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View Full Version : Ebay and protecting people infringing copyright - my story



Don Dudenbostel
7-May-2013, 11:37
I know I'm fighting a losing battle trying to keep my work from being copied and sold but I'm fighting it anyway and taking some blood.

Here's my story, I troll the internet looking for copyright infringement of my images and find several a week. Most folks are good and don't understand copyright law and take them down. Others need a little pain to get their attention.

Examples of infringement, I found a student at the Chicago Art Institute copying and reproducing my x-ray art. She was also copying Disney and other trade marked art.

I find numerous uses of my documentary images of Popcorn Sutton being used on playing cards, T shirts, sweat shirts, greeting cards, Christmas ornaments and etc. I've found people in England, Norway, Italy and other locations around the world. Most of the sites like Zazzle will gladly take them down. These images have become iconic and have become high demand items since the death of Popcorn.

I've even found a couple of professional musicians using them in music videos. One I almost had to take to court over the use.

Two weeks ago I ran across a seller who sells thousands of images on Ebay. In the Popcorn Sutton listings was two of my images of which one contained my picture. (another story). I emailed the seller and told him to remove them or else and he did. I also have a policy of charging a royalty fee if I catch them using them commercially and if they know the law. this person did know the law and even put his own water mark on MY IMAGES. He said he put the water mark on them to keep people from steeling them. DuuuuH, what do you think you did. Anyway the seller refuses to pay up and I decided I'm going to bust him. In his sale he brags about the number of satisfied customers and how many images he sells. Time to pay up folks! I spent three years on this project and thousands of dollars and don't like people taking my work and selling it.

I decided it's time to inflict some pain on this company / guy. I do have a phone number to the company but need a name. I thought the easiest way would be to get it from ebay. NO SUCH LUCK!!! After a week + truing to get it and filling out form after form and waiting for responses and even providing two copyright registration numbers they tell me I have to subpoena ebay for the information. They no longer give that information out. No problem, a subpoena is no big deal but I need a persons name and physical address of where to deliver the papers. HAAHHH!!! it's not that easy. Ebay hides behind their phone system. No one will give me a name or an address where a person would be to deliver the papers. No name, no address no subpoena. All the phone systems are automated and there's no way to get in even dialing 0. the customer support people will not provide or can not provide a number for the legal department.

Next step, I ordered a print from the seller to get a physical address from the return label. since I have the phone number I'm going to run a reverse phone directory and get the name or the owner.

This time I'm not only going to inflict pain I'm going to bring blood. I have an intellectual property attorney working for me. From talking to her it's my understanding if we send a demand letter and it's not fulfilled we then file a federal suit. The seller will have to travel to the court in Tennessee from Ohio. I have the registration certificates with the copyright office and print outs of his auctions. Basically an open and shut case and he has to pay all court and legal fees plus damages. I've filed to other suits and won so no big deal.

It's time for all of us to stop these guys. Just taking it down from the internet isn't enough if they're making money from them. Don't be afraid of busting them. The catch is if you haven't registered the images with the copyright office you can not collect damages but can only stop their use. Don't get me wrong, I'm not ticked at the person using my images as avitars but I am ticked at those selling them.

I know it can never be totally stopped but we do have the power to bring blood. Register your images!

PS- The photo they were selling that I am in, I don't believe this one has ever been published except on my book back cover and it was cropped. The only other place this image has been in the public eye is in the touring exhibition that is going to museums. I suspect this person took a camera to one of the museums and directly shot a picture off my images.
__________________

BrianShaw
7-May-2013, 11:54
Good for you. In addition to dmages, penalties and court costs it would be nice if you also could recover some money for the amount of sleuthing it took to find out who they are!

vinny
7-May-2013, 12:04
Stick it to 'em!
after you win go to http://poopsenders.com/ and get them something nice.

Iluvmyviewcam
7-May-2013, 12:40
Hi Don,

I looked at your work. Liked the KKK shots. The X-rays are fantastic!

Good luck with your case. Just make sure they have assets to go after.

Kevin Crisp
7-May-2013, 12:48
If you want to serve a subpoena on Ebay all you have to do is serve its registered agent for process. This is available from the California Secretary of State's office on their website. Since the agent is a company you don't need a name. The information is:








Entity Name:

EBAY INC.



Entity Number:

C2110301



Date Filed:

06/03/1998



Status:

ACTIVE



Jurisdiction:

DELAWARE



Entity Address:

2145 HAMITLON AVENUE



Entity City, State, Zip:

SAN JOSE CA 95125



Agent for Service of Process:

NATIONAL REGISTERED AGENTS, INC.



Agent Address:

818 W SEVENTH ST



Agent City, State, Zip:

LOS ANGELES CA 90017

C_Remington
7-May-2013, 12:52
I would be flattered if someone wanted to use my images. If they're not making money on it, what do you care?

I'm talking about all the trolling you do.

Seriously????

Jac@stafford.net
7-May-2013, 13:01
Good for you, Don! Please keep us informed.

Very many years ago friends of mine found a painted copy of one of my photos at Sturgis. It had been published a couple times by Easy Rider Magazine, once as a two-page spread. I was paid. One friend told him they knew the photographer and he became very concerned. I was okay with it. But I wonder how such could be (or should be) protected under copyright.

Mark Sawyer
7-May-2013, 13:01
I presume you've notified ebay of the theft of your property, and it's still being offered for sale? If so, I would suggest you file suit against ebay too. Ebay obviously has very deep pockets and an open willingness to profit from theft.

Jody_S
7-May-2013, 13:21
I presume you've notified ebay of the theft of your property, and it's still being offered for sale? If so, I would suggest you file suit against ebay too. Ebay obviously has very deep pockets and an open willingness to profit from theft.

