BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
kerby lee pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005

Stealing an image

Has anyone ever had someone take one of their images off the net and use it in ad?

If this has happened to you what did you do about it and what were the results?

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3/11/2012 2:05:37 PM

Peter W. Marks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/5/2006
  I suspect this is a measure of the excellance of your work Kerby. Though I guess it is a compliment you would rather not have had. I have come across similar questions in other forums and the responses vary from the "Nuke the bas...ds" to the more measured "can you establish and prove an actual monetary loss in a court of law?". If the thieves are just a small company then it probably isn't worth the angst and hassle to you to employ an attorney and get into litigation but if it is Coca Cola or the Ford Motor Company then you go for it girl!
As an aside, if the stolen image was one of those delightful ones of your young model Keshia(?) then I am not surprised, It has been interesting watching her grow up over these past few years. Good luck Kerby..

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3/12/2012 4:17:09 AM

kerby lee pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
  Hi Peter,

I don't consider it a compliment I consider it stealing. It be like someone coming in your home and taking your stuff.

It is not a picture of Keshia it a picture of (Kathryn) my granddaughter when she was two years old.

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3/12/2012 6:01:22 AM

Monnie Ryan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/25/2008
  In an ad? Absolutely I'd contact the company's top person to say the image is being used without your permission (it's possible an ad agency or person who put the ad together "lifted" it and the company doesn't know). State (for now, politely) that you expect the image to be removed immediately. If it isn't, you can threaten legal action (but Peter's right, it's probably not worth it to go after a small company, and if it's not in the U.S., fuhgettaboutit). You also can alert the website host that one of its customers is guilty of image theft and you're planning legal action (against the company AND the site host).

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3/12/2012 8:34:00 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  If you want it taken down, send a cease and desist letter, maybe including that you hope you won't have to take further action if they don't(been watching The Good Wife)
If you want legal action, thinking to get some money out of it, you'll have the have the photo registered with the copy right office before you can do anything. Then get actual legal advice, or secure a lawyer who does intellectual property cases.
Then prepare for things like the lawyer costing more than what you'd get if you actually did win money in the case.
Where was the photo used, if you don't mind answering?

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3/13/2012 3:53:25 PM

kerby lee pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
  Monnie thank you for your commments.

Gregory I wrote back to you on your Better Photo email.

It a small ad and it is not on the internet.

But I still had an image taken from me and used without my permission and no model release for my grandchild.

It like someone stealing something out of your home.

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3/13/2012 8:08:44 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
  Hi Kerby,
Keep us informed with the developments. I would also consider letting them use the image if they agree to pay royalty usage rates (like on Corbis, etc..) if that is a consideration. I understand that it being a photo of your grandchild, you may not want to do this and many stock agencies such as Corbis does require a model release form.
I dont post images to Flickr because images are stolen so often from that site. We even had a girl here on BP that had stolen images from a Russian guys Flickr page and submitted them in contests here and she got caught.... How embarrassing for her and she disappeared quickly afterwards. That action showed us all the lack of character and low self esteem she had since this is a learning site and we grow and improve as we go. None of should be ashamed of our work and in fact, I enjoy looking back at my earlier images to can see the obvious mistakes I made and how I have grown since.
There was a case in Seattle with a company that was sued by a photographer over his stolen image and it was a quick decision by the judge for the photographer. The company ended up paying way more than they would if they had just been honest and made an arrangement with the photographer beforehand. I will look for that story.
RAW files are stamped with everything (EXIF Data) from the date/time and even what camera was used to capture the image and this is something the thieves will not have. I use Adobe Bridge Photo downloader so my images get my copyright stamp in the metadata when they are downloaded from my CF card.
I have an image of a couple that is an ad for Viagra and it was the couple who contacted me about the photo for usage. We all (Company/Couple & myself) made a quick & easy arrangement and nobody got violated in the process :)
Let us know what develops Kerby as this is information many of us on BP can use.

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3/14/2012 11:47:54 AM

kerby lee pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
  Hi Carlton,

I never sold any image for stock photography. This had to be lifted off the internet. The image is on three different internet sites including Better Photo.

We are a community of photographer's and I am sure this has happened to other people on Better Photo not just me. This could happen to any of us being photographer's....

I like to know what the experience's of other photographer's have been and how the problem was solved.

The story of how I found the ad is almost unreal but I did find it and I have photo of it.

If you find the story about the man in Seattle please pass it on to me or post it on this thread. I love to read it.

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3/14/2012 2:03:37 PM

Scott Wohlman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/22/2006
  Hi Kerby,

I had this happen here about a year ago. I was contacted by a local dentist who was interested in using one of my Images he had seen on Betterphoto for his new website. I was heading out of town for a few weeks and emailed him back to let him know he could contact me after I got back and we could work something out.

I was back home for a few weeks and realized I had not heard back from the guy and decided to see what

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3/14/2012 8:18:52 PM

Scott Wohlman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/22/2006
  (sorry, accidentally hit submit before I was done)

I was back home for a few weeks and realized I had not heard back from the guy and decided to see what he had decided to do with his website. I was surprised and upset to find 4 of my images on his site; 2 on the home page.

I got hold of an attorney friend who put together a letter to the Dr. advising him he had stolen the images and based on the locations he had posted on his site he owed me a specific amount. There are charts and spreadsheets available on the internet that will give a general cost for an image depending on how it is used and whether it is posted on a home page or somewhere deeper on the site.

The Dr. replied almost immediately apologizing and saying he couldn't pay for the images but he had them removed from the site. The attorney advised me it would be next to impossible to try to collect but at least this guy got the message that he was stealing and probably will not do it again.

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3/14/2012 8:31:03 PM

kerby lee pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
  Hi Scott,

I bet you were shocked when you got home from your holiday and checked the dentists website.

I am glad the dentist took them down but you should have got something for him stealing the images and not having copyright on them.

I am glad you got ahold of the attorney I bet the letter from the attorney woke him up.

I check the dentists website every once in awhile and see if any of your images show up again. He seems to not put value on your images and he has them because he took them off the net.

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3/15/2012 8:18:48 AM

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