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Leonello Calvetti

My images sold on Alamy by another agency without my permission

Question

Hello everyone,

I'm a very old contributor, but this is my first time on the forum.

I'm having a serious problem and although this is going ahead for already several years time, I finally decided to ask help here on the forum.

To be honest, on last year I tried to explain this issue to the Alamy support, but they couldn't help me, so I hope to find some useful feedback here.

As the most of you, I have my images on sale also on several other stock agencies.

One of these agencies around five years ago put my whole portfolio on sale here on Alamy, without asking my permission.

But much worse than this is the fact that this agency never paid me a single cent for all the sales they made with my images.

When I discussed about this with them in the past, they pretended they didn't have any sales at all, but this is absolutely impossible, because the same images are also sold by myself here and I have several sales every given month for many years.

Obviously after I realized about it, I immediately asked to let me cancel my subscription as contributor to them, but they refused to do it.. can you believe it?

As they are a stock agency, even if not one of the big ones, but very often my images in the search engine here on Alamy, come first under this agency name, rather than under my own portfolio.., so this means that I'm loosing lots of money that this agency is getting in my place, without even share with me my part.

It's a real fraudulent action.

I'm totally sure that over five years, they stolen several thousands of dollars from me.

I'm not saying the name of this agency, because I'm not sure that this is allowed, but I would need to know from you, what would you do in my place.

Doing a legal action against this agency, would be very expensive, because I'm located in Italy, this agency is located in Spain and Alamy in the UK, this is why I've never done it, but I'm hoping that a sort of organization that protect artists/photographers from these kind of issues might exist...

Any advise, suggestion, or useful comment will be much appreciated.

Thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

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You mean you did not put this portfolio on Alamy, but an agency did that?

Or is leonello calvetti 1,440 images your own portfolio and there's an agency that sells the same images, but under a different name or pseudonym?

 

wim

 

 

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I think you need to gather some good evidence about images sold by Alamy but not reported by this Spanish agency. Among other things, this conflict would prevent you from granting exclusive right to Alamy. Sending notice of cancellation of contract will be taken a little more seriously if sent by registered post. Even better an instruction from an Italian lawyer might be taken more seriously. Of course you don't want to run up a big expensive bill that way

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3 hours ago, wiskerke said:

You mean you did not put this portfolio on Alamy, but an agency did that?

Or is leonello calvetti 1,440 images your own portfolio and there's an agency that sells the same images, but under a different name or pseudonym?

 

wim

 

 

Hi Wim, thank you for your reply. It's the second one you mentioned. I started having my images here on Alamy in 2006, although first years I had very little production. In 2014 I gave my portfolio to this Spanish stock agency, which without even telling me, put all my images on sale on Alamy, so since then I had double images displayed, one under my name and one under their name. But on the search engine 80% of the times my images show up under the agency name rather than mine, probably because they have many and higher ranking. But as I described in my post, they pretend they never sold even one of my images along five years and this is absolutely impossible since I sell several each month.

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I closed my account with them this year in response to Alamy exclusivity changes - they weren't worth losing the extra percentage. Sales had collapsed and to me there seemed no obvious explanation compared with the pattern of sales previously. I had heard a rumour on the internet so that encouraged me to leave. We all know that agencies are struggling so that got me thinking that I would be better to get my images back under control.

 

I never had my images duplicated on Alamy because there was an opt out at the time they partnered with Alamy. If you joined them more recently than that there may not have been an opt out. If you have a record of your image refs you could approach Alamy to ask about sales of your images that have paid to the agency.

 

 

Edited by geogphotos

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7 minutes ago, Robert M Estall said:

I think you need to gather some good evidence about images sold by Alamy but not reported by this Spanish agency. Among other things, this conflict would prevent you from granting exclusive right to Alamy. Sending notice of cancellation of contract will be taken a little more seriously if sent by registered post. Even better an instruction from an Italian lawyer might be taken more seriously. Of course you don't want to run up a big expensive bill that way

 

Hello Robert,

thank you for your comment and suggestion.

I actually never tried to send them a letter with written request of portfolio cancelation, because I did it a few times by email, but they totally ignored me.  

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38 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

I closed my account with them this year in response to Alamy exclusivity changes - they weren't worth losing the extra percentage. Sales had collapsed and to me there seemed no obvious explanation compared with the pattern of sales previously. I had heard a rumour on the internet so that encouraged me to leave. We all know that agencies are struggling so that got me thinking that I would be better to get my images back under control.

