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I have been using ImageRights for chasing copyright infringements (mainly in the USA) - the greedy weasels in the UK mean that court action via the PCC (Patents County Court) is your best course of action to date.

 

However, IR have now appointed representatives in both Germany and France - so if you find an image stolen there you now have a possible chance of redress.

 

Is it worth pursuing ?   Well, my settlement documents in the USA have produced payments beating my Alamy sales by a factor of three for the past few months (with the best settlement for $2,200) - I do not go after bloggers, nor do I chase small websites where the usually inexperienced owner has obviously made a mistake - students and most housewives are also safe ! - importantly if IR say that the case is not worth pursuing then that is an end to it - but for me the representation in Germany and France is great news.

 

Any other good results on this front ?

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So far they settled 1 for me and have 3 more ongoing. ;)

All are infringements that Alamy did not want to follow up on as they consider them to be third party infringements and they won't chase them, don't understand why, but as the first payment exceeds what I would have received from Alamy thats ok B)

 

Phil

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You would think that Alamy would find it worthwhile putting someone on the case to chase infringers. Especially if the pay out is much higher than you would normally expect to get throuh Alamy.

Then they would get their percentage but at a much higher rate!

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To date, I have not used ImageRights as Leslie Burns of PhotoAttorney has been doing a good job in pursuing infringers in the US (and there are many, many of them) using a registered image without the benefit of a license. I also don't pursue blogs (waste of time and effort) nor small websites who didn't know any better. One of my recent wins was when I found an image on a commercial Facebook page whose owner directed me to their web designer in New York who uploaded the image. I sent her a "please explain" which a fee of $2,000 for unlicensed use including damages and incredulously, her response was an apology with an admission that she did not take out due diligence before uploading the image and how did I want to be paid! I sent her details of my account and the money was transferred within hours! Oh to have more infringers like her! Generally, I get ignored or dismissive responses such as my most recent "please explain" plus my fee for damages to a large chain of US hotels elicited the following five word response "The image has been removed". The image was on a site advertising their restaurants and also on their Facebook page. I will give them another couple of days and will probably forward it on to Leslie as I do if my own efforts come to nought and if I feel the claim is worth pursuing. I rarely find my work on French or German sites but will bear this in mind should it occur.

 

Sheila

Edited by Sheila Smart
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I have to be brutally honest.  I am a bit disappointed in ImageRights.  I absolutely LOVE the concept and the idea.  I have had various infringers who have pirated my images that I have pointed them to (over 60 in the past year) - and they have told me every single time that there is nothing they can do about it.  I also have been continually promised new features that they fail to deliver on including image usage discovery service improvements.  Last Fall I was told they were going to have a new feature where rather than pursuing the case legally, the photographer would have an option to have them invoice the infringer directly....a few months ago I was told that they were changing their image discovery service and even provided me with an Excel spreadsheet of image usages they found of my images as an example - yet this has never been rolled out (and the image discoveries where ones I had already made).  I paid for a full year membership last year and this year I have decided not to renew.  I will be working through a local attorney going forward.

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Best of luck then Ed, it's just not been my experience.

 

I have pointed them to a large number of infringers by sending them a copy of my file image, a screengrab and the URL. They have assessed the site and the likelihood of securing a reasonable settlement - they have forwarded to me copies of letters from legal reps and the debt collectors where the collection would simply not be financially viable - and when I have bothered to have a look at the ones which they simply say are not worth pursuing I have to agree - mostly blogs and never a commercial company site.

 

Regarding the direct invoicing scheme, I understand that this is progressing through a large number of low value claims where legal rep would not be viable - have had a couple of settlements which seem to have come from that feature. 

 

The Image Discovery Service from which we both received Excel spreadsheets is, as they said in the beta stage, and I feel that finding the problem website and sending the grab and URL to them is in fact faster and more efficient than wading through loads of legit sales which were showing up on the spreadsheet and telling them not to chase those. 

 

I assume that your membership included the registration with USCO of images which you sent to them - or had you already done that yourself ? They have done a number of registrations for me including some historical images where the registration was quite complicated - and I would not have wanted to deal with all of that from the UK.

 

I have no axe to grind for them - providing that your expectations are not steered by the $150,000 damages stories that used to appear in the old forum  -  and you accept that a number (in my case a large number) of infringers are simply not financially viable to pursue - then they do a good and realistic job - I am waiting for my third payout including about a dozen settlements - and this is money that I simply would not have had the time, patience and in some cases the courage to chase up myself.

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That's interesting David. I just logged into my account (which expires in August).  The last report available to me in my account is from February 11, 2013.  I have NEVER received an Excel Spreadsheet from them - until I told them I didn't wish to renew my account.  I was told that the billing rather than legal settlement was a feature to be coming...and it was NEVER presented to me as an option.  The one time I tried to register images through them, they were shocked at how organized my library was and told me how great everything was, but it still took them a month and a half to perform the task.

 

I guess this business partnership works out for other folks, maybe my expectations of having a report on a regular basis and following through with new features with me is too high?

