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Author Topic: Need some advice on possible image theft?  (Read 4336 times)

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« on: October 25, 2011, 11:12 »
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I recently ran across a website that you could say is a competing website to my own. The site claims to be non-profit or always brought to you 100% free. Clearly the site being run is an extension of this guy's day job. Not to mention littered with ads in every available space. The problem, I end up paying for the few images I get from places like the Associated Press and Getty, while this guy just takes thousands and thousands of images off of the web that you can easily find in a web search, like Google. The majority of these images seem to come from newpaper articles and university websites. He doesn't offer copyright info or a courtesy link. Just takes and uses.

I don't believe what he is doing falls under the fair use act but I could be wrong. Which is why I'm here. I need some advice. I don't believe what he is doing is legal and I don't want to be in the same boat as he, by stealing images illegally. However, if what he is doing is not a crime, then I guess that means I can do it, too.

Help?


« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 11:40 »
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I don't know if "crime" is the right word, but if this guy is taking images he's found on the web and are not public domain, and he's putting them to be downloaded by others, this is illegal.

If he is only using images he's found to illustrate his site, he is wrong, he can however claim he "didn't know" these images were not public. But when he is - as I understand from what you said - organizing them for other people to download, then IMHO there is no excuse, as he is intentionally garbbing images online for redistribution. Even if there is no finacial benefit other than the banner ad money, he can not redistribute works unless he is the copyright owner or knows they are public domain.

« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 11:58 »
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Link please. It's a lot easier for us to help you if we can actually check the guy's web site.

« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 12:01 »
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I don't think he is organizing images to be downloaded by others. More like downloading images for his own news purposes/articles, similar to what a newspaper would do. If he is taking images from newspapers and such, that do have copyrights by the photographer/newspaper, then it seems to me, he is doing something wrong when he redistributes their work on his site without any copyright notice at the very least. The only difference is I'm sure the newspapers he is taking the images from are commercial and for commercial use, where as he claims he is not.

He also has a pretty threatening copyright clause at the bottom of his site, that says, "Any reproduction, republication, or redistribution of this site's content without express written consent is strictly prohibited and will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law." I'd find it to be pretty odd if he tried to claim ignorance with something like that out there. I think he knows what he is doing and is trying to be slick about it.

If he is doing something wrong, what's the next step in doing something about it? I can't compete with thousands of images, when Getty/AP charge $20-150 per image.

« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 12:02 »
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Link please. It's a lot easier for us to help you if we can actually check the guy's web site.

I wanted to be vague as to not smear the guy's name, if at all possible, since I'm unclear if he is even doing anything wrong.

Here is the link though since you asked: http://www.draftcountdown.com/index.html [nofollow]

If you notice the bottom left image, you can find that image linked to this article here: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20110916/SPORTS/709169933/1004/sports [nofollow]. Credit for that image goes to an in house photographer for that newspaper.

Almost all of them I've looked at can be traced similarly.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 12:05 by Curious »

« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2011, 12:10 »
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OK, here is the deal.

He could very well be paying for all those licenses being used on his web site. Is it likely? I don't know.

What you could do, if you are very investigative about it, check with the copyright holder of one of the images and see if they are willing to confirm whether the image has been licensed or not.


and

copyright by Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.
at: http://www.ongo.com/v/1669830/-1/790885D2D21598C7/maryland-aims-to-catch-recruits-eyes-with-new-football-uniforms

« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2011, 12:16 »
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OK, here is the deal.

He could very well be paying for all those licenses being used on his web site. Is it likely? I don't know.

What you could do, if you are very investigative about it, check with the copyright holder of one of the images and see if they are willing to confirm whether the image has been licensed or not.


and

copyright by Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.
at: http://www.ongo.com/v/1669830/-1/790885D2D21598C7/maryland-aims-to-catch-recruits-eyes-with-new-football-uniforms [nofollow]

Thank you for the reply click_click. I have inquired already, with no response(s)... yet.

If he isn't liscensing all of these images. Then what?

« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2011, 12:46 »
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Thank you for the reply click_click. I have inquired already, with no response(s)... yet.

If he isn't liscensing all of these images. Then what?

There is nothing much YOU can do about it besides letting the copyright holders know about it.

It's up to the copyright holders to take action.

First, they might be too busy licensing images for thousands of dollars to other clients and don't even care about a little private, hobby project and forget about it.

Some might actually look into, whether that guy licensed the images or not.

In case he didn't license them, the copyright holder could ask him to remove the images, ask for damages or simply drag him to court over it.

No idea.

« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2011, 12:58 »
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Again, thanks for the reply.

« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2011, 17:46 »
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Ah, I then misunderstood your original post. 

If you have any proof the images were stolen (it seems you don't), you can always send a msg to the ISP hosting the site, even if you are not the copyright owner.

« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 22:55 »
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Curious,

   I wish you had just contacted me directly to clear up any confusion.

   When I first started the website I did indeed grab public images that I found on the web, although I never used them commercially or anything like that.

   However, for years now I have had an image licensing deal that was procured through one of my sponsors.

   Please dont hesitate to drop me a line via e-mail with any further questions you may have.  I always love to chat up fellow draftniks.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 22:59 by DraftCountdown »

« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2011, 19:55 »
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Curious,

   I wish you had just contacted me directly to clear up any confusion.

   When I first started the website I did indeed grab public images that I found on the web, although I never used them commercially or anything like that.

   However, for years now I have had an image licensing deal that was procured through one of my sponsors.

   Please dont hesitate to drop me a line via e-mail with any further questions you may have.  I always love to chat up fellow draftniks.

Glad that got cleared up. It seemed odd that someone who didn't own the pictures was watching a competing website would come here looking for information.

« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2011, 05:51 »
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Glad that got cleared up. It seemed odd that someone who didn't own the pictures was watching a competing website would come here looking for information.
Nothing odd about seeking a little further education. I've been a graphic designer for over a decade, so I know a little something about how graphic copyrights go but I've never been on the photo end. If there was something I don't know about being able to use that many images without a license if my website is non-profit, I'd like to know about it. I appreciate all the feedback I got. Thanks again.

Microbius

« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2011, 05:54 »
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I also don't think there's anything odd about it. Thanks for taking the time to ask and not just stealing the images like so many bloggers do! I hope your integrity pays off and you have lots of success.


 

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