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  flowersforme123- another photo stealer
From: honeybunny442 at yahoo.com (Susan B) on 2008.01.05 at 02:13:04(16902)
The seller flowersforme123 has used photos stolen from my website on quite a few of her auctions.
200133350054, 200133347754, 200133348402, 200133349756, 200133513649, 200133351248, 200133351560, 200133355503, 200133355900, 200133356435, 200133505052, 200133505219, 200133508875, 200133509578, 200133513268, 200133513649,

When I contacted her initially (I thought she used only two photos in two auctions) she denied it, and then said she gets 99% of her images from Google Images!

Then I get this- (in part)
. it was a mistke... your the first oerson who has ever emailed me like this so i dont want to ever offend you... can i ask you a question.. why do folks get so mad at folks using their photos...

The funniest thing is, the photos she stole are NOT of the plants she is trying to sell.

So, whattya going to do? I can't see the problem getting any better- only worse!

From: agavestar at covad.net (Michael Mahan) on 2008.01.05 at 06:43:23(16903)
If you make a complaint to ebay proving they are your photo's that were used
without permission, they (Ebay)will take down her auctions & still charge
her the fee's for listing the auctions . If she keeps losing money instead
of making money she will stop & if she is reported enough times she will be
banned from ebay .. As she has once already been banned for this activity .

16 auctions add up to a lot in fee's that are paid for with a credit
card/bank account with no way to recoup any of the funds for the listings
that are taken down by Ebay for any rule violations . . also do you really
want your photo's involved in any kind of fraud ? If she found the photo's
don't you think the buyers will also find the photos after they have been
ripped off ? This is why most people with photo's on the web now us a
software that puts a watermark on the photo's to stop this activity. I'm
sure there are people here on aroid-l who can direct you to this software .
this is also why I don't post photo's on the photo hosting sites anymore .


From: growit7 at windstream.net (Tere Baber) on 2008.01.05 at 14:09:51(16908)
I have been guilty of this as until recently I was informed that picts have implied copyrights. I truly didn't know it was against the rules. Some picts say copyright but most don't so I think the majority of the time they are honest mistakes. Of course using an incorrect pict isn't very bright. How does one contact a pict owner when there is no name to contact?
----- Original Message -----
From: Susan B
From: harrywitmore at witmore.net (Harry Witmore) on 2008.01.05 at 18:44:08(16909)
I have lots of pictures on the web and my position has always been that if I
put them there I may as well let folks use them if they wish. I'm not a
photographer, so it's not my livelihood. This is just one less thing for me
to be concerned with. I never use watermarks since I think they take away
from the picture and really don;t do anything but detour those that are
honest anyway.

I don't think I have ever seen one of my pictures used on eBay by someone
else. Not sure why.

Harry Witmore

From: Steve at ExoticRainforest.com (ExoticRainforest) on 2008.01.05 at 21:11:39(16912)
That can be tough, but legally it is the responsibility of the person who wishes to use the photo to secure permission before use.


From: honeybunny442 at yahoo.com (Susan B) on 2008.01.05 at 23:39:05(16916)
I'd be interested in the software to make a watermark, especially if it is freeware! I make my website using FrontPage, when I tried to change my photos to have a watermark or text it said it would have to change my jpg files to gif files to do so.

I guess all my new photos will be watermarked, I can add text, I think. I love taking photos of my plants and like sharing them, my website is not only to sell bulbs but also for folks to use as a reference, the breeders photos usually don't look like "real" flowers if you ask me. Have you seen the Anneke Calla photos? So obviously an error in processing, but people snap up that bulb and then are disappointed when it blooms in their garden...

From: honeybunny442 at yahoo.com (Susan B) on 2008.01.05 at 23:50:25(16917)
I don't know about all cases, but in my case I have a notice on each and every page of my website: All photos copyrighted, please ask permission before using.
Most photos, even those on google images, can be traced to a web site. And most web sites have contact information on them.
Or, and this requires a bit more work, go to http://www.whois.net/
type in the website addresss, and see if the contact registrant information is available.

From: atetzlaff at rogers.com (ALLAN TETZLAFF) on 2008.01.07 at 04:26:19(16924)
This seems pretty odd to me. I don't see that we need a copyright issue.... what happened to basic manners? .... someone writes an article, takes a picture, writes a song.... does it take a rocket scientist to know that when you want to use something that does not belong to you, it is simply proper to ask? And sorry, but I don't buy that 'can't find' bit. If you can find the image, you're on the page of whoever it (hopefully) belongs to. There are photos on lots of sites that I have taken, and I was asked for those photos and permission to use them. When people say they don't understand why it's a big deal.... sorry, but I know people who are not intellectual wizards that still have manners.

From: Steve at ExoticRainforest.com (ExoticRainforest) on 2008.01.07 at 11:36:04(16927)
I find it very interesting we are having this same discussion again in just a few months. In June of 2007 we covered this pretty well. You can find that entire discussion on the Aroid l achieves. http://www.hort.net/lists/aroid-l/search.cgi

As many of you know, I am a retired commercial photographer. I have successfully sued a variety of corporations and others in Federal Court for copyright theft and won every time. Most of the time, as soon as the person who used the photo without permission hires an attorney, they just offer to pay a settlement out of court. The U.S. Copyright law is very, very clear and any lawyer who can read will advise an offending client to settle. The punishment can be severe.