+1

Give 'em hell.

I'm not in the same league as you, but I've experienced the feeling of walking down a main street here in Montreal and seeing someone wearing a t-shirt with one of my images. I didn't stop the person to ask where he bought it, but it could only have come from the lab that was doing my prints at the time. The person running the lab had a side business as a stock photo agency. Needless to say, I never got a dime. I terminated my relationship with him soon after, and he never returned a batch of photos from one particular assignment, where I had shot on spec with one of his friends, for a local magazine. I have no idea if they ever used the pics, in fact I can't even prove they're mine because he kept my original slides. Stupid, I know. But following that incident, I little empathy for people who knowingly steal another's work.

Kevin Crisp
7-May-2013, 13:40
In some states you have independent remedies where somebody has commercialized a photo of you, which has apparently happened.

Kimberly Anderson
7-May-2013, 16:57
This is why I am removing all of my content off of the internet. It's only going to get worse.

lenser
7-May-2013, 16:57
Aren't there also criminal penalties that you can go after for both the copier and ebay for knowingly allowing the sale of stolen material?

welly
7-May-2013, 17:44
This is why I am removing all of my content off of the internet. It's only going to get worse.

Does this include your comments? Because you'd better be quick, I'm stealing this one :p

Brian Ellis
7-May-2013, 18:09
Sorry, I seem to be caught in the Large Format Forum Black Hole where I can't edit a message and when I try to delete it I see a different message than the one I'm trying to edit or delete. Time for bed.

Don Dudenbostel
7-May-2013, 18:18
Thanks!

Don Dudenbostel
7-May-2013, 18:33
The prints have been removed from eBay. I contacted the seller through the eBay system direct and read him his rights.

The seller has sold the images and has made money from them. Person non commercial use, no big deal but when they sell them it's a big deal. I want financial compensation. A friend found a liquor store using my images on a billboard. I forced them to pay and now they understand the copyright laws. I did the same for a other companies using the images on a billboard.

This isn't all small potatoes. Some are making good money. In any case I made the images and invested the time and money and registered the copyright. I should have controll of who and how they are used ( in a non Internet prrfect world).

The thing that really pissed me was them putting their water mark on them. How bold!!! Also one of the images had never been on the Internet. It had only been shown in my touring museum show. That's bold!!! To walk into a museum, copy work, put their water mark on it and sell it.

Brian C. Miller
7-May-2013, 19:54
This may be of frightful interest to you: Kickstarter Campaign at the Center of a Controversy Over Stolen Images (http://petapixel.com/2013/05/07/kickstarter-campaign-at-the-center-of-a-copyright-controversy-over-stolen-images/)

Apparently all of the images Sabrina Chun is using belong to someone else. Sabrina Chun of course claims copyright for all of the images in her project.

Kirk Gittings
7-May-2013, 22:51
I would be flattered if someone wanted to use my images. If they're not making money on it, what do you care?

I'm talking about all the trolling you do.

Seriously????

Seriously? The sincerest form of flattery used to be imitation. Now its stealing your art work and pretending it is their's? You would be flattered by theft? Really?

Sevo
8-May-2013, 00:37
This is why I am removing all of my content off of the internet. It's only going to get worse.

That is only an option if you are a hobbyist that does not publish. There is barely a niche left where you can work with photography without at least samples of your best stuff leaking onto the internet - even if you don't even own a computer, your clients, agents or galleries will take care of that...

C_Remington
8-May-2013, 04:11
Seriously? The sincerest form of flattery used to be imitation. Now its stealing your art work and pretending it is their's? You would be flattered by theft? Really?

They're not stealing it. You're giving it to them.

mandoman7
8-May-2013, 04:32
The prints have been removed from eBay. I contacted the seller through the eBay system direct and read him his rights.

The seller has sold the images and has made money from them. Person non commercial use, no big deal but when they sell them it's a big deal. I want financial compensation. A friend found a liquor store using my images on a billboard. I forced them to pay and now they understand the copyright laws. I did the same for a other companies using the images on a billboard.

This isn't all small potatoes. Some are making good money. In any case I made the images and invested the time and money and registered the copyright. I should have controll of who and how they are used ( in a non Internet prrfect world).

The thing that really pissed me was them putting their water mark on them. How bold!!! Also one of the images had never been on the Internet. It had only been shown in my touring museum show. That's bold!!! To walk into a museum, copy work, put their water mark on it and sell it.

Kudos to you for taking up this battle. Clearly, there's a disturbing trend towards abuse of creative property rights these days. I'm curious about how you've been able to track down those using your images?

Sdrubansky
8-May-2013, 04:41
Marvin 'Popcorn' Sutton was a bootlegger. You're stealing his soul.

Don Dudenbostel
8-May-2013, 05:55
Popcorn would have shot you for calling him a bootlegger. He was a moonshiner not a bootlegger he always said.

As to tracing them down, friends in the area let me know when they see them and I google Popcorns name and come up with many. For example I google Popcorn Sutton shirt or cards and come up with items quite often. I go to YouTube and search his name also. eBay is a common ond I search. If someone used it for an avitar or personal use that they're. It making money it's no big deal but when they make money it be ones a big deal. If they're selling it there's always a means of tracking them down either through a site like Zazzle AF eBay or direct sales in some cases.

It's not just my documentary work. I do X-ray images of flowers and have found that work for sale on other sites.

