it seems a proper business with all the contact, and i link back the purchase system to my website asking for $65 of the stolen usage, but i check today it is just replaced with another image.

i have saved the website with my images was used without license, am I able to pursue something? or everything the thief just change it to another image and it is a closed case?

I am quite surprise that it seems a proper managed business, but will steal an image and refuse to pay a $65...maybe they have only invested have a profits of $50 a month? i don't bother to publish their bad attitude on their facebook or twitter pages..it is strange that people are out there to start a business but will take the risk that save $65..
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: gillian vann on August 17, 2012, 05:30
small business is not like a big corporation, or a govt run "business" - they often run very tight budgets and have little cashflow. I'm not on their side, obviously, and I work hard to educate business owners in my realm about the value of professional photography but... there seems to be a bit of a misconception here that small businesses are flush with cash. Why else do they resort to this theft in the first place? they are trying to save money.(and they don't want to pay for something they don't value. most of them think they can make these images with their p&s)

I'm NOT on their side, but I've been there. Don't be greedy. I think this is good advice re: sending an email with a paypal link, but if I do come across someone using one of my images (even though I'm one of those apparently "joke" microstockers with a <200 port) I will probably email them with something similar to what's been posted here.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: click_click on August 17, 2012, 08:31
up this thread, i found one of my images are being used in a website.. which is not available through microstock agencies, It is likely it was got from my photodeck site and crop always the watermark.

I email the website since it is selling an app for phone, it seems a proper business with all the contact, and i link back the purchase system to my website asking for $65 of the stolen usage, but i check today it is just replaced with another image.

i have saved the website with my images was used without license, am I able to pursue something? or everything the thief just change it to another image and it is a closed case?

I am quite surprise that it seems a proper managed business, but will steal an image and refuse to pay a $65...maybe they have only invested have a profits of $50 a month? i don't bother to publish their bad attitude on their facebook or twitter pages..it is strange that people are out there to start a business but will take the risk that save $65..
It's a closed closed case if you let it be. Only you can decide whether to go after them or not.

Take into consideration that you need some things sorted out when looking for an attorney in order to gain some leverage:

- Image (ideally) should be registered with the US copyright office.
- Screenshots, which you have
- Technically, email conversation that documents that the other party admits using your image

Otherwise things will get pretty complicated. As much as I have pursued copyright infringement for myself you should get an attorney in the same jurisdiction where the infringement occurred. In your case this may be the same state, country or somewhere completely different which makes things also more difficult.

If the other party knows their "rights" they can easily tough it out by waiting for your attorney to threaten litigation which would be the worst possible scenario as it is very expensive. Your attorney would only consider doing that if big damages have been claimed - otherwise you have to pay for an attorney up front.

That's my experience. Others may have had more success in similar situations. In one case a printing company sold car window decals (for rear windows - mostly for trucks) on their web site. They had 4 of my best sellers in their catalog.
Through conversation via email it turned out that they never even paid for a regular license. They just "found" the images on the internet - how convenient.

That company was running a web of different companies with their own respective web sites all offering my images for print. Luckily it was also here in the US where I live currently but in a different state. I found a lawyer who took the case on contingency and wrote a letter. The printing company owner who happened to be in jail several times prior to this (for pedophilia...!!!) simply didn't respond. That's all he had to do.

I couldn't prove the amount of damages, he would have waited for litigation and I would have been the one traveling out of state for court action. No thank you.

It's utterly frustrating to find copyright infringement, know who the infringing party is, know that they never paid, have an attorney and not getting justice served. That's wrong.

Good luck in your case though.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: RacePhoto on August 17, 2012, 12:03
Yes it's true, we have almost no rights. I don't like it, but face the facts, the laws are weak.

The crooks can steal an image and use it until we post a DMCA in which case they take it down and we get nothing.

Or we can notify them and threaten and they can take it down and laugh, because using your example, asking for $65 when it costs $250 an hour to have an attorney pursue the illegal use, means, we'd lose hundreds or maybe over $1000 for every victory.

However if you can get attorney fees and injury, it might be worthwhile?

Just a friendly reminder that IS will terminate your account without hesitation, if they find out you have incorrectly sent a DMCA to one of their customers.

