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Old 08-18-2012, 02:45 PM   #1
Lonnie Gautreau
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Default Informing your customers about Copyrights

For those of you selling your photos, need to pay attention here.

Now most of you know that when you sell a print that usually a print does not give the customer the rights to reproduce that print.

Now from my recent experiences I have learned to always inform the customer of the "Terms of Purchase" explaining what they can and can't do with the print, and give them options of purchasing digitals and web images etc.

After 2 different dealings with customers, I now have a "Terms of purchase agreement" that I have printed out on bright yellow paper, and a copy is placed into every envelope when I sell prints.

First Encounter

I had a customer, who purchased prints of his bulls from me at an event. Now take it buying a print does not mean you bought a copyright to said print.

Now I ended up finding a lady who builds websites for a lot of the contractors I deal with. And I found about 5 websites that she built using scanned copies of my work. Now I politely contacted her and everything except one website had the photos removed without a problem.

The one website where they had not been removed. Had about 5 of my photos that had been scanned and published on their site for commercial purposes, and ran a 6 month ad in a magazine using my photo, after the fact that they called me for prices on getting photos for their website and advertising. After telling him pricing, they never contacted me again. On the front page of their website it said "Screen Shots are Illegal", from another source I had learned that the owner had went out and taken photos of his bulls sitting in the pasture, and another contractor had taken those photos off their website and posted them to his own website pretending the bulls in the photos were his.

So the contractor got his lawyers and spent a lot of time and money dealing with that. But when I contact him after again having his webmaster remove the photos, the guy cannot comprehend that by scanning the photos and posting them on his site was illegal. I explained and compared how his photos were stolen how it is almost the same thing as he was doing to me. He disagreed and blew up on me saying they were going to call the Organization I shoot for and tell them to shove it, that they were never going to participate in their events again. Which the director of the organization fully backed me up on it. And at the next event they were still there participating lol.

2nd encounter.

I had another Contractor whos wife had scanned about 8 of my photos, and posted them to their website for commercial purposes

So again I politely sent them an email giving them options to purchase web images, or digital negatives, they politely responded and said they did not know any better, and then offered me advertising on their trailer in exchange for use of the photos. I declined as that really does nothing for me. So again I declined and gave them options for purchase the right way or please remove the photos.

So a few weeks goes by and I look on their website again and the photos are still up, and now have my name by them. So I send out another email asking them to please remove the photos. Their reply was, they had talked to legal counsel and due to the terms of their purchase, by giving me photo credit they are within every right to do whatever they wanted with the photos. I replied and asked that their legal counsel contact me because they were given false information and that they were still in copyright infringement.

So a few more weeks go by and I have no further contact from them or do I ever hear from their legal counsel. So I contact the web host for their website, and make a copyright infringement complaint. And next thing I know the photos are taken down due to the web host terms of use.


So from now on out, I always provide the customer a copy of my "Terms of Purchase" and after each event I register whatever I sold that weekend with the US Copyright Office.

Registering your work with the Copyright Office is easy and can be done online, Its $35 for up to750 images. By registering your copyright with the Copyright Office, if you are infringed upon, and you pursue a lawsuit, you can also include your legal fees in the lawsuit. The photos must be registered with the copyright office no longer then 3 months after the infringement takes place.


I suggest anyone that cares, and who sells their work, or regularly publishes their work on other media outlets to look into protecting your work.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights

that's some great info, thanks.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights

Great Info Lonnie
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights




A photo of mine I ran across today, IDK who these people are. This is one of several I provided to Monte Smith for his use along with Holley and Chad. As you can see they have added their own border without regard to the actual owner or source of the photo...
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights

that is some good info,lonnie........should be stickied right under "every photographer should read this"........Chevelle Rob,I hope you pursue this...
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevelle Rob View Post

A photo of mine I ran across today, IDK who these people are. This is one of several I provided to Monte Smith for his use along with Holley and Chad. As you can see they have added their own border without regard to the actual owner or source of the photo...
The KEY word here is PROVIDED! What exactly does that mean?

If it means you gave (for free) these images, then you got precisely what you deserved. (Rob, I'm not singling you out. This stuff happens on all to regular of a basis).

Let me explain: If you provide images for free to someone (even a good friend) then that is the value the images have to that person. Absolutely none! So, they generally have little or no rergard for your investment of time and equipment. How are they to sense the images have any value since the cost was $0.00? As a result those images have a way of wandering around the internet.

Here is how to deal with family or friends who ask you for discounts (or free) "because you are their friend/family. Tell them it would be no different than you expecting them to pay you MORE for that same "valid" reason.

If you provide free images to a friend or someone who has done things for you, then YOU need to establish the conditions. Allowing them to pass along the images to equipment suppliers (ie: Holley) makes no sense at all. Do you suppose Holley will send you a free carb if you need one? Will Holley help pay for that new lens you want or for a camera repair?

If they gave your bud a free carb and he had to send them images, the some of that value should have made it into your pocket.

If you got paid for the image in the first place, this use would be a little easier to swallow (especially if there was a photo credit there). Your photo credit on a nice image floating around has at least some value.

If he is a regular client who has spent several hundred dollars previously on images, then you can consider this a bonus you provided to him. Once posted on the internet, anything goes!

It is up to each photographer to establish the value on their investment of time, talent and equipment expense. If you give your work away (without even so much as a photo credit) then YOU have set that value at $0.00. Which means you are saying your work is worth nothing!

