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Lots of stolen photos on Divemaster.com


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#1 underwatercolours

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 03:31 PM

I just found a whole bunch of my photos on a website at divemaster.com. They are putting together a dive site directory, but seem to think that photos found online are a free for all. If you've got images online, you may want to take a look to see if they've lifted any of your stuff. The easiest way to do this is here:

http://images.google...G=Search Images

I sent them an email, but have not heard anything back. Does anyone know who these guys are? They are in the UK.

grrrrrrr!

Bonnie

#2 scubamarli

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 08:08 PM

Domain Name.......... divemaster.com
Creation Date........ 1995-10-13
Registration Date.... 2008-04-08
Expiry Date.......... 2009-10-12
Organisation Name.... Individual
Organisation Address. 16 Ivy House Drive
Organisation Address.
Organisation Address. Barlaston
Organisation Address. ST12 9BQ
Organisation Address. Staffordshire
Organisation Address. GREAT BRITAIN (UK)

Admin Name........... na Sean Kelly
Admin Address........ 16 Ivy House Drive
Admin Address........
Admin Address........ Barlaston
Admin Address........ ST12 9BQ
Admin Address........ Staffordshire
Admin Address........ GREAT BRITAIN (UK)
Admin Email.......... sales@divemaster.com
Admin Phone.......... 44.7970611095
Admin Fax............ 44.7970611095

Tech Name............ Admin Domain
Tech Address......... ActiveBytes Software LLC
Tech Address......... UK Telephone Support Line
Tech Address......... 0905 2340911
Tech Address......... DE19810
Tech Address......... DE
Tech Address......... UNITED STATES
Tech Email........... domadmin@domain-parking.net
Tech Phone........... 44 905 2340911
Tech Fax............. 44 905 2340911
Name Server.......... ns3.rapidweb.biz
Name Server.......... ns4.rapidweb.biz
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#3 Paul Kay

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 02:22 AM

In the UK deliberate breach of copyright is actually a criminal offence. I suggest that you write to them telling them that they have not been authorised to use your images and then telling them to remove you images (within a reasonable timescale) and if they fail to do so, invoice them at a 'reasonable' rate. If they then fail to pay you can enforce through our small claims court systrem which starts with simple form filling. Warn them of this and they will probably remove your images. Always keep copies of emails, letters and screen printouts to back up any eventual claim, and try to be 'reasonable' at all time (timescales, fees, etc.) as thei will help if you need to enforce.
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#4 PRC

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 02:44 AM

Do you think you would have to identify to them which pictures were 'yours' Paul ?

I mean, if they had to go through their entire site and ID the dodgey ones themselves
then that alone would eat considerable resource.

Or would not identifying the ones in dispute be unreasonable ?

I only wonder as the image content of that site is enormous and I lost the
will to live about half way through looking at them all.

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#5 underwatercolours

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 07:12 AM

I sent an email to all the addresses I could find on their site, but they have bounced back as being "undeliverable for the past 4 hours". I've also sent a message through the form on the website. Next step I'll call all the phone numbers I've found on their website and in their domain records (thanks marli).

I always give violators a list of the images I find. Its much easier for me to compile this, than for them to figure it out. In situations like this its very unlikely I'll get any compensation out of this, so I just want the images removed asap. I have to assume I'm not dealing with the brightest bunch of guys and I don't like to give them any excuses to not get it right.

As a next step in the US, I would send a DMCA compliant cease and desist letter to the hosting company. The hosting company is required to remove the images or face getting pulled into an infringement suit, so at least in the US they do jump...and quickly, but I don't know if those same laws apply in the UK. Worth a try.

In this case one of the sites they stole the images from was registered with the US copyright office before it went live, has copyright notices on every page, has an agents area, and on some pages has a java script in place to alert potential thieves of the crime they are about to commit. So if I needed to press charges, I've got my bases covered.

In the past, just posting here sometimes also does the trick. Sometimes not.

#6 scubamarli

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 08:31 PM

Go get 'em, Bonnie!

Edited by scubamarli, 13 November 2008 - 08:32 PM.

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#7 scott_nielsen

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 05:46 AM

He posts over on scubadiving.com by the name, divemaster.com . Do a member search and it pulls up his pic, address, etc. Scott
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#8 underwatercolours

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 10:03 AM

I resolved this for the time being by sending an email to their hosting company. The owner of the site claimed he was not responsible for what other people uploaded (at least in the US and many other countries, this is not true). The hosting company shut down all the pages that displayed or linked to my images. This process is such a PIA and I hate bringing any traffic to that website at all, but I believe a public posting on a website like Wetpixel is still a very good way to expose those who think they don't need to pay attention to copyright issues.