Please Karimala how did your months of efforts go, trying to collect in the infringements, contacting attorneys and legal aid people?

Or better yet, has anyone ever gotten money from one of these blogs or some small website. Tell us how, so we can all start to fight the thieves.

We can write messages all day long on all the forums, and complain for years, that won't change the facts. Getting anything for misuse or theft is very difficult, and unfortunately can cost more than the return, so it becomes a joke. The only thing that will change our position is a change in the laws. But it seems that when that happens, suddenly "information wants to be free" and the sites that distort the truth will claim, the laws (the government) are stealing our rights, instead of making them stronger.

Remember the whole shutting down illegal websites that distribute stolen files, images, software, Etc. And people flipped on that claiming freedom of information, and twisting the whole issue into privacy and back-ups. Call the music industry fat cats, when in fact the artists are the losers in music sharing. Then turn around and claim photos aren't the same thing. Yes They Are!

Anything someone creates by their own hand, writing, music, art, photos... should be protected. It's not. Even the stupid prosecuting a teenager at the claim of $250,000 for uploading music files, is nothing but a news grab. Yeah, artist gets hundreds of thousands for infringement, it makes the news, the rest of us suck eggs and get nothing. No support. Call an attorney, they won't even handle the case.

Someone tell me what ACTION will change things, not just the constant grumbling and complaining here. Something real that gets results?
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: mtkang on August 17, 2012, 22:00
thanks all for good information..

i think maybe i will just send another email with the webpage prints i have saved. It is obvious the image is stolen because they change it without reply my email.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: click_click on August 17, 2012, 22:34
thanks all for good information..

i think maybe i will just send another email with the webpage prints i have saved. It is obvious the image is stolen because they change it without reply my email.
This may not have immediate consequences but you could inform the web hosting company of what happened. If it's a company located somewhere in the western world you have a good chance that uploading content that you don't have the right to can end up in having your account suspended.

So, letting them know that he already violated their usage terms could get him knocked off the server, being warned or something else.

Other than that, you can only throw dull daggers at him without any other means of leverage (screenshots, lies about the web host complying with law enforcement bla bla bla) just to scare him.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: HerMajesty on August 18, 2012, 14:50
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 * :)

Sorry, but that's like saying that stealing $5 should be punished by giving back those $5 ... and occasionally an extra 2 minutes of jail time.
If someone was stupid or cheap enough to "save" him self a lousy $1 for a picture then he should pay all the costs involved.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: picture5469 on August 18, 2012, 15:00


If someone was stupid or cheap enough to "save" him self a lousy $1 for a picture then he should pay all the costs involved.

I just dont tolerate it anymore! full stop. Im currently dealing with several infringers. My advice to any infringer is to remove the content before its discovered. If the infringer doesnt remove the material upon request with a DMCA then thats very serious!
Im a nice person and easy to get along with but im also prepared to stand up for my rights.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: qwerty on August 18, 2012, 17:43
Spending to much time on this doesn't add up $ wise. I'd just send the takedown notice with a link on where to buy it if they want to keep using the image.

My time would be better off submitting more images than chasing $10 here and there.

If IBM or Toyota were using it illegally it might be a different story.  ;)

I know the moral of not stealing is really important to other people and go for it if that what is important to you.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 18, 2012, 18:18
Spending to much time on this doesn't add up $ wise. I'd just send the takedown notice with a link on where to buy it if they want to keep using the image.

My time would be better off submitting more images than chasing $10 here and there.

If IBM or Toyota were using it illegally it might be a different story.  ;)

I know the moral of not stealing is really important to other people and go for it if that what is important to you.

Part of the problem is ignorance (don't know they're stealing) and also arrogance (know but don't care - "so I stole your pic, what'r you gonna do about it?").

If more photographers went after infringers word would spread and theft would likely decrease. Saying "oh well, let them steal" is indirectly encouraging theft.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: cathyslife on August 19, 2012, 20:22
Spending to much time on this doesn't add up $ wise. I'd just send the takedown notice with a link on where to buy it if they want to keep using the image.

My time would be better off submitting more images than chasing $10 here and there.

If IBM or Toyota were using it illegally it might be a different story.  ;)

I know the moral of not stealing is really important to other people and go for it if that what is important to you.