I license my work and make a good part of my living from it and want to be compensated for my hard work and the time it took to learn what I know. I don't want the value lowered by cheap reproductions. You get the idea.

sun of sand
10-May-2013, 16:46
Steven Seagal just starred in this movie ..Picture Of Death. Why don't YOU stop stealing other peoples work. Dude.

sun of sand
10-May-2013, 16:53
This time I'm not only going to inflict pain I'm going to bring blood

:haha:



Picture of Death would be pretty accurate given his latest movies





This reminds me of a naming contest for RB Thurman Thomas lounge at a local racetrack/casino racino

My name for it
AND I BELIEVE IT TO BE A GOOD NAME FOR A SPORTS BAR/LOUNGE especially given he was a running back

CUTBACKS


unfortunately
especially given the reputation of this little country city "cutbacks" would be way too open for jokes

WOW, this place sucks! ...CUTBACKS.

sun of sand
10-May-2013, 16:55
Popcorn would have shot you for calling him a bootlegger. He was a moonshiner


lol


how come he didn't shoot the person who gave em that nickname then?

ic-racer
10-May-2013, 20:15
I'm not good at reading through all the posts in a thread but is this thread about finding Popcorn Sutton images and having them removed because Popcorn does not want photographs of himself for sale on ebay?

welly
11-May-2013, 00:21
I'm not good at reading through all the posts in a thread but is this thread about finding Popcorn Sutton images and having them removed because Popcorn does not want photographs of himself for sale on ebay?

No, apparently Popcorn Sutton is dead, so probably has no opinion on his photographs being on ebay now or otherwise.

Michael_4514
11-May-2013, 04:58
Let me preface this by saying that Don is entirely in the right and I hope he shuts down anybody illegally making money off his work. (Also, Don, your work is really good!)

But there is another side to this issue.

A few years I took on a pro bono assignment from the federal court in Manhattan. The Calder Institute was suing the owner of a small gift shop in Connecticut because it was selling some miniature Calder like mobiles. The owner was a middle aged woman of modest means, and she had bought these mobiles from her wholesaler in the normal course of business. They sold for a few dollars each and she might have sold a dozen of them. She couldn't have made $100 profit on them, probably much less.

Anyway, the Calder Institute was claiming that these mobiles infringed on the copyright that it held on Calder's mobiles and it hired one of these huge international law firms and dropped this giant lawsuit on her. The court papers alone weighed a few pounds. The thing with copyright violation is that if you win, even a few dollars in actual damages, the other side has to pay your "reasonable" legal fees that that would have run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This woman was facing financial ruin for something that may or may not have violated some copyright but which was totally innocent and utterly harmless.

Copyright is an important right and serves a useful purpose, but Calder has been dead for 30 years, and not for nothing, but anybody can make a mobile that looks like something Calder might have made. There are abuses at both ends.

jnanian
11-May-2013, 06:35
good luck don, and good job reminding people to register their work !
there are too many people ( even big million dollar corporations )
who make a good living by harvesting work that others have done
and saying it is their own. it is understandable that some people don't know
the law ( and it is easy to spot them as you have ), but shame on the people that do!

i know i have been in your shoes before, not with stealing images the newfangled way
but with a large company i was working for ( on assignment / contract ) harvesting all my work, duping it, and then
deciding (after they had it all duplicated on their hard drives) they no longer wanted my work, nor to keep me on contract
nor to pay me .... and then publishing the images on their website ... claiming it was their own and it was all done 'on spec' ..
companies get very good ( from what i have been told by lawyer friends and news reporters ) at being very vague
in their contracts, and then denying that contractors actually were working for them after robbing them blind..

i hope you are able to get back EVERYTHING that is owed to you!

rdenney
11-May-2013, 08:51
They're not stealing it. You're giving it to them.

Copyright can only be granted in writing. Without a written license or transfer from the copyright owner, or definitive research showing the copyright is expired and the work has lapsed into the public domain, a person must assume anything they did not themselves create is protected.

Rick "thinking it's easy for anyone to know what they did not themselves create" Denney

Brian C. Miller
11-May-2013, 09:34
Rick "thinking it's easy for anyone to know what they did not themselves create" Denney

The following has been posted in three different threads by three different people:
UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/29/err_act_landgrab/) and The UK's copyright landgrab: The FAQ (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/03/instagram_act_explained/)

There is a difference between defending what is yours, and purely predatory corporations. In the UK, copyright law is being changed, and not changed for the better. It costs money to register a work, and I don't know of a phone app that does it automatically. IIRC, the last time I registered something with the copyright office, I used the short form and it cost me $15. I absolutely regard what Don is doing as being in the right, and what the UK government and major corporations doing as being absolutely wrong. Don created his work, and persues people who abuse his copyright. The major coporations are grabbing other people's work, demanding to be sued, and it requires quite a lot of effort to win.

Bill Burk
11-May-2013, 10:08
I'm not good at reading through all the posts in a thread but is this thread about finding Popcorn Sutton images and having them removed because Popcorn does not want photographs of himself for sale on ebay?

No, Don Dudenbostel took iconic photographs of Popcorn Sutton, who has passed, giving Don an effective monopoly on the images of Popcorn... Since the alternative is pretty crummy mug shots, Don's got a solid business model so long as his rights remain protected.

Don Dudenbostel
11-May-2013, 19:26
His actual name is Marvin but the Popcorn came from an incident in a bar. He loved popcorn and hung out at a particular bar that had a popcorn machine that you put a dime in and it would fill a small paper bag. One day he put his dime in and no popcorn came out. Marvin became upset and picked up a bar stool and destroyed the machine. After that everyone called him Popcorn.

