The joys of image theft!!
In the past I have written about protecting on-line images, how to ensure copyright of your images using IPTC and how the ignorance used by some people makes them think that image theft totally acceptable.
To date I have been lucky enough to avoid the problem … until today that is!!!
I was made aware of this website by a fellow photographer on Facebook earlier this morning, one of the advantages of social media I guess?
Fortunately for me the images have not been stolen by someone trying to pass them off as their own, nor have they been sold for profit i.e. advertising or stock images so no need for expensive lawyers and court fees.
Instead the images are on a site offering free images for wallpaper and desktop images. I downloaded all the images I have found so far and can see that all the images are the same size as I loaded them to the websites or blogs and all are still at 72 dpi; one even has the logo still on it so there has been no attempt to tamper or alter the image in any way. I also checked the file info and can see that all the IPTC data is still intact so there is no arguing over who the copyright and ownership of the images belongs to . . . ME.
The website in question is Gallery of Today
The website is in its infancy and was only created 2 weeks ago (good old WhoIs) and there is nothing on the about page as to its purpose or its aim. However, as a photographer I found the page about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act absolutely hilarious.
The first section is about what you, the photographer, should do if you feel your image has been stolen and what you should do to go about proving its yours – er hello . . . check the IPTC and the logo numpty!!
But it was the final paragraph that killed me and I quote:
“We caution you that under federal law, if you knowingly misrepresent that online material is infringing, you may be subject to heavy civil penalties. These include monetary damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees incurred by us, by any copyright owner, or by any copyright owner’s licensee that is injured as a result of our relying upon your misrepresentation. You may also be subject to criminal prosecution for perjury.”
Can we reverse that and quote you that in a court of law?
So whilst we can try to protect our copyright and prevent image theft, how far do we go and what can we do?
On this occasion I would have sent a cease and desist email to the website and given them links to the images I have found so far, and I have pointed them in the direction of this blog BUT interestingly there are no contact details? Instead I sent the email to the registered email address logged with Who Is (see above).
I have also contacted the web-hosting company as most of them don’t want to be associated with this sort of thing and hopefully they will remove the offending website.
A really useful link to the National Press Photographers Association to help with the wording etc when drafting an email to the host company; I have book-marked it in case I need to use it again.
Apart from that there is little else I can do other than watch the same site spring up again under a different name!!
However, as a collective we can all work together by everyone checking the website for their images and sending similar emails as I have to both the website and the hosting company.
Apart from that . . . feeling a little frustrated right now :-/