 

I never had my images duplicated on Alamy because there was an opt out at the time they partnered with Alamy. If you joined them more recently than that there may not have been an opt out. If you have a record of your image refs you could approach Alamy to ask about sales of your images that have paid to the agency.

 

 

 

Hi, thanks for your message.

Alamy refused to help me because they said they have a contract with this agency where they assure non disclosure of sales data to anyone.. no matter if I am the copyright owner of the images.  Alamy didn't tell me about any rule that don't allow image duplicates.. Of course I could prove that I submitted my portfolio much before this agency..  Do you think this is enough to let Alamy delete my images from the agency?.. If so, whey thy refused to help me when I told them this situation?

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I still have several hundred images with this Spanish agency (if it's the one I assume it is) that were distributed to them via a German stock agency that I foolishly signed up with a number of years ago. I informed both agencies that I am an Alamy contributor and didn't want my images duplicated here. They both complied with my request, so there is no reason why the Spanish agency shouldn't be able to pull your images from Alamy.  Failing that, why not just close your account with the Spanish agency? That would solve part of the problem anyway.

 

P.S. I'm currently waiting for most of my images with the Spanish agency to be deleted. I wasn't happy with sales through them or with their keywording. Also, I started to lose income here after the commission reduction for non-exclusive images.

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22 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

I still have several hundred images with this Spanish agency (if it's the one I assume it is) that were distributed to them via a German stock agency that I foolishly signed up with a number of years ago. I informed both agencies that I am an Alamy contributor and didn't want my images duplicated here. They both complied with my request, so there is no reason why the Spanish agency shouldn't be able to pull your images from Alamy.  Failing that, why not just close your account with the Spanish agency? That would solve part of the problem anyway.

 

P.S. I'm currently waiting for most of my images with the Spanish agency to be deleted. I wasn't happy with sales through them or with their keywording. Also, I started to lose income here after the commission reduction for non-exclusive images.

 

Hi John,

I of course tried hard to let them delete all my images form their site and from Alamy, but the owner is a real bad guy and not only he didn't do what I was asking, but he also started to be very aggressive and offensive. This happens two years ago.  I still have these emails.  Can anyone confirm me that if I would show to Alamy an official request written by my lawyer addressed to this Spanish agency to remove all my images from Alamy and their own database, then Alamy can proceed to remove them?

Edited by Leonello Calvetti

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deleted by me

Edited by John Mitchell

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Leonello,

 

Although I can understand your frustration I really think that you need to take this very calmly.

 

 I would remove or change any words that you have written here that the person concerned might take as a public insult. 

 

Be careful because other people have lawyers too.

 

It is going to be difficult for Alamy to help you because it is your contract with the agency that matters - what does your contract say on this subject? 

 

Like John Mitchell I found the process or removing images efficient and helpful . They even provided me with a spreadsheet of all my image refs.

 

And my final invoice has been paid.

Edited by geogphotos

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3 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

Leonello,

 

Although I can understand your frustration I really think that you need to take this very calmly.

 

 I would remove or change any words that you have written here that the person concerned might take as a public insult. 

 

"but the owner is a real **********"

 

It is going to be difficult for Alamy to help you because it is your contract with the agency that matters - what does you contract say on this subject? 

 

Like John Mitchell I found the process or removing images efficient and helpful . They even provided me with a spreadsheet of all my image refs.

 

 

I didn't say the name of the agency and of it's owner, so I thought it wasn't a problem. However I edited that part, but I see that the previous quotes remained the same and I don't think I can adit them.

Regarding the contract, I can't find it and I asked the agency to send me a copy several times but they refused to do it.

I reached on their website if there was the way to find the contract there, but I didn't find it.

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1 hour ago, Leonello Calvetti said:

 

 

I didn't say the name of the agency and of it's owner, so I thought it wasn't a problem. However I edited that part, but I see that the previous quotes remained the same and I don't think I can adit them.

Regarding the contract, I can't find it and I asked the agency to send me a copy several times but they refused to do it.

I reached on their website if there was the way to find the contract there, but I didn't find it.

 

I deleted my last post where I quoted you. Hope that helps.

 

I didn't have to sign a contract because my images were submitted by another agency. The Sp agency that I'm thinking of has its contracts (exclusive and non-exclusive) available for download on its website. Click on "Licenses and Contracts".

Edited by John Mitchell

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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

It is going to be difficult for Alamy to help you because it is your contract with the agency that matters - what does you contract say on this subject?

