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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Commercial Copyright Abuse
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02/19/2013 12:43:41 PM · #1
Thought I'd start a thread for cases of COMMERCIAL copyright abuse. With the threads about recent rampant abuse, I have been searching for some of my own images.

I've found lots of people including them in photo lists, but the worst cases are several of my photos being used for commercial purposes.

The absolute worst offense I've found so far is this.

//www.opizza.fr/opizza-carte.html

I'm not sure a takedown notice is appropriate here. I think I should just send them a bill. What do you think?

(I left the thread title open for this thread to collect other cases from anyone...but please make sure it's in the Commercial Abuse category.

Message edited by author 2013-02-19 12:45:02.
02/19/2013 12:56:43 PM · #2
Send them a bill!
02/19/2013 01:10:43 PM · #3
Unfortunately, they're in France...but I will try to find an email on their page and will do exactly that.

I'm done looking for the day, but now I've found even NYS has misappropriated my Schenectady photos (It's government, but I consider that "commercial" enough for this thread):

All of those photos on that page are mine. If you look in the gallery, I can see the watermark and I know exactly who they got them from.

//welcomeworkerscomp.com/?page_id=172

Message edited by author 2013-02-19 13:10:57.
02/19/2013 01:22:03 PM · #4
Good idea, Neil.

Just as it is most likely certain that any decent image posted on the internet will be misappropriated, the ability to defend one's images are fairly straightforward...it's pretty much just a matter of caring enough to take the steps.

[Note: I'm purposefully not providing any links. If you're too lazy to do the legwork, well, you get what you deserve.]

(1) Take the time to learn about copyright. There should be plenty of resources at the your country's copyright office, as well as online.

(2) Take the time to learn the basic vocabulary related to intellectual property and copyrighting.

(3) Register your images with your country's copyright office. In the US, this is critical if you want to get any substantial fees and penalties from an infringer.

(4) Take the time to familiarize yourself with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, what it means to you as a photographer and how to put it to use.

(5) Take the time to fairly value your images and how you would price their usage. Use an online stock photo price calculator or buy one. You don't have to have a ready price for every contingency, but you should have a decent idea for most usages.

(6) Take the time to embed copyright and rights-usage information into the images you post online or deliver to clients. This is, IMHO, more important than watermarking your images because you can really spell things out.

(7) When you deliver images to a client, include the rights usage licensing statement either on the invoice or attached to the invoice, and especially include language related to transferability and distribution.

(8) Write out your process for handling infringement and have the necessary documents ready to go so that when a situation arises you can handle it quickly.

Case in point, there is a guy down in Florida that shoots big act concerts. While he does not sell his images to the public, he occasionally licenses them to the venues and performers. How does he makes his money? By suing copyright infringers! Yep, he goes hard after people and organizations that use his images without permission. The key to his business is that he clearly states on his website that the images are for viewing on his site and he'll sue you if you attempt to do anything with them other than viewing them on his site. This works for him because he is prepared. He has done all the things (and probably more) that I outlined above.

You can do this too...it's just a matter of 1) caring enough about your property, and 2) taking the time to make the effort to do something about it. Otherwise, all you can do is whine.

Message edited by author 2013-02-19 13:23:40.
03/09/2013 02:08:26 PM · #5
Another offender...what I learned from the local business is that sending an invoice is the best way to potentially get payment. I don't assume these folks will pay, but hopefully I'll get them to remove it quickly:

//www.goldbamboo.com/pictures-t3514.html

They have my ships bell picture

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/12253/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_50362.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/12253/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_50362.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

A couple of weeks ago, not documented here, I also found a local bed and breakfast using my pics on one of those aggregate sites representing bed and breakfasts... I sent in a dummy reservation request because you can't contact them. The weren't interested in licensing, but they did remove them right away.

Message edited by author 2013-03-09 14:08:59.
03/09/2013 02:27:50 PM · #6
Originally posted by Neil:

Unfortunately, they're in France...but I will try to find an email on their page and will do exactly that.

I'm done looking for the day, but now I've found even NYS has misappropriated my Schenectady photos (It's government, but I consider that "commercial" enough for this thread):

All of those photos on that page are mine. If you look in the gallery, I can see the watermark and I know exactly who they got them from.

//welcomeworkerscomp.com/?page_id=172


Ironically this is the site of the workers compensation board... you'd think they would care enough to compensate someone for their work!
03/09/2013 02:51:50 PM · #7
The Workers Comp Board is now resolved...with a purchased license.

But check this one out I just found:

//kootation.com/falls-fury-photograph-by-neil-shapiro-fine-art-prints-and/images.fineartamerica.com*images-medium-large*falls-fury-neil-shapiro.jpg/

He's given me credit, but this is without permission, and his site is about "free downloads of wallpapers"

Probably some other DPCers on here...I'm not sure what website he got my work from...might be fineartamerica, though I think they are watermarked there. He's got some pretty big copies.

