Advice needed - a copyright infringement issue!

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Advice needed - a copyright infringement issue!

Postby benjyk » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:44 am

The background to my problem is as follows:

I submitted one of my photos to a competition a couple of months ago. The competition terms stated that I keep copyright, but grant the company a non-exclusive right to use it for themselves. They promise to always give credit to the photographer if they use it.

Well, I didn't get shortlisted. However last week I stumbled accross my photograph on their Facebook promotional page, with their logo on it! And no credit at all given to me. So they are basically using it commercially.

So my dilema is this:

- I know they have infringed copyright (moral right) by not crediting me. This is breaking IP law, and therefore I want them to pay me for using the image

- Furthermore, they have effectively sub-licensed my image to Facebook according to Facebook's Terms & Conditions of use.

- However, the value of the picture is obviously relatively small, compared to what it would cost to enlist the help of a solicitor

Solicitors charge so much, even for simple advice, so it seems crazy to spend a fortune in order to get paid for just one photograph! So what do photographers normally do in this scenario? Should I send them a letter myself, and hope that they take me seriously?

If anyone has any experience of this kind of thing then I would love to hear from you.


Postby AnderssonPhoto » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:52 am

I think u should sue them, its not easy though.

Stuff like this happened before, but the photographers win most of the cases.

well in Sweden its like that.
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Postby Citruspers » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:15 am

How about you just email them and tell them you want to be compensated? If they say they won't, you can always sue later.
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Postby Bjorn van Sinttruije » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:31 am

And if you do have to sue them, make sure you're not only making them pay for your photo, but also the costs of your solicitor.

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Postby popo » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:11 pm

Try contacting them yourself in the first instance. If they are reputable at all, they should correct any mistakes on their part. If not, then you can start pushing by whatever means suitable.
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Postby agun » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:36 pm

Write them a cordial letter where you give them the courtesy of buying your image post-usage.

Then say: In the hopefully unlikely event that you do not compensate me we will have to take legal action and consequences will never be the same.

Postby Welly » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:23 pm

This is why I won't enter photography competitions unless it's from a reputed photographic organisation or society. It's just an excuse for organisations to get a bunch of free photos for their own promotional uses. EVERY photo competition I've seen always states in their terms and conditions that they're going to claim ownership or claim full use of the submitted photos for whatever use they wish.

Postby Kenneth Skou » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:49 pm

Hi benjyk,

copyright laws vary from country to country. You use the word "solicitor" which perhaps narrows it down a little, but not really. You may be able to get better advice if you tell people which country you are in.

Chances are that there are no or very little financial gain you could possibly achieve from this, so you might be better served by writing them and ask for them to give the credit. Otherwise they are likely to just choose another image and remove yours.

Unless you are a high-paid professional, it will be very difficult to postulate that you have suffered any financial loss by this infringement.

Cheers and good luck!
Kenneth Skou

Postby keystrokesuk » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:31 am

If you are in the UK you can get free legal advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

If the image is on a web page you can get details of how many hits it is receiving (to see how valuable it is).

If the image is on Facebook can you post a comment about it letting everyone know it is your image and a link to your work.
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Postby benjyk » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:24 pm

Thank you for all the input, everybody.

I forgot to specify that I'm in the UK.

So I have decided to write them a letter offering them the chance to purchase the image that they used.

If that fails, then an IP solicitor I've spoken to insisted that there would be a viable claim for compensation due to breach of contract - regardless of the value of the image.

I'll wait and see how they react to my letter, and I'll post the results here!

Postby Canon 500D » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:47 pm

You obviously contact them first, it could be a simple mistake.
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Postby Bob Andersson » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:13 pm

Hi Canon 500D,

Why would you be replying to a thread that's been dormant for five months? Makes no sense to me at all unless you are trying to get your post count up! :P :lol:

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Postby Canon 500D » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:08 pm

I missed it before, and only just saw it.

Useful for future reference, and the original poster has not yet replied with their results.
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