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Author Topic: My stolen image part of template at web hosting company  (Read 5806 times)

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« on: April 16, 2011, 09:40 »
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The fact that companies, lawyers and other individuals have ripped one of my best sellers is nothing new to me.

Yesterday I found one of my images on another semi-pro web site in full resolution (indexed by Google images - unfortunately) so I contacted the owner who replied today that he has no idea what this fuzz is about since he got the image from his web hosting company.

I asked for further details where exactly the image is located but apparently it is part of the web host's image library for their customers.

I wonder why they would provide full resolution images.

If it does turn out that my image is being used by the web host how do you think should I proceed as I don't even know where they might have gotten the image from (which agency etc.).

I registered copyright on that image also.


« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2011, 15:31 »
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Do you know which web host it is?  Apparently they haven't understood the licensing terms allowed... unless they bought it as an extended license and are sort of including it as part of a website template.

« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2011, 15:42 »
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Do you know which web host it is?  Apparently they haven't understood the licensing terms allowed... unless they bought it as an extended license and are sort of including it as part of a website template.

I know which web host it is - I just didn't want to publicly discuss it using their name - I hope this makes sense.
Just in case I had something in my hand and it would destroy my case by writing about it here in all detail.

The web site user responded a few more times, the image was taken down and in the meantime I never received one bit of detailed information where exactly the image was located on the web hosting company's site so it starts to look like that the owner actually uploaded it himself and that it has nothing to do with the web host.

I'm still trying to squeeze that information out of him but he only responds with one sentence replies... Doesn't look very cooperative...

« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2011, 01:23 »
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If it is copyright registered and used illegally, aren't you automatically entitled to punitive damages if the user is based in the US?

« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2011, 08:32 »
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If it is copyright registered and used illegally, aren't you automatically entitled to punitive damages if the user is based in the US?
Technically yes, however as much as I found out so far, the image was used already in 2007 and is supposedly not available anymore in the site builder feature of the web host.

Now, I have a "he says, she says" situation and no proof. No idea how anyone could prove that the web host offered my image back then.
At least the high res file has been removed.

« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2011, 09:55 »
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I don't know much about laws, even less about laws in the USA (supposing the site is in USA), but someone said here once that, in case of a lawsuit, the compensation is proportional to the 'damage' - in this case, I understand, the fact that the buyer did not purchase a suitable EL. But then I don't know if this means 10x or 100x the EL price.

« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2011, 09:59 »
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At least the high res file has been removed.

Was it available for you to take a screenprint? One thing a pro photographer told me once: if you want to charge someone for using an image without authorization, the first thing should be go to a notary and have him state the image was available on that day, because the first thing that they will do is to delete the image as soon as there is any contact (personal or official).

In his case, however, he is a big nature photographer here, basically working for assignments, so this means a lot of money involved.

« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2011, 10:43 »
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Honestly, I don't think there is much money to be made when pursuing web based copyright infringement (which sounds worse than it is in most cases...) unless you can call yourself Getty and have a team of lawyers on stand-by.

It was even a local web site not too far from where I live. The owner understood my issue and removed the image right away.
There is no point in bugging him as he would change his story with every response. I'd have to get every statement notarized etc. for what?
38 cents for licensing fees and $10 in damages? No lawyer is going to take that case unless I pay them thousands of $$$ in fees to them.

I get the feeling you have to wait until your unlicensed image shows up during the Super Bowl. Then you might have a case.

« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2011, 10:55 »
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Honestly, I don't think there is much money to be made when pursuing web based copyright infringement (which sounds worse than it is in most cases...) unless you can call yourself Getty and have a team of lawyers on stand-by.

It was even a local web site not too far from where I live. The owner understood my issue and removed the image right away.
There is no point in bugging him as he would change his story with every response. I'd have to get every statement notarized etc. for what?
38 cents for licensing fees and $10 in damages? No lawyer is going to take that case unless I pay them thousands of $$$ in fees to them.

I get the feeling you have to wait until your unlicensed image shows up during the Super Bowl. Then you might have a case.

It's sad to hear, but I think you are right. What you have going in your favor is that you registered your image with the copyright office. But unless you are prepared to spend money with an attorney pursuing the matter, you basically have lost out on the royalties for that.  :(

« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2011, 12:58 »
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Honestly, I don't think there is much money to be made when pursuing web based copyright infringement (which sounds worse than it is in most cases...) unless you can call yourself Getty and have a team of lawyers on stand-by.
I had the impression you wanted to go after damages, but yes, possibly the cause is not worth it, but only a lawyer could say so.

I know a photographer in USA who wons a 20,000 lawsuit due to improper use of one of his images. I have no idea of what happened in his case, though he may have told me in the past. He was explaining me why he always registered his images.


 

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