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More rip offs of U/W photo stuff_slugs in particular


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#1 scubamarli

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:10 PM

Hi everyone,
I do a generic search from time to time to see if my images have been ripped off. Here is the latest:
http://www.darkroast...mal-hybrid.html

It seems that there are bloggers that think that they are immune to copyright law. I noticed a few other Wetpixellians whose images have been lifted .Anyway, I have sent a cease and desist request. I suggest others do the same.

Cheers,
Marli
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#2 scubamarli

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:23 PM

Within minutes I received a response:
Photo removed.

I am really sorry this happened, as we take special pains to secure permissions for every image displayed. This must've fell between the cracks. We usually send emails asking for permission.

Again, sorry - image removed.

Best wishes from Canada
Avi

Posted Image
I let them know that other photographers images were being used. If you shoot sea slugs, you might want to check.

Cheers,
Marli
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#3 scubamarli

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:36 PM

I am now getting messages from this person with excuses and the lot....tail is between the legs...
Marli Wakeling

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#4 scubamarli

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:48 PM

Ok,
After pointing out copyright law and infrigement issues.. in Canada it is clear cut. Here is the response:

"Yes, I agree.

Thank you Marli. I am going to revise my procedure about publishing images without hearing back (even if we send out the email)

In your case, it is a blatant failure on my part, as it seems that email was not even sent. This is not acceptable.

I am going to go through images in that article and ensure that all permissions were secured. If I find that it is not, I am going to take the article down until permissions are secured.

Again, this is not what I condone - stealing - and this is why I am using "Google Search by Image", TinEye and other services to find out the source of images and contact the owner.

But I think you are right that it is better to wait for permissions to come in.

Will be revising the workflow to accommodate for that.

(most of the time we do have permissions come in before publication, in fact we are better with this than most of the sites of this nature)

But I am going to take special care

Thank you"
Marli Wakeling

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#5 Drew

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 11:24 PM

I think people need to watermark their best photos in the center of the pic. It's not going to be great for viewing but properly done, it does minimize unauthorized "sharing."

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#6 decosnapper

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 11:48 PM

I think people need to watermark their best photos in the center of the pic. It's not going to be great for viewing but properly done, it does minimize unauthorized "sharing."


+1 for that. Its been policy of mine for a long time, but I still find images turning up being used with the watermarks. One I found had been cropped to remove said watermark...it was a UK commercial infringer and they paid a) more than they would have done if asked and b) quickly. Removing a watermark adds flagrancy to the issue...shows deliberate attempts to deceive.

Yesterday I found my first big infringement. A popular site, based in the UK has used one of my images. Thanks to the site popularity and the fact its been up for nearly a month, the content scrapers have been at work and Google Image Search now reports 300 pages...and climbing. Many are not worth bothering with, but a few will be receiving follow-ups in due course...this could prove to be my single highest grossing image this year once the dust has settled.

One UK blogger using said image has already responded, very apologetic and claiming it was for the love of art...its a small blog...its non-commercial...shall we credit you?...etc etc etc. None of these arguments are relevant under copyright law, at least here in the UK. I'm pondering what to do with this one...'take it down' type emails simply reinforce the bloggers view that once contacted, a removal is OK. Its not, permission first is the guiding principle. As I write this, I think a £50 donation to a charity of their choosing might be a worthy recompense...by ensuring some form of financial impact, I hope at least one blogger will think that photographs have cash value and will either ask permission or create their own next time...

The funny thing is that the image in question was hardly my finest work - a bit soft focus if I'm being honest - and it dates back to a film scan. Quality and aesthetics count for very little on the web...so based on that leave the watermark off at your peril.


Hi everyone,
I do a generic search from time to time to see if my images have been ripped off.


Marli - what search methods do you use?
Simon Brown

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#7 scubamarli

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 09:22 AM

I do a number of things. Image search using "Images like", using my own name, common subjects that I shoot. Often stolen images have been downloaded of off secondary websites, and there is still a credit on it. One time, a thief had taken the image off of Scuba Diving's website. They asked me to prove it was mine. The rollover tag was still embedded on the photo. Duh. I am not going to find anything, and sometime's there's little point, as in the case of some Thai dive shop using an image of a British Columbia shrimp. In this instance, it was taken off a science site that I had given permission to use it. The website owener contacted me again, with proof of permission from some of the photos, with another apology. It looks like an oversight in this instance, but it happens far more often than we think.
Marli Wakeling

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#8 decosnapper

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:55 AM

Are you using Google Image Search (GIS)?

