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Big time Copyright infringment of my photo

allymac123

Prominent Member
Got back from a lecture this morning to find a leaflet on the door matt promoting student accomodation. Nothing unusual there.

However as we were having a quick glance over the leaflet I noticed that on the front cover was a picture that looked earily similar to mine. It was mine.

Disgusted at this I went on their website to discover that my image had been used as a banner image to all of their website.

Went to the Citizen's advice bureau who were quite frankly usless and just printed off an article on copyright infringment for me. No advice to speak of really.

So I popped into a nearby solicitors who said that Intellectual property lawers were usually very very expensive and that my best bet would be to phone up the company directly and ask them to immediately cease using the image or if they wanted to carry on using it pay me a fee.

I wasn't too happy with that idea as there is no way the company is getting to not pay for my image which has been used in a leaflet and on the website. It may well have been used in other publications by them aswell.

It does seem that my first course of action should be to phone them up and quote them my fee's which would be based on double the one quoted on the NUJ freelance fee's guide.

I was just wandering if people generally agree that is the best thing to do and any other idea's/what to say etc.

I'm a bit reluctant to post up the business that has does this just incase any forum 'guests' contact them or anything like that (i'm sure it wouldn't happen but this is a public forum at the end of the day).

As for the photo I think they probably got it from the university of Lincoln portal where I uploaded it months ago or from my flickr.

here's the shot
416466551_21f33837b5.jpg


Thanks



EDIT I've added some more info and a slight 'twist'. Sorry should have been a bit clearer from the start.

Look Here
 

iGiDK

Established Member
I'd phone them, speak to whoever is in charge of their marketing design / web design etc.

Keep your cool, say that they are using your image on their leaflet and website without your permission and that you are not happy about it.

See what their response is, if they respond by saying they're not going to do anything about it, say that you shall be taking legal advice regarding the matter (even though you already have...) and try to not say this in a threatening manner.

That's what I'd do anyway
 

wabbitt

Established Member
What I'd also do is check your Flickr account and check the licence agreement. Make sure it's all rights reserved.

If (after you've called them) they don't remove the image, then simply write up an invoice for the fee you want and post it to them. Give them the statuatory 30 days to pay and see what happens. I've heard this is a very good way to either stop them using your image, or of course... get paid.

Don't drop it though. I hate it when this happens to people.
 

loz

Distinguished Member
allymac

I notice none of your flickr images carry any copyright notice embedded in the picture.

It might be worth adding one to help avoiding this happening again.
 

allymac123

Prominent Member
allymac

I notice none of your flickr images carry any copyright notice embedded in the picture.

It might be worth adding one to help avoiding this happening again.

It's deffinately not needed to prove it's copyrighted. The crop they used would have rendered the copyright notice invisible anyway.

I don't think any business could realisticly think that they could use any photo without permission (unless they got it from a source that stated to the contrary.)
 

tontoshorse

Prominent Member
Ally, close the door on a "get out" answer from them first.
Call them and if you could use that image.

They may believe that they have bought the rights to publish this from someone else.

Once its established that they believe the image to be theirs or they can use it as they wish, do as suggested above and send a bill.

GL.
 

stevegreen

Distinguished Member
Personally I would make a copy of the website front page on your hard disk.

Secondly I would phone them simply to find out who the person in charge is and then write to them, don't do anything by phone as there is no proof of what has been said.

I would get another copy of the leaflet, send it to them with the letter and an invoice for use of the photo. Keep it professional stating that the photo is yours and is copyrighted (if indeed it was copyrighted on your Flickr, if it wasn't then this will seriously work against you) and that they should pay XXX for use within 30 days, if they don't pay then you will refer the matter to solicitors. Leave them all the contact details you have ie address, phone, mobile and email so they can easily get in touch. If they phone ask for anything said to be confirmed in writing.

Thats about as much as i can say at the moment, but stand your ground if they have used a copyrighted image.
 

py6km

Prominent Member
Ally, I have PM'ed you my take on this as I'm an ip attorney.

If you haven't assigned the copyright in the image then it is an infringement.

Check that there was no (passive or active) assignment of the copyright in the image by virtue of some unread clause courtesy of the uni or flickr which passes ownership to flickr or the uni. I doubt that is the case.

