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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Photo misappropriated for use on TV
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02/11/2013 09:34:30 PM · #1
I was trying to watch a show with my wife, but the network router is giving the Roku problems so we can't watch Netflix. Instead, I start channel surfing (wife hates that), and we hit a channel that stops me in my tracks....it's my picture of Schenectady Center City, a shot that's easy to spot and identify as mine. We watch for another few minutes, and in between the government announcements, they show pics...two others that are not mine, but in just a few minutes I see another one of mine. I'm recording the channel now so I have evidence and I can also determine which photos they swiped (it's a short loop and it looks like just these two--today)

These are photos I've been licensing, but I did give a set to the Metroplex for one time use in a Powerpoint presentation with the requirement that they were not to be used for anything else, and they were all watermarked. The broadcast photos were cropped, which would have removed the fairly non-obtrusive watermark (the photos were also lower resolution and were clearly marked in the title copyrighted with specific use.

This is a government access channel, so it's not like their profiting, but they also don't have permission.

I've drafted this letter...let me know what you think..

My wife and I were just scanning to see what was on TV and we went by OSM. What caught my eye immediately was they were displaying one of my photographs, which is copyrighted, without permission and attribution. The first one I saw is a picture of Center City with a wide angle lens. We watched for a few more minutes, and sure enough, another one of my photos, of State Street looking west with the streak from a car from the long exposure. Both appear to be cropped to remove my watermark at the bottom.

Please get in touch with me immediately so we may discuss compensation for use of the photos.


Message edited by author 2013-02-13 16:57:59.
02/11/2013 09:53:16 PM · #2
Sounds like a good reply Neil. Kinda crazy, but I bet it's someone who didn't give it a thought that there would be need to ask permission. It would be more frustrating if it was the person you told not to use the photos for other purposes.

I had a scare this weekend when i though one of my Duck pictures was on a reusable grocery bag, but a closer look determined it wasn't mine. ;)
02/11/2013 09:58:14 PM · #3
Or maybe something like this, Neil:

I am delighted that you find some of my images compelling enough to use on OSM.

However, you must understand that all my images, including the images identified here are copywrited. Therefore there is always a charge associated with their use.

While it is unfortunate that these images were cropped to avoid the appearance of the embedded watermark, they are still mine.
My charge per image is $-------------- for a one-time use. We can discuss a fee for multiple uses if that suits your needs.

Please be in touch by February ___ at the latest.

Signed

Note to Neil: whatever OSM is, I suggest you spell it out. Also, link to the images in question so there is no misunderstanding.
02/11/2013 10:07:59 PM · #4
Originally posted by sfalice:

Also, link to the images in question so there is no misunderstanding.

Just don't link to a hi-res version!
02/11/2013 10:11:15 PM · #5
Thanks Jason and Alice.

Alice, I like your wording overall...pretty nice and yet to the point. I'm not sure what one time use means in this case. They are displayed once every 5 minutes or so, continuously! I just checked again, still on. That's 12 times an hour 24 hours a day (I think). 288 impressions a day * 2 photos?

I can set my computer up to record it for 10 minutes every hour or so and get a good sample LOL.

Jason--I bet you were saying "What the Duck!?!" ;)

It was pretty funny that I just happened to go by the channel when my photo was up! Though as I said, they're up pretty often!

I guess it pays to channel surf.
02/11/2013 10:12:23 PM · #6
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by sfalice:

Also, link to the images in question so there is no misunderstanding.

Just don't link to a hi-res version!


:)

All of these on my website are more obtrusively watermarked then the ones I let Schdy Metroplex use in their slide show.
02/11/2013 10:58:47 PM · #7
Originally posted by Neil:

Thanks Jason and Alice.

Alice, I like your wording overall...pretty nice and yet to the point. I'm not sure what one time use means in this case. They are displayed once every 5 minutes or so, continuously! I just checked again, still on. That's 12 times an hour 24 hours a day (I think). 288 impressions a day * 2 photos?

