Photo Theft

Laura

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This started in another thread but I thought I'd bring it up here. I've heard a lot about this but am not sure exactly how it works. What exactly do people do when they steal your photos off the Internet? I never really worried about it until I found a photo of mine being used on the BLM Facebook page, and then all kinds of places after that. I never gave it to the BLM, but I did enter it in a Nature Conservancy photo contest, where it got an honorable mention therefore posted to their Facebook page. That's where the BLM got it, and everyone else after that. The agreement with the Nature Conservancy is you give them rights to use your photo but retain all other legal rights to it, but what happens when it spreads on Facebook like an STD? What rights do you have then? Anyone have any experience any kind of photo theft?
 

gnwatts

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The second the image is made the copyright belongs to you, exclusively.Unless you have prior agreements with other parties.

If you gave the Nature Conservancy the right use it by entering it in a contest (I have no idea what you agreed to here) they probably retain the right to publish it and use it on their web site (or Facebook, did they say they would use it on Facebook in the agreement?). It comes down to your original agreement when you submitted it. The BLM violated copyright laws by using it, unless they had an agreement specifically with you, which I assume you did not give. I do not know the size of the file the BLM used. If it was fairly large I would contact the Nature Conservancy and ask them who they shared it with. If it was only a thumbnail then they probably just stole it from the Nature Conservancy Facebook site.
I have had extremely low res architectural shots stolen, and sometimes a realtor will share the files without my permission. I always let them know that the shot was licensed to them exclusively, and they do not own the shot, and they cannot share them without my permission (this almost always surprises them).
 

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
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Once it gets on Facebook it gets very grey area on who has rights to it; that's the wonders of the worldwide web! Anyone can share it and use it how they want; the resolution and such drop, but most people are just going to use it online so that doesn't matter.
 

Nick

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It's not really a grey area, it is absolutely illegal to distribute someone else's copyrighted work without consent, even on Facebook. It's just that no one is going to do anything about it...
 

Jammer

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Yeah -- it's definitely illegal. But, since it wasn't used in a commercial sense there is probably no reason to make it a litigious issue, so all you can do is ask them to take it down... or probably better insist that they give you credit. Ideally credit should be watermarked so that if it is subsequently stolen again the credit will go with it (unless somebody takes the time to crop/alter the pic.)

The technology of digitally ID'ing ANY photograph is not far away. Once such tools are in place, it won't stop the theft, but it will make it easier for content owners to find improper uses of photographs. Similar tech is in place for the musical industry now (use a commercial segment of music on YouTube lately?!)

- Jamal
 

Laura

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Thanks everyone, this is definitely uncharted waters for me.

Yeah -- it's definitely illegal. But, since it wasn't used in a commercial sense there is probably no reason to make it a litigious issue, so all you can do is ask them to take it down... or probably better insist that they give you credit. Ideally credit should be watermarked so that if it is subsequently stolen again the credit will go with it (unless somebody takes the time to crop/alter the pic.)
- Jamal

It is credited to me, so that's good. The agreement with the Nature Conservancy is that they get to use it and publish it but I retain all other rights. Facebook is not mentioned specifically (at least I don't recall it). I have been watermarking everything I put on the web recently, but this was taken years ago. I'm not sure if this particular image is high res or not, I'm guessing (and hoping) it's the low res image but they did ask me to submit a high res image for potential publication so I don't know for sure. It's murky because on the one hand it gets your name out there, but if you actually make a living off your pictures (I don't) it could be potential money down the drain. Outdoor Photographer posts reader photos to their Facebook page too, but they always include a watermark.

I do plan to register my images with the U.S. patent office so I can sue for damages if anyone illegally profits from my images. So far I don't believe that's happened, but it makes me wonder what has been done that I don't know about.

Thanks again for the info!
 

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
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I say "grey area" because once you post anything on the public setting you have agreed that anyone, even off of facebook, can use it. What Jammer said about watermarking makes sure they give you credit, unless they take the time to edit it out (seen that happen).
 

Laura

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I say "grey area" because once you post anything on the public setting you have agreed that anyone, even off of facebook, can use it. What Jammer said about watermarking makes sure they give you credit, unless they take the time to edit it out (seen that happen).

I never posted it publicly. The Nature Conservancy did. As far as "use", no, you can't use a photograph without permission of the person who owns the copyright (in the U.S. all photos are automatically copyrighted to the photographer, but if you want to sue for monetary damages you need to register the photo with the U.S. Patent office). The question is where does Facebook sharing fall in all this?