GIS is good...for those who don't know, GIS looks by the actual content of the image, not by keywords. It's good enough to find cropped images...images with removed watermarks...as one infringer found out recently.

Just be prepared for a surprise where your images turn up...


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#9 scubamarli

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 04:56 PM

Yes, I use Google Image search. I also simply type in my name and do an image search. That's how this latest one showed up. A few years ago, I found an image of mine that had been taken off the Slug Forum and was used for 5 years by a Korean Aquarium for their home page. I like to say that they bought the rear half of my fancy pooch, when they paid my Invoice. I simply used an image that I had had a request for by a non-profit, and poof. That's how I found it.

Cheers,
Marli
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#10 decosnapper

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:08 PM

Yes, I use Google Image search. I also simply type in my name and do an image search.


For anyone else interested in 'how to' I found this guide:-

http://www.google.co...rchbyimage.html
Simon Brown

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#11 decosnapper

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 01:14 AM

Update; The very polite blogger has made a verifiable and not insignificant donation to a charity of their choosing for their transgression.

For certain infringers (the lone blogger, zero adverts on site, polite & pleasant, quick to respond, understanding, does not try to deceive or conceal etc etc etc) this kind of settlement is a win-win. The blogger understands not all images are free, and its easy to track them down. The creator has remained proportionate and reminded the blogger that images have an owner. The charity receives cash to continue their good work. The creator gets the bonus of an overall good feeling of achieving something positive from an otherwise negative situation.

In certain instances, I can recommend this approach. The rest can pay commercial rates.
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#12 AllisonFinch

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 06:00 PM

WOW!! I just searched on one of my photos (a volcano reupting in PNG) and found three pages of places using it without permission. Most were wallpaper sites, One a geology website in Iceland, and multiple uses worldwide. One guy was even using it as his facebook avatar!


SHEESH! I sent e-mails to the commercial sites.

Edited by AllisonFinch, 22 September 2012 - 06:00 PM.


#13 johnjvv

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 07:06 PM

The more I read these threads the more I believe the only way to protect an image is with big bold letters. It is too easy for people to search and copy pics. I imagine it would be very time consuming to search for all your photos...then argue to get some compensation which seems to lead to no happy ending in most cases...

Prevention is better than cure. People lock up their houses, cars and put their jewelry away in safes.



#14 decosnapper

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 12:10 AM

The more I read these threads the more I believe the only way to protect an image is with big bold letters.

Even that does not stop some...

I actually dislike intensely watermarks, but not for aesthetic reasons. Watermarks - in my view - reinforce the view that photographers should, in some way, be protecting their work. There is no need, no formal requirement...copyright is clear on this point and we can all leave them lying around for others to view...there are racks and racks of magazines available with plenty of images displayed...we should be at liberty to enjoy our property without concern, but there are many who do not respect this.

But by watermarking images, I fear that the public think that protection is a requirement...and as such anyone who does not watermark is not looking after their property properly.

I imagine it would be very time consuming to search for all your photos...

I devote a few hours every month, and without fail find something worth following up. By looking for images that are known to be already published electronically you can focus the search for likely infringers. I only spend the time knowing there is a good chance of a return...

then argue to get some compensation which seems to lead to no happy ending in most cases...


Only once have I followed up an infringement and got nothing, it is worth following up the right ones. I do not charge less than three figures (in £) for each use (the image usually appears more than once...) and the sums quickly add up to significant sums - more so if I decide I don't want to get involved and pass it over to the lawyers.

Its worth remembering that payments from infringers are nothing but compensation for the loss of a legitimate sale. I take no pleasure from taking money from an infringer...I would much rather they contacted me beforehand and a fee negotiated...but there is little I can do about this.

I choose to watermark my images as some measure to try and avoid dealing with infringers...but even this is not always successful. I have learnt to develop a very thick skin when it comes to some infringers. The negative comments one receives can be highly personal in nature...hence using a lawyer from time to time...I can step out of the nasty stuff and let the adults sort it out.

So generally, there is a happy(ish) ending where the creator gets their due reward and can continue doing what they do...if there is no money to pay bills and buy kit then the process of creation would - for me at least - simply grind to a halt. I am not sure an infringer has a happy ending.

Prevention is better than cure. People lock up their houses, cars and put their jewelry away in safes.

