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#1 underwatercolours

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 09:07 AM

:angryfire: Following the link just below this message (about the Maldives accident) I discovered that CDNN and their other associated link sites, are still using a bunch of my photographs without my permission. They have stolen my photos off of web sites from Galapagos, Palau, BVI's, Truk, and others. I have contacted these people several times asking them to remove them, but they have not complied. Its been over a year since my first contact with them. To add insult to injury, they stole photos off the Truk Odyssey web site to promote the Thorfin.

I'd like to see this forum add a copyright section where copyright issues can be discussed and infringers can be exposed. Copyright is a very, very hot issue among photographers, both professional and hobbyists. New laws have given us more options to pursue these infringers, but the process of doing this is still very painful and very expensive in spite of the fact that they are easy to win. I have spoken to my attorney about what to do about these guys, but haven't yet decided on an action. I think exposure of their business practices is a good place to start.

We all spent thousands, even tens-of-thousands of dollars on our camera gear, travel expenses, maintenance, etc. to take pictures. If a company wants to use those photos to promote their own cause, they should either purchase the images, or at least ask permission to use them instead of stealing them off of web sites, especially when copyright notices are prominently posted.

#2 great scott

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 12:33 PM

I'm totally ignorant about copyright laws but I have been reading a lot about it lately to try to learn more. I'm curious, if a company wanted to buy photos to use on their web site, how much would they cost? Is it a one time flat fee?

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#3 underwatercolours

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 04:44 PM

Well this is getting a little off-topic here, but getting the price for stock photography sales is always tough. It depends on whether your selling your photos under a royalty free or traditional license agreement. If I'm selling an image under a royalty free agreement, then I use the same pricing as Corbis or Getty and don't offer any discounts expect if they buy in quantity.

When I'm quoting traditional license fees I use a couple of tools to calculate my start price. One of them is at http://www.editorialphoto.com. They have an online calculator or you can download an Excel version. I also use a program I bought called Cradoc FotoQuote, that gets its numbers from the input of professional photographer's past experience.

Both calculate the usage fee based on how long the image will be used (6 mos, 12 mos, etc.), by the size of the actual image, and by the position of the image within the web site (more for splash page and main pages, decreasing for inside locations. Photographers often factor in the uniqueness of the image and difficulty in shooting. So, a photo of whales mating will bring in much more $$ than a picture of a starfish.

So a ball-park estimate might be for a 240x320 size image used for 12 months could bring about $400-$500 US. The FotoQuote estimate is much higher at $1000 to $1900 for use on an multi-national web site.

I also take into consideration whether the buyer is willing to add a photo credit and copyright notice. If they don't, I'm at a greater risk of having that image stolen by a third party and be used without my permission. Then my price is much higher and sometimes I may not sell the image at all.

Lastly, I take into consideration the company who is asking to license it. Large corporations with big budgets will usually not get a break, while small business owners who call me on the phone to talk to me in person, compliment me profusely at the beginning of the conversation, and offer to pay cash up front will always get a better price. I'll leave it to say that no two quotes will ever be the same.

I always have to consider that there are hundreds of photographers who are willing to give away their photos for nothing more than a photo credit so I often have to compete against "FREE", but I still will walk away before I would take the risk of letting a great photo fall into the public domain.

If you want to learn more about copyright there is a great section about image piracy on the Comstock Images webpage and a hundred other web sites that also cover the topic in detail.

#4 marscuba

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 10:49 PM

For further issues on copyright, see an excellent summary by Barry Lipman of the UW-Photo list.

http://www.barrylipm...ights/index.htm

The basic premise is that you need to register the copyright in order to collect legal fees, punitive damages, etc. If you do not register, you only get "fair use".

Good luck,

#5 underwatercolours

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 06:22 PM

His summary is absolutely correct, but jumps right to the chase and doesn't talk about the reality of chasing after the violator in a copyright infringement case. I register all my web sites and all my images with the copyright office before they even go public. This does give me much more fighting power to pursue and win a copyright case, but it doesn't help me to come up with the $5000-$10,000 I'd have pay as a retainer IF I could even find any attorney that would be willing to go after a small time thief who has no money to pay the settlement anyway. Those infringers are also not worried about the threat of a lawsuit because they don't think they did anything wrong and don't know the consequences of their actions if I did file suit.

