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Sheila Smart

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Posts posted by Sheila Smart

  1. Can you tell me about a few of your infringements, how much work it was to collect and what your awards were? Is it all really worth it. I am assuming they must be a rare photos or something astounding?

    You would be amazed at what type of images infringers will take.  Without wishing to bore the regular forum members, I have one particular image (which, thankfully, I registered with the US Copyright Office almost three years ago) which has earned me a motza (and my US IP lawyer too!).  It was a "snap" I took at a friend's swimming pool.  It is definitely worth registering images but the problem is which ones?  If I start to find particular images being infringed in the US, then I will register the image with the USCO.  I cannot claim damages on pre-registration infringements but down the track, and if the image was post registration, then I am able to claim damages of up to $150,000 if wilful use can be proved.  What I found when I watched Carolyn Wright's (Photoattorney) video on infringements is that you can claim damages even if the image is not registered if you can prove that the infringer actually removed your watermark.  Damages can be claimed under DMCA legislation. 

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  2. Last year, a up and coming photography site where photographers submitted images in the somewhat vain hope of licensing to buyers who actually found the site (in Sydney, Oz where I live) thought it would be an excellent idea to submit images to local newspapers gratis in order to get traffic to the site.  The owner of the site was rightly howled down by pros and non-pros who did NOT think it was an excellent idea!  They quickly withdrew the idea!


    Don't give away your work as it devalues ALL of our work. 

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  3. The following was only part of the tirade I received from her (I don't know who my "two friends" were, probably from the Copyright Infringement Group I belong to):


    You got your revenge, your two friends badgered, insulted and slandered me some more and instead of you doing something to compliment me as I did for you, by using that image on my page, you chose to try and ruin me and hurt my public image, thanks so much. Yet, here I am apologizing to you for a wrong I didn't knowingly commit, so out of return respect and as one artist to another, are you all willing to apologize to me for the deliberate wrongs you have committed against me, as an act of revenge and in such a massive public way? 

    If you don't, then it surely proves who the better artist is here


    ...and all I did was get Facebook to remove the image.  Of course, I should feel highly honoured to have someone nick my work for two years.  I truly wish that the image was registered with the USCO but it wasn't but it will be.  BTW, this image is on over 400 sites without authority or permission and it's a constant battle to stop the infringement.  Unfortunately, the original image was on RedBubble without a watermark and after constantly attempting in vain to have RB watermark large thumbnails, I eventually cancelled my membership but the proverbial genie was out of the bottle. 


    What is not covered in this article is what happens if someone else uploads images which are not actually theirs?  Thousands of my images appear on Facebook without my authorisation or permission and as Facebook strips metadata (which I thought was illegal), I cannot track the source of the original poster to send them a DMCA.  When I find my images on FB, I go through the normal FB hoops to find the copyright DMCA page - they don't make it easy for some reason - and then send them a DMCA.  To their credit, FB is quick to act on copyright infringement and then, of course, I get abuse from the infringer.  When I politely asked one recent infringer who had one of my images as a banner on her FB page to remove the image, I received a vitriolic response from her advising me that she could show any image she liked as her profile page and more or less told me to get lost.  I said,"Fine, I will send FB a DMCA - look it up" which elicited more abuse when FB remove the image.  As she was a self professed "psychic and a mystic", I did suggest to her that she should have seen it coming...that may have upset her a tad!

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  5. I did a quick tot up of my pursuit of infringers since I registered one particular image (at Carolyn's suggestion) in November 2011.  It worked out that one third of the settlements came via Carolyn Wright (Leslie Burns), one fifth from my Canadian attorney and the rest from my own efforts - it helps having a legal background and in the past working for the Canadian IP attorney in the seventies.  So, yes it is worthwhile if you have the time and the image is registered.



    I had the following image used by an Indian quality magazine called Liquid and paid for.  It showed as 1/8 inside page use and the fee charged by Alamy was $7.90.


    I have since found that it was in fact used as the magazine front cover.  My feeling are that it should have commanded a much higher fee.


    Alamy were contacted back in March and have been chased up again since but still no conclusion.


    So...   What do other forum member feel - am I wrong to expect a better payment?





    This is the inevitable result of supplying full size images when the client says they only wish to use it for, say, as above, a 1/8 page. Once they have downloaded the full size image they can pretty much do as they wish with it - for ever.


    This was discussed on this forum s couple of weeks ago. I realise that in the colour transparency days the clients might do the same, especially if the original, like mine were then, mostly medium and large format. However, libraries then also charged much higher fees and were very pro-active in chasing both licence infringements and 'lost' transparencies and imposed punitive penalty fees, which was for both the library and the photographer's benefit. With fees generally now so low, libraries feel it is not cost-effective to chase even the most blatant licence infringements such as the example here. This in turn encourages theft which forces libraries to lower their fees even more etc. etc. A downward spiral. 


    Hate to say it, but the "Basking in Appreciation" story title on the cover of the magazine is more than ironic in this case.



    Which reminds me of a European publisher nicked one of my images and placed it on a front cover of a novel entitled (in Rumanian) Plagiarism.  The irony did not go unnoticed and they coughed up 1,100 euro when confronted with the infringement.  Also a UK police department nicked one of my images of a bicycle shadow and it was on a brochure on "how to report bicycle theft"! - that cost them a great deal of money!



