login info join!
Forums > Photography Talk > Website Stealing Cosplay Images, some from MMers Search   Reply
123last
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


I recently discovered this website stole on  of my registered, copyrighted images and they also have a LOT of images from photographers on MM...

www.sankakucomplex.com

I sent them a DMCA takedown notice and here is what they responded with a very obnoxious stance. They are refusing to remove the image because they claim that since I am not an authorized representative of DC Comics I have no claim to copyright ownership of the image. I responded to them and explained how I am actually the owner of the image, and that the costumes in the shot were designed by a licensed costume designer. They responded back asserting that I have no claim to have the image removed and that by even making such a request I am opening myself up to lawsuit from DC because I do not have legal authorization to photograph someone in a costume and then claim it's my image. 

This is the last response I got from them:

The characters featured in the image are the property of DC, so technically he may be correct in thinking you would need their permission before you could claim to be acting on their behalf by issuing a takedown request (of course, had he not counter-notified we would have been obliged to take it down, and would have, irrespective of the validity of the claim). As a photographer you are probably aware that taking photographs of copyrighted objects is a complex area.

I'm afraid I have no idea what the DC Comics position is on cosplay, perhaps they grant blanket permission or your company licensed the rights from them? Technically you would have been infringing their copyright if either was not sought, although it would be surprising if they objected, and if you claimed to have received their permission without doing so in a DMCA request it would constitute an act of perjury if taken to court.

In any case, we are only really in a position to process the DMCA requests, not ascertain their legal validity.


I responded back again and explained in greater detail of how this has nothing to do with DC but everything to do with the actual image. I told them to remove it within 3 business days or I'm sicking my attorneys on them to which I have not received a response yet. I just wanted to make everyone on here know that these guys are stealing images and have no remorse about it!
Jun 23 12 06:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GCobb Photography
Posts: 15,891
Southaven, Mississippi, US


What images of yours have they used?
Jun 23 12 06:33 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J O H N A L L A N
Posts: 9,941
Santa Ana, California, US


Why are you sending the takedown notice to the 'thief'?
You should be sending it to their web hosting provider.
Jun 23 12 07:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


GCobb Photography wrote:
What images of yours have they used?

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pi … 8#20073358

displayed here:

http://idol.sankakucomplex.com/post/show/308897

Jun 23 12 07:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D S P
Posts: 510
Portland, Oregon, US


John Allan wrote:
Why are you sending the takedown notice to the 'thief'?
You should be sending it to their web hosting provider.

This^

Grab a screen shot and contact your lawyer. They cropped your name off which shows they altered your image too.

Jun 23 12 07:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sophistocles
Posts: 21,320
Seattle, Washington, US


D S P wrote:

This^

Grab a screen shot and contact your lawyer. They cropped your name off which shows they altered your image too.

Why pay a lawyer to send a DMCA that he can send himself? If all you want is the image down, send the DMCA to the web host. If you want to sue for statutory damages (as you said the image is registered), have at. But the term, "blood from a turnip" comes to mind.

Jun 23 12 07:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


D S P wrote:

This^

Grab a screen shot and contact your lawyer. They cropped your name off which shows they altered your image too.

The whois says that the DNS for their hosting company is their own domain name, which tells me that they are on their own server so there is no hosting company to notify (already thought of this).

Also, the image was probably stolen off of my blog site where I don't have the bar on the bottom. Still though, theft is theft.

The latest email I got from them is just as frustrating as the others. They are claiming now that because I do not have a license from DC I am legally unable to license the image so this makes them exempt from the DMCA notice. It's insane, and and why they are being so difficult is beyond me. So the next step is my attorney on Monday.

Jun 23 12 07:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GCobb Photography
Posts: 15,891
Southaven, Mississippi, US


I think the thieves are suggesting you used the likeness of DC Comics characters.  I'd say the bat symbol and costumes leaves them a bit of leverage. 

Why don't you get with DC Comics and ask them if they believe you infringed on their rights.  If they don't think so, send another DCMA to the web host.
Jun 23 12 07:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Sophistocles wrote:

Why pay a lawyer to send a DMCA that he can send himself? If all you want is the image down, send the DMCA to the web host. If you want to sue for statutory damages (as you said the image is registered), have at. But the term, "blood from a turnip" comes to mind.

I couldn't disagree more. I've collected quite a lot of money this year from my attorneys going after websites stealing my images this year, often times from people smaller than these guys. In fact, I have a check on the way to me in the amount of $600 for a settlement they just got for me earlier last week.