This is the problem I run into all the time. If the infringer is a major corporation, then its a little bit easier, but the battle can still be very long, painful, and expensive. My most recent infringers where Pleasant Holidays and even Qantas Airlines, but each stole only one image and of the three attorneys I spoke to, none of them really thought it was worth going after. One would reluctantly take the case if I put up $5000 just to get his attention.

I hope someone comes online to tell me I'm wrong, because it really burns me to see these jerks get away with stealing and using my photos to market their companies and not pay a penny for them. Any copyright lawyers out there?

#6 SharpDiver

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 07:52 PM

Interesting that this thread is coming from someone who added an "s" to the name of my website and is launching a site dedicated to digital underwater photography.

What's good for the goose....

#7 underwatercolours

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 09:14 PM

I don't know who you are or what your web site is all about and I doubt that you know anything about what my web site is about. If you felt as though you had some kind of legal rights to all variations of the domain digitaldiver, then your should have registered for a trademark and/or reserved all the available domains related to that trademarked name. I very recently purchased that domain name so obviously you didn't think about that. My new web site has absolutely nothing to do with you and your comment has absolutely nothing to do with copyright or any infringement or violation of any kind.

Sounds more like sour grapes to me.

#8 craig

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 07:27 AM

I disagree. All Jeff pointed out was that your domain name was remarkably unoriginal for someone who feels so strongly about their own intellectual property. I agree with him. You haven't protected all permutations of your domains either.

Your lack of diligence suggests that you care little about the impact you have on others, yet you beat your drum when the shoe's on the other foot. What's good for the goose...

I'd also point out that the public domain is a very good thing. All us members of the public benefit from it, including you Bonnie, and if it weren't for the public domain there would not be any patents, trademarks, or copyrights to have this discussion over. Maximizing profit over a single 320x240 image may be of interest to the individual, but it is not the interest of the public. The public grants you legal protections to that profit for a limited time in hopes of getting something in exchange, so the existence of a public domain creates the very protections that support your profession. People who contribute freely to the public domain are friends of the public and if that makes them enemies of you, so be it.

I always have to consider that there are hundreds of photographers who are willing to give away their photos for nothing more than a photo credit so I often have to compete against "FREE", but I still will walk away before I would take the risk of letting a great photo fall into the public domain.

It must not be that great a photo then.

I fully support the efforts of professionals trying to make a living. I also support the interests of the public including individuals who contribute their work freely. If free photos are of good enough quality to compete effectively with your work, Bonnie, then you should focus on providing more value. I believe this is the true spirit of intellectual property law. This doesn't put me against professional photographers. In my profession I compete against others, some who provide their work for free. My job is to make my work worth paying for.
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#9 underwatercolours

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 09:55 AM

First of all, as a professional photographer, Iím not your enemy, so Iím not sure there is such a hostile tone in your post.

I disagree. All Jeff pointed out was that your domain name was remarkably unoriginal for someone who feels so strongly about their own intellectual property. I agree with him. You haven't protected all permutations of your domains either. Your lack of diligence suggests that you care little about the impact you have on others, yet you beat your drum when the shoe's on the other foot. What's good for the goose...



Until his post, I never heard of digitaldiver.net. I took the time and paid the fees to do a trademark search and didnít find any information about him or his company. Even if I had known about his web site, this does not restrict me from reserving and using, or not using the domain if I decide to do so. In fact the US Trademark office may grant me a trademark if they feel as though there is little similarity between what heís doing and what Iím doing. I donít plan to purchase every variation of my domain name either, but Iím not the one posting accusations here. By the way, I donít think a domain name is considered intellectual property unless it is trademark protected. If it was that simple, Bill Gates would likely own the domain name internetexplorer.com.

In addition, you donít know me and you donít have a clue about what I care about or donít care about.

I'd also point out that the public domain is a very good thing. All us members of the public benefit from it, including you Bonnie, and if it weren't for the public domain there would not be any patents, trademarks, or copyrights to have this discussion over. Maximizing profit over a single 320x240 image may be of interest to the individual, but it is not the interest of the public. The public grants you legal protections to that profit for a limited time in hopes of getting something in exchange, so the existence of a public domain creates the very protections that support your profession. People who contribute freely to the public domain are friends of the public and if that makes them enemies of you, so be it.


