I had no thoughts on writing today as I am going to pull a surprise visit on a friend today. They have no idea that I am in town. I have some things to get started and cleaned up there so a quick visit for old times.
I wrote an article called “The Law, you, and Copyright Infringement” for Studio 1 The Magazine and put some information out about why infringers have more to worry about than just the copyright laws in many cases. It surprised a lot of people on how much copyrighted materials are protected in many other laws and how serious it can be.
I had not even looked into the thirty-two infringed photos yet. I have a lot of work to do without those. I found out a few days ago that one person had taken more than one of my photos for “commercial” use. One was from the 32 photos. I had not even wanted to get to those yet. Seems it is being driven to the front of the line or at least cannot be on the back burner.
I notified this person and instantly started a bad day. They want to sue me because I put one of the photos online. It just shows the lack of knowledge of most infringers. When I explained to them that I did not post my work online they got even angrier and wanted to know how to contact the person who did. This is typical of the blame everyone else crowd. Deflect it away from them and blame it on others.
Well whose fault is it? Did he not steal work from someone else and use it so save money or to help generate income? So where is the blame, this guy is like some of the other infringers by trying to justify what they did by pointing a finger at others. It is like a bank robber blaming the bank manager for going to jail. Their logic is “if the manager did not call the police I would not be going to jail. It is the manager’s fault.” How about not stealing the money and then the manager had nothing to report?
I do think these people may have a good legal case but I am not involved with that process. I will get dragged into it because of the person who took my work and that will cause another issue to be dealt with. The problem is that some of the work is still on Pinterest, being repined even this morning. Those are going to be more trouble for her as they will not be in the court case if she chooses to go that route. She will have to deal with two cases from me alone on this mess it appears. Then she will have to deal with the crowd from Pinterest if they go that route. Pinterest is not your friend.
Part of the issue with a couple of the infringers is that they are wanting to get information on how to contact the person who infringed the work first and posted it. The one person wants an address for her. I have told her in emails that she had no idea of the can of worms she is responsible for opening. She will be just like the bank robber, not my fault and they are doing this to me. Nope. They do it to themselves and then try to find ways to justify it and put the blame other places. I explained this to a couple of infringers and they want to sue her. Fine, they have every right to do that but I am not getting into that. They will get her information on their own or from the papers when we go to court. That is the smart way as it will be the most current unless she wants to deal with a pissed off federal judge.
I can hear the question now. What does this have to do with photography? Unfortunately it is something that all new photographers will be dealing with as long as people can take your work for free instead of paying for it. There are ways to mark your photos by embedding code in them. You can put your name on them but that is easy to remove as we all know. The days of shooting and forgetting the backend work for photography is gone. The infringers have stolen that also. You have to get up to speed on protecting the work, you must be willing to deal with people who take it and you must be willing to fight for your work or you need to stay out of the new world of photography. The new world is not all bad; the licensing fees are going up considerably because they are worldwide. It is also one of the driving forces for the theft of the images. The people who want them for advertising just have other people to take them and give the images to them so they can use them for free.
The big sites and corporations do not care how many life’s they screw up, they do not care if the photographer gets paid, they do not care if the person that they get if from goes to jail. You as a photographer must deal with this type of stuff or get out of the business. You need to remember that one of the major driving forces for criminal charges is the public perception and if you do something to change it. Just like the guy that wants an address to either send something or go see them personally. The can of worms is open and if it is not shut soon, it will be way too late. So make your photographs unique, code the cameras, protect your work the best you can including sue people if necessary because somewhere someone like this guy will drag you into court to get money from someone else and the original infringer will point the finger at you and say it was your fault and they were the victim of you not doing something right. Just do the work and protect it properly and consistently.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. These are my personal opinions and general information. The information should not be used as legal advise.