Commercials using your photos without your permission, ok?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick Sun, Aug 29, 2002.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,749
    Likes Received:
    480
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Can someone put your photos in a commercial without your permission if they got the photos off your website? Just wondering.
     
  2. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 1999
    Messages:
    607
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    IANAL, but I believe you have copyright of anything you create even if it's not explicitly stated. My brother just graduated HLS last year and explained copyright law to me once, it is HEAVILY in favor of the content creator.
     
  3. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    4,375
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    "on a little street in Singapore"
    Real Name:
    Yee Ming Lim
    :b IAAL...

    if you own the copyright in the photo, use without your permission is infringement. putting it on your own website is not an invitation to others to use it, especially in a commercial (i.e. for-profit) context. off-hand I don't see any fair-use argument arising.

    there may also be implications as to endorsement of the products advertised, more critical with celebrities, but who's to say the main in the street isn't entitled to be paid if he endorses something?
     
  4. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Patrick,

    If you took the photos, then no. They are your copyright. Anyone using them without your permission will likely lose any court battle over this.

    If you did NOT take them, then you do not own them and there's nothing you can do. Well, other than track down the owner and tell him.
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,749
    Likes Received:
    480
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Believe me, I took them!
     
  6. Jeffrey Noel

    Jeffrey Noel Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2001
    Messages:
    1,533
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Patrick, what commercial and what were the photos of?
     
  7. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 1997
    Messages:
    1,560
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What I'd like to know is how can you prove you have the copyright?

    Say you take some pictures with a digital camera, store the photos to your computer, then delete the files off the camera. How can you prove you took the picture?
     
  8. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 1999
    Messages:
    2,317
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Man, that's a good question...

    I ran into a similar situation a few years ago, where some ad agency stole an original picture from my website. I got to soak them good to "purchase" the rights from me, but it was because I had the good old-fashioned negative to prove ownership... hmmm...
     
  9. Louis Stettiner

    Louis Stettiner Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2002
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If you took the picture it is yours. if you still have the Neg and Proof that it is your work then you have the means to take action.
     
  10. Mark Shannon

    Mark Shannon Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,991
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It would be interesting to hear the argument of the agency that used your photo...
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    8,895
    Likes Received:
    237
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    John
    Patrick,

    I'm a photographer and this topic is of great interest to me. Could you provide some more details? What is the photo of? Did you shoot it on film? Anything you can say would be of use.

    Copyright might not be as clear as some folks have suggested. If the picture has people clearly and recognizably shown in it, you can absolutely nail them to the wall for that. They certainly don't have valid model releases. If you don't have a use disclaimer on your site and there are no recognizable people in the shot, you might have an uphill climb. I can't stand this type of infringement and I would love to see their asses nailed to the highest flagpole.
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    8,895
    Likes Received:
    237
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    John
    BTW, if you do pursue it and they are found to be in breach of the law, that is usually considered to be "Anti Trust" which means any penalty assessed against them is tripled! Think about that.
     
  13. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,749
    Likes Received:
    480
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Dragon Con has, for the past week or two, been running a commericial on cable channels on my local cable TV feed, and 3 of the photos were from my Dragon Con 2001 webpage, and 2 of the 3 photos had an artist (Walter Simonson) and a writer (Kevin J. Anderson), and the other photo was a large mecha-like yellow-orangish mock-up display.
    I do post a copyright disclaimer on each of those pages, unfortunately, they were all taken with a digital camera, so no film negative exists. Anyhow, I thought it would be of some interest in this new age of digi-papparazzi-ism. [​IMG]
    I do have a tape of the commercial too.
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    8,895
    Likes Received:
    237
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    John
    Well, first I have to say, my college days, when I had most of my education on copyright law, were before digital photography and the internet, so I am a bit in the dark on some of the current technicalities. My feeling is that since it was a public event, you can't pursue it on the basis of model releases. Actually only the person IN the picture would probably be able to do that. Since you do have a copyright statement, you should at least have grounds, so long as you could demonstrate without doubt that they are the same shots, which should be possible. You might just find a lawyer in your area who is versed on this type of copyright.

    Don't plan on getting a huge sum of money for this. Since it is just a local cable broadcast and the coffers probably aren't that big, there probably isn't much to get. On the other hand, I am all for teaching these folks in no uncertain terms that this is not acceptable. There is most likely an advertising agency or marketing firm behind the production of the commercial. If they did it this time, they have done it countless other times. I think they need to be shown that it isn't OK to just remove the shots. They need to be taught not to EVER do this in the first place. I guess how far you want to go to teach them is up to you. I say, make them sweat and make them pay.

    It is also probably something that could be dealt with in small claims court, without a lawyer. You might just want to briefly consult one first to make sure you have grounds and approach it properly. don't let them off easy. As far as I am concerned, they violated the law and shouldn't get off as though they didn't. Remember, triple the judgement.
     
  15. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 1999
    Messages:
    3,649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Which 3 pictures appeared in the commercial?

    ~T
     
  16. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2001
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Proof of ownership of digital images should really not present a problem if you take a few precautions. First, never put anything on the web at full resolution. Resize it to a smaller image no larger than 800x600. Also crop it if possible. Keep all you photos, even the bad ones. Then if you have to go to court, you can show that you were actually at the event and were original photographer. They thief will not be able to produce high resolution, uncropped photos in sequence with EXIF. Who do you think the judge will believe?
     
  17. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    8,895
    Likes Received:
    237
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    John
    Good points, Andrew. You probably don't have to keep every photo you take, but having a collection, including uncropped versions on the ones on the site is a good idea.
     

Share This Page