Also, what other types of theft are possible over the Internet? I've heard all kinds of stories but no specifics. Just wondering what to watch out for.
 

Howells Outdoors

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Taken right from the Terms of Service, statements of rights and responsibilities,
When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
 

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
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and I ain't saying it's a right thing to do. Matter 'o' fact I strongly disagree with using other peoples stuff. but until there is a way to definitively ID content, people will "steal" photos.
 

Nick

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Edit - my sentence didn't make any sense. I think what you posted is just saying people will utilize the information you post. That might be as simple as looking at a photo. Copyright laws are still in effect.

https://www.facebook.com/help/193430577370347/


Do I retain the copyright and other legal rights to material I upload to Facebook?

Yes, you retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a license to use and display that content. For more information please visit our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which contains information about intellectual property, as well as your privileges and responsibilities as a Facebook user.
 

gnwatts

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Nick is absolutely right.
Check this out, 2nd paragraph down:

http://asmp.org/tutorials/copyright-overview.html#.UWXc6oVKbXU

It is low res if it is on the web.
You don't need to register it with the patent office. It is yours and copyrighted to you as soon as you take it. You can register it if you wish. See above link.
I don't know how facebook works, I erased my page as i could not stand it any longer.
 

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
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you grant us a license to use and display that content.

It's that part right there that holds no under the law from reposting and using your content posted on Facebook. In @Laura's case, if I understand right, there was permission given by her to the Nature Conservancy to use her photo, including posting it on Facebook, as they wish. It's now been granted this license to use and display as Facebook wishes.

Now if someone goes onto your personal website (not Facebook or other social medias) and copies your photos and starts using em without asking, then you got a copyright infringement. Once you (or someone you allow) posts on Facebook it can be used by anyone, even off of Facebook.

Of course I'm speaking all this from my long history of being a lawyer :)
 

Nick

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It's that part right there that holds no under the law from reposting and using your content posted on Facebook. In @Laura's case, if I understand right, there was permission given by her to the Nature Conservancy to use her photo, including posting it on Facebook, as they wish. It's now been granted this license to use and display as Facebook wishes.

Now if someone goes onto your personal website (not Facebook or other social medias) and copies your photos and starts using em without asking, then you got a copyright infringement. Once you (or someone you allow) posts on Facebook it can be used by anyone, even off of Facebook.

Of course I'm speaking all this from my long history of being a lawyer :)

That just means Facebook gets a license to use it while the photo is on their servers. Once it is fully deleted from Facebook, the license for them to use it ends. Other people do not get any rights to use your photos by you posting it to Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
 

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
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You're right, others don't have rights, but the "share" function is part of the experience you are using on Facebook and it will spread everywhere and anywhere other people want it too. Once others share it, it is on the servers and doesn't go away. Now it's just out there and floating around in cyberspace without a "real" owner, cause you deleted it, and good luck ever proving or protecting that.

Again, I'm not saying this is a morally right thing to do, but you'll never get anywhere trying to compete against it.
 

Nick

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That is in no way giving people the legal rights to your photo though. If you wanted to, you could try to track down every instance of it and legally request that it be removed. It still has a real owner, that never changes.
 

Laura

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You don't need to register it with the patent office. It is yours and copyrighted to you as soon as you take it. You can register it if you wish. I don't know how facebook works, I erased my page as i could not stand it any longer.

That's correct, but if you want to sue for punitive damages (i.e. to recover money someone made off your photo) you need to register your images. You own the copyright to your photos automatically just by taking them, but it doesn't give you the right to punitive damages. That's what the second paragraph of that site is referring to. Good site, I bookmarked it.

I hate Facebook too, and I've never even had a page.

Another little known Facebook fact-they retain all of your photos, even when you delete them. Think twice before posting something lame on there 'cause it'll live forever.
 

Laura

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if I understand right, there was permission given by her to the Nature Conservancy to use her photo, including posting it on Facebook, as they wish. It's now been granted this license to use and display as Facebook wishes.

No-I gave the Nature Conservancy permission to publish it, including posting on their website, but Facebook (to my best recollection) was not specified.
 

Nick

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One thing to keep in mind with the Facebook IP license - you'd probably have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than having them actually use a photo you uploaded. It's other people that are the problem and often times they're crawling 500px and Flickr moving them onto Facebook all on their own.
 
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