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  Copyright
From: ted.held at us.henkel.com on 2007.07.02 at 08:52:03(15916)
First, please understand that I am NOT
a lawyer. I am assuming that others who have opinions on this and contribute
to this list are also not lawyers. Why that is important is that if you
are not a lawyer, your opinion weighs in a lot less, especially if you
are attempting to offer legal advice. At the very least, your opinion carries
no weight. Worse, you might lead someone astray if they try to follow your
advice. Worst of all, you may run afoul of laws about practicing law without
a license. Just keep in mind where you stand.

Second, understand that Steve is right
about what a copyright allows you to do. It allows you to bring a court
action. It does not mean you are going to win. It also does not mean you
will be able to collect even if you do. This is just one of those hard
things you need to know these days.

So, what if someone uses your image
without your consent? OK, you cough up a couple of thousand for a lawyer
as a retainer and an advance on expenses. Then the lawyer has to track
down the offender, which may be difficult. Then the suit needs to be filed,
making claims. What are the claims for a guy stealing your image for e-Bay?
If the item sells for $50, let us say, you might be able to argue that
your image raised his selling price by $10? Is that fair? Maybe, if you're
lucky, you get the whole $50 at stake. Then you might try for court costs
or some sort of pain and suffering. Hmm. Maybe your original $2000 plus
$50. This is small claims territory. And even if you get a judgment, how
are you gonna collect? More legal hassles.

I think you see what I am getting at.
Sometimes it's not worth the trouble. It's one thing to sue a deep pockets
offender like General Motors. It's quite another to sue some lowlife bum
who steals a picture off the internet. I'm glad e-Bay has the policy described
because I don't think there are many other options.

So, where does that get us? It gets
us back to Steve's other statement. It's a matter of courtesy and common
decency to ask first and make the proper attribution. Decency? Courtesy?
When was the last time those came up? Put me down as an old fashioned guy
who still believes in doing the right thing. Remember, I am not a lawyer.

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From: "ExoticRainforest" <Steve at ExoticRainforest.com> on 2007.07.02 at 10:35:25(15919)
Absolutely correct Ted! That is why I freely give
permission, especially for places like eBay. But sometimes all you need do
is simply "nudge" the offender and things will be made right very
quickly.

I've had many photos stolen, some by major corporations.
And those are the ones I have gone after. I'd not likely consider
attempting to file a suit for an internet use and don't recommend anyone do
so. But it never hurts to let the offender know you are aware they have
"borrowed" your work without consent.

In the case of eBay, they are very quick to take down the
offering if the photo is unauthorized. I make it a practice to try to deal
with the offender in a kind way first. Only if that fails to I report it
to eBay. And I honestly can't recall a single case where a "reminder"
didn't work.

Others on this board are aware of offenders who have gone to
much greater lengths and gathered many high quality photos without authorization
and attempted to sell them as their own work. In that case, I'd be willing
to cough up the $2000 (or more) just to make them aware I was for
real.

The original intent of my note was to try to make people aware
that just because a photo is on the net does not mean it is in the public
domain. You can't just use it without permission. If you check my
site you'll find all kinds of names given as credit when people loan me a
photo. It is the only descent thing to do!

But you are correct! And the low lifes out there will do
whatever they wish!

Steve Lucas

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