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Ed, I didn't expect things to move at the speed of light - as I'm sure you know IR make an initial contact with a request for information regarding the origin of the image, the replies are rarely quick, and sometimes non-existent - they then suggest a billing figure through their debt collectors, and you have to supply an invoice to support that, often that is ignored or passed from department to department before IR get a progress report from the debt collectors - then, and only then do they introduce the weasels - having tried to deal with these things myself in the USA I know that it all takes masses of time. I'm reaching settlements after two years.

 

Regarding the registrations it took about the same time to register mine, and looking at the dates of the registration certificates the delay seems to have been with USCO - after mine were confirmed as being registered it still took two months for the papers to arrive -

 

There has only been one Excel Spreadsheet and that was very much in a Beta form - with most of my entries legitimate sales - just looked back in my files - my report came in May from a Michelle Cuddy and she clearly stressed that it was in the early Beta stages - when I returned mine with comments I got a further comm saying that they were taking my experiences on board - it is three month later now, and I have not spoken to them about the discovery system - being quite happy to report my own infringing sites.

 

My own experiences in dealing with things myself varied from an instant payment or two, loads of abuse, and a threat of violence with a "we know where you live" clause !  Getting someone else to do all the work, even if it takes a while still seems the best option..........

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Have today received a second Excel file detailing just over 30 URLs which IR have found via their Discovery program - I've still got work to do checking out that none of these was a legit sale - but many of them from a cursory glance are new to me........

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I have yet to receive anything from ImageRights.

 

I did a Google search on my own last night - I found one unreported newspaper sale (not Alamy) that I notified an agent about, I found one image use on Facebook (Lingerie Store in Reading, England using a pinup image of mine on their Facebook Page) - contacted Facebook and it has been removed (and the follow up nasty letter from the Facebook page owner received and recorded), and I found a microstock agency with an image of mine available for sale - under my name (I don't contribute to this agency and I haven't contributed to any microstock agencies in over two years) for which I'm still waiting a response on.

 

All three of the images mentioned above are uploaded to ImageRights for their discovery service.  I still don't see the value of the money I spent at ImageRights for a professional level account.  I've gotten nothing out of it.

Edited by Ed Endicott
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Crikey Ed !

 

I'd be screaming and shouting if that had happened to me - the best payout to date has been another agency/library selling one of my images and claiming it was their own. E-mail them at License Compliance - I guess you've given them enough time for all the to-ing and fro-ing that has to go on - the Facebook saga has probably given you an idea of the average response - and why I prefer to have someone else do it all for me. Did you alert IR to the microstock business or try it yourself ?

 

I must admit that I am pretty proactive, sending the License Compliance people an average of three or four infringements which I find using Google Image Search every week - I get an evaluation within a couple of days, and a progress e-mail in a few weeks or even months later depending on how much response they get - I then get an update sometimes many months later saying how the debt collector people have got on, and often the case has to be dropped at this stage because they come up against a stone-wall.

 

If the claim hits weasel territory, and I had two claims (one against a Sheriff's department !) where they were happy to rack up legal bills costing far more than the claim was worth - the claim still hits the brick wall.

 

If you are not getting a similar service then have a go at them........and ask why you have not received the Assessment Summary dated 15th July  yet (perhaps it is an alphabetical thing - 'C" coming before 'E') - in any event don't drop it - you've paid for a service - make sure you get it !

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...  The last report available to me in my account is from February 11, 2013...

 

I just have a free account with them.  The reports on the site have failed to spot image abuse picked up by Google Images, and like Ed, the last report available to me is dated February 11, 2013.  Doubtless some software glitch here?  Anyhow, I e-mailed them stating this a couple of months back and never received a reply.  Personal experience doesn't encourage me to hand over any cash for their services, though David you seem to have had a totally different experience!

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Is it essential to register your work with the uS copyright office to use people like ImageRights? If so, how do you go about registering 20,000 images on your harddrive?

Not essential. 

I've successfully used IR without registering with USCO.

However, if infringement is by a US company/person & the image is registered then you stand to get a lot bigger payout.

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It is not essential, but it does make their life easier if they can say that the image is registered - it only matters a jot for claims in the USA.  Depending on whether you use their 'free' service or pay for the other services  they will include registration of a number of images for you.  You can do it yourself - all the information is on the USCO site but I just did a few of my most vulnerable images.  In theory registration allows you to claim up to $150,000 in damages - to pay for weasels etc - in their courts, but I suspect that the biggest winners will be the weasels themselves......

You need to be able to show that you have sold the image for a goodly sum to establish a value for your losses........best of luck !

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Great title to this post!! Is the OP offering? If so, grab all his details now and track him, indeed hound him, to the ends of the earth!
(unless, of course, you do want help with image theft!).

:)

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Sorry Nick, you've obviously been lucky enough to have never had an image Nicked !