Don Dudenbostel
11-May-2013, 19:59
good luck don, and good job reminding people to register their work !
there are too many people ( even big million dollar corporations )
who make a good living by harvesting work that others have done
and saying it is their own. it is understandable that some people don't know
the law ( and it is easy to spot them as you have ), but shame on the people that do!

i know i have been in your shoes before, not with stealing images the newfangled way
but with a large company i was working for ( on assignment / contract ) harvesting all my work, duping it, and then
deciding (after they had it all duplicated on their hard drives) they no longer wanted my work, nor to keep me on contract
nor to pay me .... and then publishing the images on their website ... claiming it was their own and it was all done 'on spec' ..
companies get very good ( from what i have been told by lawyer friends and news reporters ) at being very vague
in their contracts, and then denying that contractors actually were working for them after robbing them blind..

i hope you are able to get back EVERYTHING that is owed to you!


Welcome to the new world of business. Ive had corporations assign work with no intention of ever paying. I've had one that was in California and the amount was too small to go to court over but two others I took to court, won the case plus expenses and damages. It cost each considerably more in the end. In one case I had the business owners Car impounded. The owner decided to pay or lose an $80k car. In 46 years of business I ve learned if you let companies run over they will use you and your Money at ever opportunity. I'm not in business to be taken advantage of. That's one reason I've survived this many years.

In as many years as I've been In business ive seen and heard about every excuse a company can use to screw you. I'm very nice and accommodating but I'm hard core if I smell something dirty. Ive lost a few customers over the years but as I told one if you're not paying your bills I don't want to work for you. I'm not your bank and invoices are due in 30 days Of 90 or 120.

One ex client refused to pay sales tax and had no state resale certificate. Basically he wanted a 9.75% discount and me pick up the tax. The same guy screwed the printer on the job after signing off or the job. The company owner was a whack job and was using religious reasons not to pay. The printer / design firm used a couple of stock imagers showing an office scene with business women in slacks. Even after signing off on the photos the business owner said his religion didn't permit women to wear pants and refuses to pay the $10k+ printing job. I knew what was headed my way and assured the business owned I would turn him in to the state department of revenue if he didn't pay the full invoice in 24 hours. Guess what, he paid.

I could fill up a forum with stories but my policy for deadbeats and thieves is harsh. Pay or get slapped and then pay more in the end.

Kimberly Anderson
11-May-2013, 20:04
Don, I received your book today. It's wonderful. I would love to have it signed. Also was very curious if my camera took any of the images in it. :)

Don Dudenbostel
11-May-2013, 20:24
Michael

The Canham wasn't used on any of these. I used Leica
MP's, Hasselblad, Sinar Norma 5x7, Ebony SV45Te and my trusty old Nikon F2.

I'll pm where to send it. I'll swap you our version that has way better printing and paper vs the Amazon.

C_Remington
12-May-2013, 03:54
Copyright can only be granted in writing. Without a written license or transfer from the copyright owner, or definitive research showing the copyright is expired and the work has lapsed into the public domain, a person must assume anything they did not themselves create is protected.

Rick "thinking it's easy for anyone to know what they did not themselves create" Denney


My point was, people don't now that or care. If you don't want yor images "stolen", dont put them on the Internet.

bdkphoto
12-May-2013, 11:14
My point was, people don't now that or care. If you don't want yor images "stolen", dont put them on the Internet.

How would that work for clients who hire you to shoot for web use, or simply having a website to market your work? A web presence is essential today. I can't think of a single job over the past 6+ years that didn't include web use by my clients.

The actual answer is simple - register your work with the LOC and treat it like it has real economic value.

ivanman80
19-May-2013, 12:57
Could Don claim the money from ebay? Because ebay do not remove the listing and allow people keep infringing his copyright even he has reported the case.

ic-racer
19-May-2013, 17:50
No, Don Dudenbostel took iconic photographs of Popcorn Sutton, who has passed, giving Don an effective monopoly on the images of Popcorn... Since the alternative is pretty crummy mug shots, Don's got a solid business model so long as his rights remain protected.
So he has the model releases or something, or the money goes to Sutton's estate or something like that?

Shootar401
19-May-2013, 19:10
Damn Don, overreact much? I've had people use my photography without my permission before and I could care less. It was actually on a movie poster for a local film maker. I didn't say anything, or tried to sue them for "royalties" Just smiled and moved on. Something you should think about doing. But then again, I'm not some big shot NYC photographer making millions a year like yourself, so what do I know. Photography is a hobby and I'm not going to get all butt hurt over someone making a few prints and selling them on the big bay. More power to them, photography (and art) is meant to be shared.

welly
19-May-2013, 20:54
Damn Don, overreact much? I've had people use my photography without my permission before and I could care less. It was actually on a movie poster for a local film maker. I didn't say anything, or tried to sue them for "royalties" Just smiled and moved on. Something you should think about doing. But then again, I'm not some big shot NYC photographer making millions a year like yourself, so what do I know. Photography is a hobby and I'm not going to get all butt hurt over someone making a few prints and selling them on the big bay. More power to them, photography (and art) is meant to be shared.

With all due respect, if Don is making his living through his photography, every photo that is used without his permission and without payment is one loaf of bread (or a full meal) less on his table. That's fine that you don't mind your photography being used for free, you probably have another job to support your hobby.

Bill Burk
19-May-2013, 20:57
So he has the model releases or something, or the money goes to Sutton's estate or something like that?

Heck, I don't know anything personally. Everything I know I read here. If I had to guess, I'd say Don knew him well or at least took the time to get to know him.

Iluvmyviewcam
20-May-2013, 04:17
Damn Don, overreact much? I've had people use my photography without my permission before and I could care less. It was actually on a movie poster for a local film maker. I didn't say anything, or tried to sue them for "royalties" Just smiled and moved on. Something you should think about doing. But then again, I'm not some big shot NYC photographer making millions a year like yourself, so what do I know. Photography is a hobby and I'm not going to get all butt hurt over someone making a few prints and selling them on the big bay. More power to them, photography (and art) is meant to be shared.

