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Author Topic: Copytrack extortion letter  (Read 8999 times)

irabala

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Re: Copytrack extortion letter
« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2018, 07:12:42 AM »
1. If you have lots of cash or jewels, will you keep it on road just like that and expect no one to take it? Is it not your responsibility to protect your assets? 
I think the same thing applies to these images. Is it not important people to protect the images from people copying it?  Is it only the responsibility of the other side?  There are so many technologies and methodologies available where the images cannot be copied or scrapped.  Even the images need not be indexed or added to the robots which prevent Google to copy?
Or at-least image should be marked with copyright and owner information?  How is it legally binding to the end user when the owner of the image does not bother to prevent some one using it when in public domain (even does  not bother to mark it with copy right information) and later crying foul?  Will owner's negligence will never be accounted for, irrespective whether the end user uses the images with full knowledge or without any knowledge?   
2.  And how review websites and travel websites works?  They also take these kinds of images and use it.  Do they take permission from all the companies across the world?   Or the third party user who does the review on the review website uploads the image , then who becomes responsible? 
3.  If the image is stored but not used and the web crawler shows that the image is in your website, does that amounts to unlawful behavior?

irabala

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Few Questions on Extortion Mails and Image owners
« Reply #31 on: April 02, 2018, 03:25:43 PM »
I have few questions:
1.  Will Storing image in wordpress media will amount to image theft?
2.  If I have costly jewels, either I will keep it my locker or keep with myself in a way that nobody can take it.  I will not keep on some public domain and then cry theft when some one knowingly or unknowingly take it.  If I keep it willingly or due to negligence, still I also hold part of responsibility for the loss.  If I think my jewel which is my asset is very important why I am going to keep on some street corner or on road?  Does that not apply images where owners need to protect it and also take responsibility?  There are so many technologies and methods where image cannot be used or google will not display it.  Is tempting or encouraging people to commit some crime is more offence than committing a crime (if this is a crime as stated by these watchdog agencies)?
3.  Please see the link:  https://abmahnung.sos-recht.de/en/copytrack/  what is your response for the same?
4.  See the links: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/60020281 and https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/60809813  These links are just for your info.

UnfairlyTargeted

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Re: Copytrack extortion letter
« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2018, 04:12:21 PM »
Services like Pixsy/Copytrack and photographers who use them make my blood boil.  A service for talentless hacks to extract value from otherwise worthless images circulating the sewers of the photo sharing "look at me" sites.  Half these so-called-photographers would chomp at the bit to get a few more likes for their crappy photos by paying money to promote them, but yet they somehow get pissed off when the images are actually used.  Look it up.  Do some research in the forums where they hang out.  I did!

Then name and shame them.

UnfairlyTargeted

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Re: Copytrack extortion letter
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2018, 04:52:09 PM »
There's one guy in that forum link above bragging about how he bought a new lens for his HOBBY.  It's a f'ing hobby to extort people?!

THIS is exactly what I was talking about.  These people would never have sold their images.  They're just cashing in on an extorted windfall.

Mihki

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Re: Copytrack extortion letter
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2018, 02:37:33 PM »
Hi,
been reading this topic as we also ran into Copytrack. We are a small company based in UK and they requested for 1 image from us 1000 E. We got the image in good faith from one of our partners and that image was of poor quality and used only on informational part of the website. We removed the image in question immediately from our website and offered to pay a fair market value to copytrack for the use (we did not have intention of using any image without consent).
They said they are willing to settle and we should make an offer. We offered 100E which is more than the image is worth which they declined.

They sent us a couple of letters after that requesting payment and in the last one they are threatening that they will use a debt collector agency(probably the same one MC2 mentioned).

We do not plan to pay such crazy amount for 1 image as it is plain extortion. We are now waiting for new letters from them. If they wish they can take us to court but they will not be able to collect as we are just starting and cannot pay such amounts.

We also contacted lawyers from https://abmahnung.sos-recht.de/en/copytrack/   but these guys are also very shady. They asked what was the amount requested from Copytrack and gave their quote of almost 400E + some fees. They stated that we should not pay more than 200E for 1 image. When I asked from more info like exact cost of their services, what will be the expected outcome if we hire them (what they can achieve with copytrack) they never responded. I would not be surprised if they work together with copytrack and use this company as a front to extort money from people (400 E to them + 200 E to copy track is 600E which is not bad).

MC2 any updates from your side?

mikib

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Re: Copytrack extortion letter
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2018, 07:30:47 PM »
I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to chime in as a photographer, who is not making a ton of money but a lot of my photos routinely get stolen and used allover the internet with zero compensation to me. I use Copytrack to help me track those websites and go after them for payment.

So I actually think it's horrible the way you guys are talking about it because, honestly, it doesn't matter if you're a small company or a blog or not profitable or whatever, you are using someone else's work for free and trying to get away with it by providing "credit", which frankly doesn't pay my bills. Photography is not free, even if you can find it on google images with a quick search and save it on your computer, it doesn't mean you can just put it up on your website for free. Content creation costs money.