Jun 23 12 07:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


GCobb Photography wrote:
I think the thieves are suggesting you used the likeness of DC Comics characters.  I'd say the bat symbol and costumes leaves them a bit of leverage. 

Why don't you get with DC Comics and ask them if they believe you infringed on their rights.  If they don't think so, send another DCMA to the web host.

The costumes they are wearing are licensed and sold everywhere.

Jun 23 12 07:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GCobb Photography
Posts: 15,891
Southaven, Mississippi, US


Shot By Adam wrote:

The costumes they are wearing are licensed and sold everywhere.

Then get an attorney if you're that sure.  I mean, they could make you lots of money this year.

Jun 23 12 07:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Daniel Arouchian
Posts: 185
Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Here's a website I enjoy using to see if people have stolen any of my pics.

http://www.tineye.com/
Jun 23 12 07:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rebel Photo
Posts: 11,446
Florence, South Carolina, US


the image is hot linked
Jun 23 12 07:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sophistocles
Posts: 21,320
Seattle, Washington, US


Shot By Adam wrote:

I couldn't disagree more. I've collected quite a lot of money this year from my attorneys going after websites stealing my images this year, often times from people smaller than these guys. In fact, I have a check on the way to me in the amount of $600 for a settlement they just got for me earlier last week.

$600, and your attorney charged you how much? My time is worth $350/hour billable. My attorney charges $300/hour. Just spending an hour on the issue would be a loss of $50 to me on a $600 settlement.

You?

Jun 23 12 08:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BeautybyGod
Posts: 3,046
Los Angeles, California, US


Jun 23 12 08:34 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Sophistocles wrote:
$600, and your attorney charged you how much? My time is worth $350/hour billable. My attorney charges $300/hour. Just spending an hour on the issue would be a loss of $50 to me on a $600 settlement.

You?

$600 is mine after attorney fees. It started with me sending the offender a bill for $432.00 for stealing an image of mine and using it on the header of their website. I have a membership to imagerights.com. They've handled several cases of mine and they do an exceptional job in these matters and I recommend them to everyone who's ever had an image stolen. They work on contingency and with my membership, I keep 55% of what they collect. Usually, once they get involved, they go after the offenders on a basis of 5X the standard licensing rate (assuming you have the image registered with the US Copyright Office) and then settle somewhere in between. In this particular case, they settled for around $1,300. All I do is send them over the correspondence in the matter and they take it from there. They are worth every penny. So if you're paying your attorney that much for these specific matters, you're using the wrong person IMO. Use these guys, they're awesome!

Jun 23 12 08:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Update:

They just emailed me and said that they removed the image. Still though, there's a lot of other MM images on there!
Jun 23 12 08:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AVD AlphaDuctions
Posts: 10,533
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


Shot By Adam wrote:
Update:

They just emailed me and said that they removed the image. Still though, there's a lot of other MM images on there!

they must be reading this thread. good job everyone smile
we will send you our invoices in the morning

Jun 23 12 08:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
foldinglight
Posts: 4
Atlanta, Georgia, US


If you got a screenshot, I'd still send the attorney after them due to their initial responses to you.
Jun 23 12 09:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GCobb Photography
Posts: 15,891
Southaven, Mississippi, US


How did you come up with that amount of money?

How can you prove damages?

Do these people you go after just cave in for a lump sum every time?
Jun 23 12 09:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


GCobb Photography wrote:
How did you come up with that amount of money?

How can you prove damages?

This has to do with knowing how to price images for commercial license. If you don't know how to answer these questions I suggest you start a new thread or search through any of the dozens already started on this topic. There are numerous books on Amazon on these topics and then, there is of course, google.

Here are some links to get you started though:

http://www.amazon.com/Commercial-Photog … hotography

http://asmp.org/links/32

http://www.corbisimages.com/content/new … 5:16:05:07

There are also a number of free, online license calculators but there are very few good ones out there IMO.

Do these people you go after just cave in for a lump sum every time?

Depends. In the case I started this thread with, I just sent them a DMCA takedown notice. Usually clowns like this aren't worth the bother and they usually remove the image immediately. Sometimes commercial companies just steal my images and use them on their website. If that's the case, I don't bother with a takedown notice, I just send them an invoice based on the way the image is being used, how much traffic their website gets, how long they've been using it, and a number of other factors.

