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Coping with Copyright Infringement

3 Sep

Coping with Copyright Infringement

Coping with copyright infringement is never fun, but if you care …

HELP, my work has been pilfered!

© 2010 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. Eastern Time, ET.Normally, I would wait until Saturday to publish the next blog, but copyright infringement is too important to ignore, and people have been asking how to cope when it happens to them…

I have written about © Is for Copyright, The Value of Photography, and even Pricing Photography.

I have shown you how to Create a Copyright Template in Lightroom and Bridge, and encouraged you to Update Copyright Notices on Website and Blog.

You can do all the right things, watermark your images, even Digimarc your images, and still, people will steal your images … use them without your permission.

What to do?

Arnie and I have been the victims of copyright infringement over the years, and we have always fought it. It isn’t easy, and it takes time and patience. These days, it is impractical for most of us to initiate a lawsuit against the perpetrators — at least $10,000 up front at last count, probably more these days — but thanks to new laws, we do have recourse.

But let’s start of the beginning of our most recent case…

First, we Digimarc all our images that are sent by e-mail or to the Internet. Yes, there is an annual subscription fee, but for us, it is worth it. It has enabled us to find a number of cases of copyright infringement for way more than a decade.

About once a month, sometimes more, I head to our Digimarc account and do a search for our images that appear on the Internet. This is where you need to know how to do a screen shot. Most computers these days come with their own screen-shot program. If not, just do an Internet search.

When I embark on ferreting out copyright infringement, I do screen shots every step of the way. That way, I have irrefutable proof of the infringment. Always include the http:// address at the top as you will see in the examples below.

At Digimarc, this is what came up in my last search:© 2014 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. Eastern Time, ET.

Hmmm. We never gave permission to “Melissa B” to use our photographs, and who is this So, I clicked on the “Melissa B” link to find Continue reading 

Share Beware, Social Media & Metadata

14 May

We have long known that Social Media is a hotbed for theft of your images, and we have all gotten more careful — at least I hope so — about making sure our metadata has all our copyright information in it and registering our photographs with the Copyright Office (see my blog on © Is for Copyright). We should be somewhat OK and protected, right?

Not so! A recent study by IPTC came out in March of 2013 showing otherwise.

IPT-what? One of the sections we fill out in our copyright templates or presets is labeled IPTC. IPTC stands for International Press Communications Council, and it is this council that did a study on social media.

I had noticed, for example, that when I right-clicked on my images posted on Facebook, the metadata was not showing up, and yet, I know I did not strip it when I exported the file for the Internet.

Hmmm! NOT good. So I did some research and found the IPTC report that everyone should read. The only Social Media sites that respect metadata are Google+ and to a slightly lesser degree, Dropbox.
Copyright © 2013 Embedded Metadata Manifesto - IPTC - International Press Telecommunications Council - All rights reserved.

Click here for the original, full-size image.

So, what to do? … Continue reading 

SOPA, PIPA & the Internet

19 Jan

Updated January 20, 2012

© 2011 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (at) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.
As you read this blog, know that as of Friday late morning, east-coast time on January 20, 2012, the votes on both SOPA and PIPA were tabled for the nonce. Read the announcements at the end of this post.

SOPA? PIPA? We’ve heard a lot about them in the news, but how does it affect us mere photographers and creators? And I’m not talking about BIG business such as the Time-Warners, Rupert Murdochs, and others who have had a checkered history of respecting the copyrights of small entities.

SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, the US House of Representatives’ bill, while the US Senate’s PIPA refers to Preventing Real Online Threats To Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 — only the government could come up with a name that unwieldy — or the easier-to-remember Protect IP Act.

They sound good on the surface. And yes, there is no question that the Internet has made it so easy to steal the creative property of others. Who could argue that protecting everyone’s copyright by going after those who allow it is a bad thing? It really isn’t so black and white; rather, it depends upon what the legislation involves. Already changes have been made to the two proposed bills in response to the hue and cry from many.

Various large websites, including Wikipedia, blacked out for the day on January 18, 2012 in protest of these proposed bills. Others feared that government might gain too much control, much as in China, and infringe on freedom of speech.

Frank James summed up the two sides of the issue succinctly in the third and fourth paragraphs of his January 18, 2012 NPR blog, referred to in this blog by permission of NPR.

PC World also wrote an even-handed article on what these two proposed bills mean. I could find no permissions link from this article, so I must assume that it is alright to link to the article.

First, we need to remember that there are already powerful laws in place to protect our copyright. The main problem is in effectively and affordably being able to take advantage of the protection the US Copyright Office gives us creators.

The other issue is the fact that many of our Internet bases are offshore and therefore beyond our reach. Any new laws are quite simply not going to affect them. We already know that China has no respect for our copyright laws. They, however, are not alone. We can’t change them. We can only effectively deal with what is within our legal reach. That is reality, like it or not.

Alas, many of us feel that these bills are designed to protect BIG business, not us individual creators. BIG Business has BIG corporate lawyers who can sift through all the ins and outs of dealing with the ramifications of these bills and go after infringers of copyrighted material. We mere photographers, writers, painters, etc. are generally not endowed with deep pockets, and thus, there is probably no way we could afford to work within the parameters of these proposed bills as currently written, especially if the infringers happen to be BIG Business.

© 1983 Arnold Zann.  All Rights Reserved.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC <at> or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.Some of you read my blog on © Is for Copyright, in which a major stock agency had several instances of look-alike copies of Arnie’s photograph at the right. They claimed the photographs they were marketing were distinctly different from Arnie’s, but when we pointed out that the image was copyrighted, the photographs on their website quietly but blazingly quickly disappeared. We were lucky, as there is no way we could have afforded the time, effort, and money up front to fight a case against such an entity with financial resources far beyond what individual creators could battle.

As you read in the links above, these proposed bills, if enacted, could also create Internet mayhem and not address what we individual creators need.

I see a much simpler approach, one that addresses the Continue reading