The very moment anyone clicks a shutter on a camera, they have created a legal copyright. Only if you wish to file a lawsuit and request attorney's fees do you have a need to "perfect" that copyright, but you own one the second you take the photo. Perfection of the copyright requires you place a notice with the photo where and when used, file a form with the Library of Congress, and pay a small fee. And all that gives you in addition to your normal protection and money damages is the right to sue for attorney's fees in addition to damages. You can sue for damages even if you do not perfect the copyright! Most lawyers will recommend you put the copyright ownership notice on or with the photo but you can still sue and win without it. I've done it.

This is what I posted in June of 2007,
"All photos anyone creates are the copyrighted property of the creator at the moment it is taken. There are steps you must take under Federal Copyright Law to protect your copyright in a court of law but you legally own it the moment you take it! By not protecting your copyright all you loose is the right to sue for attorney's fees in addition to damages. That's all! You do not loose the right to sue! I'm a retired professional photographer and use without permission is a big no-no in the pro photographer community! I know of one lawsuit that ended in a court ordering a payment of over $100,000.00 for using one image without permission!

I'm relatively certain most people that use this board are descent folks. But I know some do sell plants on eBay. Please understand, if you wish to use one of my photos I'll almost certainly give you permission provided you give me credit when and where you use it. If someone else owns the photo on my site I'll give you a contact and you need to ask their permission before just using it! There can be legal costs!!

This is absolutely no threat! But you should know that I have sued folks for using my photos and have settled (out of court) for fees of as much as $5,000 for unauthorized use. Other photographers have received much more! I once had to go to court and the user was forced to withdraw his advertisement, pay damages, pay all legal costs, destroy all his original ads, and pay me a large fee. He didn't even use my actual photograph. He hired another photographer to duplicate my photograph! He was out the cash to duplicate my image plus all the costs. It got very costly for that company! A simply "may I" along with the payment of a fair fee would have saved them a lot of cash!

So if you are considering using someone else's photo, any photo, get permission! And give them credit if you get the permission to use it! It may seem like a trivial thing to many people, but photographs are created works. Legally, it is just like stealing a computer program or other body of created work. And there is a major body of Federal law written to protect unauthorized use. Be kind. Ask first!"

Steve Lucas

From: growit7 at windstream.net (Tere Baber) on 2008.01.07 at 15:17:50(16928)
I got my 1st computer about a year and a half ago and can only do minimal things on it. I'm learning as I go and I don't know how to do some og this tracking down stuff, and it's not a lack of manners or dishonesty, just ignorance of manyof these things. When I learn of something I do wrong I fix it as best I can. I'm just saying that at least sometimes, the offender is not malicious just ignorant. And courtesy from the injured party,ie. photographer, is important in contacting a picture user, as the user may be like me, just ignorant of cyber rules. I don't make my living using a camera and understand a photographers situation. But if I post picts, I don't care who usese it or for what and they don;t have to ask me first. I don't mind sharing at all.
----- Original Message -----
From: LLmen at wi.rr.com (Don Martinson) on 2008.01.08 at 15:38:17(16934)

Tere ? This is certainly your or anyone else?s right. In JL Hudson?s seed
catalog, with which many of you may be familiar, he goes so far as to say:

Now , of course, this catalog contains mostly drawings and no photos, but my
point is that you can, if you wish, place your photos in what is called the
Public Domain, meaning anyone can use them. However, for those for whom
commercial photography is their occupation, copyright protection is a must.

Don Martinson

From: honeybunny442 at yahoo.com (Susan B) on 2008.01.09 at 14:23:03(16935)
my point is that you can, if you wish, place your photos in what is called the Public Domain, meaning anyone can use them. However, for those for whom commercial photography is their occupation, copyright protection is a must.
That is just great, in some cases. On my Acres of Aroids website, I've gotten photos of plants from other people (including Don, I think) and have credited the photos. I've never turned down anyone who wants to use my photos from that site.

However, in the flowersforme123 case, she is taking the photos I use to sell my bulbs, and using them to sell bulbs of her own. I like people to see the flowers I grow, and I went out and bought a very expensive camera (thinking I could take better photos, ha ha) for that purpose. And since I grow hundreds of plants, I take thousands and thousands of photos. This takes a lot of time and effort on my part, so I don't feel a competing seller should reap all the benefits from it!

After an online discussion with ebay, I downloaded a form, and then drove into town where I could fax it. Then I got another email, I had to look through each of her auctions, get the numbers, identify the photos in question, say why they were in question, provide links to my webstie. It is a big hassle.

But I'll do it again.

And.... if anyone wants my photos (not so great as they are) for non commercial purposes, feel free to contact me about using them. I'm not a total scrooge, as long as you're not taking money out of my wallet!

