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Thread: Copyright - What can you really do about stolen images?

  1. #1
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    Copyright - What can you really do about stolen images?

    I know this was brought up before and I read through some old threads from a few years back but maybe there is some in insight available on the subject.

    I have read that unless you actually get a legal copyright on each and every individual photo, it is really not protected by law? Is this true?

    The reason I bring this up is because I have a large number of images that I sell monthly through Getty Images. They were also stolen off of flickr and put on Pinterest. Once it hits Pinterest, it's pretty much up for grabs. I've even had my "D Trocio Photography" edited off my photos and replaced with other names!

    Tonight, I contacted one of the companies and they told me that got it from a newspaper that put together their ad so he isn't going to remove the ad.

    I've contacted Getty in the past regarding companies using photos that I have listed with them that didn't pay for them but they aren't going to spend their resources tracking them all down.

    Not only are these my photographs that I try to make money from every month but they are photos of my dogs, which are considered my property by law. So, isn't it sort of a double violation since they don't have a model release either.

    This isn't even that great a photo but if Good Morning America and People Magazine paid for it, they should have to also shouldn't they? It's been stolen by over 50 websites so that amounts to quite a bit of money and that's just one of the photos.

    http://fmahde.com/valentines-day-weekend/

    www.mt-peaks.com/021116/issue.pdf

    Has anyone ever sued and received any compensation for their stolen photographs?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    Are they are being stolen on Flickr? How do your photos get to Getty? If it isn't Flickr then I'd suggest to not put the photos on Flickr anymore. It's a shame how dishonest some people are.

    Dave

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    I was under the impression that everything you do is automatically copyrighted unless you explicitly waive your rights. This site seems to agree ( https://www.teachingcopyright.org/handout/copyright-faq ).

    You can register your copyright, which helps (scratch that, according to the link above, is NEEDED) when fighting over ownership, but anything you make is copyrighted automatically. If you made something as an employee of a company, it's known as "work for hire", and belongs to them.

    So, without a registered copyright, you may be out of luck pursuing them in court. You can look to see if you can register after-the-fact. From what I understand a Getty sale is often for very little money (a couple bucks is common, and a hundred or two a rare event). If you're only able to claim the lost sale as your damages, it might not be worth the time or effort to fight for it, unless you're just suing them to make a point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Throgmartin View Post
    Are they are being stolen on Flickr? How do your photos get to Getty? If it isn't Flickr then I'd suggest to not put the photos on Flickr anymore. It's a shame how dishonest some people are.

    Dave
    I submit my photos directly to Getty. My photos were stolen from flickr ...most of them before I got wise about it. Now, I upload smaller sizes on there and the photos I think will be snatched up I put my name right across the middle of them. Even that isn't foolproof obviously but it does help. I don't put as many on flickr as I used to but it is the easiest way to then add them onto here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEccleston View Post
    I was under the impression that everything you do is automatically copyrighted unless you explicitly waive your rights. This site seems to agree ( https://www.teachingcopyright.org/handout/copyright-faq ).

    You can register your copyright, which helps (scratch that, according to the link above, is NEEDED) when fighting over ownership, but anything you make is copyrighted automatically. If you made something as an employee of a company, it's known as "work for hire", and belongs to them.

    So, without a registered copyright, you may be out of luck pursuing them in court. You can look to see if you can register after-the-fact. From what I understand a Getty sale is often for very little money (a couple bucks is common, and a hundred or two a rare event). If you're only able to claim the lost sale as your damages, it might not be worth the time or effort to fight for it, unless you're just suing them to make a point.
    I don't make enough on Getty to retire early but it is nice monthly pocket change. Some photos a I net around $80 on a sale and some less than $5, it depends on a number of factors. I could never sell my photos for $500 myself here or abroad so what I get from Getty selling them around the world for me is better than $0. With my big monthly sellers, it is more annoying than anything when you see people using them for free and removing your name off of them also. I have one company that put their logo on it with a copyright symbol after removing my name! Even more irritating when it is your own dog.

    I did find out last night that the newspaper bought my photo from someone, I still have to contact them to see who they bought it from. I do sell to media companies but not to that particular one. So, even more annoying to know someone else may be selling them.

    I'm not so much looking for compensation by suing them as I am to just getting some of them to remove them from their ads, etc. I don't want to be saying it is copyright protected please remove it if it isn't, technically.

    More of a moral thing I guess, which obviously some people just don't have when it comes to stealing photos.

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    Senior Member Jayson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddt0725 View Post
    I submit my photos directly to Getty. My photos were stolen from flickr ...most of them before I got wise about it. Now, I upload smaller sizes on there and the photos I think will be snatched up I put my name right across the middle of them. Even that isn't foolproof obviously but it does help. I don't put as many on flickr as I used to but it is the easiest way to then add them onto here.
    Put them on here directly from your website. Don't you have a zenfolio site? That's how I do it.

    Sorry, I'm no help on the copyright front. I had a couple images stolen but nothing to the level that you have. I don't know if you know any lawyer friends, but a strongly worded letter by an attorney some times does the trick. It doesn't cost anything if you know them and sometimes helps out. I think that your images might have moved past the strongly worded letter front. If your stuff is getting plucked off flickr, I wouldn't put them up there anymore. You can easily post stuff from your website onto this site and others alike. Just go to the share button and use the BBcode.
    Last edited by Jayson; 03-23-2016 at 02:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayson View Post
    Put them on here directly from your website. Don't you have a zenfolio site? That's how I do it.

    Sorry, I'm no help on the copyright front. I had a couple images stolen but nothing to the level that you have. I don't know if you know any lawyer friends, but a strongly worded letter by an attorney some times does the trick. It doesn't cost anything if you know them and sometimes helps out. I think that your images might have moved past the strongly worded letter front. If your stuff is getting plucked off flickr, I wouldn't put them up there anymore. You can easily post stuff from your website onto this site and others alike. Just go to the share button and use the BBcode.
    No, I sadly gave up my Zenfolio site about a year ago. I couldn't get traffic and virtually no sales. I resorted to just selling to people directly if they want photos done, and posting images on Getty, Zazzle, Redbubble, Greeting Card Universe and Fine Art America. I sell on Getty every month and the others just periodically.

    I haven't had anything stolen on Flickr in quite awhile. I think they tightened things up a bit. But the photos that are out there already are showing up everywhere still. I just wish I could make it stop but what's done is done. Nothing you can do about it I guess once it's out there. Ever so often I reverse image lookup on Google and find more and more sites using them on blogs, website logos, advertising, etc. The legit ones always give Getty and myself credit.

  8. #8
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    If you post on Flickr, make sure you limit the size people can view them at (under "permissions" settings). If you limit the max pixel width to a small number, they will have a hard time copying a picture that looks good. My limit is currently at 1024 pixel width. It then drastically reduces the uses for your photos without having full res capability.

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    I have started uploading smaller sized photos ...after learning the hard way what happens when they are full-res. I will have to check my settings on flickr.

    I came across this on fb this morning ...

    modernlensmagazine.com/who-owns-your-photo-once-its-posted-on-facebook-free-copyright-cheat-sheet-download/2/

  10. #10
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    Once stolen you can do nothing! Yes with copyright laws you can spend a few million suing to get back a few hundred, but that obviously does no good. The best solution is to upload in a format that is not very useful. Using Lightroom I export for "email" and upload that. Way too small to be useful yet enough to be viewed by my Facebook friends.
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