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  7. I just received a cheque today from Photoedit (another stock agency based in the US) for $67.50.  My Sydney bank will deduct $30.00 from this princely sum and return the cheque (via airmail) to the States for clearing and I will receive the balance in about seven weeks!  I emailed Photoedit (who appear to be in the last century in relation to uploading and payment systems) requesting they cancel the cheque and arrange either a direct debit or PayPal, both of which they advise they cannot do.  They advised that it would cost them $45.00 to arrange a direct debit with their bank.  I pay all my accounts and bank transfers via my home PC and rarely ever step inside a bank these days.  Rarely are cheques used in business in Australia and Europe these days.  


    So if Alamy and other stock libraries don't have a problem using direct debit and/or PayPal, why is Photoedit still in the dark ages :(

  8. I've used PhotoShelter for a number of years and I'm fairly happy with them. The FTP feature can come in very handy. One possible advantage of Photodeck is that you can also sell your images through the Photographers Direct (PD) website. Mind you, PD sales aren't what they used to be, and that might not be a kosher forum topic.


    A couple of years back, I was contacted by Chris Barton of Photographers Direct (PD) and he asked why I had cancelled a sale (the sale did not go as the client was having problems sending funds) but I was curious why Chris was interested as the prospective sale (according to my StatCounter) came directly from my own website and not PD.   I also checked my StatCounter on Photodeck and there was no sign of anyone coming from PD.  I advised Chris that the sale did not proceed and he was fine but then I contacted Photodeck and asked why this would have happened without any evidence of the link between the image and PD.  I was somewhat surprised when I received a response from Photodeck "If a client goes to Photographers Direct and discovers a photographer website this way, if he/she makes a purchase on the photographer website a few weeks later (very few clients purchase right away), even for another image (my emphasis), it is normal that Chris is credited for the sale."    so even if an image is not on PD and is on Photodeck, and the prospective client has been on PD within a few weeks prior, then Chris collects his 20% fee.  I have no problems with Chris collecting his fee if the prospective client came directly from the image on PD to the same image on Photodeck but not otherwise!


    Just something to remember regarding the link between PD and Photodeck.



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  9. I have had no problems either buying or selling on eBay and no probs with PayPal (other than the usual scams which arrive in my email inbox occasionally which I just forward to spoof@paypal.com).  I have never sold anything on Craig's List but a few months back, someone on Craig's List had put my website to back up their claim that the person was indeed a photographer who was looking for an assistant (according to the ad).  I received a couple of emails from wary assistants who were just checking the veracity of the ad.  I reported  it to Craig's List and they removed the phony ad immediately.   To this day, I am not sure why the scammer placed the ad and what the intent was.




  10. "Now I'm off to delete all my work from Alamy. Good luck to all!" -- Charly


    And what would the point be in doing that, Charly? Sheila's way of exiting Alamy, no longer viewing them as a path for her new work but leaving her present collection in place, makes sense if she's dissatisfied  Many people in this forum have advised you to add new images to your collection in the year you've been here, but you haven't done that. 


    If I decide to disconnect from Alamy, who I do not see as a villain in the stock world, I will do as Sheila (might) do. 

    As has been mentioned many times by others on this forum, the problem with leaving my work on Alamy is that it will compete with my own pricing. Case in point -  I recently was contacted via Photoshelter (btw, this was the very first nibble I have had on Photoshelter but I do not promote my PS site) by a web developer asking for a price on a particular image (which is exceedingly popular with infringers).  I gave him a reasonable quote and then thought what happens if he finds the same image on Alamy which is undercutting me tenfold under this new pricing scheme?   Fortunately, the image is under a pseudonym so he cannot search for my name (or can he?).  I am now going to place more restrictions on the image until I hear back from him.



  11. Sheila, are you referring to Soho Arthouse at 138 Sullivan Street or SohoPhoto at 15 White Street? I'm walking distance from both. Don't want to go to the opening, but I can check the place out next week and during the run, if you like? 


    The one on Sullivan is in fact in Soho (South of Houston), but SohoPhoto is actually in Tribeca (the triangle below Canal). fotoDogue's link took me to the Soho Arthouse. 




    Hi Ed


    It's the Soho Arthouse at 138 Sullivan Street and its being exhibited between June 9 - 15 and Paulette says its open Tuesday to Saturday to between 1 - 5 pm.




  12. Thanks all.  I decided to check out the New York Soho gallery (thanks fotoDogue) and long story short, they are displaying my work at their gallery from 9th to 15th June.  I am also looking at local (ie Australian) galleries but I have yet to receive a response to my emails.  The Soho gallery seems to be the only one I can find who specialises in "virtual" displays.  I cannot locate any in the UK by Googling.  


    So if anyone is in the vicinity of the gallery in SoHo, drop in and let me know how it looks.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the opening!




    ... I am seriously thinking of opting out completely! ...


    I'm sorry but opt out of what? Is this some program? What am I missing?



    By "opt out", I mean leave Alamy entirely (I am not in any scheme to opt out of!) as I am soooooo tired of seeing my work and other Alamy photographers sold off for next to nothing and as soon as Alamy (or any other stock library) licenses my work for single figures for allegedly RM (and stock libraries seem to have conveniently forgotten there is a difference), I will leave what is now a sinking ship called stock libraries and divert my attention to direct licensing where images buyers will still license direct from me at a fair and reasonable price.  It would apper that Alamy is now charging less than micros as awhile back, I needed an insect for a personal project and I paid the micro $84.00.  

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