#9 divemaster

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 04:11 AM

Bonnie,

I am indeed the owner of Divemaster.com and I Resent the fact that you accuse me of theft, Myself or none of my staff have stolen any of your images from any website. Due to the nature of our website registered users are allowed to upload images and it seems that a few of these images are maybe what you a refering to. Please do not accuse me of theft again or action will be taken against you for slanderous alegations.

If you supply me with a list of the images and the pages they correspond to I will endevour to get these removed in due course.

Also, ScubaMarli, I do not appreciate having my pesonal address splattered all over this website for people to see, My details are private and it is not for you to post them on a public forum

I do apologise for the images posted on divemaster, but this was beyond my control and will be rectified shortly.

Sean - Divemaster

#10 cor

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 05:24 AM

Hi Sean, the info scubamarli posted is public information. Anyone can get it. If you're not happy that the info ended up in the public domain, you should contact your hosting provider and tell them. They, or whomever helped you get your domain divemaster.com, put your address in the public domain system database.
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#11 underwatercolours

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 07:37 AM

Bonnie,

I am indeed the owner of Divemaster.com and I Resent the fact that you accuse me of theft, Myself or none of my staff have stolen any of your images from any website. Due to the nature of our website registered users are allowed to upload images and it seems that a few of these images are maybe what you a refering to. Please do not accuse me of theft again or action will be taken against you for slanderous alegations.

If you supply me with a list of the images and the pages they correspond to I will endevour to get these removed in due course.

Also, ScubaMarli, I do not appreciate having my pesonal address splattered all over this website for people to see, My details are private and it is not for you to post them on a public forum

I do apologise for the images posted on divemaster, but this was beyond my control and will be rectified shortly.

Sean - Divemaster


Hi Sean, I have contacted you every way I possibly could...through your website, through the Scuba Diving B2B message board, through your hosting company, through the forms on your website, and have sent an email to every email address I could find on your website. No response! Here is a message I sent for the third time to the same group of emails on Nov. 13...


Subject: Copyright infringements on your website
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2008 20:58:57 -0500

Hi Sean,

I'm contacting you here, because the emails I have sent you through your website have gone unanswered. I've already posted this on Wetpixel, but will be happy to post that you were cooperative in taking care of this, assuming you are.

It has come to my attention that you are using my photos and graphics on your website without my permission.

The photos and maps are used on this page and possibly others:
http://www.divemaste...-wreck-c53.html
http://www.divemaste...mexico/cozumel/
http://www.divemaste...naab-reef-.html
http://www.divemaste...mel-island.html
http://www.divemaste...mel-island.html
http://www.divemaste...-rosa-wall.html
http://www.divemaste...lanca-wall.html

The specific images are:
http://www.divemaste..._reef_2_782.jpg
http://www.divemaste...island2_674.gif
http://www.divemaste...island4_470.gif
http://www.divemaste...island4_623.gif
http://www.divemaste...sa_wall2_33.jpg

You have also lifted the dive site map from the Scuba Club Cozumel website and removed a portion of their logo. This is VERY ILLEGAL!
http://www.divemaste...l_pier1_138.gif
http://www.divemaste...sa_wall1_33.gif
http://www.divemaste...island1_674.gif
http://www.divemaste..._reef_1_782.gif
Please remove all other uses and variations of this map.

These images are protected under US and international copyright laws. You may not use these images without my written permission. I typically do sometimes allow people to use my images if they ask permission and if they provide a copyright notice and link to my site, but your infringement is so bad that I would like for you to just remove them all.

The sites you stole this content from is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and the consequences of copyright infringement are huge. Please email me to confirm that the images have been removed.

Bonnie Pelnar


Still, no response.

So I logged into your message board and posted a message there: http://www.divemaste...hread.php?t=160

The response there says it all.

So before you threaten ME with legal action, you might want to get a clue! You are the owner of the website and YOU are responsible for the content that is uploaded there. When you receive a notice such as the many I have sent, it is your responsibility to remove the content or face legal action. This is NOT beyond your control. If you don't know how to do this, then maybe you should hire a webmaster that does. Ignorance is no excuse for copyright infringement. If you want to attempt to run a public website like Divemaster.com, then you better learn the rules.

Bonnie

#12 underwatercolours

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 07:41 AM

By the way, after my post in the Divemaster.com forum my account there was deleted so I could not post again.

#13 divemaster

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 09:44 AM

By the way, after my post in the Divemaster.com forum my account there was deleted so I could not post again.