Simply becuase it is in the public domain does not mean it is open to use by others without permission, epsecially for commercial purposes such as this. Not putting a copyright watermark on the image does not render it without copyright.
 

py6km

Prominent Member
Ally, can you clarify what this photo is of, and where you were when you took it? Is it of the uni taken on uni grounds? That may place a different slant on things.
 

dfrear

Established Member
I hope they made a genuine mistake and agree to pay, keep us updated on what happens.

On a lighter note, this prompted me to look through your flickr account and im astounded at the quality of your photo's - you really can take a damn good photo!
 

M1kee

Established Member
How do you change your photos on Flickr to be All rights reserved? Mine are showing as public. I tried pressing the change button but that gave a load of legal type options which went straight over my head.
 

py6km

Prominent Member
My concern would be that if this is a picture of the University and (more importantly) was taken on the grounds (without explicit permission, if required), then copyright may vest with the University. Not that sure though, as it's not my area of expertise, and copyright law/jurisprudence is just tricky and sprawling.
 

Liquid101

Distinguished Member
How do you change your photos on Flickr to be All rights reserved? Mine are showing as public. I tried pressing the change button but that gave a load of legal type options which went straight over my head.

By default - images are all rights reserved. Being 'public' just means that everybody can see them - you can restrict the viewing to just friends, contacts etc.

My concern would be that if this is a picture of the University and (more importantly) was taken on the grounds (without explicit permission, if required), then copyright may vest with the University. Not that sure though, as it's not my area of expertise, and copyright law/jurisprudence is just tricky and sprawling.

This is a tricky one. The University could claim that they own the image rights of their building. However, as you didn't sell the image, you can't be at fault. This of course doesn't effect your copyright as the photographer.

Personally - I would make do exactly as Steve says, charge them something that they are likely to pay without thinking, say.. £90.00? and hope they don;t kick up a fuss.

Still, it was very naughty of them. Although they probably didn't have a clue they were infringing any copyright.
 

loz

Distinguished Member
It's deffinately not needed to prove it's copyrighted. The crop they used would have rendered the copyright notice invisible anyway.

I know, but its existance might disuade people.

Often, such images are used unwittingly.

Someone copies it from flickr, it then gets past to some marketing person, and on to the web master, who all asume it must be ok. Whereas with a big copyright notice someone might have raised a flag...

Just suggesting that's all...

I don't think any business could realisticly think that they could use any photo without permission (unless they got it from a source that stated to the contrary.)

But trust me, they do it all the time...
I have found my work being used by really big companies without permission. But they never knew their employee had basically ripped off my work - they thought it was his/hers.
 

morb666

Established Member
It appears as though Flickr sets the "licence" to None (all rights reserved) by default...is this what I should leave it on to protect any use of my photos?

I believe the "Public" thing mentioned above relates to who can see your pics on Flickr, public or just friends and relatives.

Thanks,
 

py6km

Prominent Member
This is a tricky one. The University could claim that they own the image rights of their building. However, as you didn't sell the image, you can't be at fault. This of course doesn't effect your copyright as the photographer.

Not sure I agree about that. You're allowed to take a picture of a building etc in a public place becuase there is a provision in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act allowing it. However, since most buildings are preceded by architect's drawing designs, this provision is almost entirely useless, becuase an image of a building will infringe the copyright in that drawing. With photos it may be slightly different, because the image could have been framed with more than a modicum of skill/judgement etc which may embue it with copyright. This is not a straightforward area by any means.

Without wishing to get too heavy, in this case, if the image was taken on private property, i.e. the Uni grounds, then permission will ordinariliy need to have been sought. If the permission was not granted, then, for want of a better word, the act is illegal. In this case, it would be hard to determine if the copyright in such an image remains the property of the author of the image, or of the owner of the property which was imaged.
 

wabbitt

Established Member
It appears as though Flickr sets the "licence" to None (all rights reserved) by default...is this what I should leave it on to protect any use of my photos?

I believe the "Public" thing mentioned above relates to who can see your pics on Flickr, public or just friends and relatives.

Thanks,

All rights reserved is what you want. This means people require your permission before re-using your image... anywhere.
 

rizingstar

Established Member
It appears as though Flickr sets the "licence" to None (all rights reserved) by default...is this what I should leave it on to protect any use of my photos?

