Forums > Photography Talk > Major Chicago Paper published a picture of mine

Photographer

sultanphotography

Posts: 830

Chicago, Illinois, US

Without my consent. They stole it from my facebook page. It's the front page of their sports section of a picture I took of D Rose at photoshoot. even though i have written that it is Copyrighted, they cropped it and no credit to me what so ever.

Is there legal stand i can have?

Oct 05 12 10:30 am Link

Photographer

L A U B E N H E I M E R

Posts: 8793

Seattle, Washington, US

sultanphotography wrote:
Without my consent. They stole it from my facebook page. It's the front page of their sports section of a picture I took of D Rose at photoshoot. even though i have written that it is Copyrighted, they cropped it and no credit to me what so ever.

Is there legal stand i can have?

which paper was it?

Oct 05 12 10:32 am Link

Photographer

sultanphotography

Posts: 830

Chicago, Illinois, US

Chicago Sun Times

Oct 05 12 10:34 am Link

Photographer

Reggie Dennis

Posts: 88

Charlotte, North Carolina, US

Contact a lawyer, tell them and show them what happened. Then let them contact the newspaper on your behalf. You might get a quicker response from them that way.

Oct 05 12 11:10 am Link

Photographer

Eye of the World

Posts: 794

Corvallis, Oregon, US

I wonder if a rival newspaper wouild be interested in your story?

Oct 05 12 11:49 am Link

Photographer

MKPhoto

Posts: 5665

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Here is a similar thread, with some answers

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=856677

Oct 05 12 11:53 am Link

Photographer

RINALDI

Posts: 2543

Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands

I also think what an Facebook lawyer can do for you, considering the Terms & Conditions states that anything uploaded to your profile or page, gives FB full ownership of that uploaded piece. You still own the original, but FB owns the version you uploaded.

I haven't read the T&C myself but some people do and some of them tweeted about it. That's how I discovered it.

Triple check that though, to be sure smile

Good luck!

Oct 05 12 11:56 am Link

Photographer

howard r

Posts: 513

Los Angeles, California, US

you need to register your copyright to have bargaining power

you should contact a copyright lawyer asap before you do anything

you should buy (and study) ed greenberg's legal guide book for photographers on amazon before their is a next time

Oct 05 12 03:32 pm Link

Photographer

Shot By Adam

Posts: 5949

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

contact imagerights.com. These guys are awesome and will go to war for you on a contingency basis. As has already been mentioned though you need to immediately register the image with the US Copyright office to get any punitive damages out of this. It's easy, electronic, and only costs 40 bucks. Do that right away, then contact imagerights ASAP.

Oct 05 12 04:36 pm Link

Photographer

David Parsons

Posts: 972

Quincy, Massachusetts, US

Eye of the World wrote:
I wonder if a rival newspaper wouild be interested in your story?

They likely do the same thing on a regular basis.  There aren't much ethics left in the dying industry.

Oct 05 12 05:39 pm Link

Photographer

David Parsons

Posts: 972

Quincy, Massachusetts, US

RINALDI wrote:
I also think what an Facebook lawyer can do for you, considering the Terms & Conditions states that anything uploaded to your profile or page, gives FB full ownership of that uploaded piece. You still own the original, but FB owns the version you uploaded.

I haven't read the T&C myself but some people do and some of them tweeted about it. That's how I discovered it.

Triple check that though, to be sure smile

Good luck!

You haven't read the TOS, but you are giving advice based on them?  Read them first, stop giving wrong advice.

Oct 05 12 05:40 pm Link

Photographer

sultanphotography

Posts: 830

Chicago, Illinois, US

do you think its $100s or a few $1000s worth?

Oct 05 12 05:41 pm Link

Photographer

Beautifully Soft Focus

Posts: 529

Peoria, Illinois, US

Reggie Dennis wrote:
Contact a lawyer, tell them and show them what happened. Then let them contact the newspaper on your behalf. You might get a quicker response from them that way.