From: Steve at ExoticRainforest.com (ExoticRainforest) on 2008.01.09 at 17:16:09(16936)
Susan, your points are precisely why the Copyright law exists. Despite the fact many people seem to believe a photograph, or other created entity, has no value, obviously it does! Huge sums of money are made from selling photographs all the time!

Photographs are frequently sold (or rented) for as much as $100,000 per use! Why do you think celebrities hate the paparazzi? I've received fees well into the thousands of dollars for the rental of some of my images. I shot one in the late 1980's for a swim suit company of three girls on chase lounges and after their one year use right expired I placed the photo with a stock image bank in New York. When I worked professionally, each of my clients signed a contract specifying how long they could use the image and after that all rights returned to me. (You can see that image here: http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Cozumel%20diver.html) If they wanted to use it again, they paid again! My agency then placed it with photo agencies in Paris, London, Tokyo and a variety of other large cities. I've since "rented" it over 30 times! The total fees were substantially more than I was paid to take it in the first place and it still makes money for me today, some 20 years after I took it! Photos have value!!

I've had to sue in federal court twice to stop companies from trying to steal it! And I've settled out of court several other times when I found firms such as T-shirt manufacturers trying to convert the image into a drawing. The company that made the chairs asked my agent once to use it but didn't want to pay the fee. So they hired another photographer and three models to duplicate it. Different girls, different swim suits and we still sued and won! The federal judge made them destroy their entire campaign and they still had to pay us due to copyright infringement! The original fee quoted would have been a lot cheaper and beside that, they paid their attorneys plus mine! The copyright law is very specific. No one can even attempt to copy your work by recreating it in a different form or medium!

People who try to use your photos to make money without paying you a reasonable fee for your work are little more than thieves. It is exactly the same problem software and music creators fight all the time. For some reason, people seem to think they can take and use anything they wish. But if someone takes your car they are called a thief! A few years ago if someone stole your horse they could have been hanged! I have the same opinion about people who try to steal the created works of any photographer (well, I wouldn't recommend hanging)!

As much of a problem as it may be, fill out eBay's forms! They hope you just won't mess with all the paperwork, but if the truth is known, they too are legally responsible if they allow someone to use your work once they've been notified. They make money every time your photo is used!! Remind them of that when you send them a note and especially remind them of that when you send the form! They know it and don't like to be threatened with that fact because they too are making money off your work! Someone else stole it, but they published it. And once you inform they are publishing it after you hav put them on notice. Courts frown on that! Many court cases have found the publisher of a stolen work is equally responsible and can be legally required to pay you a fee as well! And sometimes those fees are enormous! I personally know of a photographer who sued a major travel magazine for using over 100 of his photo without paying a fee. They claimed he sent them in and didn't specify he wanted to be paid
. The court awarded him $3500 per photo!! Multiply that times 100! The same magazine did it to me once but when I reminded them of that case they quickly mailed me a check for $3500!

The copyright law is on your side. Use it! And if this person persists, have a lawyer send them a letter. Might cost $50, but I promise, they'll stop!

And by the way, I too give people permission to use my photos on other websites without a fee. I've allowed people to use them on eBay with no fee. But if they want it for most commercial purposes, and eBay is a commercial purpose, they will need to offer some sort of compensation. At the very least, a photo credit!

Steve Lucas

From: mossytrail at hctc.com (mossytrail) on 2008.01.16 at 22:48:08(16957)
> Susan, your points are precisely why the Copyright law
> exists. Despite the fact many people seem to believe a
> photograph, or other created entity, has no value,
> obviously it does! Huge sums of money are made from
> selling photographs all the time!
> Photographs are frequently sold (or rented) for as much as
> $100,000 per use! Why do you think celebrities hate the
> paparazzi?

From: Steve at ExoticRainforest.com (ExoticRainforest) on 2008.01.17 at 02:49:04(16958)
Jason, several lawsuits against photographers have established a property owner's right to conpensation if a photograph of their private property is used for commercial purposes. Disney is big on enforcing this order. Any photographer who wants to publish their photos taken on Disney property must first get a property release. When I used to do commercial work for advertising clients we were very careful to get a property release from any property owner whose property might be identified in a photograph in order to protect our clients.

Steve Lucas

From: honeybunny442 at yahoo.com (Susan B) on 2008.01.17 at 03:10:27(16960)
The reason is
just as has been stated: to sell a photo taken there would
in fact be making money from their property. Birch Aquarium
has a beautiful exhibit of a living kelp forest, which no
doubt costs them big bucks to maintain; to sell a photo of
it without their permission would be parasitic, just like
the aforementioned paparazzi.

Jason Hernandez

Very interesting- thanks Jason. I'm going to have to look online... that living kelp forest must be something to see!

By the way, ebay gave me an answer- pulled her auctions. They also gave her my name and all my contact information in case she wanted to ask me any questions. I didn't really like that but I guess it comes with the territory.

She isn't really too terribly smart. She started up some more auctions, using the same stolen photos. Again, I complained to ebay (once you fax a form in, they let you email in any other complaints- I guess they have to have your signature on file), we'll see if they remove those..

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