As I mentioned in another post in this thread, one of my images was stolen and used in a website header. Specifically, it was a VIP/Limousine company out of Florida. Based on how they stole the image, I called the company on the phone and got the name of the general manager with his direct email address and sent it to him. After getting no response I followed-up with another email and, again, no response, so then I sicked the pitt-bulls on him and now he's going to pay through the nose. My attorney on the case told me that one of the most common conversations they have with these thieves is something like this:

ATTORNEY: The cost of now licensing this image is now $2,000.

THIEF: WTF? That photographer sent me a bill for $400 and I probably could have just bought this kind of image on a stock site for $40. Why is this so expensive now? It's just a photograph!

ATTORNEY: It became $400 when the owner of the copyright of the image you stoke decided to price it based on numerous commercial image license calculators that are industry recognized. But you ignored that bill and that had to get us involved. Now we're up to $4,000 and we are more than willing to go to court over this where it will get even more expensive. And yes, you could have just spent 40 bucks at one point, BUT YOU DIDN'T!

So do they just settle every time for $4,000? No, they don't, but the firm will usually negotiate that down to about 1/4 that amount if they pay right away. If not, they go to war for a much higher price but that's the minority of cases. It's been my experience that if a thief is being a jerk to me and I have to get attorneys involved, I have a check, in hand, within 30 days. The key is finding one that works on contingency. Then it's a matter of a few emails and that's it...they do the rest.

Jun 24 12 02:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KonstantKarma
Posts: 2,513
Hickory, North Carolina, US


Makes me wish I had photos people would want to steal. big_smile
Jun 24 12 04:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


KonstantKarma wrote:
Makes me wish I had photos people would want to steal. big_smile

I am frequently surprised at the images of mine that are stolen. Remember, image thieves usually are taking images because they need it to fill some spot on their website or blog, so it's rare when they are going to take something that's of a highly creative nature. They're just looking for free stock imagery. For example, I have images stolen off of my blog all the time and every image on there are registered with the US Copyright office. I know some photographers throw a fit every time someone steals their images. Me? I'm happy when someone does...it's just free money for me every time it happens!

For example, a long time I ago I wrote about great places to shoot around Vegas and I have a picture of a tree I shot out in Red Rock Canyon. I don't even think it's a particularly good photo but people sure to like stealing it a lot. That image is stolen about 3-5 times a month! Most recently, it was just stolen by a local photographer here in Las Vegas and she used it to promote her OWN PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP! She was using it in her ads, on her website, all over the place. As soon as I found that out I sent her a bill and she paid it faster than you can blink your eyes because she knew she fucked up and got caught. I didn't even have to get anyone else involved. I sent her the invoice and the money was in my paypal account within 3 hours along with a huge apology letter. You just gotta love people like that.

So don't think that your work isn't being stolen and chances are, it's not your best work that is.

Jun 24 12 07:48 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,559
Seattle, Washington, US


nm.
Jun 24 12 08:11 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dan Lee Photo
Posts: 2,978
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Hmmm, are their US contigency sites that take internationals (like me).

Here in Aus, there is no registration of copyright, it is free and automatic from the moment of conception, you do not need to even display copyright information to be protected.
Jun 24 12 08:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Dan Lee Photo wrote:
Hmmm, are their US contigency sites that take internationals (like me).

Here in Aus, there is no registration of copyright, it is free and automatic from the moment of conception, you do not need to even display copyright information to be protected.

The same thing applies in the U.S. as well. The instant you capture the image, you own the copyright. Of course there are some other factors that come into play with this, such as if you are under direct employment by someone else as an employee, but generally you own the copyright the moment you press the shutter release.

Registering your images with our government copyright office just allows you an extra level of protection and it also allows you to sue for extra, punitive damages.

Jun 24 12 09:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KonstantKarma
Posts: 2,513
Hickory, North Carolina, US


Shot By Adam wrote:

I am frequently surprised at the images of mine that are stolen. Remember, image thieves usually are taking images because they need it to fill some spot on their website or blog, so it's rare when they are going to take something that's of a highly creative nature. They're just looking for free stock imagery. For example, I have images stolen off of my blog all the time and every image on there are registered with the US Copyright office. I know some photographers throw a fit every time someone steals their images. Me? I'm happy when someone does...it's just free money for me every time it happens!

For example, a long time I ago I wrote about great places to shoot around Vegas and I have a picture of a tree I shot out in Red Rock Canyon. I don't even think it's a particularly good photo but people sure to like stealing it a lot. That image is stolen about 3-5 times a month! Most recently, it was just stolen by a local photographer here in Las Vegas and she used it to promote her OWN PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP! She was using it in her ads, on her website, all over the place. As soon as I found that out I sent her a bill and she paid it faster than you can blink your eyes because she knew she fucked up and got caught. I didn't even have to get anyone else involved. I sent her the invoice and the money was in my paypal account within 3 hours along with a huge apology letter. You just gotta love people like that.