Amen ... cuz unless the opinions get on this thread are from an Illinois attorney ... they aren't wroth the time it took us to type them up. wink

Be easy,

Alvin

Oct 05 12 06:37 pm Link

Photographer

Moon Pix Photography

Posts: 3892

Syracuse, New York, US

If they are a major newspaper perhaps it would be best if this matter was swept under the rug.  Maybe get some "free" advertising for a year, two, more? Have your lawyer work out the details.

smile

Oct 05 12 06:53 pm Link

Photographer

beta

Posts: 2055

Nashville, Tennessee, US

Looks like another resume line to me.. Sucks, but I would think that it would be a difficult fight. Even if the judge ordered the normal fee, my guess is that you would not get much. I do not think this is a get rich quick thing. Feature? 1/4? Snippet? The news seems to have no problem pulling from the social media sites, or even an offer to locals to submit for consideration without much compensation. It is a thin world these days...

Oct 05 12 06:54 pm Link

Photographer

Warren Leimbach

Posts: 2686

Tampa, Florida, US

sultanphotography wrote:
do you think its $100s or a few $1000s worth?

Without registering copyright, you are limited to actual damages (i.e. cost to make the photo or what the newspaper would have normally paid to license i.e. peanuts to hundreds range.)

If you register the copyright properly, your lawyer can demand much more.  Thousands.

So as others have recommended, make sure you register it first, then call imagerights or a copyright lawyer in your state.

Oct 05 12 07:39 pm Link

Photographer

Rob Domaschuk

Posts: 5715

Naperville, Illinois, US

RINALDI wrote:
I also think what an Facebook lawyer can do for you, considering the Terms & Conditions states that anything uploaded to your profile or page, gives FB full ownership of that uploaded piece. You still own the original, but FB owns the version you uploaded.

I haven't read the T&C myself but some people do and some of them tweeted about it. That's how I discovered it.

Triple check that though, to be sure smile

Good luck!

Fixed

Oct 05 12 07:46 pm Link

Photographer

Shot By Adam

Posts: 5949

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

penn wrote:
Looks like another resume line to me.. Sucks, but I would think that it would be a difficult fight. Even if the judge ordered the normal fee, my guess is that you would not get much. I do not think this is a get rich quick thing. Feature? 1/4? Snippet? The news seems to have no problem pulling from the social media sites, or even an offer to locals to submit for consideration without much compensation. It is a thin world these days...

You couldn't be more wrong if your name was Wrongy Wrongenstein. Use the service I mentioned or hire an attorney of your own. There are SUBSTANTIAL amounts of money you can get from them, especially since they are such a major publication. I've squeezed thousands of dollars from some of the smallest scumbag thieves on the Internet, from the Chicago Sun Times, you're looking at a very nice sized payday. On something like this, my starting negotiation with them would be in the tens of thousands.

Oct 05 12 08:40 pm Link

Photographer

me voy

Posts: 1093

Amherst, Massachusetts, US

Don't let them get away with it. They owe you at least $250. Contact the editor and publisher. Be polite and ask for payment. If they refuse tell them you will take them to small claims court and sue them for the maximum. Their reputation is on the line so if they refuse to pay, tell them you will contact all newspaper associations they belong to. Go to NPPA.org and ask for help.

Good luck

Oct 05 12 09:00 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

sultanphotography wrote:
do you think its $100s or a few $1000s worth?

Actually it's 10s of thousands take from all of us when a major publication thinks it can steal with impunity.  They will do it again and again and soon others will as well, think about it over your lifetime and tell me if it's not worth it.

Oct 05 12 09:09 pm Link

Photographer

Raymond Irvine

Posts: 307

Camarillo, California, US

sultanphotography wrote:
Without my consent. They stole it from my facebook page. It's the front page of their sports section of a picture I took of D Rose at photoshoot. even though i have written that it is Copyrighted, they cropped it and no credit to me what so ever.

Is there legal stand i can have?

