On the perils of posting a photo of your work - WarmGlass.com

On the perils of posting a photo of your work

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Brad Walker
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On the perils of posting a photo of your work

Postby Brad Walker » Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:47 am

Basically, this photographer posted a photo online a couple of years ago. The image was copied by a lot of people, he lost control of his rights, major news sites used the photo without permission, and it was even used as a search engine background by Microsoft. All without his permission and without getting paid.

I haven't seen anything as dramatic in the glass world, but I am aware of situations where one artist's work was used on another website and lots of instances of working being almost directly copied from another artist. Makes you understand why some folks don't like to post their work online.

Here's the background to the photographer's image: http://petapixel.com/2014/07/25/things- ... nt-posted/

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Re: On the perils of posting a photo of your work

Postby Morganica » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:00 pm

Depends on if you're making a living from photography or from the thing it's a photograph of. The latter is easier, but it's still a lot of work.

BTW, the photographer didn't lose his rights. The trouble is being able to spend the time/money it takes to defend those rights. He can go after everyone who infringes, but unless they've got a big following and deep pockets it's probably not worth it.

You can pay someone to do searches and enforce your rights--the usual fee is half of anything they collect from the infringer. Or you can periodically check for image use with a site like tineye.com or Google's image search, and then go after them yourself. But you need to decide upfront what you're looking for: Takedown, royalties, both, or something else.

It's also a good idea to review copyright law and register your most valuable images. You'll have more ammunition if you decide to pursue an infringement case.
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Re: On the perils of posting a photo of your work

Postby Mike Jordan » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:28 pm

I have been a professional photographer for a lot of years and I always register my images, even the dudes and ones I can't imagine doing anything with. It's cheap, easy (it can be done on line now) and provides some of the best insurance for sticking it to those parasites that will use the work of others as their own for gain.

Back in the early 2000's one of my images was copied off my web site, re-worked and put in a national magazine ad to sell very expensive dogs for a art dealer (should should have known better) in Virginia. She took out a year long ad on it but luckily as I was flipping through the magazine at Barns and Noble I caught it on the very first issue. This was before I had started registering my images and when I confronted her, she ignored me. I went through two IP lawyers who both said that even though I protected by my copyright but since the image was not registered, I didn't have the added protection and backing that registration provides... like all court costs are picked up by the party that stole the image if they lose in court and very very expanded monetary penalties as well. I could still sue, but it would come out of my pocket and there was no guarantee that even if I won that I would win a judgement against her... and the cost to start the process was almost $10K to go up against a woman worth millions and had IP lawyers on staff for her art gallery.

So I decided to use it as a wake up call (a very bitter one) and registered everything I had in digital format at the time (over 14K images). I did get the magazine to drop the ad for the 10 issues that hadn't been printed yet although I don't know if she got a refund on her ad cost. Since that time, I had 4 other infringements of my images by people trying to make a profit off of them. All I had to do was send them a bill and tell them to contact an IP lawyer and ask what the penalties were for infringing on copyright images that were registered with the Copyright Office. Only one decided to see if I was bluffing and made me involve my lawyer. It only took one letter from him and she caved real quick and I had a check within a week.

I've never really worried about the people that have used my images for desktops or screen savers or facebook pages, etc., but I always go after the ones that are using them to make money or in a way that I don't like the use or they are pretending they took the pictures. I've had several web sites shut down by their ISP or images removed by their hosting site using the DMCA which was passed in 1998 that basically says if a hosting site doesn't take action when presented with a claim of copyright infringement then they will also be part of the litigation if it goes to court... and they don't that. I just filed a DMCA complaint with Facebook the other day on a guy that was using one of my images and refused to take it down when we asked. Facebook had it down in less than 24 hours after my complaint went in.

Registration works and is a very powerful tool to help protect artists and photographers. Although you have to register before you go after someone (the reason I couldn't register and then go back after the woman that stole my first image), any image can still be registered and provide the protection of registration from that point on. I've made a lot of money from infringements and it's only cost me the price of registration (it was something like $20 per CD full of images when I registered the bulk of mine) and one $300 letter from a lawyer. Well worth the insurance and piece of mind and satisfaction of actually getting a piece of the people that think it's ok to still other people's work just because it's on the internet.

You can get all kinds of information from the US Copyright Office web site. For those that are government form challenged, it's worth the cost of finding an IP lawyer to do the work for you. And this doesn't apply to professional photographers either, I highly recommend it to the weekend snap shooters, selfees, facebook snappers and anyone that takes pictures because you never know what images people will decide to take and create the next hot T-shirt, book cover or magazine ad.

It's said that inside each of us is an artist trying to get out. Well mine got out... and I haven't seen him since.

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Re: On the perils of posting a photo of your work

Postby Bert Weiss » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:09 pm

Paul Houseberg posted on facebook just last week that a Chinese company was using a photo of one of his installations as a promo.

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Re: On the perils of posting a photo of your work

Postby Studiodunn » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:00 pm

Thank you all for sharing very helpful information about this subject. It makes my skin crawl to hear about people who have the nerve to willingly infringe on a copyrights.
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Re: On the perils of posting a photo of your work

Postby JestersBaubles » Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:42 pm

In one of its recent newsletters, [a glass manufacturer], had an article about a roll-up class that was being held at their studios. I was very surprised that the roll-up vase they used for their picture was mine!

I wrote them and explained that I had no objections to their using the picture, but it would have been nice if they had asked first and given proper credit in the article. They replied they had found the picture in a computer folder of the artist's and assumed it was hers (she was out of town and they used the photograph without confirming first). They did apologize for the "mistake" and sent a couple of small jars of frit. They did not, however, post a correction in a subsequent newsletter giving me proper credit for the piece. The frit was a nice gesture, but I would have appreciated credit :mrgreen: .

Disappointing... but partly my fault since I blog and don't watermark my photos.


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Re: On the perils of posting a photo of your work

Postby Ed Cantarella » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:23 am

Watermarking tip if you really want to slow this down. Put your name/studio/website so it runs over your piece. Then sample areas on your piece(if you don't know Photoshop or similar I can't explain this here) and use those colors for some of your letters. Then use another sample for another part, repeat as desired. Makes it really hard for someone to use the sampling tool to remove your name, as that would remove parts of the composition. :mrgreen:

Example below - selecting any color in my name would carve major holes in the picture. I haven't looked, there are probably some watermarking programs that would do this automatically.
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