Theft of my image

darich

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ok....so it's not strictly speaking the theft since I still have it. It's the unauthorised use of it.

I noticed on Saturday that a website in the UK has one of my images on their front page. After some digging, I found it's also on their Facebook gallery and was added in mid July 2010, meaning they've been using it for almost a year.

I've contacted the company and instructed them to pay for the image now (it's for sale as a RF image on a site that I directed them to). If they pay for it, then everything's fine. I have since found out that typically unauthorised use attracts a 3 x licence fee (Getty charges 5x) although I've not asked for that yet - I've simply asked them to pay for the licence.

There is no doubt it's my image - it's quite distinctive and unusual. Someone else unconnected to me also confirmed it's my image so it's not that difficult.
I have the full size tiff images (38mb) and I took a sequence at the time so I can prove I have a much larger size but is that sufficient for proving proof of ownership and therefore prove this site has breached copyright??
I'm trying to keep ahead of the situation here - what's my next step if they ignore my email or reply saying it's free for them to use (it clearly isn't).

I believe I can start a Money Claim OnLine via the direct.gov.uk site but I've never done that before. I also don't know how my larger images/sequence would help me if I have to go down that route.

I stated I wanted a response within 7 days so by 10th June they should have replied.

Can anyone offer any useful advice on my next step should this site ignore my initial email?

Many thanks
 

Josh66

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I'm not sure how copyright law works in the UK (you'll probably want to consult an attorney about that), but - is the image registered? Not sure how long you can still register after the image was made in the UK, but typically - if you want to seek any punitive damages the image must be registered. That's how it works in the US anyway...
 
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darich

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the site using it is Logs & Firewood Fuel - Bingley Log Services deliver Logs & Firewood Fuel, all mixed hardwood loads ready to burn in Ash, Beech, Elm, Sycamore & Oak to Cheshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Lancashire, North East, Yorkshire & surrounding areas. - my image is the bottom left on the front page - chopped logs.

UK copyright is automatically assigned to the photographer when taking the image - no need to register it. Proving it may be slightly more tricky although I'm 100% sure it's my image and I took it.
 

Josh66

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UK copyright is automatically assigned to the photographer when taking the image - no need to register it. Proving it may be slightly more tricky although I'm 100% sure it's my image and I took it.
It's the same in the US, BUT - if you want punitive damages, it needs to be registered. In the US anyway ... it may be the same in the UK. (You'll want to find out...)

edit
You'll also want to find out if the image can still be registered - and do that if you can.

edit, again
I would print out a copy of that page with your image on it too, in case they change it after reading your e-mail. Get a few of your friends to do the same. Also, see if they're using it on any of their printed pamphlets or anything like that (and get copies of those if they are).
 
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o hey tyler

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Report the image on facebook as intellectual property theft. Post on their facebook page to let them know that they have stolen one of your images, and are in breach of copyright. Inform them that legal action will be pursued if they do not take down every instance of your image that they have used.

I actually just reported an image of my own to Facebook for intellectual property theft, and it went very smoothly and was removed within the day.
 

GeneralBenson

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I don't know why everyone is so quick to settle for stuff just being taken down. They've unlawfully used your image for the last year, and for free. So, they take it, down, you don't make any money, and they get a year's worth of free images. I'm pretty sure they didn't pay for any of the other ones either. So they'll just go find more images, and use those until someone notices, and never pay for commercial image uses. You should be getting paid for 1 year of stock usage fees, and nothing less. If I were you, I'd threaten 5x stock fees, like Getty does, knowing that you'll settle for something less. Websites all over the web do this, and they all play dumb and pretend they didn't know it was wrong. Find me one other industry where people can just steal the product and keep it until someone notices, then get off the hook by just giving it back. I think I'll just go steal a car and drive it around until someone notices; then I"ll just say, "Oops, my bad. I'll give it back. No harm done."

And for the record, having hi-res files and other images from the sequence are plenty to prove owner ship if no one else can produce similar evidence to counter.
 

c.cloudwalker

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...BUT - if you want punitive damages, it needs to be registered. In the US anyway ...

NO it doesn't.

The fact that some people believe this and the fact that the administration in charge of registration wants you to believe this (don't they stand to make money from the registration?) and the fact that at least one lawyer (the worst kind of person alive, lol) who is often mentioned on the internet about such things says it should be registered does not make it true.