I agree completely that there is benefit to public domain, I never said otherwise, but as a professional photographer I should be the one to determine whether my photos become public domain, not someone else who has no regard for the law. Thatís what copyright laws were designed to protect.

It must not be that great a photo then.

I fully support the efforts of professionals trying to make a living. I also support the interests of the public including individuals who contribute their work freely. If free photos are of good enough quality to compete effectively with your work, Bonnie, then you should focus on providing more value. I believe this is the true spirit of intellectual property law. This doesn't put me against professional photographers. In my profession I compete against others, some who provide their work for free. My job is to make my work worth paying for.


Itís just the opposite. Itís the better photos that get stolen most often, not the bad ones! And itís the professionals in the industry that respect and abide by the laws by purchasing stock photography, instead of stealing it. First, you twist my words, now youíre insulting me too. I also purchase stock photography for use in my productions and have to make the decision to pay more money for a better quality, or more suitable photo or pay less and settle for what's available as royalty free or public domain. However, if I choose to use the higher priced photo and not pay for it (such as what copyright infringers do) then Iím breaking the law and risk getting sued.

#10 underwatercolours

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 11:43 AM

I recall a conversation I had with some guy who phoned me about a year ago. We also exchanged a few emails, which I still had in my archives.

He contacted me about my digital divers site, which was then about 80% completed. I told him that I came up with the idea and began working on it when business slowed down after September 11. At the time he contacted me (March of 2002) the project was on the back burner to higher priority assignments. I gave him much more information than I should have (I tend to be way too trusting) and even gave him a link for a sneak peek of the site. His name was Jeff Farris. I never heard back from him and I never contacted him again, since I had no interest in what he was proposing.

Now I'm being called remarkably unoriginal, insensitive, unfocused, and a photographer who's photos are not worth paying for... any by a moderator at that!

Guys, before you start posting comments like you have, you really should get your ducks lined up... or should I say geese?

#11 wetpixel

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 12:57 PM

Now I'm being called remarkably unoriginal, insensitive, unfocused, and a photographer who's photos are not worth paying for... any by a moderator at that!

Bonnie - Even moderators are entitled to an opinion! Craig moderates the video forum only, and should be considered a "normal" user in other areas of our forum.

It would be really unfortunate if moderators were unable to express themselves honestly because of some kind of perceived power differential!
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#12 Bad boy

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 01:34 PM

I found the stuff posted here on copyright VERY USEFUL (thanks Bonnie) and I love to see that good photographers don't have to give away their photos to get them published. I think the opinions and comments posted by Craig to be completely useless. He didn't even understand the comments made before he started blasting off. :D

Copy protected photographs can fall into the public domain whether a photographer wants them to or not if they are stolen and used too many times and its usually the best photos that do. Eventually the photographer just loses control of the image and he can no longer sell the photograph because everyone is already using it. In this light, public domain sucks. If you choose to give away your pictures that's one thing, but when they are stolen and used without your permission, that's another.

Maximizing profit is what professional photography is all about, isn't it? I sure would like to be able to sell my pictures for even half of that, i'm just not that good. Maybe some day. I'm jealous too, but with fond admiration.

#13 craig

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 01:41 PM

Now I'm being called remarkably unoriginal, insensitive, unfocused, and a photographer who's photos are not worth paying for... any by a moderator at that!

Ah, here we go again. Being a moderator doesn't mean not being allowed opinions. I never said your photos are not worth paying for. You were complaining that you had to compete with photographers who gave their work away for free, but that's the situation you are in. If you can't charge what you'd like because of that, then your work is overpriced. That's the free market saying that, not me. Other photographers are under no obligation to support an arbitrary price structure for your benefit. Amateur photographers are not your enemy, either, and each is entitled to do as he pleases.

I also never called you insensitive or unfocused. What I said was that you didn't care. You've confirmed that.

Until his post, I never heard of digitaldiver.net. I took the time and paid the fees to do a trademark search and didnít find any information about him or his company. Even if I had known about his web site, this does not restrict me from reserving and using, or not using the domain if I decide to do so. In fact the US Trademark office may grant me a trademark if they feel as though there is little similarity between what heís doing and what Iím doing.