If the images are in a continuous loop, it 'could' count as a 'one time use' - but the price would be (IMO) a stiff one.
02/11/2013 11:31:21 PM · #8
Great pics BTW Neil.
02/12/2013 09:06:57 AM · #9
Ouch, cropped out the watermark changing your intended composition, thereby making you look like a poor photogrpaher! It's slander!
02/13/2013 09:11:56 AM · #10
Update: I sent them a note (a hybrid of Alice's and my message) around 10am yesterday morning...the loop was removed (i.e., my photos) by 2:30 pm or so when I checked.

But they haven't got back to them. I'll give them till Thursday I think then I'll send a follow up email, perhaps with an invoice for past use, and options for continued use (at an additional fee).

I'm thinking a fair price (since I don't know how long they were looping) might be in the $600 range...they're public access funded by the county or whatever, and they were using the images because they were of the town. I'd be surprised if they will pay. What do you think (two pictures for $300 each, about what I've charged in the past for licensing for one time print use).

Message edited by author 2013-02-13 09:12:13.
02/13/2013 09:25:29 AM · #11
Another option might be for them to give on-air credit for the photography. Could generate some business for you. What is the alternative? Lawyer cost? Court cost?

Just a thought. The price sounds resonable.
02/13/2013 09:35:09 AM · #12
I have a friend who works in rights and clearances for a major network. When they accidentally used an image without permission for a TV show, the photographer sued them for many thousands of dollars.

I'm not suggesting you go this route, but don't underestimate the fact that the law is on your side.

02/13/2013 10:20:36 AM · #13
semper's got a good idea you could ask for a 15-second commercial spot for a few weeks as compensation... your images with logo and contact info. or make a commercial like those car dealers "everything MUST GO!!!" which would also rock.
02/13/2013 11:00:29 AM · #14
I agree with above - send an invoice not a complaint letter..... Work out the reach of the channel and invoice with a penalty clause. This is not Joe Smoe with a fan web-site... this is a commercial operation and sounds like they deliberately removed the watermarks, so goes to intention.....
02/13/2013 11:51:14 AM · #15
I'd just send an invoice renewing the licensing to cover the infringement and a separate line item covering ongoing usage in the way that they've been using it. I assume that you don't mind them using your images, you just want to get paid for it. I always word the letters I send along with such invoices as an "You must have forgotten to license this..." and negotiate from there.

Message edited by author 2013-02-13 11:51:58.
02/13/2013 11:53:42 AM · #16
Originally posted by Neil:

Update: I sent them a note (a hybrid of Alice's and my message) around 10am yesterday morning...the loop was removed (i.e., my photos) by 2:30 pm or so when I checked.

But they haven't got back to them. I'll give them till Thursday I think then I'll send a follow up email, perhaps with an invoice for past use, and options for continued use (at an additional fee).

I'm thinking a fair price (since I don't know how long they were looping) might be in the $600 range...they're public access funded by the county or whatever, and they were using the images because they were of the town. I'd be surprised if they will pay. What do you think (two pictures for $300 each, about what I've charged in the past for licensing for one time print use).


The trick is always to determine the price you think you can get for an amount of work you are willing to put in. The fact that you gave them the pictures for free to start with doesn't give me much hope that they wouldn't fall over dead at an invoice for $600. Also, my first rule of negotiation (given to me by someone else) is always, always attempt to get the other party to name the first price. Finally, as hard as it is these days, I believe you will get much further by talking to someone by voice rather than by email.

EDIT: I just realized that you are dealing with the metroplex people and not the "government". Gives me a bit more hope, but they WILL blanche at $600 when their perceived value for the pictures was previously "zero".

Message edited by author 2013-02-13 11:57:59.
02/13/2013 12:01:01 PM · #17
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by Neil:

Update: I sent them a note (a hybrid of Alice's and my message) around 10am yesterday morning...the loop was removed (i.e., my photos) by 2:30 pm or so when I checked.

But they haven't got back to them. I'll give them till Thursday I think then I'll send a follow up email, perhaps with an invoice for past use, and options for continued use (at an additional fee).

I'm thinking a fair price (since I don't know how long they were looping) might be in the $600 range...they're public access funded by the county or whatever, and they were using the images because they were of the town. I'd be surprised if they will pay. What do you think (two pictures for $300 each, about what I've charged in the past for licensing for one time print use).


