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Martin P Wilson

Copyright ThievesGive 'em More of This

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Well I've just collected £950 from a paint company for a copy in a brochure, but they did it cheerfully without being taken to court, so it's not up there with that one. Handy for Christmas though.

Edited by spacecadet
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As many of you here know,I am a strong advocate for going after infringers.

To all of you that register your copyrights and go after infringers,I applaud you!

 

Just be cautious and try and do your homework on these people or companies prior to sending out invoices and such with your home addresses on them.

 

Imagerights is a good place to hand these cases over to if your gut send out any red flags!

L

Edited by Linda

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I uploaded some images to Image rights about 6 months ago. There's no clear guidance on what you are meant to do about it after that, No reports generated, and no answer to any emails sent via their site. Are we meant to do something else? 

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I like this guy's approach...it sounds to me like he's having a complete meltdown...and if he's discussing things in a settlement agreement that are meant to be not disclosed, he's going to have trouble....but I still like the rant.

 

http://natethayer.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/how-ted-koppel-and-abc-tv-tried-to-steal-my-life-work/

Edited by Ed Endicott
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I like this guy's approach...it sounds to me like he's having a complete meltdown...and if he's discussing things in a settlement agreement that are meant to be not disclosed, he's going to have trouble....but I still like the rant.

 

http://natethayer.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/how-ted-koppel-and-abc-tv-tried-to-steal-my-life-work/

 

As someone who stayed on his floor once, I sympathise with Nate. He's an amazing guy. As for the rant, well he can be quite fierce ;-). But hey that's how he did get to Pol Pot first!

 

wim

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I uploaded some images to Image rights about 6 months ago. There's no clear guidance on what you are meant to do about it after that, No reports generated, and no answer to any emails sent via their site. Are we meant to do something else? 

 

I, too uploaded to ImageRights some while ago now.  Reports were generated for some months before abruptly stopping for no apparent reason with, as you say, no explanation or response to e-mails.  None of the reports I did get showed any infringements which I know for a fact are (were or are) out there.

 

It doesn't generate a positive image (forgive the pun) for the company and gives me no reason to want to sign up for a paid account with them.

 

I know that there others here who have had good results from paid accounts with the company, but until (and if) they sort their act out with the free accounts I won't be handing over any cash to them.

 

There is a huge (and growing) market for this type of business that does not seem to have been fully or correctly tapped yet.

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I had a paid account with them.  After about 6 months, I felt it was a waste of time and my money.  I brought up close to 60 infringements with them - and the response was consistently that they couldn't do anything about it.  I was promised twice new features which were never delivered.  Even with a paid account, the reports stopped.

 

These days, I just use Google Image search.  It's much less expensive and has been much more productive.

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Paul and Danny.....

 

When you say you "uploaded images to IR" I am curious as to what you actually did.

 

Did you take a screengrab of the offending image and send it to them with a file version of your original image complete with the EXIF and IPTC and include the URL of the site in the subject line of your e-mail and again in the body of your e-mail ?

 

If not, why not ? Or did you just send them an image file of a picture which you thought was the subject of copyright infringement and wait for them to do a free search for you, and then report back with the likelihood of a successful settlement ?

 

I have no axe to grind for IR - I am a paying client, I send them an average of five or six possible infringements a week and receive an Excel spreadsheet within about another seven days with their assessment of the possibility of a successful settlement. Sometimes it is one in five positives, sometimes all five, but thusfar I trust their judgement  - I never waste their time with blogs and news repeaters, and have been happy with their service.  There are about a dozen settlements currently in the pipeline, and I have never had an e-mail ignored. 

 

I do know that their early BETA search activity was clogged up with loads of legit sightings which the photographer should have been aware of and should have responded to - using the system which I outlined above YOU tell them about a potential infringement and give them the evidence - this avoids most of the false trails.  It certainly works for me.

