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Copyright Violation - tricky query

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hi all,


i have just found an image of mine, that is posted online.


as some of you will know i have acquired a large amount of car images, and have recently started putting them on my own photoshelter and alamy.


a few of the images appear to be on a website for car parts - and show the car as a kind of "this is the car", and none of them appear to be part of a particular shoot - eg different colours of the car and years, and reg plates from various states or countries etc, and convertible and hard tops. so looks to be a right click and save job from anywhere and then repost on their site to show which cars they have parts for.


would i have a basis for asking them to remove the images that are mine? or for any compensation? the images are posted by myself on alamy and PS, even though both have watermarks on them that i have uploaded (except ps that said it takes upto a couple of days from uploading to them watermarking them), is it likely someone saved it whilst visible but not yet watermarked by PS servers? 


and many of the images, havent been used anywhere before to my knowledge - eg thousands of photos taken, but obviously not all of our photos get used etc. and only some have made it into mags etc through the original shooter. im pretty confident on this, as the ones that had been used, i was given example pages from the mags etc.


would the matter be complicated by the fact that i wasnt the original shooter of the images, but am currently the copyright holder. in which case shouldnt they have credited both ME as Cr owner and the orginal shooter (as i have done on my site), eg copyright me, photo taken by xxx). this is standard in the uk, under moral rights.


is there any way i could prove that the image was put up on their site AFTER i became the owner? or even to prove before i was owner. (as i guess if i explain i own it now, they will just say we got permission from xxx who original owned or took it?


many thanks in advance for any help.

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My site is also hosted by ps, and I suggest you don't have a gallery viewable to public until after the watermarks appear, when possible - or, similarly, don't have individual images viewable to public until their watermarks appear -- especially since it's likely your site's on the radar of some who find your images particularly worth, uhm, appropriating.


I haven't really noticed much time between uploading images and watermarks appearing, though.


But when I change a watermark, or even just its position, that can take a day or more. (Technical glitches happen, too - had to contact support when I realized watermarks on certain images hadn't changed even after weeks or month. Then they fixed it promptly.)


Sounds tricky beyond my legal 'knowledge' about the best way to explain/handle things concerning copyright to offender.

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hi, thanks for the post and advice. 


how can i hide them from public, till after i have checked the watermark is on, and then make public? im new to PS.

i have terms and conditions on my PS, which are clearly there and have been breached!


since i wrote the above first post, i have found more on other "wallpaper download" sites.

would you suggest a simple cease and desist - aka take my images down letter, or would you guys suggest looking for damages

(espacially since my images are available for licence etc on my own PS and alamy pages, and effectively they are being offered for nothing, especially in the case of the wallpaper site) i have the option for someone to "personal use" as a wallpaper, but tightly controlled, and obviously for a fee.

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You can try and seek compensation but for USA uses that you are requesting money if they are commercial sites,some might not take your request seriously unless the images were registered before the infringement with the US Copyright office.

They still might not take you seriously with that in hand but at least you could use a service like imagerights.com to collect.


Depending on how much you are asking and if the sites are forums,blogs,wallpaper sites,don't expect compensation.You will have to do a DMCA takedown notice to have them removed from sites like that.



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skylineboy - while logged into your ps account, here's how to Hide Galleries/Images from public view -


When you click to Create a Gallery, you'll be asked "Who can see this gallery?" and, instead of EVERYONE, pick "Those with permission" or "No one but me" - After you see the watermarks appear, then change the Settings to EVERYONE.
When you do this, the public can tell the gallery exists, but can't get in.

create a Gallery, and select, for those who can see it, "Those with permission" or "No one but me." Someone visiting your site won't even know the gallery exists.