So even though Copytrack starts out by asking pretty high amounts of money (which is typically our normal rate + damages because the photographer has the right to decide what kind of website can use their work), you should at the very least try to negotiate it down to something you can afford and pay it. At the end of the day if you can't afford to pay for the images then you should be using royalty free images or not have a website at all. "I don't make enough money so I should be able to use other people's work for free because they can't stop me" is a terrible argument, sorry!

I know some of you got into this situation thinking what you were doing is ok but please educate yourself on this and pay the poor photographer!! Even if it's not the full amount they're asking, anything is better than nothing and you benefited from their work so it's the right thing to do.

Matthew Chan

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Re: Copytrack extortion letter
« Reply #36 on: October 16, 2018, 09:09:53 PM »
Thank you for your well thought out post. I respect your view as a photographer and get where you are coming from. However, the central issues of extreme contention which keeps ELI alive and well are:

1.  There is no warning letter whatsoever.  Just out of the blue, a demand letter shows up demanding thousands of dollars based on no particular rhyme, reason, or formula. And yet the major media companies actually do and practice this. It is the smaller players who engage in these ugly, distasteful practices.

2.  The amounts being demanded is almost an outrageous, outlandish amount that is not connected to the market value of an image.  It is almost an intentionally punitive amount.

3. These are not generally criminal matters, they are civil matters. But some do their best to "criminalize" the matter and use that fear to coerce excessive amounts of money for "compensation".

4. Not all infringements are "deserving" of monetary compensation.  Some infringements are of a "de minimus" nature. Yes, it is upsetting to see someone infringe your work. I have seen others directly pirate my published works over the years and I have sent unhappy emails over the years. But I made no monetary demands of them. But I did demand they take down the material.  Because you know why?  They are usually rinky-dink infringements from some poor schmuck who didn't know better and I called them out. And they COPIED the material, they didn't literally take it from me. I still have the source just like all photographers still have their original image. They are not deprived of their image.  To be clear, I am not saying that there aren't situations where monetary demands aren't sometimes appropriate but there are a lot of cases I see where it is simply a punitive and excessive profit play.

I agree with many statements you make. We do try to educate people.  And as "liberal" as I might be for the defense, some stuff I hear is just plain ridiculous.  Some people propose some outlandish reasons to justify piracy and infringements. However, many people are in the grey area where it is not so clear.

Content creation does cost time and money. This website has plenty of content.  I have written and produced many books and audio programs.  People are constantly using ELI information and reading/using what I write without compensating me. Should I start locking down everything nailing every single person who "profited" from my work and knowledge? Should I start beating everyone for money because of the benefits they derive? If I did that, then I surmise it will be celebratory day for Higbee, Getty, Masterfile, PicRights, ImageRights, and scores of photographers.

I would say many photogs have a very narrow view of how to handle their photography. They have a very narrow view how to monetize and benefit from their photography beyond plastering it on photography websites and using companies to squeeze/extort money from ignorant/unknowing infringers.

Since I am not being paid by anyone how to handle these things, I will keep my information and my advice to photogs to myself. But I will provide a hint.  Read the book "Free" by Chris Anderson.  There are clues and suggestions there.  But trying to beat and extort money out of every perceived wrong and de minimus infringement will result in a lot of bad energy and bad karma.  That is why there is such a bad reaction. People know "fair and reasonable" when they see it. "Squeeze, scare, and get as much as you can" is still the rule of the day.

Every occupation has an occupational hazard of some kind. For any content producers (photographers, authors, publishers, etc), piracy is an occupational hazard. If you are constantly worried about beating down and extorting money from every infringer you find, that is your right but you might be in the wrong business. Keep your images private and never use it publicly.  That is the only surefire way to have your images never be pirated or infringed upon.

If it costs so much to produce photos, then get out of the business!  Keep it as a hobby but make money doing something else. Being a photog could be hazardous to your financial well-being and your reputation!

I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to chime in as a photographer, who is not making a ton of money but a lot of my photos routinely get stolen and used allover the internet with zero compensation to me. I use Copytrack to help me track those websites and go after them for payment.

So I actually think it's horrible the way you guys are talking about it because, honestly, it doesn't matter if you're a small company or a blog or not profitable or whatever, you are using someone else's work for free and trying to get away with it by providing "credit", which frankly doesn't pay my bills. Photography is not free, even if you can find it on google images with a quick search and save it on your computer, it doesn't mean you can just put it up on your website for free. Content creation costs money.

So even though Copytrack starts out by asking pretty high amounts of money (which is typically our normal rate + damages because the photographer has the right to decide what kind of website can use their work), you should at the very least try to negotiate it down to something you can afford and pay it. At the end of the day if you can't afford to pay for the images then you should be using royalty free images or not have a website at all. "I don't make enough money so I should be able to use other people's work for free because they can't stop me" is a terrible argument, sorry!

I know some of you got into this situation thinking what you were doing is ok but please educate yourself on this and pay the poor photographer!! Even if it's not the full amount they're asking, anything is better than nothing and you benefited from their work so it's the right thing to do.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, epithets, & profanity. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

 

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