No pic, but a burning question
/forum/topic/1144559/0



HawksFan66
Registered: Jan 30, 2008
Total Posts: 492
Country: United States

I do a lot of sports photography at our local schools. I put them on my Zenfolio site and keep my prices cheap so that the hard-up families can manage to get a few memories of their kids.

So today my daughter comes home with her new yearbook from last year. I'm flipping through it and being the photographer that I am, I'm looking at the pics with a photographer's eye. I get to the sports section and begin noticing that quite a few of the pics look familiar and that the yearbook photog must have been looking over my shoulder. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. They have managed to snag my pics from my site, remove my watermark and steal my pictures. There are about 25 of my pics in there. No permission given, no credit given and watermark gone. I know the teacher who does the yearbook and know she would never approve of this unless they had been given permission.

I'm not sure what to do. I don't care that much that they used the pics, but the way it was done was obviously wrong, in fact, illegal.

What does everyone think?



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 13413
Country: United States

I have written at length on the matter in the Pro Forum ... best to post there and / or research the other threads regarding similar matters.

There are several pieces of the puzzle that come into play ... discussion better served elsewhere.



HawksFan66
Registered: Jan 30, 2008
Total Posts: 492
Country: United States

I don't visit the pro forum. I've found that most on this forum are knowledgeable and kind.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 13413
Country: United States

Okay ... well at least read through the thread below ... including the additional links provided within.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1142460

That'll serve as some baseline for additional dialogue.



HawksFan66
Registered: Jan 30, 2008
Total Posts: 492
Country: United States

Thanks, I'll look it over.



Travis Rhoads
Registered: Apr 28, 2009
Total Posts: 3881
Country: United States

I ha this happen recently, an image I shot for a client, to be used as marketing material, ended up being used for an online mag story opening spread photo, no credit given, nothing...I wrestled with what to do, ultimately contacted the magazine and they admitted making a huge mistake, and are working to make it right, and it might lead to some more paid work.
Confront them, make sure they know that it is not ok to just lift your work and use it, those in charge need to make sure that the kids that did it learn, or they will just perpetuate the "if its on the internet its fair game" mentality.



Jo Dilbeck
Registered: Dec 20, 2007
Total Posts: 2419
Country: United States

Definitely not right, and you need to speak with those in charge to have it made right.

Jo



boshek
Registered: Apr 11, 2011
Total Posts: 948
Country: N/A

Jo Dilbeck wrote:
Definitely not right, and you need to speak with those in charge to have it made right.

Jo

+1



Bob Jarman
Registered: Feb 04, 2007
Total Posts: 6512
Country: United States

I agree with Jo - but did a contracted company or individual rip them off or was it an inside job from the yearbook staff? My bet is inside job.

Why I don't post on Flickr - not that anyone would want my stuff anyway - but I have friends who posted there with similar experiences.

Bob



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 13413
Country: United States

Even if it was an "inside job" (I'm inclined to suspect as well) by the yearbook staff (or any staff) ... it is the RESPONSIBILITY of the publisher/editor to ENSURE that they have the RIGHTS to use the images.

I sense that the kids somehow either didn't care, didn't know ... OR ... errantly misunderstood the what constitutes "fair use" ... yet, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

I'd be wanting to find out the truth behind this one ... not because I'm TICKED OFF ... but because I recognize how wrong it is and that there VERY MUCH needs to be a TEACHING POINT made here. Given that it is the teacher/school's oversight that is to be providing TEACHING/PROPER GUIDANCE to the student (i.e. learning about publishing etc.) ... this is one that needs to be FULLY DISCERNED, and THEN FULLY DETERMINED what the proper retribution would/should be.

I'd likely not be looking for monetary compensation on this one ... BUT, I WOULD be wanting compensation in the form of ENSURING that the players involved (school/teacher/staff/publisher) ALL acknowledged in writing the impropriety of what ILLEGALLY occurred and what the proper original action should be ... and what the potential RECOURSE could be. Additionally, I would want the offenders to "apprentice" under me as community service to lug my gear around and spend their time getting to & from shoots, etc. For them, this is fun ... but they need to be taught it is business that they are messing with.