 

No, I'm not offering to commercially collect for you nor to suggest ways of stealing images, but as I had problems in France and Germany, and IR now offer a service in those countries I thought I'd pass the info on..........back to the important stuff like 'How long it takes to Make a Sale' - or is that how long is a piece of string ? Or how brilliant and desirable is your image ?

 

I could post giving tips on nicking images - but those that do hardly need my help - do they ?

Edited by DavidC
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Just found another image nicked by a Dutch newspaper based in Copenhagen.  Image is uploaded at Image Rights....image is registered with U.S. Copyright office.  It has never been reported to me as being found by them (I found it today doing a Google search).  This image is available for licensing here at Alamy as well but it came from a different agent (I can tell by the credit line).

 

http://www.b.dk/globalt/doedstal-stiger-efter-batman-skyderi-i-usa

 

I'll go through that agent first, then I'll go to an attorney to see if anything can be done.

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Btw, does anyone know, who gets to go after the infringer? Is it the (copyright owner) photographer, or the agency? I often find myself in the situation where I contact the infringer, who then replies to me "ok, I ll pay you but since I got the image from XYZ agency how do I know the photo agency won't come after me?"

I would appreciate your experience on this.

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 You have a full by-line credit on the picture and the agent from whom they obtained it

may well have made a legit sale. Many of these newspaper publications are lifted from the original newspaper complete with copy and pictures by arrangement between newspaper groups. If it is not a legit sale, and your agent confirms that they have not made a legit sale to this newspaper, then send the URL and a screengrab to License Compliance at IR and see what happens - you say you have paid for the IR service, then use it, but don't expect results in just a few days - I don't recommend attorneys unless you know one that will take you on a results basis and in the USA they are pretty rare.

 

Two days ago IR notified me that they have five cases where the debt collecting associates have been unable to get responses - and one where they were successful for $750 - these were between November 2010 and 2012. Responses from offenders are often slow and sometime nonexistent as I am sure you know if you have tried on you own.

 

When I posted this originally it was to spread the word that IR were now active in France and Germany - they don't seem to claim to operate in Denmark but the best of luck.

Edited by DavidC
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Thanks David.  This particular image was used on July 20, 2012 - just over a year ago.  The image was licensed by the other agent to the Daily Mail...and the copying began from there.  It's frustrating in that in this particular group of images, I've discovered over 60 illegal usages and of the 51 I reported to IR (why I signed up with them in the first place), they have said they can't do anything about it.

 

When I go to the Alamy image calculator, a license to Denmark runs $40 for this use.  That leaves the question as to whether or not it's even worth chasing.

 

It's frustrating and at times, I'm not even sure it's worth it.

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In many cases it simply is NOT worth chasing and the blighters know it - bloggers steal images but rarely have any funds to get. Not at all surprised that the original was nicked from the D.Mail who are the usual suspects when an image goes viral. However, you did sign up with IR and you should get what you paid for.  I don't rely on them to find my images, because they often find large numbers of legit sales, and then I have to tell them to lay off - what works for me is that I send a screengrab and the URL together with a copy of my file image to the License Compliance e-mail address - I usually get a response within a few weeks saying what they think are the chances of getting a result.

 

Often it is NIL, but sometimes they put their ferrets and weasels onto something which pays up - the bottom line is that I no longer have the time or the stomach to chase these things myself - when I did I got lots of abuse and even threats of violence. My best result has been when IR went after a major library/agency who had been selling one of my pictures as if they owned it. Very satisfying, even though I had to share a percentage with IR.......

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Btw, does anyone know, who gets to go after the infringer? Is it the (copyright owner) photographer, or the agency? I often find myself in the situation where I contact the infringer, who then replies to me "ok, I ll pay you but since I got the image from XYZ agency how do I know the photo agency won't come after me?"

I would appreciate your experience on this.

Nikolas, Alamy won't go after what they call 'third party uses'. Others might, you would need to check the terms of your agreements.

 

When you agree the payment for an infringement yourself then you send to the infringer a bill for the agreed amount and included in the wordage of the invoice "When this account is paid in full a license for the the agreed use is granted to.............in respect of image............ at  their URL .........(and describe the useage on their website). "  They can forward a copy of this as proof of having licensed the image - but remember that as they stole your image the license will be for the retrospective/retroactive and future use of the image and charge accordingly.

 

You are the copyright owner, and you are within your rights to pursue any infringer either on your own or using lawyers or agents like IR.

Edited by DavidC
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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to bump this old one but......I have to ask if this is how it happens - yesterday I was notified of a license issued to a Canadian magazine via a distributor because the sale was for $22.73 of which my share was about six dollars the image was available to the magazine for over a month through the whole of July and was for whole printed page use (so large file).

 

Today, 9 days AFTER the license expired the six dollars have been refunded. The image is pretty rare, being the one that last year won the Prince's Trust Wildlife photo comp it is CY69P1

 

I'm not going to moan about the silly price - but I am going to make sure that the image is the subject of a sustained search for the next few months/years to see if and where it surfaces.....if and when it does I will post for you information.......

Edited by DavidC
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