Getting paid - discuss how to find and claim
Posted 30 August 2012 - 11:03
Please note I am not a lawyer or up to speed with copyright law, and every country/jurisdiction may be different. Take anything I say with a pinch of salt.
Step 1. Find out who is using your work
I use three methods. First, go into your web hosting control panel and check out the detailed site statistics. I look for links and downloads. Second, use Google image and list images that show the same subject. You could try their image matching (click on the little camera symbol to the right of the image search box), but I've found that to be less than perfect. Third, do a google search on the image file name - especially if you save images with unique names like patrick87436876.jpg
Step 2. Make sure your images can be identified as yours
Add a watermark or a signature, and any meta-data. I often forget or couldn't be bothered if the images are for friends and family or here. Not to say that an image without a copyright notice isn't legally yours anyway, just it is easier to prove.
Step 3. Make a claim
I recently helped a friend whose web designer had ripped an image off Getty for his website and received a bill for £900 when they found out. Messy. My suggestions are:
a) A management company can claim your rights whilst adding a perceived separation that may reduce any ill effect on your goodwill. They may also be perceived as more clued up on copyright law and therefore less likely to be ignored.
Send a nice email. The other side should be seen as a valued client after all, and threats will only encourage the recipient to get a lawyer involved. Here's one sent recently that was responded to and paid in days....
It has come to our attention that an image used by XYZ Company on its website is being used without the artist's permission and without credit. The page in question is.... wwwxxxxx
We see you are a company that is committed to legal and ethical practice. Please could you visit the web site below and make a contribution to the artist? A once off payment of £XX will buy you unlimited past and future use of the image for this particular webpage. If the image is removed without payment or statement then we will assume that it is an acknowledgement of copyright infringement.
Here is the payment link: wwwxxxxxxxxx.
c) Make it easy to pay. Direct them to a PayPal payment form with a fixed price or specific item on a payment list. Click, done. Good luck asking them to sign a contract first. They may also get over their initial shock and get advice from armchair lawyers (like me) whilst they wait for your invoice.
d) Keep the price reasonable. Good luck asking a small business for £900 - that's worth them getting a lawyer involved. A corporation probably won't spend £500 on a small image for a sleepy page on their website. I'm asking for £25 for a single simple image, and £100 for a key image on a small site. If it is a big corporation or a music management company using my images for promotion then I will ask for more.
e) Don't add penalties. Depending on the jurisdiction you probably don't have the legal right to impose penalties anyway, and common law and creative commons doesn't seem to make strong enough allowance for that. At most you could probably claim costs of collection. Any penality is bound to irritate them.
f) Acknowledge payment and offer them a thank you. Send a personal note or an extra image. Just don't offer to sell them more images. They probably won't be interested.
So, what are your thoughts?
Posted 30 August 2012 - 16:55
Posted 30 August 2012 - 17:32
Edited by PatrickO, 30 August 2012 - 17:34 .
Posted 30 August 2012 - 18:35
If you don't want it used, don't post it on the internet. No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you stand on your head, you cannot overcome the inherent ignorance of man.
Bang on Dallas, +1
Google image matching keeps a copy of any file you upload.
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