However, given that they removed watermarks ... this means that they INTENTIONALLY worked to avoid propriety. They probably don't want me to be the judge on this one, but there needs to be ACCOUNTABILITY & RECOMPENSE for their actions. Boo-Hoo that students don't have money ... there are OTHER FORMS of recompense, money is but one of them. I can only imagine what Ed Greenburg or Carolyn Wright would say on this one. I'd give them a call ... they might even offer some PRO BONO work on this given the impact it presents for future of the industry aspects.

THIS IS A TREMENDOUS TEACHING / LEARNING OPPORTUNITY that I would want to drive home. People will think I'm making a "mountain out of a mole hill" ... but I would EXPECT the school to get behind me on teaching the kids right from wrong and the legal implications involved with such. If the school doesn't want to use this as a TEACHING POINT, then I'd sue the school for actual damages @ fair market value (I don't want the stinkin' money) to get them to realize that this IS a legal issue for which THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE.

There is also a STRONG POINT for you and the students to be learned here as well. There is a MAJOR distinction between unregistered and registered images. For unregistered images, the claim is limited to actual damages (i.e. money lost/not received) ... whereas for registered images, the claim may include attorneys fee's and punitive (punishment) awards additionally (up to $150,000 iirc).

ALL THE PLAYERS (school/teacher/students/publisher) need to be made to realize that the school/publisher could be responsible for VERY LARGE (punitive) amount for taking registered images. I'm rather certain that the publisher already knows this, but simply assumed that the images had been obtained with appropriate rights for publication. Move down the "food chain" to the school/teacher/students and the story likely changes progressively.

If you are going to be in the industry ... and teaching how to be in the industry ... you SHOULD be teaching the legals of the industry. This one needs to be driven home as a teaching point ... not simply an appeasement so that everyone is "okay" with what happened and a couple dollars be given for restitution. The proper education of these young people's wrongful actions (which will reverberate) is paramount.

Like I said ... money isn't the issue for me on this one. BUT, if the threat of money is what it takes to get people to do the right thing ... TEACH THESE KIDS ... then so be it. There is a lesson here that needs to be driven home, and anything short of that ... IMO ... is yet another kind of crime.



AuntiPode
Registered: Aug 05, 2008
Total Posts: 7024
Country: New Zealand

I'd say removing the watermark is proof of willful intent to violate.



sbeme
Registered: Dec 23, 2003
Total Posts: 17904
Country: United States

Agreed.
Removing the watermark is outrageous and inexcusable. They knew they were stealing (whoever they are).
I would demand action. Apology, correction, reposting, your choice. But I absolutely would not let this drop. It deserves a big stink.
Scott



Caleb Williams
Registered: Dec 05, 2006
Total Posts: 2617
Country: United States

Without condoning the actions of anyone at the school or the publisher: it seems to me that these are kids in high school, correct?

I would say this is part of a more pervasive culture of "everything on the internet is free" whether it be photos, movies, songs, software, you name it. I think a lot of people at this age simply believe they did nothing wrong. Removing a watermark is nothing more than a matter of course for a generation in which photoshop skills are becoming increasingly common.

I do agree with RusyBug that this is a great teaching opportunity.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 13413
Country: United States

The bottom line to this is that the images were STOLEN.

It doesn't get much simpler than that ... no matter how people want to try & twist or justify it. I get that "fair use" lets a student copy a pic and use it in his "book report" for a school assignment or such.

But the Yearbook is a different matter. I mean ... did they photographer who did all the school portraits that were used in the Yearbook go unpaid ... I think not. He likely had a reciprocal AGREEMENT with the school in a quid prop quo type of arrangement. But, no matter the nature of the AGREEMENT ... the fact of the matter is that an AGREEMENT is necessary ... otherwise it is STEALING.

Anytime you take something of someone else's without their permission ... it is STEALING. The OP's images were taken without his permission ... AND ... in direct objection to his watermark indication of ownership. Caleb is spot on at the belief that just because I can take it for free, that must mean it is okay to take for free. The premise that the OP still has the "originals" and that they didn't "actually take them" is folly. Not only did they steal the images ... they also violated copyright in the other form as presenting them to the publisher as their own (i.e. school/student) body of work.

So now, we not only have blatant THEFT, we also have the DECEPTION to accompany it. If our schools (I trust the OP's respect of the teacher is correct @ neither condoned, nor knew), parents and other guiding authority don't see the significant need to fully address this ... it is an indictment upon our society that renders it little wonder why a generation would believe it to be "okay to steal".