Part of the problem is ignorance (don't know they're stealing) and also arrogance (know but don't care - "so I stole your pic, what'r you gonna do about it?").

If more photographers went after infringers word would spread and theft would likely decrease. Saying "oh well, let them steal" is indirectly encouraging theft.

Agree.

As far as time goes, I consider it a part of doing business, just like making accounts receivable calls, or follow-up sales calls. If each contributor spent an hour or two a week looking for infringers and sending DMCAs, it would go a long way towards spreading the word and educating people.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: EmberMike on August 21, 2012, 10:46
I started DMCAing web hosts. I ran into a couple of sites that were repeat offenders, and initially I tried to be nice and just email the site owners asking them to remove my images. One I sent a DMCA to their web host yesterday and by today the site was shut down. Today I'm sending notice to another host. We'll see how that one goes.

Just FYI, these are sites that are redistributing images for free. These aren't bloggers or other uninformed people using a single image on a post or page without knowing that they need to license it. For these Hero Turko wannabes, I'm just sending DMCAs straight to the website hosting companies from now on.

The one I'm sending today the guy really got under my skin. The first time I asked him to remove something he was super apologetic and acting all nice about it, saying that the images were submitted by someone else claiming to be the owner of the content. He took them down right away. Then surprise surprise, a few months later there's more of my stuff up on his site.

Similar story with the other site yesterday. Host kills the site, and sure enough I get a super apologetic email from the guy. He never responds to my emails asking to remove my stuff, but take down his site and all of a sudden he's responsive and apologetic.

Enough already. It's a complete waste of time trying to deal with some of these jokers. DMCAs straight to the host seems to do the trick, as long as the host is based in a country that complies with DMCA requests.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: ruxpriencdiam on August 28, 2012, 19:29
Things like this are not a simple matter of unauthorized use of an image. It is misrepresentation, or false pretenses if you like, which is a felony, which is obviously criminal. Besides misrepresentation, some instances are also theft, which is obviously also a felony, we should make print screens and file police reports and inform every other authority that likes to know.

Companies like this get take down notices all the time and are used to it. It doesn't solve anything and we should take it one step further.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Poncke on August 29, 2012, 04:34
How do you know an image was stolen, if it has not watermark, when you submit to 5 sites selling the photo? And how do you know the reseller is not an affilate of one of your agencies? I have been trying to find  my photos on the net, but even my best seller is not found using google images.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: RacePhoto on August 30, 2012, 09:59
How do you know an image was stolen, if it has not watermark, when you submit to 5 sites selling the photo? And how do you know the reseller is not an affilate of one of your agencies? I have been trying to find  my photos on the net, but even my best seller is not found using google images.

I always get a laugh from this question, because you are making such a good point. People with an image on 25 sites, and those sites have 200 affiliates, can't know where it came from.

Like a dog chasing it's tail, when they catch it, now what? When we catch someone using or selling, we don't know and even when we do know, there's nothing to protect us. Oh DMCA, that's scary. I bet the image thieves are shaking in their boots. Lets see, they remove the image and go steal something else. Wow that's a real threatening situation.

Enforceable laws are the only answer. Not empty protection where we have to spend more than we'd collect to stop these people.

Come on, someone who has actually tried to prosecute or charge someone, step up and tell us the facts. No more, fairy tales of "How to turn your copyright infringements into cash" and dreams of big lawsuits.

Some facts and reality would be really welcome. Things like, you can't get an practicing attorney to write a letter for less that $100 most of the time! The laws force us to do the research and get the proof and then bring it to the court. How would that fit if shoplifters were handled the same way?

A large part of the problem, is THE SYSTEM and they don't go after copyright violations.

Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: gillian vann on September 18, 2012, 05:12
well today I had something funny happen. Was leaving a supermarket that isn't my local, it's near where my girls do music lessons (2 suburbs over). I spotted a flyer on a noticeboard and saw one of my images on it. I had a slight buzz to see it (although I must confess the first time I saw one of my images in use I was fantasising it would be on a bus or something:) and then upon closer inspection saw the watermark. :(  What dumb luck that out of all the images of 2 girls on a stock sites this mother chose an image of a photographer who lives just round the corner... the usage of the image is a touch sensitive too: it's for a seminar of  how images of young girls used in the media to sell things. The pic itself is very sweet so I'm staying calm - yes, they are my girls.

so now what? the seminar is promoting a nationally acclaimed author/speaker who should be mortified when she gets my email. the poor soccer mum who made the flyer clearly has no clue what she's done (why else would you use a watermarked image? there are plenty of unwatermarked ones on google).  I'm quite keen to send a polite email explaining her infringement and including an invoice. How much for? any thoughts?

Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Microbius on September 18, 2012, 05:49
If I strongly suspect the infringement is through ignorance rather than by someone trying to profit by stealing my work, I tend to just politely let them know the score and ask them to buy the correct license with a link to one of the stock sites (my own site now I have one). How they respond from there determines my next step.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: gillian vann on September 18, 2012, 06:20
thank you. that's my thought process too. no point scaring her off. let her know my image could have been purchased for something like $6, which is not much to avoid future embarrassment. Maybe try to turn her into a future customer for us all.

although I'll just take the straight $6 thanks, and not the pissy .68c comm i'd end up with...
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: ruxpriencdiam on September 18, 2012, 06:25
Ef her she stole it make her pay for it, it is for this reason why people steal them in the first place because they know they can get away with it and no one will do anything about it!
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Poncke on September 18, 2012, 13:07
The majority has no clue about copyrights.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: fotografer on September 18, 2012, 13:20
The majority has no clue about copyrights.
I agree.  I had no idea about copyright before I started stock photography and nor do most people that I talk to about it.  The asumption is that if it's there on google then it is there for the taking.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: gillian vann on September 18, 2012, 17:05
which is exactly what she said to me in her email this morning:
"I was unaware of the watermark issue and copyright/buying issue in using images from google, so I have learnt something important. "

It seems Google, as the enabler, should really have a warning there, as surely we can also go after google?

anyway, I offered her a very reasonable price (she's a school chaplain, too much bad karma in being greedy) and she has apologised and agreed to pay. I'm happy.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: loop on September 18, 2012, 17:14
Spending to much time on this doesn't add up $ wise. I'd just send the takedown notice with a link on where to buy it if they want to keep using the image.

My time would be better off submitting more images than chasing $10 here and there.

If IBM or Toyota were using it illegally it might be a different story.  ;)

I know the moral of not stealing is really important to other people and go for it if that what is important to you.

Part of the problem is ignorance (don't know they're stealing) and also arrogance (know but don't care - "so I stole your pic, what'r you gonna do about it?").

If more photographers went after infringers word would spread and theft would likely decrease. Saying "oh well, let them steal" is indirectly encouraging theft.

Agree.

As far as time goes, I consider it a part of doing business, just like making accounts receivable calls, or follow-up sales calls. If each contributor spent an hour or two a week looking for infringers and sending DMCAs, it would go a long way towards spreading the word and educating people.

Agree. Think global, act local.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: click_click on September 18, 2012, 17:35
...
It seems Google, as the enabler, should really have a warning there, as surely we can also go after google?
...

Do you really think that Google's attorneys would have missed this issue?

On every page when you enlarge an image within the Google Image search there is a disclaimer on the right:
Images may be subject to copyright.

That's about as much of a warning like on the stock sites regarding copyright education. I think this small disclaimer releases Google from any copyright claims.

If you will, you could compare Google to Heroturko and the likes because they don't host the files, they just link to them plus they make you aware that you may not have the rights to these files.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: ruxpriencdiam on September 18, 2012, 18:51
...
It seems Google, as the enabler, should really have a warning there, as surely we can also go after google?
...

Do you really think that Google's attorneys would have missed this issue?

On every page when you enlarge an image within the Google Image search there is a disclaimer on the right:
Images may be subject to copyright.

That's about as much of a warning like on the stock sites regarding copyright education. I think this small disclaimer releases Google from any copyright claims.

If you will, you could compare Google to Heroturko and the likes because they don't host the files, they just link to them plus they make you aware that you may not have the rights to these files.
True they let you know they may be copyrighted so then they steal them anyhow so they know or knew about it being copyrighted and completly disregard any of it and play dumb and everyone goes!

