Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Russell

Stolen images on Alamy

Recommended Posts

I think we all feel pretty disgruntled when someone appropriates one of our images and uses it without permission or reference to us, the photographer.

How do we feel when a supposed photographer steals an internet image, publishes it on Alamy and claims copyright.

 

I know that this has happened, because I know the real photographer. He’s not an Alamy contributor. Once he found out about the misappropriation he contacted Alamy. Taking their cue from Pontius Pilate they called for a bowl of water, washed their hands and said “we request you to contact this contributor directly with any questions you may have regarding these images.”

 

In other words, nothing to do with us.

 

Am I alone in finding this a disappointing response? After all, we expect Alamy to protect our images. Surely when it is demonstrated to them that an image that they are publishing has been stolen they have a moral (and probably legal) duty to investigate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without knowing all the details . . . and I mean ALL the details, it would be pointless to comment on the exact example you mention.

 

However, as a general principle, if I had a dispute with another contributor here or at another agency, surely it would be up to me to pursue that dispute, not the agency.

 

dd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we all feel pretty disgruntled when someone appropriates one of our images and uses it without permission or reference to us, the photographer.

How do we feel when a supposed photographer steals an internet image, publishes it on Alamy and claims copyright.

 

I know that this has happened, because I know the real photographer. He’s not an Alamy contributor. Once he found out about the misappropriation he contacted Alamy. Taking their cue from Pontius Pilate they called for a bowl of water, washed their hands and said “we request you to contact this contributor directly with any questions you may have regarding these images.”

 

In other words, nothing to do with us.

 

Am I alone in finding this a disappointing response? After all, we expect Alamy to protect our images. Surely when it is demonstrated to them that an image that they are publishing has been stolen they have a moral (and probably legal) duty to investigate.

 

Yes, Alamy protects its contributor's images. But this man is not an Alamy contributor, therefore Alamy cannot act on his behalf. If he was a contributor and this image was also in his portfolio, then Alamy may have acted.  Otherwise its between him and the other photographer.

 

Jill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might expect Alamy to take the images down as a precaution if it satisfies itself as to the true ownership, because putting other images on Alamy as your own is a breach of condition.

But no, Alamy certainly couldn't act, in law, on the non-contributor's behalf without an agreement, which I doubt they would enter into- why should they? He's not a supplier.

Edited by spacecadet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TBH, without knowing what image it is it is difficult to judge. Sometimes when you're at a photocall, you get very similar images to other photographers and at first glance they might be mistaken for yours whereas they aren't. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of years ago I discovered an agency has placed some of my images with Alamy. Apparently they were distributing them for another agency who had obtained them after yet another agency had folded. I never had a contract with any of these  agencies to distribute my work.

 

I contacted Member Services and they directed me to deal directly with the agency that had uploaded them.  In the end, it was just as well because Alamy wasn't the only agency the sub agency had placed them with and I was able to get back to the source.

 

fD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alamy's contributor contract specifically states that the contributor must own the copyright to images OR HAVE AUTHORITY FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER to enter into the contract

 

 

 

Under this contract you must

  1. Be the Copyright owner of the Images or have authority from the Copyright owner to enter into the Contract.

     

 

 

and as a contributor, you warrant that:

 

 

 

You hold the rights to grant, market, license, sell or assign all rights in the Images, including but not limited to the rights to grant reproduction rights in the Images for digital media, print, motion picture, television, video, cable, computer, radio, cartoon, merchandising and/or Internet, to make the Images available on electronic equipment, and other similar media or via the Internet, and to include them in any catalogue, Internet sites or marketing in any form ("the Rights"); Except for the Prior Rights (if any) there is not and will not during the term of this contract be any fetter on Alamy licensing each Image to a Customer to the fullest extent possible.

 

 

 

That being said, there are MANY public domain images represented here by contributors who claim they have the authority from NASA, the U.S. Armed Forces, The Royal Navy, etc., etc. to distribute those images.  Some of these images are even uploaded via the news feed (wire images in the public domain).

 

I've brought this to Alamy's attention - they mention it's a grey area.  In the end, I'm not the one that's going to end up with a lawsuit.  That will be Alamy and the contributor.  If Alamy has received legal advice from an attorney that they can do this, and they can justify the legal fees, then that's their business.

 

I have shallow pockets - I can't afford lawyers to defend this practice.  Your mileage may vary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know about the US armed forces, but I thought it was quite kosher to contribute images that included NASA images, as long as NASA was acknowledged as the original source.

 

dd

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Don't know about the US armed forces, but I thought it was quite kosher to contribute images that included NASA images, as long as NASA was acknowledged as the original source.

 

dd

Indeed NASA clearly state so in their terms for non-commercial. Also the U.S. copyright act has a section on Government produced images and lack of copyright therein.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to all who read this post and commented.

 

Firstly let me say that there is absolutely no doubt that the images concerned were stolen from another website despite the fact that the copyright of those images was clearly posted. They are pixel for pixel identical to the ones claimed by the Alamy contributor even to the relative positions of the leaves and branches on a tree, the clouds, etc. And no, it wasn't a typical photocall, these were historic stock images of a building in the news.