I'm more in your camp than not. But some photogs depend on their earnings to live. In my case, I spread my pix around the world for free as much as I can. When I die my wife and or estranged DIL will trash it all..they hate it.

I've never made a penny from my work. Not that I would not like to make money, just never did. My pix are of the ugly doc variety, so no one would want them except a collector. Collectors don't want them cause I have no famous name. So that is the deal with my work.

When we all die, good chance all our images will be gone unless our work is in books, museums or some other archiving venue. So if your not a money making photog, share while they are still intact.


"Looking at photographs, like taking them, can be joyful, sensuous pleasure. Looking at photographs of quality can only increase that pleasure." Pete Turner

"A photograph that has not been shared or at least printed is almost an unexistent photograph, is almost an untaken picture." Sergio Garibay

Kirk Gittings
20-May-2013, 06:48
Damn Don, overreact much? I've had people use my photography without my permission before and I could care less. It was actually on a movie poster for a local film maker. I didn't say anything, or tried to sue them for "royalties" Just smiled and moved on. Something you should think about doing. But then again, I'm not some big shot NYC photographer making millions a year like yourself, so what do I know. Photography is a hobby and I'm not going to get all butt hurt over someone making a few prints and selling them on the big bay. More power to them, photography (and art) is meant to be shared.

So I don't know what you do for a living, but if someone took the product of your labor from you and sold it for their profit I guess you wouldn't care? Its all to be shared right?

Its called theft dude and its illegal. People with your attitude help to undermine the law when you look the other way on your work and mock those who do want to protect their rights and property. If that thinking prevailed no one could make a living in the arts. Not musician's, writers, painters, photographers, cartoonists, actors-no one could. Is that the world you envision? Why stop at artwork? You are welcome to give away your property away if you want to, but when you mock those who wish to keep theirs it sounds pretty foolish and naive.

Kodachrome25
20-May-2013, 10:59
That is only an option if you are a hobbyist that does not publish. There is barely a niche left where you can work with photography without at least samples of your best stuff leaking onto the internet - even if you don't even own a computer, your clients, agents or galleries will take care of that...

While true, I have reduced my commercial clients down to two big ones who pay high enough for me to let them worry about it. Besides the NY Times, the other three major magazines I do work for dont post anything but teaser content online. I have not had a website in over 5 years, I am working on getting out of commercial work and doing all gallery sold fine art....I simply detest what the web has done to the world of the arts and those who earn a living off of it, Yahoo buying Tumbler in order to gain more profit control is only going to make it worse..

"looking at ways to spruce up Flickr and blend its photos into more of Yahoo's other services. Mayer is expected to discuss more changes for Flickr at an event in New York Monday evening."

I have been doing self promotion the old fashion way, over coffee, in person and for the most part, it seems to be working....frankly I don't care if I starve at this point, I am done filing lawsuits, chasing stolen work and fretting over it, enough is truly enough...

QT Luong
20-May-2013, 11:01
Don, thanks for sharing interesting details about ebay. I'd say if you end up filling a suit - which unfortunately is often necessary to get their attention - you should consider naming them as well.

As someone who does enforces his copyrights by litigation (I have a family to feed), I will say that it is not a loosing battle if you choose your targets carefully. If you images are registered, like you wrote it is an open and shut case, so it is easy to find a lawyer to take your case on contingency. In my experience, all defendants settle out of court for four figure amounts.

Some posters have objected to such tactics. I would say it all depends on the infringer. Personally, I am not going after folks who post images for personal or informational purposes, or even to promote essentially not-for profit or educational activities. However, in this case, the defendant is clearly someone who should know better about copyrights, and profiting commercially from the infringement. The extra gall to claim the copyright as his would also compel me to take legal action.

On the other hand, I am not so sure about trolling the internet looking for copyright infringement and asking for take down. Surely, this eats up a lot of time, and I see little benefits resulting from such campaigns.

Kodachrome25
20-May-2013, 15:22
So I don't know what you do for a living, but if someone took the product of your labor from you and sold it for their profit I guess you wouldn't care? Its all to be shared right?

Its called theft dude and its illegal. People with your attitude help to undermine the law when you look the other way on your work and mock those who do want to protect their rights and property. If that thinking prevailed no one could make a living in the arts. Not musician's, writers, painters, photographers, cartoonists, actors-no one could. Is that the world you envision? Why stop at artwork? You are welcome to give away your property away if you want to, but when you mock those who wish to keep theirs it sounds pretty foolish and naive.

Welcome to the attitude of a good number of amateur camera owners who are utterly desperate to have their work valued in some form. All it takes to see this desperation in detail is a trip to Flickr where endless torrents of empty praise fill page after page, an ego-circle-jerk….it even happens here a little, hardly a real critique but tons of praise…tons of it.

Post your landscape, post your portrait, post your camera, share with your fellow LF users, share with your neighbor, share with CNN iReport, share with the local paper, share with a magazine, Instagram, Facebook,…"Share your photos, Watch the World" as they say on Flickr…..and alllllll for free baby!

With so many people willing to share not prints among friends, family members or peers, but with millions of people they do not know using easily stolen web images, it's no wonder less and less art buyers feel they should pay for an image and instead, just take it.

When I was just starting to want to show my work, I shared prints among friends, mentors, etc. But when it came to having someone use my work…even when I was in my late teens before I was a pro, I felt that as a respect to the industry and to the work I had put in, there needed to be a price associated with that….I had this common sense and respect as a *teenager* folks, years before I started actually working as a professional photographer…

Now it is utterly disgusting the level of ignorance, piss poor attitude, spite and even hatred displayed towards pros, what pros do and have to deal with shown by some amateurs.....it's freaking UNREAL man, seriously!