This kind of statement reinforces my opinion that the general public think that somehow photographers need to lock up their images. We don't. Protection is inherent - watermarked or not - and there is no requirement to protect. The best prevention I think is one of education...infringement can be an expensive lesson though.
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#15 johnjvv

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 03:15 AM

decosnapper

It is good to hear that you have been able to claim money back on all occasions other than one and it must be serious business for you if you are getting lawyers involved. I still believe that it is better to safeguard images against being stolen, especially for commercial photographers. I had a look at your website and your images all have substantial watermarks on them so I believe that whilst you dont like watermarking you see it as necessary?

I would be interested to understand what portion of picture sales are made by claiming back from infringements. Also, have you been able to settle anything internationally?

Cheers,
John

#16 decosnapper

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 07:19 AM

decosnapper
It is good to hear that you have been able to claim money back on all occasions other than one and it must be serious business for you if you are getting lawyers involved.


Infringement deprives creators of income. Many who have salaried jobs don't realise this...and without this income, it becomes harder and harder to justify the investment to carry on creating as I am not in it for the ego or fun alone. The lawyers are only a last resort, or for anything of significant value, or is complex. I don't like paying lawyers, but it can be necessary to reach a satisfactory outcome.

I still believe that it is better to safeguard images against being stolen, especially for commercial photographers. I had a look at your website and your images all have substantial watermarks on them so I believe that whilst you dont like watermarking you see it as necessary?


I do watermark, it is simply the lesser of two unwelcome choices. To stress the point again; I would rather negotiate use rights than I would deal with infringements...I didn't go into the business to get bogged down with legal arguments. Had I wanted that, I would have studied law...but without the income I derive I would have to do something else, something less rewarding or enjoyable. All I want the watermark to do is let people question themselves and think 'Do I really need this image?" or 'Perhaps I should ask first". After all, its only polite to ask to use someone's property beforehand, isn't it? I realise that not everyone will see an image as personal property...so I make it less appealing...degrading my work if you like.

And not everyone on this planet shares the same values, and I will deny permission to use my images/text if the proposed use is offensive to either myself or the subject(s). The right to say 'no, not at any price' is highly valued and a watermark may just prevent such a use.

I would be interested to understand what portion of picture sales are made by claiming back from infringements. Also, have you been able to settle anything internationally?


It varies. Last year was quiet...this year infringement is accounting for around 25% of turnover...this figure will rise considerably when the dust settles on the latest examples.

Its not all positive. I need to spend time finding, gathering evidence, checking the provenance (agent sale perhaps?), tracking down who is responsible and contacting the infringer or instructing the lawyer, liaising with infringer/lawyer...providing evidence to back up my fees, evidence the image is mine...wasting time & responding to blatantly misguided advice like 'its on the internet...no permission needed...etc". This is time when I could be creating something new, and that would be my preferred choice...but I can't keep creating new things and see no income...so this aspect is sadly required.

So whilst legitimate licensing revenues decline, the value and volume of infringements increase, so the business model is increasingly adversarial, rather than transactional. As already stated, its a far more pleasant process to negotiate rather than deal with infringers, and the adversarial model is not one I would choose.

Yet to see a settlement across borders. The one I have lost out on was in New Zealand...this situation may change very soon though.

Edited by decosnapper, 23 September 2012 - 07:48 AM.

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#17 jlyle

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 09:22 AM

Thanks. Avi just sent me an email about one of my images he was using without permission. The email implied that securing permissions is part of their workflow and they were just following up on mine because they had apparently missed it. LOL. Anyway, I sent him an invoice and told him I accept PayPal. I expect the image will be taken down.
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#18 scubamarli

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 02:47 PM

I expect the image will be taken down.

I am. sure that you are correct. However, other sites are linked to his original post. In fact it was the linked site that showed up on Google.
http://www.worldsstr...-animal-hybrid/
Plus the science here is absurd. My image was removed from Avi's blog, but remains on this site.

Cheers,
Marli
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#19 johnjvv

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 03:56 PM

Decosnapper,

Funny how i was told by my boss this morning that prevention is better than cure after someone forced their way into my pickup's canopy last night....apparently it is common here in aus for pickups to be targeted in hope of finding power tools...

I have become relaxed, after having lived in the middle east where you can leave your car running while shopping, and only locked one of the two possible locks which made it possible for them to get levarage and force the door open....

Luckily there was nothing "pawnable" in the back so i am just left with a slightly damaged lock...

Strange timing but i will be locking everything up moving forward....

Edited by johnjvv, 23 September 2012 - 03:57 PM.


#20 jlyle

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 04:08 PM

I just got paid. How about that?
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