Oh well since you didn't know about it i can let it go!

And you wonder why people steal them?

Go figure.

Everyone was taught about copyright in School.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: click_click on September 18, 2012, 20:21
... Everyone was taught about copyright in School.

I wasn't. In Germany we have some pretty strict copyright laws and they are easily enforced compared to other countries but we are not taught copyright in school.

We may get taught not to plagiarize and to be "honest" about your work but that's about it.

Sometimes though copyright can be compared to using common sense especially when agencies or even individual graphic designers use our images because they believe the images are so good that they help promote their advertised products or services but don't think for two cents that good imagery does cost money (even if it's just the cost to produce the image...).

Do these people seriously believe that there are photographers and illustrators out there that have nothing better to do than toss their images into the Google Image search for everyone free to use? Seriously?

I could go on...
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Poncke on September 19, 2012, 01:26
...
It seems Google, as the enabler, should really have a warning there, as surely we can also go after google?
...

Do you really think that Google's attorneys would have missed this issue?

On every page when you enlarge an image within the Google Image search there is a disclaimer on the right:
Images may be subject to copyright.

That's about as much of a warning like on the stock sites regarding copyright education. I think this small disclaimer releases Google from any copyright claims.

If you will, you could compare Google to Heroturko and the likes because they don't host the files, they just link to them plus they make you aware that you may not have the rights to these files.
True they let you know they may be copyrighted so then they steal them anyhow so they know or knew about it being copyrighted and completly disregard any of it and play dumb and everyone goes!

Oh well since you didn't know about it i can let it go!

And you wonder why people steal them?

Go figure.

Everyone was taught about copyright in School.

???? I wasnt. I was taught what the word meant, but that doesnt mean I knew where and how its a applied. And even if you were taught in school, that doesnt mean you know exactly what on the internet is copyrighted or not. There are also loads of public domain photos without copyright, for layman to tell the difference, is not as easy as you think it is.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: gillian vann on September 19, 2012, 05:33
ah yes, I do now see the "warning" although it could do with being in bold and that font size you've used to show us. Even those of us who are aware of such things didn't see the "warning". It's hardly a warning, and certainly not on the first page. That "warning" only shows up when you click an image. 

The use of the word "may" is so iffy. I'd suggest they ALL are subject to copyright and you need to determine just what that means. Even if it's just someone's boring snapshots there is still copyright on those images.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: ruxpriencdiam on September 19, 2012, 07:05
Don't come up with dumb excuses for peoples stupidity!

They can read as well as you and I can.

Quote
I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:


    You are free:

        to share to copy, distribute and transmit the work
        to remix to adapt the work

    Under the following conditions:

        attribution You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
        share alike If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Poncke on September 19, 2012, 12:11
Stupidity and ignorance are different things Rux.

Ignorance is distinguished from stupidity, although both can lead to "unwise" acts.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: gillian vann on September 26, 2012, 20:05
I've just made myself unpopular in a forum (of photographers!!!) for pointing out that google images aren't free.
"oh, I search for royalty free on google and use those", a number chimed in saying it was ok and there was no copyright on those found on Google. No one noticed the copyright warning, or they assumed it didn't apply.

so then I had to further explain that RF doesn't mean "free to take from google".
Just waiting for my warning to come from the mods.
I was very polite but it was me V a bunch of soccer mums.

*no offence to soccer mums who think they are photographers (ok, well, a LITTLE). disclaimer: Some of my besties are soccer mums.*

Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: Leo Blanchette on September 26, 2012, 20:31
In the history of microstock, has there ever been a legally enforced image violation?
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: pancaketom on September 27, 2012, 12:59
In the history of microstock, has there ever been a legally enforced image violation?

I got paid a fatter than usual EL from SS after they found a calendar company using images w/o paying for ELs and went after them.
Title: Re: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash
Post by: click_click on September 27, 2012, 18:02
In the history of microstock, has there ever been a legally enforced image violation?

I got paid a fatter than usual EL from SS after they found a calendar company using images w/o paying for ELs and went after them.
Yes, I remember this single lifetime event. Was nice to get compensated after the fact but haven't experienced anything like that ever since (which doesn't mean it didn't happen).