We are going to lose a lot of good art and artists this way too…because you know as well as I do that in order to fully live the life of an artist, you have to make a lot of sacrifice, one of them being taking on the risk of making a real living off of it. Otherwise, you simply don't have the time or the freedom to live the life of an artist in full.

But this is what people are blind to, that "Freetography" in the new "Freeconomy" is going not be free, the cost being we are going to lose the full expression of some up and coming talent because they will never be able to earn a living with their art and engage in the life of being an artist full time and that is a shame, because that *IS* the ultimate freedom in being an artist, to be able to immerse your self 100%, full time for your entire life in realizing your true vision. We celebrate the "Masters" of years past but don't we want to see the next one? Who will be the next master at anything if there is little to no reward to be had for this work? It's OK that many photographers pre-internet and pre-digital did well and you love their work, buy their books, prints and go see their shows at the MOMA….but when it comes to those who are truly talented enough to become the next master, they no longer deserve the right to have their work and efforts respected….?

That is what is happening here and it is devaluing more in our lives than we have to courage to face. We are devaluing the human touch in favor of technological marvels that give big profits to big companies who simply do not care about anything else but that. We hardly even look at one another anymore, instead of the magic and comfort of eye contact, we hide our faces using i-contact.

But this is the world we let happen, digital + the internet = the almost complete destruction of any commercial value of art on the web and ultimately, loss of it's social value as well. It's all one big party of free…and when the hangover sets in, nothing of value will be left…..and even that empty praise will show it's true value…

None.

rdenney
20-May-2013, 18:12
The rant over-reacts, K25. There is nothing wrong with giving stuff away. The point of property is that the property owner has control of it--that's what makes it property. If that property owner chooses to give it away--it's their's to give.

The problem is not with those who give stuff away. It's with those take stuff they don't own, and with those who condone such because they don't believe in property.

It's hard to make money doing what amateurs are willing to do for free. But that is not the amateur's fault--many artistic activities by amateurs reflect a deeper cultural strength than commercial artistic activities. Generally, those amateurs appreciate pro-level work the most, and do the most to sustain it.

Rick "thinking the problem with much art is a shortage of serious amateurs" Denney

Kodachrome25
20-May-2013, 18:50
That's not the point Rick, and thankfully most amateurs are not like the ones referred to in my rant. The point is that what the Internet is doing on a larger scale and with a more sinister level of un noticed erosion. I replied to what Kirk had written because I agree with him that just because a non-pro thinks it is ok to give *their* work away, there is now a growing trend that those same people think that pros should no longer expect to be paid for their work, even if it is outright stolen and then profited from.

While I am still doing well in my business, I am getting tired of all this web-attitude of adapt or die, oh well, I don't make a living in photography so why should you crap. It's ugly and is a sign of a deeper problem that is growing in society, born of some pretty bitter people. I love my life as a photographer and I am pretty sure I can keep it going, but I can hardly even tell people what I do for a living anymore because of all the web born crap without hearing stuff like, "Oh, you are a photographer gosh....are you ok?"

barnninny
20-May-2013, 22:25
That's not the point Rick, and thankfully most amateurs are not like the ones referred to in my rant. The point is that what the Internet is doing on a larger scale and with a more sinister level of un noticed erosion.

If that was all you meant to say, I'd say Rick can be forgiven for not knowing it. There were 2 or 3 superfluous paragraphs.

For my own part, I can't say there's not a lot to pick from, between your attitude and the amateur (whose name is on the previous page and I don't remember) who piqued you. Your longer post, above, reminds me a great deal of what we've heard from the music industry and some artists for a couple of decades -- that the internet and file sharing would kill music. Yet that's not at all what has happened. Quite the opposite. The structure of the music industry has changed, yes, but music is thriving: the artists are getting more of the money their art generates than they ever did before, it's easier for new artists to reach an audience (without becoming indentured servants to the record companies), and listeners are hearing more good music, and a wider variety of music, than they ever did before.

And it's simply demonstrably not the case that one has to make art for a living in order to be a full or productive artist. There have been too many spectacular amateur artists for that to be tenable.

My own approach to finding a place in my life for creative pursuits is based on something I once heard a black minister say in Nashville during a talk about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. He was a minister, yes, but he was also a lifelong public school teacher, eventually rising to superintendent. Asked why he took on 2 careers, he said, "I learned early on that if I was going to be able to say what needed to be said in the church, I couldn't be beholden to the brethren."

The full-time pro has to make compromises that the amateur does not, just as the amateur has to make compromises that the pro does not. Short of being independently wealthy or willing to starve for one's art, it's just a matter of picking your compromises. And that's true not just of art, but of all human activities -- from art to preaching to the mundane things amateurs like me do for a living. None of us get to do exactly what we want, exactly the way we want to do it.

It's very likely that the photography industry is in for a major shake-up. But photography will be fine. Great photographers will continue to find ways to produce great photographs. Some will be able to make a living at it, and some won't. Maybe there will be more pros than there are now, and maybe there will be fewer; but the example of the musicians is a promising one.

Now, WTF was this thread about, again?

Kirk Gittings
20-May-2013, 22:53
There is nothing wrong with giving stuff away. The point of property is that the property owner has control of it--that's what makes it property. If that property owner chooses to give it away--it's their's to give. Rdenney

Agreed-but when you let someone steal it and just let the illegality go and not call them on it (yes it is your choice OF COURSE) you are not giving it away. You are IMHO encouraging future theft by that person and everyone they collude with. I donate lots of my work, but I don't smile and look the other way when someone steals it-even non-profits. At the very least they need to be educated.


