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!
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!
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