And he has quite a few of mine!

Message edited by author 2013-03-09 14:52:11.
03/09/2013 03:09:21 PM · #8
Originally posted by Neil:

The Workers Comp Board is now resolved...with a purchased license.

But check this one out I just found:

//kootation.com/falls-fury-photograph-by-neil-shapiro-fine-art-prints-and/images.fineartamerica.com*images-medium-large*falls-fury-neil-shapiro.jpg/

He's given me credit, but this is without permission, and his site is about "free downloads of wallpapers"

Probably some other DPCers on here...I'm not sure what website he got my work from...might be fineartamerica, though I think they are watermarked there. He's got some pretty big copies.

And he has quite a few of mine!


The amount of time you need to spend to track all of these sites down, much less get them to stop, is astronomical. Unless you've got a good business going and can hire people to do this for you it's just not worth it. Anyway, just my opinion. For every one site you find there are probably dozens more waiting to be found and it's only getting worse. Better to focus only on ones that are clearly using your work commercially otherwise you won't have any time in the day to create more work.
03/09/2013 03:23:22 PM · #9
Originally posted by Skip:


Case in point, there is a guy down in Florida that shoots big act concerts. While he does not sell his images to the public, he occasionally licenses them to the venues and performers. How does he makes his money? By suing copyright infringers! Yep, he goes hard after people and organizations that use his images without permission. The key to his business is that he clearly states on his website that the images are for viewing on his site and he'll sue you if you attempt to do anything with them other than viewing them on his site. This works for him because he is prepared. He has done all the things (and probably more) that I outlined above.


Love it!
03/09/2013 04:46:41 PM · #10
Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Neil:

The Workers Comp Board is now resolved...with a purchased license.

But check this one out I just found:

//kootation.com/falls-fury-photograph-by-neil-shapiro-fine-art-prints-and/images.fineartamerica.com*images-medium-large*falls-fury-neil-shapiro.jpg/

He's given me credit, but this is without permission, and his site is about "free downloads of wallpapers"

Probably some other DPCers on here...I'm not sure what website he got my work from...might be fineartamerica, though I think they are watermarked there. He's got some pretty big copies.

And he has quite a few of mine!


The amount of time you need to spend to track all of these sites down, much less get them to stop, is astronomical. Unless you've got a good business going and can hire people to do this for you it's just not worth it. Anyway, just my opinion. For every one site you find there are probably dozens more waiting to be found and it's only getting worse. Better to focus only on ones that are clearly using your work commercially otherwise you won't have any time in the day to create more work.


That may be true, and if someone posts my photo with my name in their blog, it's one thing. When you have a site where you are offering my photos as wallpaper and encouraging people to download and use them, that's worth shutting down IMHO.

03/09/2013 08:18:41 PM · #11
Originally posted by Neil:

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Neil:

The Workers Comp Board is now resolved...with a purchased license.

But check this one out I just found:

//kootation.com/falls-fury-photograph-by-neil-shapiro-fine-art-prints-and/images.fineartamerica.com*images-medium-large*falls-fury-neil-shapiro.jpg/

He's given me credit, but this is without permission, and his site is about "free downloads of wallpapers"

Probably some other DPCers on here...I'm not sure what website he got my work from...might be fineartamerica, though I think they are watermarked there. He's got some pretty big copies.

And he has quite a few of mine!


The amount of time you need to spend to track all of these sites down, much less get them to stop, is astronomical. Unless you've got a good business going and can hire people to do this for you it's just not worth it. Anyway, just my opinion. For every one site you find there are probably dozens more waiting to be found and it's only getting worse. Better to focus only on ones that are clearly using your work commercially otherwise you won't have any time in the day to create more work.


That may be true, and if someone posts my photo with my name in their blog, it's one thing. When you have a site where you are offering my photos as wallpaper and encouraging people to download and use them, that's worth shutting down IMHO.


You're certainly in your right to do so, but I just don't see the point. Even if you managed to shut down that one site (and not just get your photos off) what have you accomplish? Is aunt Edna in Idaho using your lighthouse photo as a desktop wallpaper really your customer? What does it say that I can do a quick search for artists like Ansel Adams and Thomas Kinkade and find plenty of their works in larger formats, some of which even provide me with a handy download link (not that it matters)?

I get why you want to protect your work but you have to consider reality. The internet is nothing more than a 24/7, 365 day global looting spree, except there are no doors or locks to break into. Not even companies like Disney or the powerful music industry can stop people from sharing copyright material on the internet so what chances do you have? Seriously? Maybe you can do what that guy in Florida does (that Skip mention) and try to make a buck off the situation or just don't upload anything you want to protect. You wouldn't leave your framed works of art on some street corner so why would you do the same thing on the internet?
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