Question regarding giving/getting photo credit

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by PNWSGM, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. PNWSGM

    PNWSGM TPF Noob!

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    Be ready for long post, sorry!

    I recently attended Formula D Round 5 in Seattle. While attending (in general admission, couldn't receive media credentials for the event) I had my camera and was taking pictures anyways. I also had a friend introduce me to a particular Pro FD driver and his media guy, after talking and shooting the **** I agreed to show the media guy any pictures I got of the driver throughout the event. The driver is sponsored by a very large automotive parts company.

    I ended up getting some good pictures of the driver throughout the event and ended up watermarking and sending the driver's media guy (as well as the company's media guy) the photos. He assured me at the event that if any of my pictures were to be used in any way he would give me credit.

    Fast forward to today.. I am now friends with both the driver and media guy on facebook and the media guy ended up posting a new advertisement piece (for the company) using various pictures from Formula D Seattle. Including one of my pictures (easily identifiable). Nowhere was I given credit, nor was I paid for the piece. My watermark has been removed from the photo as well. I contacted the Media guy asking what they planned to use the piece for and was told "Facebook and Webpage Advertisement". I replied to the guy saying that it would be awesome if I could get photo credit since they are going to be using the piece, to which I have received no reply.

    I was talking to my buddy who is also a photographer and has been paid to go to events and he mentioned that all of what has happened is "illegal" since the company's media guy took the photo without giving credit or paying for it.

    So my question to you all is, what do you think of the situation? Do you have any course of action suggestions? Thanks for your time!
     
  2. Tony S

    Tony S Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Are the pictures registered? If not and this event is still recent you still have time to register them which would give you the power of collecting a judgement for the copyrights violation. That also means getting an attorney involved, a sticky mess. If you don't register the images used the only recourse you really have is to contact Facebook and file their form that they have when someone posts pictures that belong to you and they don't have any useage rights to. Facebook will take down the photos, but the offender can simply respond to them that they have the rights to use them and put them back up.

    https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=157024904418383

    Unfortunately you have learned a tough lesson, don't give away photos without a clear agreement (and especially payment if they are using it for advertising) and a much more obnoxious watermark than what you gave them.
     
  3. pic_chick

    pic_chick TPF Noob!

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  4. PNWSGM

    PNWSGM TPF Noob!

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    Does it change anything that they were uploaded to flickr and then I linked the media guy to the flickr pages? It clearly states "All rights reserved" on flickr, however that could just be writing on the internet and have no backing.

    Also, doesn't the photographer have all rights to any picture they take regardless of registering the photograph or not?
     
  5. pic_chick

    pic_chick TPF Noob!

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    They may but how do you prove it?
     
  6. cgipson1

    cgipson1 TPF Noob!

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    Contracts! ALWAYS get a contract! Paid or not! So you sent him the images? You should have just sent him a link to your Flickr, whatever.... and let him pick something, and then discuss what was going to happen next. Did you imply in any way that sending him the shots was giving him permission to use them? Did you imply that it would be ok in any previous conversations? Watermarks are easily removed (as you found out).. but there is digital watermarking, that is embedded in the photo.. impossible to remove. Too bad you didn't do that!

    Yes.. you own the photos since you are in the US.... unless there is a contract that states differently. You can ask that the photo be removed, or that you be given credit... or even that you be paid. They may comply.. they may not! They may think it is a non-issue... or that you won't bother / can't afford going to an attorney.

    Your best call would be to contact them, in writing... delivery receipt and signature on the mail, with your request. If that doesn't work... discuss it with an attorney to explore your options. Obviously you don't have the photo copyrighted... and you have no contract. Good luck!

    (I am not an attorney.. nor do I give legal advice. That is what Attorneys are for! ) And being FB friend's doesn't go far.... not if there is money in it for someone.
     
  7. 12sndsgood

    12sndsgood No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd probalby message him again and ask for an immediete responce or your going straight to the advertiser and providing proof he's illeagally using your images to promote their products. But I don't know my law very well either.
     
  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Call it a life lesson and learn to assume the worst of people. You "gave" away the photos without any paperwork. Was what they did right? No, it wasn't, but....
     
  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Yes, but it's not nearly that simple, and getting photo credit is essentially useless. How many advertisements in print or online have you seen that include a credit for the photographer?

    There is little doubt they are wanting to take advantage of your inexperience.

    http://copyright.gov/

    Registering your images has been mentioned. However, there are registration time limits (3 months) that determine what kind of remedies you can seek, namely statutory or actual damages. You can register many images at once, making it dirt cheap (pennies) on a per image basis.

    You have a 3 month window. Plus, since US copyright law is federal law, infringement actions are only heard in federal court. To file an action in federal court, the work in question has to be registered before the court will accept the action - USC 17 411 http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap4.pdf states:

    Since your watermark was removed, the media guy has 'willfully' infringed your copyright. Once an attorney establishes that willful infringement in court, the court is then allowed to award damages of up to $150,000 per infringed image, PLUS all your attorney fees and court costs.

    Now, if the photo is used to advertise the ' very large auto parts company' your attorney can sue them separately.

    The hook here is that you need to have a image copyright registration certificate number issued by the US Copyright office. That gives you or your attorney massive leverage to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

    Those of us that do so, routinely register all of our images once every 3 months, since that is the time limit mentioned above.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012
  10. PNWSGM

    PNWSGM TPF Noob!

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    Exif data.

    How do you digitally watermark a photo?

    I do plan to write them again.

    Thank you for all of your insight! Working as we speak on getting all of the pictures from the event registered.
     
  11. orljustin

    orljustin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Send a 1 year commercial license and bill for $5000, to be paid immediately, which includes a penalty for use without a license. If paid within 1 week, you won't pass the matter to your lawyer.

    There is no lesson to learn. You provided them with a watermarked image on spec, and they screwed you over.
     
  12. PNWSGM

    PNWSGM TPF Noob!

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    I hope you are being serious, if so thank you for your input.



    Do you all believe I should contact the company directly or "formally" contact the media guy (through another source than fb)
     

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