The Story of Getting Paid for a Stolen Photo

May 25th, 2018

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7 Responses to “The Story of Getting Paid for a Stolen Photo”

  • Watched that earlier today. GREAT video.

  • A good place to start looking for a lawyer in another country is to ask a lawyer you already know. Just like we have people here from all over the world, lawyers also participate in groups with members from all over.

    The fees Tony lists makes it sound like the case went to court, which is unusual. Most Copyright cases are settled before being filed since it’s likely to be much less expensive. Each lawyer (side) could have made a quick $5k for a 1/2 day’s work and hammered out a settlement before dinner.

    In the US and many other places, they wouldn’t have had to show what they normally charge for a similar images. If the photo was registered, they would be entitled to statutory damages which don’t need to have any basis unlike compensatory damages. If they would normally get $60K for a photo shoot, that would be different. Australia’s laws must be much different.

    They didn’t bring up releases in the video. Not only was there an infringement on Tony’s Copyright for the image, Chelsea may have not executed a model release. Since she is one of the authors of the book the image is on, there isn’t a need for an image release to use it there. That could have been a separate case.

    I will keep referring people to the videos by Ed Greenberg and Jack Reznicki at KelbyOne and on YouTube about copyright (in the US). They have a section that covers “head fakes” or what lawyers are taught to do to get people to go away in cases like this. Tony described several examples that Ed and Jack cover. It was obvious that the company was not able to recover the products that were in the marketplace and I wouldn’t believe that they could. Unless they were selling directly to a few stores, who knows where they went after leaving a distributors warehouse. Those cases can likely still be found in shops that sell marked down products.

    Companies using outside designers can just as easily use Google Image Search to see if images being submitted by the designer already exist in the market as a photographer can to see if their images are being infringed. The photo of Chelsea would have likely come up on the first round of a search. The designer should have also done a quick search to find out about the image and the model. Chelsea is very pretty and could be a famous model somewhere which means that using her image is a much bigger risk than usual. Using a photo of “Miss XXXXXXX” living in Nowhereville would have been much safer for a thief.

  • Needless to say, this happens a lot. Registering your copyright is essential in collecting anything more than token fees from copyright infringement cases. I know that lots of people on here don’t care if their images are used willy-nilly (at least that is what has been posted on here on many occasions), I on the other hand do. So I register, and I have a copyright attorney that enforces outright thefts and willful infringements.

    No, I do not go after my clients that may overstep the agreed upon license, but when somebody that is not a client, uses an image for commercial purposes without permission, they get contacted.

    I think most of you would be surprised at how many of your images are being used on the web alone. Have you ever checked?

  • Facebook and their associated companies are without a doubt the biggest source of copyright infringements. That is why I don’t use FB, instagram, WhatsApp etc. In earlier times (many years ago) I did post a couple of images. However, after I read the following (pls see attached link) from a US attorney I removed ALL my images and just used FB for contacting long lost colleagues. After the fiasco with FB allowing the data files of its sunscribers to be illegally used I closed both my FB accounts immediately.
    A number of colleagues are amazed I don’t use FB to promote my work. I NEVER had a single enquiry – for me, FB for business is a dead loss!

    Link to US attorney:

  • Incredible! I think more such stories need to come out because it’s not about the money that these organizations owe but the artistic quality of us collective photographers. We have bills to pay and plates to fill, and that need to be taken into consideration by whoever thinks that photographs are free property. I also do not support the Wikimedia Commons stuff; irritates me somehow.

  • I learned about Pixsy on PFRE, signed up for free, and a week later got my first report – Eye opener. I sent an email to a cabinet shop using my photos on their front page and collected $500 within days (settled too low but a valuable client I didn’t want to make look bad was tangled up this ). I’m really surprised more photographers aren’t using this resource – it works.

  • Dave is correct, Pixsy is a great resource for seeing what’s floating around on the web of your images. Like Dave said, it’s an eye opener.

    In my case, I have quite a few images available as stock, so most of the 22,442 “matches” Pixsy found for me in their last scan (10 days ago) are most likely properly licensed. Still, a 5 minutes quick peek revealed lots of images being used without licensing, and I only checked for images being used on commercial sites (8624 matches)! So for the sake of argument, let’s say that only 2% percent of those “matches” are stolen/borrowed/swiped – whatever we want to call it, you’d have to agree it would amount to quite a bit of money, yes?

    Test it, and see for yourself.

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