Was this an actual watermark on the image that they cropped out?  If so, that sounds like removal or alteration of Copyright Management Information (CMI), with the intent to hide copyright infringement.  This can have statutory damages of not less than $2,500 or more than $25,000, per violation.  There are even possible criminal penalties if this was willfully done for commercial advantage or private financial gain.  Unlike simple copyright infringement, I don't think the image has to registered before the infringement in order to qualify for statutory damages.

Oct 05 12 09:19 pm Link

Photographer

PhotoPower

Posts: 1368

Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, Canada

Forget about it. Move on. It was on FaceBook. Invoice them with a tear sheet and a copy of the original, but slight chance they will pay. Who suggested talking to a lawyer ... oh yeah that'll work!! Clip it and put in in your portfolio and call it a published image!!

Oct 05 12 09:30 pm Link

Photographer

Steinberg Photo

Posts: 1135

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Just some curiosity questions:

What date was this?
Was the photo in the CST print version, web version or both?
You said you did not get credit. What did the photo credit say?

Oct 05 12 09:40 pm Link

Photographer

me voy

Posts: 1093

Amherst, Massachusetts, US

PhotoPower wrote:
Forget about it. Move on. It was on FaceBook. Invoice them with a tear sheet and a copy of the original, but slight chance they will pay. Who suggested talking to a lawyer ... oh yeah that'll work!! Clip it and put in in your portfolio and call it a published image!!

If you don't have anything important to say then don't say anything at all.

Oct 05 12 09:54 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

PhotoPower wrote:
Forget about it. Move on. It was on FaceBook. Invoice them with a tear sheet and a copy of the original, but slight chance they will pay. Who suggested talking to a lawyer ... oh yeah that'll work!! Clip it and put in in your portfolio and call it a published image!!

Well that reminds me of a great Abe Lincoln quote...

Oct 05 12 10:03 pm Link

Photographer

Shot By Adam

Posts: 5949

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

PhotoPower wrote:
Who suggested talking to a lawyer ... oh yeah that'll work!!

That would be me (among other people).

Let me ask you a question, how many times have you sued people for stealing your images? See, I've done it over 25 times. This year alone I've gotten financial restitution from over ten cases and I have one other case going to court very soon which will be a slam dunk of a case. So I'm not talking out of my ass when I say the OP has a solid case and he absolutely needs to talk to an attorney.

So before you decide to give advice to someone, especially on a matter this serious. please ask yourself if you're really qualified to answer or not. Because in this case, you really are giving bad advice.

Oct 05 12 10:10 pm Link

Photographer

Andy Pearlman

Posts: 3411

Los Angeles, California, US

sultanphotography wrote:
do you think its $100s or a few $1000s worth?

Warren Leimbach wrote:
Without registering copyright, you are limited to actual damages (i.e. cost to make the photo or what the newspaper would have normally paid to license i.e. peanuts to hundreds range.)

If you register the copyright properly, your lawyer can demand much more.  Thousands.

So as others have recommended, make sure you register it first, then call imagerights or a copyright lawyer in your state.

The OP had to have registered the image with the copyright office prior to the infringement to get the benefits of attorney's fees and the statutory damages up to $150k per image. That's not to say a good IP lawyer couldn't bluff his way into a nice recovery, but the image would have to be registered before going to court (federal) and any kind of copyright suit will be expensive to litigate. Best to talk to an IP attorney before you do anything, but it seems like a pretty legit claim to me. Problem is, without the prior registration he may be limited to collect only what they should/would have paid him had they asked first, which is likely to be less than what it will cost to hire the attorney to contact them.

Oct 05 12 10:40 pm Link

Photographer

Shot By Adam

Posts: 5949

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Andy Pearlman wrote:
The OP had to have registered the image with the copyright office prior to the infringement to get the benefits of attorney's fees and the statutory damages up to $150k per image.