 

As mentioned before by me and hinted at by Linda above there are dangers in this activity as a do-it-yourselfer  - I know that she has been threatened, and I have had at least two threats to my well-being - remember your invoice gives the infringer a lot of information about you - using a license compliance company keeps you at arms length and as they use debt collecting companies the anger is directed at them !

 

I usually find that you get what you pay for and with free versions it is not likely to be much.....

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Paul and Danny.....

 

When you say you "uploaded images to IR" I am curious as to what you actually did.

 

Did you take a screengrab of the offending image and send it to them with a file version of your original image complete with the EXIF and IPTC and include the URL of the site in the subject line of your e-mail and again in the body of your e-mail ?

 

If not, why not ? Or did you just send them an image file of a picture which you thought was the subject of copyright infringement and wait for them to do a free search for you, and then report back with the likelihood of a successful settlement ?

 

I have no axe to grind for IR - I am a paying client, I send them an average of five or six possible infringements a week and receive an Excel spreadsheet within about another seven days with their assessment of the possibility of a successful settlement. Sometimes it is one in five positives, sometimes all five, but thusfar I trust their judgement  - I never waste their time with blogs and news repeaters, and have been happy with their service.  There are about a dozen settlements currently in the pipeline, and I have never had an e-mail ignored. 

 

I do know that their early BETA search activity was clogged up with loads of legit sightings which the photographer should have been aware of and should have responded to - using the system which I outlined above YOU tell them about a potential infringement and give them the evidence - this avoids most of the false trails.  It certainly works for me.

 

As mentioned before by me and hinted at by Linda above there are dangers in this activity as a do-it-yourselfer  - I know that she has been threatened, and I have had at least two threats to my well-being - remember your invoice gives the infringer a lot of information about you - using a license compliance company keeps you at arms length and as they use debt collecting companies the anger is directed at them !

 

I usually find that you get what you pay for and with free versions it is not likely to be much.....

When I say uploaded I'm not referring to reports of infringements, I mean uploading images to your account as per instructions in order that they may identify images as your own.

 

If I don't get a response from a simple e-mail or automatic recognition of infringements from files in my account which can easily found with Google Images, then how on Earth am I to be expected to entrust them with any further responsibility?

 

"you get what you pay for" - very true, but they have to prove their worth in the first place. 

 

I know that you have posted re: your good experience with IR on several occasions, and I have no cause to doubt that you have indeed received good service from them and financial recompense for infringements found, it would just appear to be that from reports by various members of this forum, they ignore e-mails from users of their free service.  How is that supposed to convert those users into paying clients?  It won't.

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I uploaded some images to Image rights about 6 months ago. There's no clear guidance on what you are meant to do about it after that, No reports generated, and no answer to any emails sent via their site. Are we meant to do something else? 

I've been with imagerights for a few years and they've won many cases for me.

 

I do not upload images to their site but gather and submit my own cases one by one as I do go after some on my own. I did upload one image 2 years ago and a report did take awhile to generate.

If it's just blogs,you're going to be out of luck with them collecting seeing there is no money there in many cases...unless it's part of a bigger business entity.

 

If you have found commercial uses of the images you uploaded to them,call or contact them with a query with links. I know that right now they are really swamped with cases.

 

FWIW: I pay the $300 a year because if they have to go to court on my behalf,I won't get saddled with expenses which could be hefty.

 

L

Edited by Linda

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I recently goofed and contacted a woman doing a fashion blog.She even had a page to contact her so you could place an ad on her site. It was a registered domain and it had ads galore.

 

I did not realize she lived in my town having relocated from  Florida.She's a newlywed and her husband owns a computer consulting type of company.

 

He called my office screaming on top of his lungs and we informed him we record all calls and he was just psychotic. I tracked him down and he even lives in my neighborhood.

 

So....I might be relocating next year and then I will turn this case over to imagerights.

 

When I do that I will also have a PO Box and probably not have any property listed in my name.

 

Though I am in a secure highrise I feel being careful is always the best route to take.

 

Be careful...Good idea to get a PO BOX and work under a company name or imagerights.Bad part is most of my registrations with the copyright office have my address. Anyone can see that stuff online on the copyright.gov site.