 

I am somewhat surprised that contributors were not a little more exercised at the thought of a fellow contributor posting stolen images. One rotten apple will eventually cause the whole barrel to rot.

 

I'm also surprised that you mostly seem to feel that Alamy has no responsibility in this matter. "Agent vs Portal" as Funkyworm put it. It seems to me that Alamy is the publisher, and although they have a signed contract from the contributor that the own the copyright, I feel that Alamy have a duty to investigate if someone clearly and positive identifies stolen images (Which happened in this case). There is also the risk of reputational damage to the agency.

 

Finally, it seems that every day the social media are required to take down stolen or copyrighted images even though they too claim to operate as a Portal not an Agent.

 

Enough said. I think the true photographer has decided to cut his losses. But since the thief operates in my part of the world, I shall watch my images like a hawk.

Edited by Russell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I don't understand what happened (English is not my native language

You say: "How do we feel when a supposed photographer steals an internet image, publishes it on Alamy and claims copyright." and a bit further, you say "I know the real photographer. He’s not an Alamy contributor.". How can he publish your image on Alamy if he's not a contributor?  :blink: 

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

i think the OP is referring to two different people- the originator, and the infringer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't understand what happened (English is not my native language)

You say: "How do we feel when a supposed photographer steals an internet image, publishes it on Alamy and claims copyright." and a bit further, you say "I know the real photographer. He’s not an Alamy contributor.". How can he publish your image on Alamy if he's not a contributor? :blink:

 

Cheers,

Philippe

If I understand correctly, what is alleged to have happened is that someone downloaded an image from the internet, and uploaded it to Alamy, claiming it as their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

If I understand correctly, what is alleged to have happened is that someone downloaded an image from the internet, and uploaded it to Alamy, claiming it as their own.

That's absolutely correct Phillipe, except that the word "alleged" is unnecessary. There is no doubt that the Alamy Contributor stole the images and claimed them as their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's in England, then, it's fairly easy to pursue, and more valuable, as it's clearly a commercial infringement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the OP did say that Alamy said to contact the contributor, so I think we can assume that Alamy accept the photographer's version and have given up the contact details, if he didn't already know them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Phillipe & Ian for your contributions.

 

Just to clarify Alamy have not paid the "forger" anything (as far as I know), but the images are posted on Alamy under the forger's name and available for sale. Also the real copyright holder sent proof to Alamy.

 

However Alamy refused to reveal contact details for the fraudulent contributor to the copyright holder.

 

You are absolutely correct that this particular fraudster is a serial offender. But it seems that they are able to get away with it because it's too much hassle to take them to court.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what little I know, it seems to me that if the copyright holder was to pursue Alamy for publishing the image(s) on the Alamy website, any legal liability would soon find itself at the door of the infringing contributor, who'd at least find him/herself banned from Alamy and in all likelihood more than a little out of pocket. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this in the UK?

If so then he can quite easily sue Alamy for infringement for displaying the images.  I suspect that if he threatens this the infringer's contact details will be forthcoming, assuming Alamy accept the evidence. If not, the court will decide and he can ask the court to order disclosure.

As Ian says Alamy's remedy is then against the infringer.

Edited by spacecadet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes it is in the UK but I think the real photographer has decided to drop it. Shame because I'd like the infringer to be brought to task to perhaps stop them doing it again. Though given the record that's unlikely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Odd to acquiesce in someone pimping off your images.

Perhaps he's an amateur.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Russell, can you mail me (in private mail) that criminal's name or his Alamy's pseudonym. If I find one of my images among them, his/her days are numbered.

 

Yes, now you've let the cat out of the bag I don't think you can stuff it back in. If there's a thief on Alamy we need to know about it.

What appears to be his source for the images? Obviously he hasn't just pinched them off Alamy.

Edited by spacecadet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sorry gents I'm afraid I can't publish the name. Alamy know who it is, and it is up to them to take action. The stolen images were not taken from Alamy but an architectural website owned by the photographer who specialises in photographing buildings of this type.

 

Mind you a Google search for a photographer with multiple convictions for fraud and other offences as well as multiple aliases might turn something up.

 

I shall not be adding further postings to this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To get the image on Alamy, he has to be able to download at least a 17mb raw (2-15 mb jpg) from the web. Who puts full size images on their site? They would scroll off of people's monitors so make it tough to see the image. 

 

Was your friend silly enough to have full size images available on his site? Although theft of images for end use is plentiful, theft for resale on a commercial site would seem difficult. Any photographer that makes an image that size available to be stolen is crazy.

 

Jill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did say I would post no more to this thread, but in defence of the original photographer, sorry Jill, but "News" images and images submitted as background information to a news story are not governed by the 17mb limit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did say I would post no more to this thread, but in defence of the original photographer, sorry Jill, but "News" images and images submitted as background information to a news story are not governed by the 17mb limit.

But these lifts presumably wouldn't have qualified as news. File pictures maybe, but then it would be opportunistic to get a few pix up, not a calculated mass infringement.

I couldn't find anything that fitted the description on Google BTW, not enough information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.