 

I wonder, if Alamy were presented with the evidence that the agency no longer has the right to licence the images in question, would Alamy remove those images because the agency would be in breach of their contract with Alamy? If Leonello has details of his contract with his agency, (including the termination terms and the notice period and obligations on the agency with respect to images they hold), and also has evidence the agency have received his notice of termination, and he presented this to Alamy, I wonder if they might be helpful? Although I imagine it's complicated by the fact that all the contracts and correspondence may be in Spanish and interpreted according to Spanish law.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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9 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I deleted my last post where I quoted you. Hope that helps.

 

I didn't have to sign a contract because my images were submitted by another agency. The Sp agency that I'm thinking of has its contracts (exclusive and non-exclusive) available for download on its website. Click on "Licenses and Contracts".

 

I was searching it in the photographer area, but now I have found it on the normal website under contributor. I downloaded it right now and I'm going to read it and will let you know. thanks again

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13 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

I wonder, if Alamy were presented with the evidence that the agency no longer has the right to licence the images in question, would Alamy remove those images because the agency would be in breach of their contract with Alamy? If Leonello has details of his contract with his agency, (including the termination terms and the notice period and obligations on the agency with respect to images they hold), and also has evidence the agency have received his notice of termination, and he presented this to Alamy, I wonder if they might be helpful? Although I imagine it's complicated by the fact that all the contracts and correspondence may be in Spanish and interpreted according to Spanish law.

 

Mark

 

 

My contract was in English. The termination notice for me was six months. And the images were off the site exactly on the six months. I did ask and receive an acknowledgment of my termination email notice. In the OP's case given the lack of response it might be hard to show evidence that his notice had been received. 

 

I had a slightly similar case with a small London based editorial agency that had some of my images, which they sent to another agency, which then sent them to Getty!! I ended my account with the original small London based editorial agency but somehow about 30 did not get removed from the Getty site long after the others had gone. There was no way that I could have approached Getty direct over it, I had to approach both of the other agencies and wait for them to sort it out. 

 

Anyway. good luck to the OP. 

Edited by geogphotos

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Interesting question Mark. While I think very highly of the team at Alamy and have great respect for them, it's not wise to expect an agency - any agency - to fight another on your behalf. This fight is the photographer's fight, and he must choose both his allies and tactics very carefully. Leonello, is there a professional photographer's union or association in Italy? Many countries have them. Also check for groups of lawyers that work with artists - in the USA this is called Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts but in other countries, it could have a whole different identity. Groups like these are your next practical step.

 

Will you need to resort to the courts or worry about details of Spanish law? I doubt it. Most likely, you just need somebody who'll correctly word a letter for you and then make sure it's sent the proper way. 

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1 minute ago, Brian Yarvin said:

Interesting question Mark. While I think very highly of the team at Alamy and have great respect for them, it's not wise to expect an agency - any agency - to fight another on your behalf. This fight is the photographer's fight, and he must choose both his allies and tactics very carefully. Leonello, is there a professional photographer's union or association in Italy? Many countries have them. Also check for groups of lawyers that work with artists - in the USA this is called Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts but in other countries, it could have a whole different identity. Groups like these are your next practical step.

 

Will you need to resort to the courts or worry about details of Spanish law? I doubt it. Most likely, you just need somebody who'll correctly word a letter for you and then make sure it's sent the proper way. 

 

Thanks very much for your comment Brian,

I'm reading the contract right now. But I will follow your suggestion and will search for some photographers  or artists organization in Italy to give me help. Otherwise I will let my lawyer writing an official letter to the agency with the hope that Alamy will do something after that.  I wil let you know. Thank you again.  If I understood right, on Alamy is not allowed to be sold the same images by two different entities? Because if so, I can't understand why they didn't force this agency to delete my images, since I submitted before them...

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Leonello, I can't imagine that there will be any "force." Instead, the two agencies will wind up discussing this as one of a long list of issues during a cordial meeting - perhaps over coffee. In my experience, this will end with a declaration of a "mistake" by nobody and big smiles from both agencies. Once again, no agency will fight another on your behalf - that's not their job.

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1 hour ago, Brian Yarvin said:

to fight another on your behalf.

 

There might not need to be a "fight". Alamy review the info and write a polite letter to the agency concerned. Alamy will possibly have more influence (assuming the agency has a lot of images with Alamy) than a lone contributor? Indeed my feeling matches your next comment about them having a cordial discussion.

 

I'm just musing really. But IMHO there might not be any harm in writing to Alamy to let them know and see what their response is. I've always found them helpful too. Certainly I'd try that before going to the expense of getting lawyers involved.

 

Mark

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