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Author Topic: How to turn your copyright infringements into cash  (Read 15638 times)

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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2012, 22:45 »
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Thats exactly the problem...not nearly enough people getting defensive about it. Too many people saying oh well, get over it.


grafix04

« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2012, 00:07 »
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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.

antistock

« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2012, 01:40 »
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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


that's an average 71$/DMCA if she made roughly 100K $ ... almost worth to open a business with office and employees :)

drugal

    This user is banned.
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2012, 06:06 »
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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?

grafix04

« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2012, 09:02 »
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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?

« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2012, 09:29 »
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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.

grafix04

« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2012, 09:36 »
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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?

« Reply #32 on: June 21, 2012, 06:02 »
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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.

ruxpriencdiam

    This user is banned.
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« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2012, 06:22 »
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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.

grafix04

« Reply #34 on: June 21, 2012, 12:05 »
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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, 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
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 12:11 by grafix04 »

« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2012, 12:22 »
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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.

« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2012, 12:22 »
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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, 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...
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 14:34 by cclapper »

grafix04

« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2012, 21:28 »
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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.

« Reply #38 on: June 22, 2012, 11:35 »
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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.

« Reply #39 on: August 17, 2012, 01:13 »
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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..

gillian vann

  • *Gillian*
« Reply #40 on: August 17, 2012, 05:30 »
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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.

« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2012, 08:31 »
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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.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 10:30 by click_click »


RacePhoto

« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2012, 12:03 »
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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?

« Reply #43 on: August 17, 2012, 22:00 »
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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.

« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2012, 22:34 »
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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.

« Reply #45 on: August 18, 2012, 14:50 »
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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.

« Reply #46 on: August 18, 2012, 15:00 »
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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.

« Reply #47 on: August 18, 2012, 17:43 »
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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.

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #48 on: August 18, 2012, 18:18 »
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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.

« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2012, 20:22 »
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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.


 

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