Did you put a photo credit on the image? If not, why not? The example above is a good display of why NO image should ever leave your desk without a photo credit. Removing a photo credit is direct intent to violate copyright laws.

How many of you fill out the EXIF and IPTC sections of your image files? I'll bet just very few simply because it takes time. You should ALWAYS have caption and title info showing the location, date and time of the image. Copyright should ALWAYS show "all rights reserved" and comment should have "for editorial use only." There is also space for you to provide contact information and exactly how the photo credit should read.

When a dispute occurs (ie:in court) and you can show that you religiously mark your images things happen quickly. If they have removed this info from the file, then it shows intent to circumvent the copyright laws. That's one huge point for your side.

It appears the image has somehow been pilfered by one of the THOUSANDS of people on Facebook who do it daily. This guy is hardly the only one. If you read the Facebook "fine print" they ask people to ONLY post non-copyrighted images. HUH!

All images are copyrighted and free use can only be granted by the copyright owner in writing. Even Creative Commons licensing provides for restrictions. Facebook is just trying to avoid being in the middle of these messes.

If you post an image on the internet with only a photo credit in a lower corner, then don't be surprised when you see it somewhere else with that photo credit cropped off. Some folks just have no respect at all!

Have you contacted your friend to see who he distributed the image to? Have you contacted Facebook to report an image violation? Have you sent a cease and desist notice to the person who has it posted? You do understand they relish in having people think they actually took those images!

If it is a business that has pilfered your work, you need to send them an invoice for unauthorized use that is five to ten times what you would have normally charged. This is in addition to the cease and desist notice. No response means the next contact is from your attorney! NO EXCEPTIONS!

When you "provide" an image to someone, you should be defining the "terms of use" with the invoice or within an email containing attachments. It should read that downloading of the attached files defines acceptance of those terms which should state ABSOLUTELY NO transfer of the attached files to other parties.

If you sell an image to a business (equipment supplier) it should also state the image will not be transferred to the car owner unless you allow that to happen.

ANYONE who wants to use one of your images should have to come to YOU to get it.

If YOU don't spend the time it takes to protect YOUR work, who do you think is going to do it? This is the age of the internet and many people think there are no rules.

You also have to keep in mind that some pilfering is going to happen no matter how hard you try. When you find out, it's up to you how you handle it.

That's all I got!

JMHO,
Joe
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights

^^^^^^^^^...never once considered using the exif info........is that forever locked in,or can it be altered by a "customer"?
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights

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^^^^^^^^^...never once considered using the exif info........is that forever locked in,or can it be altered by a "customer"?
Yes, it can be altered by a "customer."

The key is that they must WITH INTENT go in there and delete or change the information.

On the other hand, if you end up in court, you will have 20,000 (???) other images on your hard drive with the data you added including the images in question. You should be able to easily verify you were in the location on the date posted. Can the other party do the same?

If it is blank that is one issue. If their information is there then they look pretty guilty to the judge.

If you find one of your images someplace it does not belong, take a look at the EXIF/IPTC data to see if it has been altered. It is best to fill out both the EXIF and IPTC data as this is a changing component.

It is just another layer of protection.

You do need to be careful as some programs that prepare files for the web will ask if you want to remove the EXIF/IPTC data to make the file smaller.

NOTE: Most DSLR bodies will let you set some of this in the menu system. Then the information is added when the photo is taken and the file is written to the card saving a little work later.

Last edited by racephoto; 08-19-2012 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights

exif can be altered in seconds by anyone who knows how to use google..
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:02 PM   #10
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Yes, and a locked car can be stolen in seconds! BOTH ARE AGAINST THE LAW!!

If you don't want to do, then don't waste your time. No skin off of my backside!
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:10 PM   #11
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights

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Yes, and a locked car can be stolen in seconds! BOTH ARE AGAINST THE LAW!!

If you don't want to do, then don't waste your time. No skin off of my backside!

lmfao IF its copyrighted.... stipping exif is a smart thing for any personal photos you put online and not against the law..
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:17 PM   #12
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lmfao IF its copyrighted.... stipping exif is a smart thing for any personal photos you put online and not against the law..
Sorry dude! But altering a copyrighted product is ILLEGAL!!!
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Sorry dude! But altering a copyrighted product is ILLEGAL!!!

Sorry dude but you need to learn to read
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:37 PM   #14
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Guess you are referring to your IF in caps. Oh boy!

A photo is a copyrighted product the instant it is taken. You do not have to REGISTER it to own the copyright.

Registration can be an element in the normal process or something you do before going to court. I DO understand the process!

Do you read anything other than comic books?
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:00 AM   #15
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Default Re: Informing your customers about Copyrights

Quote:
Originally Posted by racephoto View Post
Guess you are referring to your IF in caps. Oh boy!

A photo is a copyrighted product the instant it is taken. You do not have to REGISTER it to own the copyright.

Registration can be an element in the normal process or something you do before going to court. I DO understand the process!

Do you read anything other than comic books?

You are right you do NOT have to register your copyright for it to by your copyright, but unless you register it, you are really limited when it comes to protecting your work, and if you dont copyright it, a lawsuit will be costly and come out of your pocket.

You can fight copyright infringement but having your work registered makes it a lawsuit a lot more feasible, and actually worth pursuing it.

When your stuff is registered you can also include all of your legal fees.


And its only $35 per 750 images so why not? lol
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