I won two (2) cases with the stupid mailed-envelope-to-myself scenario. Ok, one of them can be debated since it got settled before we had to open the envelope... In the age of digital, with data incorporated into the file that is the photo, it seems to me that it should be even easier (or should I say useless) to not register your work.
 
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darich

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I don't know why everyone is so quick to settle for stuff just being taken down. They've unlawfully used your image for the last year, and for free. So, they take it, down, you don't make any money, and they get a year's worth of free images. I'm pretty sure they didn't pay for any of the other ones either. So they'll just go find more images, and use those until someone notices, and never pay for commercial image uses. You should be getting paid for 1 year of stock usage fees, and nothing less. If I were you, I'd threaten 5x stock fees, like Getty does, knowing that you'll settle for something less. Websites all over the web do this, and they all play dumb and pretend they didn't know it was wrong. Find me one other industry where people can just steal the product and keep it until someone notices, then get off the hook by just giving it back. I think I'll just go steal a car and drive it around until someone notices; then I"ll just say, "Oops, my bad. I'll give it back. No harm done."

And for the record, having hi-res files and other images from the sequence are plenty to prove owner ship if no one else can produce similar evidence to counter.

This is precisely what I thought.

I have 2 almost identical images and another 2 taken of the same stack but different log patterns. I can obviously provide 38mb tiff files and the exact date and time (Feb 2004) the image was shot. I passed the location the other day and the person who stacked the logs obviously stores them there until used because there's another stack in the exact spot.
They will also be unable to provide any licencing receipt/paperwork for the image. If they do then they'll be fraudulent.

I don't want them to simply remove it. I require payment for the year's use. I knew Getty charged 5x fees but also found out that the industry "standard" seems to be 3x so I was going to go for that, although aiming for 5x then settling for 3x isn't a bad plan.
I've deliberately not requested image removal from Facebook.....yet. I was waiting to see what their response would be to my initial email.

If need be I was going to email them again giving them 2 options - remove all copies of image and pay 3x licence fee. Or pay 3x licence fee for unauthorised use, then another licence fee for continued use. The difficulty is making them pay up or realise that I'm serious.
My step after that is contacting their ISP informing them. I can also contact sponsors and advertisers enclosing copies of correspondence. At the same time I can start proceedings via small claims court for money owed.....they'll then receive court papers and realise I mean business.

Any other thoughts gratefully received
 
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darich

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UK copyright is automatically assigned to the photographer when taking the image - no need to register it. Proving it may be slightly more tricky although I'm 100% sure it's my image and I took it.
It's the same in the US, BUT - if you want punitive damages, it needs to be registered. In the US anyway ... it may be the same in the UK. (You'll want to find out...)

edit
You'll also want to find out if the image can still be registered - and do that if you can.

edit, again
I would print out a copy of that page with your image on it too, in case they change it after reading your e-mail. Get a few of your friends to do the same. Also, see if they're using it on any of their printed pamphlets or anything like that (and get copies of those if they are).

Thanks
I've copied their front page both as a "web page complete" and as a screen dump. Also saved their facebook page as a screen dump.
I don't think it's the type of company to produce leaflets/pamphlets and even if they did they're not local to me so I couldn't get any...unfortunately.
 

KmH

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In the US registration is required to seek statutory or actual damages, not punative, damages.

Punative damages are a much different legal concept.
 

KmH

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...BUT - if you want punitive damages, it needs to be registered. In the US anyway ...

NO it doesn't.

The fact that some people believe this and the fact that the administration in charge of registration wants you to believe this (don't they stand to make money from the registration?) and the fact that at least one lawyer (the worst kind of person alive, lol) who is often mentioned on the internet about such things says it should be registered does not make it true.

I won two (2) cases with the stupid mailed-envelope-to-myself scenario. Ok, one of them can be debated since it got settled before we had to open the envelope... In the age of digital, with data incorporated into the file that is the photo, it seems to me that it should be even easier (or should I say useless) to not register your work.
So, for the one case settled in court, what court was the action heard in? Do you still have the case number, case name (like c.cloudwalker (or your studi0 name) vs A. Hole et al, or the presiding judges name?

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#poorman
I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.

Here is all of Title 17, United States Code - civil federal copyright law: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/

Here is a link to Title 18 USC which contains, among other things, criminal copyright statues - http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sup_01_18.html
 
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Bitter Jeweler

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Darich, how did you come across their website?
 

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