 

L

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Danny, you are referring to their "Discovery" service which simply tries to do what you can do yourself - the major flaw in IR doing it for you is that they are in danger of turning up sales which you would know to be legit through Alamy or whoever else you use. When I tested it most of the discovered uses were in fact legit and I decided that this was a waste of everyone's time and effort.

 

As explained above I use the "Recovery" aspect of their work - sending them the details and letting them get on with it - some of the cases which are eventually settled take months and some from last year are still progressing. They cannot control the speed that infringers respond.

 

No idea why you get no response to your e-mails - I suppose you are using the 'licencecompliance' address and not the general enquiries one ?

 

 

edited literal

Edited by DavidC

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*typed before reading your reply DavidC - Didn't know there was two services for Image Rights****

 

Well I must say that if you shouldn't upload an image, or two, to Image Rights as per their instruction, with no clear indication of what you are 'supposed' to do then how are you meant to know what is the right thing to do? There's no information on their site, it looks like a CSS template dumped onto a web-server with little input and thought to who uses the site.  

 

This is news to me, that you are supposed to screen grab, collect data and all that to send to them in an email. When I email a company I expect a response. When I emailed them asking what is the correct manner in which to report these infringements I got zero responses. I ended up taking it into my own hands. 

 

With regards to threatening behaviour. I have no hesitation in reporting that sort of thing to the police. You steal a can of beans from Asda, you get prosecuted. You steal money from your work you go to jail. How is stealing images totally glazed over by everyone? It's the same thing. Of the 6 images I sold to the papers last week, I have noticed that 7 websites have several of my images with the exact text copied straight from the stories. I won't let that go. I'm like a dog with a bone with that sort of thing. It's more about the principle for me. 

 

If we cannot be protected at the top level (the agency we upload our pictures to) by way of defence, of this often ignored act, then how can we have any faith in the system? How can we trust that our hard work will be protected and paid for in the way it should be?

 

If you create a song, your work is protected. If you dare to copy and redistribute a movie, the MPAA are on your case faster than you can count to ten. Where is our protection? Why should we be thrown in the pile because all we do is "press a button" according to those who steal our work. Why should we wait 6-9 months to be paid for our work. Doesn't happen any where else. 

 

Sorry for the rant, however, there's a serious flaw in this system and it grinds my gears. 

Edited by Paulstw

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Oh Dear Paul !

 

If your image was used in an editorial context then get used to the idea that it will be repeated usually with the credit to the newspaper/reporter in a variety of sites who have arrangements with the UK publisher - this is the 'syndication' bit that I keep banging on about.

 

Regarding the IR thing, it is all there on the 'Recovery' page  - scroll down - full details of how to proceed when you find an infringement - couldn't be clearer......which e-mail address do you use, 'licensecompliance' or the general office one ?

 

Linda's threat was very real - you can report what you like but that protection will be very limited - the warning which both she and I issued was that you should limit any risk as far as you can...

 

Calm down and have a nice cup of tea, the world, and the business world in particular is as it is - not how we would like it to be.....that way  heads you towards high blood pressure !

 

edited literal

Edited by DavidC
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Does anyone know of a sensible service that will pursue payment for global copyright infringement preferably on a no-win, no-fee/ share of recovery basis?  I want to chase copyright infringement aggressively but it is time-consuming and energy-sapping; time and energy I prefer to use for photographic and writing purposes. Also as I will be doing much more traveling in 2014 it becomes more difficult.

 

I absolutely agree IPR theft should be treated exactly the same as theft of physical assets. I do not understand why it needs civil action - probably a hangover from when most copyright infringements came about from non-payment on a contract/ assignment agreement. I think I am going to lobby my MP, PM and relevant Ministers in the UK government and their opposite numbers in the EU structures. I have some other (activist) ideas as well - watch this space in the New Year! Like Paul it is something I feel absolutely passionate about.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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Oh Dear Paul !