I believe the "Public" thing mentioned above relates to who can see your pics on Flickr, public or just friends and relatives.

Thanks,

Yep it's set at default,and hence why i never show different sizes on my Flickr,only when i post on here do i link to the big pic.(I live in hope someone would wanna take mine tho ;) )
 

lightpainter

Established Member
At least Ally you can take kudos in the fact out of many captures that have been made of that building, they chose yours, and deservedly so!
They wanted the best, and got it!
 

Liquid101

Distinguished Member
Not sure I agree about that. You're allowed to take a picture of a building etc in a public place becuase there is a provision in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act allowing it. However, since most buildings are preceded by architect's drawing designs, this provision is almost entirely useless, becuase an image of a building will infringe the copyright in that drawing. With photos it may be slightly different, because the image could have been framed with more than a modicum of skill/judgement etc which may embue it with copyright. This is not a straightforward area by any means.

Without wishing to get too heavy, in this case, if the image was taken on private property, i.e. the Uni grounds, then permission will ordinariliy need to have been sought. If the permission was not granted, then, for want of a better word, the act is illegal. In this case, it would be hard to determine if the copyright in such an image remains the property of the author of the image, or of the owner of the property which was imaged.

Interesting stuff.

I seem to remember some time ago that the owners of the London Eye were trying to stop people from using images of the structure commercially - saying that it was only them that had a right to use the image. Now, I assume these images were taken from a distance, in a public space, so no permission would have to be sought.
 

py6km

Prominent Member
Interesting stuff.

I seem to remember some time ago that the owners of the London Eye were trying to stop people from using images of the structure commercially - saying that it was only them that had a right to use the image. Now, I assume these images were taken from a distance, in a public space, so no permission would have to be sought.

I can believe that. In public (from a public place) you don't need permission, and can photograph onto/into private property (as long as you don't touch a wall/fence etc, in which case you are 'interfering' with the property and could therefore be subject to prosecution). In public, I think critical is that the image has some 'originality'. That's a term enshrined in the statute. Basically, originality presupposes the exercise of substantial independent skill, labour, judgement and so forth. Maybe a quick snapshot of the eye doesn't possess this originality? The point I raised above may be what they were on about here (infringing drawings). There is an absolute dearth of case law in this area. I don't think anyone wants to touch it with a barge pole !

Of course, you're not allowed to take images of trafalgar square and parliament sqaure, which are exceptions, but only to the extent that the images are taken in connection with a business etc. Tourist photos are ok.
 

allymac123

Prominent Member
Thanks everybody for the tips and suggestions etc.

Ally, can you clarify what this photo is of, and where you were when you took it? Is it of the uni taken on uni grounds? That may place a different slant on things.

It's taken from public land but is of the main academic building. Either way the company have no right to use it.






Things are possibly a bit more complicated than I first made out but I didn't want to comfuse things in the first issue...


I was approached around August by a website designer who was designing a website for a company that wished to use my images.

Emails back and forth etc trying to agree a price. I then reveived a phone call from the owner of the company and we agreed that a price of £100 would be suitable for a perpetual licence of online use only.

I wasn't actually too happy I'd agreed to that price but I was put on the spot a bit on the phone so anyway. I got an email back from the web designer asking me to invoice him and email him the image.

I was away for a couple of weeks so didn't get back to him for about 20 days when I emailed to ask the website address so I could right out a licence for it. I heard nothing back so presumed that in my delay they must have found another image to use and as I wasn't overly keen at giving away the image forever for just £100 I didn't bother chasing it.

So you can imagine my suprise when I saw it on the leaflet today. I had always stressed that the image was for on-line use only so even if they thought a licence had been agreed for their website they knew it wasn't licenced for any other use.

What I think is that when I asked what the company name was that wanted it they thought that they would be able to get away with using it as I would never find out.

So to clarify we agreed on a price for online usage but the deal was never completed and as such a licence not granted. There was never any mention of the image being used for other purposes (apart from me saying the quoted price was website only). At no point did I ever say " I grant xxxxx a perpetual licence for the on-line use of the following photo of Lincoln university" (or anything to that effect)

I don't want the image removed without them paying up both for website use and leaflet use. To me if all the have to do is stop using the image then they have got away with it.
 

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