Copyright Question/Legal Grounds?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by davexdave, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. davexdave

    davexdave TPF Noob!

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    Hello. There could very well be a thread about this (if someone could link me to an answer, that'd be awesome), but my search hasn't been successful. So, my situation is this:

    A good friend of mine left his band this past winter, he had been their original vocalist. Their record label mentioned some interest in him doing a side project, and requested pictures of my friend, done in my studio.

    Thinking that these pictures were for the side project, I forwarded them to my friend's manager with permission to use them on a myspace, specifically for the side project.

    They were never used, the side project never got off the ground.

    Now, more than six months later, these images resurface on the old band's mypace, stating that my friend has "rejoined" the band (paraphrased). These images feature two girls acting as models, who I gained consent from for the photo's intended purpose. These images, rather are being used on the band's myspace, as well as online zines and blogs, without any regard for who took the picture.

    While I do not watermark my images, part of my consent in letting a band/etc using them is explicit photo credit.

    These images are being used for something they were not intended for, being edited as they so please (my flickr states my copyright, no editing etc), and the band is gaining commercial success from the images and the controversy they're inciting. I've messaged the band, as well as the band's manager to take the photos down, with no response.

    Do I have grounds for some sort of legal action? The girl's in these images are very upset, as am I for the exploitation of my pictures. I don't so much want the money, but I would appreciate some co-operation.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    Do you have a signed contract/agreement?
     
  3. davexdave

    davexdave TPF Noob!

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    Unfortunately, this was all done electronically. Particularly with the understanding of my friend and his manager that this was for the specified project. I, as well as my friend, have been blocked (via myspace) from sending the manager messages or emails. I received no reply to the ones sent and read by said manager. All I have is the proof that these are my images, and a possibly testimony from the eight people involved in the photoshoot who understood what this was for.
     
  4. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Legally, you own copyright to your photos, but some judges will accept the argument from the other side, that barring any written agreement to the contrary, if you give away your photos, you are giving away the rights to those photos as well.

    This is why a written agreement or contract is always necessary to avoid this kind of situation.

    skieur
     
  5. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    You could also contact MySpace directly, I think they are obligated to honor your copyright and should take down the photo or even close the offenders account.
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would pay a bit of money to have an attorney draft a cease and desist letter and send copies of it to the band manager and members. Any attorney will have this kind of thing pretty much on file and the cost of it shouldn't be that much... maybe a couple hundred bucks. Have the attourney give them the option to pay for the images and to use them under your specified terms, or stop using them and destroy all copies yadda yadda.

    Odds are quite good a formal letter from an attorney threatening a law suit will get their attention right quick.

    I'm no attorney, but I'm fairly certain you own the rights to anything you create by default. Obviously a legal agreement would give this a bit more strength, but that doesn't mean you don't have a case.

    Also, you can sue them for looking at you funny, so there's absolutely no reason why you wouldn't have every reasonable cause for suing them for blatantly stealing your work.

    That being said, this is why I watermark my images, embed copyright info in the EXIF, and only have low-quality low-resolution JPEGs up in any public location.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2008

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