 

If your image was used in an editorial context then get used to the idea that it will be repeated usually with the credit to the newspaper/reporter in a variety of sites who have arrangements with the UK publisher - this is the 'syndication' bit that I keep banging on about.

 

Regarding the IR thing, it is all there on the 'Recovery' page  - scroll down - full details of how to proceed when you find an infringement - couldn't be clearer......which e-mail address do you use, 'licensecompliance' or the general office one ?

 

Linda's threat was very real - you can report what you like but that protection will be very limited - the warning which both she and I issued was that you should limit any risk as far as you can...

 

Calm down and have a nice cup of tea, the world, and the business world in particular is as it is - not how we would like it to be.....that way  heads you towards high blood pressure !

 

edited literal

 

Appreciate the clearer indication on how to use Image rights for the times where it's a solid infringement, and the ways in which to go about it. Cheers for that. I'm calm now, I had a mint penguin. 

 

I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to just stop uploading to the news feeds. If this is the sort of things you need to put up with, then it's not worth it to me. I'm going down the stock route with particular concentration paid to certain genres that I feel are not as well represented currently. More scope for control I think with pure stock. Newspaper scheme might still bite my behind on a few sales, but marginal at best. 

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. More scope for control I think with pure stock.

 

 

Not really.....

 

km

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Whilst I will chase copyright abuse as aggressively as I can I have sort of resigned myself to regarding most of it the way supermarkets (used to) treat "shrinkage" (shop lifting) as an inevitable cost of doing business. In fact I believe at one time a store manager could get into trouble if his "shrinkage" was too low, it meant his displays weren't attractive enough. That was in more innocent times I suspect!

 

I suppose it means that one's images are useful. At the end of the day one can accept it happens (whoever you are), chase it down as much as possible but one should not let it cause stress or not to follow one's vocation as a photographer (artist, writer, ...) in the digital world. Letting it get to you is the worst of both worlds. I was getting stressed by it  and letting it create doubt as to whether I should seek to pursue a career that I enjoy; it was becoming an almost subconscious reason/excuse not to push on with my photography and writing. It was feeding my self-doubt. As a result images are sitting on my computer where they are definitely not going to make any money.

 

My business plan for 2014 recognises that and I will push on anyway. My new attitude is no one is going to stop me doing what I enjoy, so there! And thieves, watch out; I am not rolling over on this.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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Martin, best of luck with the politicians - I have got a number of responses to concerns about the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill and its effect on 'orphan' images which I raised through my MP Andrew Tyrie (who is one of the best of a pretty indifferent lot) - Vince Cable, Lord Younger etc (might put their autographs up on e-Bay) the end result is the best part of bugger-all !

 

I too would like someone else to do all the work chasing up infringements and just sending me a big cheque/check (OK Allan?)   but the nearest I've found is IR and you really have to do some work to get the best out of them.

 

Look forward to your 'activist' plans for the New Year - I'm winding down, and have been looking for a young thruster such as yourself to pick up the reins ........ it is not a very rewarding role though I warn you !

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Young thruster, hardly!

 

At the end of the day getting action with politicians, unless it is high profile with a lot of votes at stake, has to be a drip-drip, the nuisance approach. Pester Power! I have a couple of other ideas developing. Still expect sweet FA but any how it will make me feel better!

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Danny, you are referring to their "Discovery" service which simply tries to do what you can do yourself - the major flaw in IR doing it for you is that they are in danger of turning up sales which you would know to be legit through Alamy or whoever else you use. When I tested it most of the discovered uses were in fact legit and I decided that this was a waste of everyone's time and effort.

 

As explained above I use the "Recovery" aspect of their work - sending them the details and letting them get on with it - some of the cases which are eventually settled take months and some from last year are still progressing. They cannot control the speed that infringers respond.

 

No idea why you get no response to your e-mails - I suppose you are using the 'licencecompliance' address and not the general enquiries one ?

 

 

edited literal

 

David, thank you for your ongoing efforts to help me with this, it is appreciated.