I've had people use my photography without my permission before and I could care less. It was actually on a movie poster for a local film maker. I didn't say anything, or tried to sue them for "royalties" Just smiled and moved on. Shootar401

Smile why? Because they thought enough of your work to steal it? Does that go for your car too? Maybe your dog?

jnanian
21-May-2013, 06:05
unfortunately people see and they take.
ad agencies scour flickr and give 100$ to a member
of the flickr-azzi instead of 1000$ to a working pro.
the flickr-azzi is just excited someone likes his/her work
the marketplace just gets used to getting something for almost nothing.

==

where is john cooke when you need him!

he posted a long beautifully written story of his experience "back in the day"
about when he got a job photographing toilets/toilet seats and when he went to
get paid ( after photographing them for days on end )
... the owner of the company had decided ( after the fact ) to give the job
to his nephew because he was a "serious about photography", and he was doing it for free.
john loved to sip a nice glass of wine with his ebony camera fire-side.

Shootar401
21-May-2013, 16:17
Smile why? Because they thought enough of your work to steal it? Does that go for your car too? Maybe your dog?[/QUOTE]

Wow really? Unlike you and other high and mighty "pro" photographers that get their panties in a bunch anytime anyone uses their work without permission I honestly could care less. They were not stealing my work, I didn't claim any rights, I just took a photo, put it up on my website for people to see, or use in this case. Like I said before photography and art is meant to be shared, not stored away in a negative file in a safe deposit box. If somebody wants to use my photos thats fine. and if I see one I like I'll have it printed and I'll hang it on my wall. Simple as that.

jnanian
21-May-2013, 17:17
20 years ago a little old lady whose husband was one of the richest people in her town / village died.
her husband was a well known and well respected engineer, he died in the 1970s and she around 1990.
after she died they were going through her house and dealing with the estate ...
and they found a handful of paintings by an internationally known painter that were missing/stolen
since the 1920s: they were in her basement.

was it OK for this lady and her husband to have these paintings because " they liked them and took them" ?
stealing and using someone's photography without permission is pretty much the same thing, except instead
of having it framed and to see in "the salon" it is being used to generate money or used/associated in a situation
the owner has no control over.

Bill Burk
21-May-2013, 17:53
20 years ago a little old lady...

Wild story, real or a parable?

I thought we would all rally behind Don on this issue. As a content creator I feel sympathy. I don't want others to profit from my efforts while I am largely unrewarded. I don't understand the controversy, but I understand copyright itself is being challenged these days.

It's OK if you celebrate the open culture of sharing. That should be a possible option. It just shouldn't happen by default because you didn't realize putting your image up somewhere was defined by the system as giving it away.

I'm tempted to utilize a covert watermarking system for my online images. I wouldn't mind having the peace of mind, but I don't want it to be visible.

Sorry to be all over the map on this but I have a weird copyright story... I licensed several images to be used on a television show that became incredibly popular. It really was nice seeing my name in the credits. But I only gave a three year license and now they can't show it. Instead of being a steady stream of income... they just don't show it anymore.

jnanian
21-May-2013, 18:06
Wild story, real or a parable?

totally real, it made the papers, and wigged a lot of people out.
it is kind of strange because there was a dirt road i used to travel
and i wanted to photograph in new growth forest on both sides
and learned she owned the land ... and had to speak with her
agent / caretaker so i wouldn't be arrested ...

about 6 months later she died .. i recognized the house and name.
and around the same time / a year or 2 later the sargent art museum in boston was robbed ..
so i never really forgot any of it ... it was really strange.

Brian C. Miller
21-May-2013, 19:03
This reminds me of the French electrician and Picasso's works:
His Chauffeur, An Electrician And The Mysterious $50 Million Stash Of Picassos (http://worldcrunch.com/culture-society/his-chauffeur-an-electrician-and-the-mysterious-50-million-stash-of-picassos/c3s4936/)

barnninny
21-May-2013, 19:23
Wow really? Unlike you and other high and mighty "pro" photographers that get their panties in a bunch anytime anyone uses their work without permission I honestly could care less. They were not stealing my work, I didn't claim any rights, I just took a photo, put it up on my website for people to see, or use in this case. Like I said before photography and art is meant to be shared, not stored away in a negative file in a safe deposit box. If somebody wants to use my photos thats fine. and if I see one I like I'll have it printed and I'll hang it on my wall. Simple as that.

If you just have a philosophical position that all art should be free, that's fine. But a lot of what you're saying here simply makes no sense -- there is no analogy between you or me and a pro photographer -- a lot of it totally ignores what Don and others are doing, and most of the rest is just spleen.

Kirk Gittings
21-May-2013, 19:55
If you consider having something posted on the web as being published, you now have literally millions of amateur photographers being published in ways that was simply not possible before the internet. The vast majority of these people are happy just seeing their work in a public venue and pay little or no attention to copyright issues. This has been a gold mine to intellectual property thieves and turned the forces for copyright protection into a strident minority. In this environment it only makes sense like Don to get more rigid on these issues or die professionally. I am with him on this.

patrickjames
21-May-2013, 21:05
I am with Don, Kirk and K-25 with all of this.

Copyright is something that was set up to protect the created work for enough time that the creator had a opportunity to benefit from his creation. What people don't understand is without a benefit, there will be no creation, or creation will be severely limited.

Does anyone honestly believe that no one deserves the benefit of their labor? How stupid can you be?

If you are one of the people that states "get over it" maybe you should let a photographer stay at your house, that you paid for with your labor, and eat your food, that you paid for with your labor, and drive your car, that you paid for with your labor. You can get over that, can't you? Imagine if you showed up for work for a week and at the end of the week they didn't give you a paycheck, but just said "get over it!"

Stupid. And I don't use that work lightly.

Kodachrome25
21-May-2013, 22:26
And the attitudes just get worse and worse....