The trick is always to determine the price you think you can get for an amount of work you are willing to put in. The fact that you gave them the pictures for free to start with doesn't give me much hope that they wouldn't fall over dead at an invoice for $600. Also, my first rule of negotiation (give to me by someone else) is always, always attempt to get the other party to name the first price. Finally, as hard as it is these days, I believe you will get much further by talking to someone by voice rather than by email.


I missed the part about their earlier use being free. I know people who do that will go ahead and send an invoice noting the licensing fee that would have originally been paid along with another line item noting the discount for the usage that equals the original fee. I don't think you can claim that as a deductible donation, but it does set the value of the usage.
02/13/2013 12:03:59 PM · #18
Originally posted by Spork99:

I missed the part about their earlier use being free. I know people who do that will go ahead and send an invoice noting the licensing fee that would have originally been paid along with another line item noting the discount for the usage that equals the original fee. I don't think you can claim that as a deductible donation, but it does set the value of the usage.


I would say this is Skip level advice!
02/13/2013 01:04:10 PM · #19
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by Neil:

Update: I sent them a note (a hybrid of Alice's and my message) around 10am yesterday morning...the loop was removed (i.e., my photos) by 2:30 pm or so when I checked.

But they haven't got back to them. I'll give them till Thursday I think then I'll send a follow up email, perhaps with an invoice for past use, and options for continued use (at an additional fee).

I'm thinking a fair price (since I don't know how long they were looping) might be in the $600 range...they're public access funded by the county or whatever, and they were using the images because they were of the town. I'd be surprised if they will pay. What do you think (two pictures for $300 each, about what I've charged in the past for licensing for one time print use).


The trick is always to determine the price you think you can get for an amount of work you are willing to put in. The fact that you gave them the pictures for free to start with doesn't give me much hope that they wouldn't fall over dead at an invoice for $600. Also, my first rule of negotiation (given to me by someone else) is always, always attempt to get the other party to name the first price. Finally, as hard as it is these days, I believe you will get much further by talking to someone by voice rather than by email.

EDIT: I just realized that you are dealing with the metroplex people and not the "government". Gives me a bit more hope, but they WILL blanche at $600 when their perceived value for the pictures was previously "zero".


They've always known the pictures weren't free. They were for a powerpoint presentation. Each file I sent them was watermarked (and I required the watermark to be shown, it was just my name and URL at the bottom of each). And each filename included: " - Promotional Image - Not for Printed or Online Use"

(Of course, I didn't think about TV as a use when I wrote those). But I was pretty clear.

And they know I've licensed the images to the the developers and architects for the "revamped" downtown. So they know there's a cost.

In any case, I missed the call but they left a message, it was apologetic and they mentioned compensating me. I just have to balance the future business opportunities with them versus the penalty for misuse.

02/13/2013 01:10:11 PM · #20
Originally posted by Neil:

I just have to balance the future business opportunities with them versus the penalty for misuse.

I suggest accentuating the former, especially if they were (sincerely) "apologetic" this time. Sounds like you can now have a reasonable negotiation, not a problem ... :-)
02/13/2013 01:21:41 PM · #21
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by Neil:

I just have to balance the future business opportunities with them versus the penalty for misuse.

I suggest accentuating the former, especially if they were (sincerely) "apologetic" this time. Sounds like you can now have a reasonable negotiation, not a problem ... :-)


Agreed. While the creator's initial reaction to infringement is often a desire to "rain down nuclear fire on those who have done wrong", that's never the best tack. I know of several cases where a reasonable response to infringement has led to long-term, profitable client/artist relationships.
02/13/2013 01:24:47 PM · #22
Echo Paul and Spork. +1
02/13/2013 02:20:13 PM · #23
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Echo Paul and Spork. +1

I gotta believe this is the only thread where we'll experience this conjunction we should savor it ... ;-)
02/13/2013 02:22:08 PM · #24
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Echo Paul and Spork. +1

I gotta believe this is the only thread where we'll experience this conjunction we should savor it ... ;-)

Just what I was thinking: sneezy, the hippie, and the eating implement in agreement on something...

Message edited by author 2013-02-13 14:22:38.
02/13/2013 02:30:08 PM · #25
Don't you guys know what happens in Rant stays in Rant? ;)

But we can all revel in this perfect storm of opinion.
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