So, once you get your trademark, Jeff should start looking for another domain name, right?

Regarding public domain, you changed the subject. The subject was having to compete with photos that were free and feeling compelled to give away your work. Stealing was not the subject, and I never endorsed anyone stealing your copyrighted works.

I think you shouldn't accuse Jeff of stealing your ideas without reason or evidence.

He contacted me about my digital divers site, which was then about 80% completed. I told him that I came up with the idea and began working on it when business slowed down after September 11. At the time he contacted me (March of 2002) the project was on the back burner to higher priority assignments. I gave him much more information than I should have (I tend to be way too trusting) and even gave him a link for a sneak peek of the site. His name was Jeff Farris. I never heard back from him and I never contacted him again, since I had no interest in what he was proposing.


Sounds like sour grapes to me.

I know some pro photographers, some on this board, admire each of them, appreciate learning from them, and am certain that none of them fear having to compete with me! I'm sorry you feel otherwise, but nothing I do diminishes your ability to earn an honest living. It's funny how you don't mind asking for free advice here but believe your advice worthy of a subscription fee over at digitaldivers.
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#14 craig

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 02:05 PM

I found the stuff posted here on copyright VERY USEFUL (thanks Bonnie) and I love to see that good photographers don't have to give away their photos to get them published. I think the opinions and comments posted by Craig to be completely useless. He didn't even understand the comments made before he started blasting off.  :D

Copy protected photographs can fall into the public domain whether a photographer wants them to or not if they are stolen and used too many times and its usually the best photos that do. Eventually the photographer just loses control of the image and he can no longer sell the photograph because everyone is already using it. In this light, public domain sucks. If you choose to give away your pictures that's one thing, but when they are stolen and used without your permission, that's another.

Maximizing profit is what professional photography is all about, isn't it? I sure would like to be able to sell my pictures for even half of that, i'm just not that good. Maybe some day. I'm jealous too, but with fond admiration.

Yes I did. I fully understood the copyright issues and did not post in response to any of them. I did, however, defend the public domain and a person's right to contribute to it.

Copyrighted works cannot fall into the public domain whether an owner wants them to or not. They enter the public domain either through neglect by the copyright holder, thought the wishes of the copyright holder, or when the term of the copyyright expires. Unauthorized use of copyrighted works has nothing to do with the public domain. The mere existence of copyright itself is due to a desire to encourage contributions to the public domain, so the public domain certainly does not suck.

I'm glad you got so much out the copyright discussion, but there's still more to learn. Professional anything is not all about maximizing profits, and even if it were, there's more than one way to go about it. It may be true that photographers don't have to give away their work to get published, but I don't see how you got that here.
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#15 SharpDiver

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 02:07 PM

I recall a conversation I had with some guy who phoned me about a year ago. We also exchanged a few emails, which I still had in my archives.

He contacted me about my digital divers site, which was then about 80% completed. I told him that I came up with the idea and began working on it when business slowed down after September 11. At the time he contacted me (March of 2002) the project was on the back burner to higher priority assignments. I gave him much more information than I should have (I tend to be way too trusting) and even gave him a link for a sneak peek of the site. His name was Jeff Farris. I never heard back from him and I never contacted him again, since I had no interest in what he was proposing.

Now I'm being called remarkably unoriginal, insensitive, unfocused, and a photographer who's photos are not worth paying for... any by a moderator at that!

Guys, before you start posting comments like you have, you really should get your ducks lined up... or should I say geese?

I don't know what you are accusing me of by saying you gave me more information than you should have, but at that point I had already registered the address digitaldiver.net and your pages did not have a title that I recall. I gave you links to my website, which at the time was little more than my galleries, but nothing that I have ever done on DigitalDiver.net was influenced by your site.

No, I did not trademark my name. At the time, I thought it a clever aliteration and nothing more. It has since grown and we are now incorporated as Digital Diver Network, LLC. Nor did I register every permutation of the name. I really didn't think it necessary, nor could I afford it for a site dedicated to my hobby.

I think my point was (and is) that it appears from your remarks that as long as you copy someone legally, it is OK. Perhaps we both stumbled onto the idea of Digtal Diver(s) independently of each other and we are now getting our feathers ruffled for no good reason. If so, I apologize. But, the fact that I gave you a link to my site makes me doubt it.