BTW, about choices for visibility - besides "Everyone" - "Those with permission" - "No one but me' - there is also: "INHERIT FROM (parent category)" make sure to UNCHECK that option if you want a different sort of visibility.



to Hide individual images:


While in your IMAGES tab, click on image(s) you want to Hide, and then click on the Green OPEN EYE ICON at upper right. Once you click on the eye, it will turn to a Gray CLOSED EYE & ORANGE TRIANGLE ICON, and the images that were clicked will not be visible to the public, and under the image thumbnail(s) YOU see will be CLOSED EYE with outline of ORANGE TRIANGLE.

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Don't waste your time on sites which emanate in Russia, Vietnam, India, China or any eastern European website.  Also, its not worth pursuing unless they are actually making money out of your work and you have the time and energy to pursue them.  Wallpaper sites are a real irritation but that is all they are.  I would pursue only those sites which are commercial in nature such as stores, commercial websites etc.  Unless your image is registered with the USCO, you can forget the US sites as well as IP lawyers will rarely take on any cases where the image is not registered.  Its not worthwhile for them especially if you are asking for them to act on a contingency basis.  


Plagiarism Today has published a handy list of email addresses of servers for DMCA purposes.  http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/dmca-contact-information/


Skylineboy - it would also help if you filled in your country of residence as that is important when pursuing any action and for us to provide any helpful advice!



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If there are any, you can go after UK infringements using the new small claims process quite easily.

One assumes the images have not been online before.

Moral rights cannot be assigned so you would not be entitled to credit as such, but of course that only applies to the UK anyway.

As a matter of interest how did you formally acquire the copyright? If the images were taken before 1989 the commissioner would own it, but thereafter it would usually belong to the photographer unless an employee.

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the images relate to 2005, and were assigned by the original photographer to me.


no online use before. the images are used on a USA based site, and ive also found them on russian wallpaper download site. the usa based site sells ad space on his site, and says it can attract 100k plus visitors, would this make it a commercial site? eg i have given him the oppourtunity to remove, or to licence from me and continue to use, and looking at various pricing calculators and models, would this be classed as commercial use? im thinking commercial as it clearly runs a profit, selling some ad space etc.


and i have always given the moral rights - eg photo taken by xxx - copyright me. i believe this is the correct way and was part of the agreement - eg the original photographer gives me full copyright, as long as i give him his moral rights to be id'd as the person who took it.

the photographer sold all his motoring images up after ill health forced him to retire, and i have some makes of cars etc, and some have went to the makers concerned archives - eg jaguar bought all his jaguar images, ditto with bmw.


the guy's site in question has now said that because the car is of a General motors car, it belongs to them, i have then asked for proof that they have given him permission, to which he hasnt replied. and then told me to consult GM which i have done, and awaiting reply. i have the tear sheets, mag samples that have these photos from 2005 and it clearly states the name of this photographer, and no mention at all of GM, so im pretty sure im right here.


also tried to educate him, as it seemed that he was under the impression that a photo of eg mcdonalds, is automatically mcdonalds property and c right. obviously this is not true.

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Copyright and property rights are separate matters. GM cannot give him permission to publish your photographs but unless you have registered your copyright in the US no lawyer will take on your case.

It is up to GM to sue you in relation to their rights but it is nothing to do with copyright.

Send a DMCA notice. There is not much else you can do.

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hi, i will send dmca notice.


but what rights would GM have? would i be best to credit them in future for these photo's eg car photographed courtesy of GM - eg thank them for having a car to be photographed?


what do you mean by property rights?

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The principle is that the owner of property in a photograph has some control over how it is used.

It doesn't apply in the UK and there are specific exemptions in the 1988 Act. It has limited application even in the US where litigation is a sport.

Don't worry about GM's rights. They don't apply in the UK and as I said they're not relevant. It's a smokescreen for an infringer to claim that GM own the rights in your photographs. They don't

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ah would something like this be - do not use for defamatory or pornographic etc etc use. 

if thats the case, couldnt see them being classed as such.


thanks for the advice. just when i think i have a good knowledge of rights etc, in the uk at least, something comes up, its a minefield. especially USA law, as you say the US tend to make it a sport.

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