You will also notice i have not posted in the forum for several months, there has been a serious glitch with the backend of our site that has affected several key areas of the site. No One deleted you Nor would want to. Its a website error that I will fix as soon as i can.

As for Public Information, I guess you wont mind me publishing your cell phone number (011(949) 733-2213) then as being as you see it is quite approriate for someone to publish my private details.

Your images will be removed as soon as i have sorted out the website problems, in the meantime, refrain from using words such as theft and fraud in relation to myself.

Edited by yahsemtough, 07 January 2009 - 11:08 AM.


#14 jeremypayne

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 10:28 AM

Sean ... I'm glad you are here to defend yourself - everyone should have the right to tell their side of the story ...

But I have to say, coming out swinging might not be the best approach.

My advice for the next time someone gets upset that a website you own is displaying that person's copyrighted material: Lead with the apology and then move to the excuses ... not the other way around ...
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#15 Drew

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 10:31 AM

Sean
While I can understand your frustration with the strong words used against you, I do want to remind you to restrain yourself from going too far.
The "personal information" on you is publically available to anyone who looks for your website in whois.net. Marli copied it here as information for those people whose pictures are on your website without permission. I'm sure you have many web issues as we all do, it does not absolve you from the responsibilities of ownership, which includes content control of using copyrighted materials. "I can't control content" won't be sufficient in a court of law.
I would suggest you take a more humble tone in responding since the legal fault is on your end. I think Bonnie has been pretty patient in her lack of legal action, if not in her responses. She can actually bill you for every second those pics are on your site, if she wanted to and she'd get it in any court because she gave you reasonable time to respond and remove those pictures. She's already done you a favor by having your host server block the pages with the offending pictures.
I'd normally admonish you for attempting to post private information of another member without permission but that's Bonnie's business number and is also public domain. However, the attempt prompted me to warn you in public not to try that again.
I'm sorry if this thread causes you more headaches should other photographers find their images on your site, but I'm sure you'd rather have everything above board than have unauthorized images on your website.
Good luck resolving this issue quickly.
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#16 divemaster

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 12:51 PM

Your right, It would have been better to lead with an apology rather than come out punching, But with the issues with the site ( Technical issues ) certain things were beyond my control. Bonnie states I replied to an email saying I would sort things out and take down the pictures.

I have never sent her an email at anytime in the past, Simply because I have never seen an email from her. The first time i knew of this whole issue was while i was googling something and came accross this post on the internet.

I am a responsible website owner and will take action with regards to the photo's as soon as technically possible, But i do resent being called a Thief and a Fraud.

#17 ralphy

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 05:12 AM

Due to the nature of our website registered users are allowed to upload images and it seems that a few of these images are maybe what you a refering to.
Sean - Divemaster


So were these images posted up by users to the sites forum, or used by the site for promotional purposes?

EDIT: I've just followed Bonnie's links to the pages concerned and have to say that

Due to the nature of our website registered users are allowed to upload images

just doesn't stack up.

R

Edited by ralphy, 08 January 2009 - 09:34 PM.


#18 rtrski

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 12:29 PM

But i do resent being called a Thief and a Fraud.


Hmmm. Given that you get bent out of shape when someone posts results of a public "whois" registry search, on website ownership, then post someone else's (obviously provided to you) private cell phone # as revenge, there's another word I could think of. But I suppose I'd just be stirring the pot.

Suffice to say if you think this sort of behavior is clearing your name, you're mistaken. From a quick look (hate to give you the traffic, but would be incorrect to make assumptions without looking first) the pages linked by Bonnie as having her pictures show up in your dive site directory, and do not in any way, shape or form say "user uploaded picture" and give a username. This gives a very clear assumption that they are "owned" by the site owner. Especially since there is a nice big "C" marking at the bottom of those pages.

But the theft (yes, I said it) of Scuba Club Cozumel's map is just unsupportably blatant. And whoever uploaded it for you (cough, cough) knew it because they blanked out part of the logo just leaving the island name.... http://www.scubaclub.../divesites.html

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#19 sgietler

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 12:49 PM

I have never sent her an email at anytime in the past, Simply because I have never seen an email from her. The first time i knew of this whole issue was while i was googling something and came accross this post on the internet.


I find it hard to believe you didn't receive Bonnie's emails. She said she sent them to numerous addresses. The site is obviously professionally done and well-maintained, it's not reasonable to think that no one was receiving emails from the website for an extended period of time.

#20 Snaphappy

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 11:43 AM

Bonnie has given you an easy way out Divemaster, yet you've insisted upon digging yourself into a deeper hole by dodging (and trying to alter) the truth.
You've been caught red-handed and it's time to apologize to Bonnie and remove the STOLEN images asap. Robyn