#16 underwatercolours

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 03:15 PM

I don't know what you are accusing me of by saying you gave me more information than you should have, but at that point I had already registered the address digitaldiver.net and your pages did not have a title that I recall. I gave you links to my website, which at the time was little more than my galleries, but nothing that I have ever done on DigitalDiver.net was influenced by your site.
No, I did not trademark my name. At the time, I thought it a clever aliteration and nothing more. It has since grown and we are now incorporated as Digital Diver Network, LLC. Nor did I register every permutation of the name. I really didn't think it necessary, nor could I afford it for a site dedicated to my hobby.


I don't see your site as being similar to mine. It was you who started this whole thing with your comment about my domain name, which never did have anything to do with your site. I've never seen your site before. When you sent me the links in your email back in March, they were to pages on home.swbell.net and to some trip reports you did on the Rodale's forum. Not digitaldiver.net. I'm not accusing you of anything, just bringing forth the whole story. Tit for tat. You're going to have to accept the fact that other people are going to come up with the same name. I'm not the first and won't be the last. That doesn't mean any of them stole the idea from you. Wyland has a painting called "Underwatercolor" and when I first got my trademark for that name, there was another woman selling hand painted greeting cards of fish. There was once a company in Malaysia called the Underwatercolour Network who produced a Fiji CD ROM also. That still doesn't mean they stole the name from me and I certaily would not tell them to stop using it in spite of the fact that I had it registered with the trademark office.

So many advancements have taken place since I posted my first message about digitaldivers.com and I doubt that I'll even be using that domain name at all when the site finally does go online. Its too bad Craig has made so many assumptions and accusations, it really is not very productive or pleasant for anybody. I've received a lot of nice private emails, so I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks this. At least all this conversation is bringing attention to copyright, which was my original intent.

I think my point was (and is) that it appears from your remarks that as long as you copy someone legally, it is OK. Perhaps we both stumbled onto the idea of Digtal Diver(s) independently of each other and we are now getting our feathers ruffled for no good reason. If so, I apologize. But, the fact that I gave you a link to my site makes me doubt it.


Apology accepted. I forwarded our original email conversation back to you so you can see for yourself.

I don't think its ever OK to copy anyone's work but it happens all the time. That's why I suggested the board start this topic in the first place. Some infringments are intentional and some are not (even though the law confirms that ignorance is no excuse). This is why I also think its important for people to know the laws related to their art whether its a hobby or a profession. Again, another good reason for this topic.

Craig, you are completely out of line in the comments you posted here. If you feel as thought I am asking for too much advice, then you can simply ignore those requests. I respect the experience and opinions of most of the people on this forum and believe that others will also gain by the answers that are posted here to the questions I ask. I have also gone out of the way to post information that I think would be useful. If you don't think so, you can just click on by.

#17 Bad boy

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 03:29 PM

The mere existence of copyright itself is due to a desire to encourage contributions to the public domain.


Craig, take a class!

#18 craig

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 04:04 PM

Craig, take a class!

Please enlighten me, bad boy. Why don't you look into the origins of intellectual property yourself? Have you been employed in the area? The government is under no obligation to legally enforce your right to your work. It does so for a specific reason. Look it up. I'll help you. Go here.

Bonnie, I haven't made any assumptions and accusations, nor did I say you asked for "too much advice".

I, too, have received supportive emails. What's next? Shall we measure?
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#19 yahsemtough

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 05:32 AM

I certainly find it very hard to believe someone who is somewhat regular on this forum would not know about Digitaldivers.net. It comes up so regularly in posts and is referenced to numerous times.

Also, Moderators certainly have a right to express their opinion. It is because of their contributions to this forum that they were granted /asked to accept this role. I do not see why they should then all of a sudden be gagged. If so no one would accept the moderator role and this site would not be the quality site it is.

I have certainly gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from the various moderators and wish to continue on this way. I would also state, personally knowing several pros that I am quite sure they do not feel they are in competition with me. (Yet, lol)
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#20 bobjarman

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 06:00 AM

I would also state, personally knowing several pros that I am quite sure they do not feel thay are in competition with me. (Yet, lol)


Me thinks....that in my case.....they aren't to worried either. :D :D :P :D