 

I pursued what I presumed was the correct course of action when signing up with IR - viz: uploading images so that their Discovery service can find infringements - which it fails to do.  The free 'Basic' account I have is supposed to offer the same as paid accounts with quantity limitations, 5% less receipts with their Recovery service and the addition of a $50 service fee on recovery cases.

 

What I expected was:

  • The Discovery service would do just that - discover something!
  • I presumed that I would get weekly reports on what was found.  I received these reports (which didn't even contain one false positive!) up until Feb 11th 2013 - then nothing.
  • Having discovered an infringement, I presumed that there would be some kind of automated system whereby the Recovery service would pursue that infringement, contacting me in the process to keep me updated as to viability (or otherwise), confirmation as to how or whether I wished to proceed with a case, and so on.
It seems that the reality is:
  • The Discovery service doesn't work - along with various other links and functionality (see below)
  • Because of the above, the weekly reports (if they appear) are therefore worthless
  • Infringements have to be self-reported
In order to try to contact IR, I used the contact form on the portal as opposed to direct e-mails.  It wouldn't surprise me if the contact forms on the portal reached via the support and contact us links (https://portal.imagerights.com/support.action and https://portal.imagerights.com/contact-usp.action) just don't work, as various other parts of the application there do not function either.  Click on the help link (https://www.imagerights.com/help.php) and it leads to a 404 not found page; try to delete images in your Your Images section - you can't.  There is no delete button under any image in the grid view and nothing at all in the Image Detail view.

 

I really don't understand why they don't fix the problems.  I can only suppose that they figure their business is big enough and that they have all the work they can deal with, and that they don't want or don't know how to grow the business.  I would have thought that a fully functioning system (with perhaps lower prices) would see the business BOOM.  I know that I would certainly sign up like a shot.

 

I shall contact them via the e-mail addresses you give (thank you!), provide them with feedback regarding their service, and see what their response is.

 

Thank once again.

Edited by losdemas

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Danny, with respect, as you understand the operation of IR's business and its shortcomings so well, and you would seem to be well up on the interwebnetthingy there seems to be a great opportunity for you here.

 

I was unable to find a suitable company operating in the UK - the most promising was a dedicated IP lawyer who quoted £300 per hour but clearly told me that because of the prices which agencies offered to license images there would be no chance of any sort of "No Win No Fee" arrangement.

 

There would seem to be an opening here. I am not being flippant about this - if you can get something up and running there would be plenty here to use you.

 

I'm still not sure why you would use the general office 'contact us' portal when you had access to the licensecompliance address which was clearly available on their site for any queries. As I explained before I think the 'Discovery' section is flawed because it obviously throws up all uses, illegal and legit so I only use the 'Recovery' section myself and that seems to work OK.

 

So you are right in that the most practical reality is that you notify THEM of infringements which you have already checked with your agencies are not legit sales (some get very upset about their clients being troubled) - I have listed the way to do this but all the information is in the 'Recovery' section of the IR website - you can do this using the 'Free' account which you have - why not try one or two and see what happens ?

 

What you expected from the service was that they would discover an infringement and act on it - surely you can see that would be madness - they would be pursuing all manner of legitimate clients of yours and your agencies.  The BETA spreadsheets which they issued last year required YOU to check that the usage which they identified was either licensed or not, and even then if it were not licensed they would assess whether there was any possibility of achieving a settlement.  From your internet knowledge you know that there are many sites where recovering a fee would be simply not practical. Did you respond by returning the Excel spreadsheet ?

 

Anyway I would not bother - if you are going to use them, use the Recovery section and Discover your own infringements using GIS.

 

That's it - I've posted enough on this subject - IR don't pay me, and getting them more business would only mean that they have less time to attend to me !!!!!!

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^^ Thanks for all your input, David. I'll PM you.

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....and Danny, just in case you think they are only US based they have partnerships in many countries including the UK where 'licensecompliance' have today notified me of a settlement agreed here, and a second one in California which was only sent to them on 19th November !

 

So it is worth persisting....

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