help needed with a billing dilemma

Discussion in 'Reality Check' started by grahamr, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. grahamr

    grahamr
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    GrahamR :D

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    ok... i need some help here, this is a situation i have been fortunate enough to not run into, but knew it would happen eventually.


    i do a shoot for a group, and included in the contract is 1 print, it is communicated at the time of shooting, as well as on the proofing website, that anything additional - including edited digital files, and websized images - are not included, and will be an additional charge.

    it's to the point where on the proofing site i include prices for all different sizes, and the web-ready images.

    last year i wrote PROOF across all the images, this year i decided to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    Long storey short is a bunch of the people screen capped the proof website and are using the photos on their websites, and other online portfolio style sites...

    my gut on this one is to get in touch with each person, find out if they are interested in purchasing the websized (and watermarked) files, and if not ask them to remove the photos.

    Free promo is nice, but no credit has been given to me as the photographer, and the screencaps make my photos look like shit.

    what do you guys think? mosher, webb... you guys are on the sites these files are showing upon so you can probably guess what type of shots they are, what would you do?

    i am leary to just send them the "good" files to put up in place of the shit because other people followed the rules and paid the VERY minimal fee (think... istock, maybe less)

    HALP!!
     
  2. SheOfManyChildren

    Active Member

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    Ah....MM I assume?
     
  3. SheOfManyChildren

    Active Member

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    Personally I would do the same.
     
  4. grahamr

    grahamr
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    GrahamR :D

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    MM, FB, Myspace - you know the usuall hot spots...

    i'm not even on MM.. soo... yeah.. maybe ill have to set that up, and give them that route to link me since i am on facebook and myspace...
     
  5. Eclipse

    countrygal

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    There's an illusion among some groups that anything on the web is free. I'd definitely go after each person on principle alone! Been there, done that.

    I once had a publisher buy one of my articles for their magazine (in California). they wanted to also put it on the web. I said sure, for $x. They obviously didn't want to pay so i said NO.

    A few months later I happened to be on their website and what do I find? my article - with someone else's byline (i.e. if I googled my own name, it wouldn't show up!). I got in touch with them and requested payment and redress. Needless to say, them simply pulled the article down and said it was a 'mistake' - they meant to put up an article by the other writer. Uh huh.

    I might have believed them but i know other writers who work(ed) for them and they had had similar problems with "mistakes".

    Fight back - it's a major copyright principle!
     
  6. HatMan

    Pentaxian Extraordinaire

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    Watch last week's Photoshop user TV. They interview lawyer Ed Greenspan about copyright infringement. The wort thing to do is contact the infringer looking for payment or removal. Very enlightening interview... http://www.photoshopusertv.com watch episode 168 and 169.
     
  7. Arod

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    I don't do any commercial or stock work so I have really no opinion on what to do...but am interested to hear what those who do this type of work have to say.
     
  8. Eclipse

    countrygal

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    At the moment I'm a little starved for time and money to sign up and watch but, keep in mind that we're in Canada and copyright laws in both the US and UK are VASTLY different from our own.
     
  9. HatMan

    Pentaxian Extraordinaire

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    I don't think you need to be a NAPP member to watch the current episode, although you very well may to view past episodes. I had not thought of that.

    I am also aware that there are a lot of differences in copyright law between the US and Canada, but keep in mind that the law where the infringement takes place is the law that applies. I'm not a lawyer, but the Halifax Photography Society recently hosted a seminar with a copyright lawyer and we were able to ask a number of questions. He told us a story of an infringement in India someplace and the photographer had to launch his lawsuit in a court in India. I don't recall the details, but it opened my eyes to the possibilities in this internet age...

    Basically what the gist of the PS TV interview said is that most photographers immediately do the same thing, which happens to - legally - be the last thing they should do... They call or e-mail the infringer and complain that their image has been used without permission and demand to be paid or the image removed, or they send them a bill for two or three times what the licensing cost would normally be and wait to see what happens.

    According to Ed Greenberg, the first thing you should do - and this, I think is just common sense - is to document the infringement. Print the web page - usually the date prints right along with it. Get your friends to view and print the page. If it's used on a product or in a book or newspaper, buy a copy and have your friend buy a copy and keep the receipts.

    Then calmly write a letter showing the infringements you have found and state that you expect a full disclosure of where the image has been used and that fair and reasonably compensation be provided. Let them make the offer and let them state where the image has been used. This is critical. Once they have offered a settlement based on the uses they have conceded to or even if they reply that they will remove the image - in the case of a web site - if you find any additional infringing uses, then you suddenly have a very strong suit for fraud rather than copyright violation. Most of you, I think, will agree that the work "Fraud" raises more hairs on the back of your neck that "Copyright Infringement" - unless you happen to work for the RIAA. ;)

    At this point, if they did not disclose every use of the offending image as part of the previous settlement it becomes fraud, plain and simple, because they did not. Lawyers love this stuff and although it makes my head spin, it does make some sense.

    Does this help a bit? Don't take me at my work - I'm not a lawyer. If you want to talk to a lawyer, I can pass along the name and contact information of the lawyer who spoke at our seminar to you privately.
     
  10. Gordon S.

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    Unfortunately its come to the point that you can't post any image on the web, at any size, without a full shot watermark if you don't want people to use it for other purposes. I basically make that decision with each image I put up. The best I hope for from shot to shot is to prevent them for being used for anything involving payment/compensation.
     

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