Actually, that's not true. As long as the image has not been published, you can actually go back after the fact and register it and then pursue legal action. I had one of my images stolen from my blog that I never registered for some reason. My attorneys told me that provided the image has not been published (posting on the Internet is not considered "published", only in print somewhere like a magazine, newspaper, etc.) I could still register the image after the fact. That's what I did and we pursued damages as if the image was registered the day I shot it.

Oct 05 12 10:55 pm Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

RINALDI wrote:
I also think what an Facebook lawyer can do for you, considering the Terms & Conditions states that anything uploaded to your profile or page, gives FB full ownership of that uploaded piece. You still own the original, but FB owns the version you uploaded.

I haven't read the T&C myself but some people do and some of them tweeted about it. That's how I discovered it.

Triple check that though, to be sure smile

Good luck!

That doesn't change anything.

Oct 06 12 12:43 am Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

Registration doesn't mean diddly as far as whether you can go after them or not. A lack of registration doesn't give them a license to use the image.


It would be worth everyone's while to Google "statutory damages" to understand how they apply in photo thefts.

Here's Wiki's description:

"Statutory damages are a damage award in civil law, in which the amount awarded is stipulated within the statute rather than being calculated based on the degree of harm to the plaintiff. Lawmakers will provide for statutory damages for acts in which it is difficult to determine a precise value of the loss suffered by the victim. "

The newspaper has years and years of invoices that will show the range of what they've paid for use of photos. It will not be hard to determine a precise value of the loss.

Everyone knows that no one is going to spend thousands on a federal case to get punitive damages. Ask them for double, plus half of what their legal fees would have been.

Oct 06 12 12:54 am Link

Photographer

Harold Rose

Posts: 2925

Calhoun, Georgia, US

sultanphotography wrote:
Without my consent. They stole it from my facebook page. It's the front page of their sports section of a picture I took of D Rose at photoshoot. even though i have written that it is Copyrighted, they cropped it and no credit to me what so ever.

Is there legal stand i can have?

When you tell me that Facebook is in the picture,  that is not all that bad.  There are so many questions that can't be answered with the  very small info that you have posted....  It is difficult to claim ownership  after the fact that the photo was shared  from the facebook  location..  "shared,  and admission of who owned it"    In spite of all   Face book does a good job of protecting your copy right..   BUT  I doubt if you have it copyrighted.

Oct 06 12 01:10 am Link

Photographer

Robert Jewett

Posts: 2462

al-Marsā, Tunis, Tunisia

Harold Rose wrote:

When you tell me that Facebook is in the picture,  that is not all that bad.  There are so many questions that can't be answered with the  very small info that you have posted....  It is difficult to claim ownership  after the fact that the photo was shared  from the facebook  location..  "shared,  and admission of who owned it"    In spite of all   Face book does a good job of protecting your copy right..   BUT  I doubt if you have it copyrighted.

What?  Posting an image on FaceBook does not change weather he has copyright.  And he has copyright the second he takes the image. 

You are way off base on this one.

Oct 06 12 01:13 am Link

Photographer

Jirrupin

Posts: 1743

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

J E W E T T wrote:

What?  Posting an image on FaceBook does not change weather he has copyright.  And he has copyright the second he takes the image. 

You are way off base on this one.

its possible... just because you don't read terms and conditions when they're put in front of you, doesn't mean there can't be legal consequences when you blindly hit 'I Accept"  to enable the 'next' button.

I really don't know what the current position is (which is why i don't upload photos there), i'm pretty sure they've fixed it up... but their terms used to be so badly worded that merely by uploading and image you were agreeing to give them rights to use and onsell.

If this were a professional shoot I'd be interested to know if you actually retained rights for any/all of the images from the shoot or if rights were sold to the client (Rose or his agent). Celebs are sometimes keen to buy out all rights to all images when they shoot so they can control their image. If the client owns everything then it was a bit of a nono to upload them in the first place and they could conceivably come after you for compensation, in which case you'd better be hitting the paper up for enough to cover your own ass.