As per Yahoo CEO Marisa Mayer today (http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2013/05/21/yahoo-chief-marissa-mayer-catches-heat-for-comments-about-flickr-and-profes):

"There's no such thing as Flickr Pro because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there's no such thing, really, as professional photographers when there's everything that's professional photographers. Certainly there's varying levels of skills but we didn't want to have a Flickr Pro anymore. We wanted everyone to have professional quality photo space and sharing." - Marissa Mayer, May 2013

I still feel that due to the adjustments I have made things look bright in my career. But wow, it gets uglier by the minute out there, eh?

Kirk Gittings
22-May-2013, 06:10
Is her grammar really that bad? I guess CEOs aren't what they used to be either.

bdkphoto
22-May-2013, 09:34
Is her grammar really that bad? I guess CEOs aren't what they used to be either.

lol

Kodachrome25
22-May-2013, 09:37
I know I can be verbose and profoundly insistent that I am seeing things coming that perhaps others can not....and I know how that may come across. All I know is that when large sweeping changes to society happen not over generations or decades like we have been accustomed to but over the course of a few years, we are far more likely to miss key evidence that not all that will come of it will lay as solid a footing for the good prospects as we initially were lead to believe.

In other words, if you as an amateur photographer are OK with the risk of having your photographic property stolen because you don't earn a living with it, what you don't realize is that this will very likely have an effect on *your* ability to earn a living, regardless of what you do to derive income. We are far more connected, too much so actually, for this to not occur....you think you are safe so "Share" away..but you are not...nothing in this life is ever free, there is a price you will pay for it all.

I call this crisis borne of the internet "Social Climate Change". And like the ecological variety, there is evidence we can readily see, on the surface, but a lot of it we can not see because we are forever trying to mitigate any adverse effect in our life by using an approach of engaging in *Minimum Treatment*....what is the least we can get away with in terms of action to solve the problem instead of actually going past the present problem to see what the bigger picture could serve up.

The way things are going is not sustainable, there will be more crashes like the so called "Great Recession" because we view things in the short term. Short term business models, short term solutions for short term gains leading to a greater potential for long term damage.
So now we have more crashes on the way, only this time, they are not only going to be just financial or ecological crashes based on those climate changes, but social ones leading to "Social Great Depression"...

The internet...a big party of Free in which some of those in attendance are starting to feel the effects of a hangover...

A great interview of author Jaron Lanier in Salon that I stumbled across today that echoes a lot of what I have been witnessing:

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/12/jaron_lanier_the_internet_destroyed_the_middle_class/

Brian C. Miller
22-May-2013, 10:58
A great interview of author Jaron Lanier in Salon that I stumbled across today that echoes a lot of what I have been witnessing:

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/12/jaron_lanier_the_internet_destroyed_the_middle_class/

(From my perspective) That author is so full of BS it's pathetic. Yes, Kodak went down the tubes, but that didn't happen due to digital imaging and communication. They went downhill due to throwing out everything that wasn't purely film production, even though they knew that film usage would diminish. Fujifilm kept all of their innovations under the main corporate wing, film production is about 1% of their gross profits, and Fujifilm is doing fine.

Kodak and Instagram are compared, but that's such a ludicrous comparison, it's practically a Straw Man argument. Yes, the times they are a-changin', and a lot of other disruptive changes have happened without the Internet.

You might as well conclude that space aliens landed because your lawn has fertilizer burn.

DKirk
6-Jun-2013, 01:20
those who keep harping on 'why would you care, let them use it for free'...

Folk are welcome to use my images, as long as they don't mind me popping round their place and 'using their stuff for free' So that car, TV, Computer, anything not nailed down, they won't mind me listing as 99p no reserve on ebay then?

Somehow, I think they'd be none too pleased. So Good on you Don, stick it too them.

Sevo
6-Jun-2013, 01:34
(From my perspective) That author is so full of BS it's pathetic. Yes, Kodak went down the tubes, but that didn't happen due to digital imaging and communication. They went downhill due to throwing out everything that wasn't purely film production,

While they are holding on to film production, I rather suspect that that is due to the fact that they cannot sell that branch - at any rate not while they still have to fulfil long term film supply contracts to various boards and corporations. Essentially, they've thrown out everything except printer production - not because they had any significant success on a global scale at the latter, but because that is the only field in which their CEO has any past experience and competence...

Joseph O'Neil
7-Jun-2013, 11:43
I am with Don, Kirk and K-25 with all of this.

Copyright is something that was set up to protect the created work for enough time that the creator had a opportunity to benefit from his creation. What people don't understand is without a benefit, there will be no creation, or creation will be severely limited.

Does anyone honestly believe that no one deserves the benefit of their labor? How stupid can you be?

If you are one of the people that states "get over it" maybe you should let a photographer stay at your house, that you paid for with your labor, and eat your food, that you paid for with your labor, and drive your car, that you paid for with your labor. You can get over that, can't you? Imagine if you showed up for work for a week and at the end of the week they didn't give you a paycheck, but just said "get over it!"

Stupid. And I don't use that work lightly.


+1 or +2 or +5 to all of the above. I agree with everyone above too - no matter who or whom you are. let them walk over you once, they will do it forever. Or as my dad always says "let them call you all the nasty names they can think of, but never, ever let somebody gt away with laughing at you." When they steal your work, that is what they do.

I just had somebody a couple days ago ask why I don't post my work on flickr, etc. I just told them too much time and work, but the reality is, I work to damned hard at this to just give it away for no good reason.

Now on the flip side of things, I do perform free photography for two different charities I am involved with, but that is different - I give my time and effort instead of money.

But I agree totally with Don on this one, do not ever let somebody get away with stealing your work. Not worth it
good luck