So don't think that your work isn't being stolen and chances are, it's not your best work that is.

That's pretty fantastic. big_smile

Jun 24 12 09:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SillyEddy
Posts: 2,246
Coventry, England, United Kingdom


Daniel Arouchian wrote:
Here's a website I enjoy using to see if people have stolen any of my pics.

http://www.tineye.com/

Google's reverse image search might work better - They do have their hands deep within a lot of websites afterall.

Jun 24 12 11:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Graphirus
Posts: 260
Moscow, Moscow, Russia


Interesting topic... now a question.

What do you guys do when you see your photograph on international sites? I see no way of sending an invoice and infringement notifications usually are laughed at (
Jun 24 12 12:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Graphirus wrote:
Interesting topic... now a question.

What do you guys do when you see your photograph on international sites? I see no way of sending an invoice and infringement notifications usually are laughed at (

In that case I just go right to the hosting company. I've always had luck with that and even international hosting companies comply well with a DMCA notice. I just had an image of mine show up on a website out of the Czech Republic and when I sent the hosting company an email it came down within 24 hours.

Jun 24 12 12:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Novocane
Posts: 52
Astoria, New York, US


Not to say I have anything worthy of being stolen but I've just been not posting photos I'm touchy about. But yeah I can see why you break out the big stick every time
Jun 24 12 04:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chad_King
Posts: 4
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


I dont see any difference what the image it self has in it. At the end of the day they are not the law to say if DC would approve or not and give them no right on your copy rights. This is hands down you win, The person who pressed the camera shutter owns the sole copy rights to that image, doesn't matter what product brands are in the photograph it self, if you sell that photograph with that product brand in it you have to have approval yes, but its out of this world for them to try and say anything about licensing and because they believe you broke the law that gives them the right to lol what joke
Jul 19 12 06:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,760
Houston, Texas, US


Chad_King wrote:
I dont see any difference what the image it self has in it. At the end of the day they are not the law to say if DC would approve or not and give them no right on your copy rights. This is hands down you win, The person who pressed the camera shutter owns the sole copy rights to that image, doesn't matter what product brands are in the photograph it self, if you sell that photograph with that product brand in it you have to have approval yes, but its out of this world for them to try and say anything about licensing and because they believe you broke the law that gives them the right to lol what joke

Their reply was just BS and there were hoping he'd go away..

They knew it.  He knew it.  But they didn't know he knew, he knew it....
(to paraphrase a line from KILL BILL Pt.1)

Jul 19 12 07:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
P O T T S
Posts: 5,303
Lake City, Florida, US


Shot By Adam wrote:

The costumes they are wearing are licensed and sold everywhere.

Are they licensed to be used for commercial purposes? I would highly doubt that. Same reason you have to remove other trademarked logos from commercial work.

Jul 19 12 07:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Martin Schiff Photo
Posts: 3,275
Maitland, Florida, US


The image has been removed from their site.

-- Martin

Jul 19 12 07:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,636
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Martin Schiff Photo wrote:

The image has been removed from their site.

-- Martin

Yep, I stated that in this thread about a month ago.

Jul 19 12 09:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Three Cats Photography
Posts: 848
Atlanta, Georgia, US


Shot By Adam wrote:

Yep, I stated that in this thread about a month ago.

Is it?
When I click on the link you posted, it shows the image

Jan 06 13 02:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GeM Photographic
Posts: 2,366
Chicago, Illinois, US


Three Cats Photography wrote:

Is it?
When I click on the link you posted, it shows the image

Yes, still shows after following link above

Jan 06 13 02:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AVD AlphaDuctions
Posts: 10,533
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


Yup, It's definitely back. 
well worth reviving this thread for something like this.
Jan 06 13 03:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Murvelous
Posts: 54
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom


those images look a lot like the DC, but they are not official, which renders the 'DC own it' argument redundant

if your lawyer cant get you money out of this, get a new lawyer
Jan 06 13 03:20 pm  Link  Quote 
123last   Search   Reply



main | browse | casting/travel | forums | shout box | help | advertising | contests | share | join the mayhem

more modelmayhem on: | | | edu

©2006-2014 ModelMayhem.com. All Rights Reserved.
MODEL MAYHEM is a registered trademark.
Toggle Worksafe Mode: Off | On
Terms | Privacy | Careers