Oct 06 12 01:28 am Link

Photographer

MKPhoto

Posts: 5665

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

From Facebook's TOS:

1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

Oct 06 12 02:21 am Link

Photographer

Robert Jewett

Posts: 2462

al-Marsā, Tunis, Tunisia

MKPhoto wrote:
From Facebook's TOS:

1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

Yep, that's so they can actually host, post, and display your image.

It certainly does not grant the newspaper the right to publish it.

Oct 06 12 03:07 am Link

Photographer

tenrocK photo

Posts: 5426

New York, New York, US

Atelier57  wrote:

Amen ... cuz unless the opinions get on this thread are from an Illinois attorney ... they aren't wroth the time it took us to type them up. wink

Be easy,

Alvin

Wrong too! A copyright offense is a federal matter, not a state one.

Oct 06 12 05:01 am Link

Photographer

GCobb Photography

Posts: 15894

Southaven, Mississippi, US

Andy Pearlman wrote:

sultanphotography wrote:
do you think its $100s or a few $1000s worth?

The OP had to have registered the image with the copyright office prior to the infringement to get the benefits of attorney's fees and the statutory damages up to $150k per image. That's not to say a good IP lawyer couldn't bluff his way into a nice recovery, but the image would have to be registered before going to court (federal) and any kind of copyright suit will be expensive to litigate. Best to talk to an IP attorney before you do anything, but it seems like a pretty legit claim to me. Problem is, without the prior registration he may be limited to collect only what they should/would have paid him had they asked first, which is likely to be less than what it will cost to hire the attorney to contact them.

Fact...First hand experience even.

OP: Get an attorney.

Oct 06 12 05:09 am Link

Photographer

sultanphotography

Posts: 830

Chicago, Illinois, US

Steinberg Photo wrote:
Just some curiosity questions:

What date was this?
Was the photo in the CST print version, web version or both?
You said you did not get credit. What did the photo credit say?

It was in Yesterday (Friday's paper). about half a page. In the Bulls section. it was D Rose's 24th Birthday and they used this picture to wish him happy birthday

Oct 06 12 06:22 am Link

Photographer

sultanphotography

Posts: 830

Chicago, Illinois, US

so I called and the editor called me back apologizing. he said he found it on some twitter account and not from my page. I told him, so obviously it was part of a shoot, obviously it belonged to someone, you didnt do your due diligence and just took it and printed a million times in your paper. He said it was no excuse for the mistake. He initially offered me $100. I was like dude, i sell senior pictures for a $1000, and those arent pictures that got stolen and used as their own with NO credit to the owner.

I explained that this picture was going to be part of a calendar that we are selling and the cat is out of the bag. He offered to reprint it with full credit and give me full advertising on that sports page with multiple pictures of that shoot. hmmm... he sure is conceeding way too quick huh?

Oct 06 12 06:27 am Link

Photographer

FlirtynFun Photography

Posts: 13157

Houston, Texas, US

sultanphotography wrote:
so I called and the editor called me back apologizing. he said he found it on some twitter account and not from my page. I told him, so obviously it was part of a shoot, obviously it belonged to someone, you didnt do your due diligence and just took it and printed a million times in your paper. He said it was no excuse for the mistake. He initially offered me $100. I was like dude, i sell senior pictures for a $1000, and those arent pictures that got stolen and used as their own with NO credit to the owner.

I explained that this picture was going to be part of a calendar that we are selling and the cat is out of the bag. He offered to reprint it with full credit and give me full advertising on that sports page with multiple pictures of that shoot. hmmm... he sure is conceeding way too quick huh?

since you DIDN'T follow advice here about contacting a lawyer...I'd suggest you take what was recently offered and learn from your mistakes and move on. (meaning you need to register images in the future and use a lawyer vs an Internet forum)
Chances are if you play hardball on your own, he'll tell you to go screw off and their lawyers will use all you've posted here to make you go away.

Oct 06 12 06:41 am Link