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Messages - aot

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www .flickr. com/photos/30478819@N08/32067586033/

{sigh} I don't know what to say. All I can say is I feel sorry for you.

It's shared under "CC BY 2.0". Trying to extort $750 USD for a photo that no one wants to buy because several free photos are available online, for eg.

Also, MV's pic has just 3922 page views. Clearly there is not a huge market demand for health and/or lifestyle bloggers to pay for avocado burger photos.

Even though the CC license terms were broken, somewhere between $5 to $99 USD might justify the dispute, if it's resolved peer-to-peer.

This is where I call this whole thing a scam and backwards. 

{Sigh} I would offer $50 and try to close it. :-'(

They have just sent me an "Escalation Notice" as I haven't responded since I sent them the takedown notification.
Is this the first escalation notice? They will send you a couple of different escalation emails... perhaps even under different names.

I guess I can try to negociate them down to a more reasonable rate, but I might book a call with Matthew first to get a second opinion.
I would have called Matthew if my family was not visiting me in the month of October. Also, if not for my family and partners, I would have definitely not even negotiated or paid anything. At the least, I would have taken more time, if not, playing the wait game.

So I would recommend you do a call and discuss with Matthew, unless, Matthew jumps in here and can answer any specific questions you may have.

Can you share the flickr link of the photo in question? Also, did you take screenshots of any site metrics such as page views, date image uploaded, image deleted, etc.? What was the resolution of the photo uploaded. (For eg. it's two different thing if I downloaded a High Res. pic in 600x600 and shared in a blog post which was seen by let's say 1000 people (with no commercial activity).

These numbers will help you in the negotiation as well.

Regarding DMCA - I think the best way to go about it is to give full registration/login/publication rights to your audience. They can be on a pre-approved list as well. For example, we allow visitors to sign-up on our site and even write and publish if they have an approved account on our platform.

At-least, DMCA offers a layer of protection. Given it's just $6 USD in fee, it's worth having this as a first layer of defense.

Also, I fully agree with you that the best course of action is to not use copyrighted "stuff" and when using CC images, always give proper credits and in the right format.

For example: Photo [hyperlink to photo] by [photographer name] CC-BY [X.X hyperlink to license]

After dealing with Marco Verch, we are actually in the process of limiting our dependance on CC images. But if we must pick, we prefer photos and photographers whose photos are already used on Wikipedia. (My reasoning here is that Wikipedia has lots  of traffic and I am crediting the photo just as it is credited on Wikipedia.)

One important note though, when using CC images, please remember to NOT share those on ANY social media platforms. Because, it is hard to credit in proper format, and there is this greyarea where you need to be a license holder to be able to re-license the images you share on Facebook, linkedin, twitter, et. al. So, the best thing to do is stay away from even CC images when it comes to Social Media. (CC photos on blogs are fine though.)

Lastly, I am thinking of one reason why Pixey might be sharing with you how much MV has made with them is to perhaps scare you into paying. This is an intimidation tactic to make you believe they are good at collecting money or winning court cases or to signal "look, other people are paying, so should you."

This whole industry is backwards and frustating to say the least.

I personally love when you try so hard to feel good about yourself.

I am well aware of what needs to be done. We have 30,000 photos to review and clean up. (Almost 11,000 on Twitter alone).

All of our social media is now "extortion proof". Our blog is currently going though the clean up (removal and substitution), attribution, and renaming of all image files in meta with source, date, and/or any relevant information.   

PS: Due to MV's sinister tactics, I have finally embraced Flickr and have committed to upload enough photos (atleast 10,000 photos taken by us or our team) for FREE or under CC for which no one will get an extortion letter ever.

Here you go:

Don't see this feature rolled out yet. Looks like a progress to google's current blanket warning statement "Images may be subject to copyright. Learn More".

Bilbo1 -

I resolved it in the most unsexiest way. I said, I can't pay $750 USD (the original extortion price) and offered $125. Finally paid $200 and closed it.

My thoughts:
1. DMCA Takedown Notice is the way to go in the future. Get registered:
2. For now, how much are they asking you? Try to negotiate and bring the extortion price down. This step will also buy you some time to prepare your arguments whether in the court on through emails to Pixsy et. al.
3. Clean all of your sites and social media platforms. Use this time to both learn from your naivety and make yourself extortion-proof in the future.
4. Wait...and if you can give time to this matter then fight it till the end. The end is either they will stop harassing (emailing) you, or they go to the court and they'll lose, or you lose and have to pay according to the court's decision.

Whatever course of action you take, please document everything.

If you are into Podcast, listen to Seth Godin's podcast Akimbo (episode: "All rights reserved: beware the legal-industrial copyright complex").

I would like to join forces and shoot a full length documentary. A Netflix or YouTube full length documentary is the first step to bring awareness. The ongoing Copyright reform in EU is disturbing to say the least.

Some (lawyers) folks needs to be sued back, some (agencies) should go to jail or bankrupted and some (photographers participating in this social evil) should be publicly shamed. Most importantly, the "Copy-right" laws needs to be updated and society should embrace and move to "Copy-left".

1. I contacted Marco (photographer) and he basically turned a blind eye and said "deal with Pixsy".
2. I have taken several screenshots of Marco Verch using automated bots to send mass likes (favorites) on Flickr. This is against Flickr's policy.
3. Marco has created a second Flickr account and loads tons of photos on both of his Flickr accounts. (He may well have more than two accounts, btw). From my research he uses Flickr platform and Creative Commons licencing to lure victims.
4. I have figured out that there are a bunch of photographers who love the automated money making
 via extortion part and totally ignore who the victims are. Majority of the recipients of these extortion letters are hobbyist bloggers who make no financial gain AND cause no financial loss to the photographer. So, it's a systemic evil. And several parties are involved and therefore the burden of guilt is distributed and makes it harder to stop it at the human emotion level.

For many of the recipients even a $50 USD fine can be matter of having to skip a meal. Think student bloggers on University campuses. But generally since they do not have proper contact form, they are safe until they have made the error of publishing their contact name and address and email.

Also, if you have a business (tiny or startup or small doesn't matter), you are definitely going to be targeted. This group of individuals are the easiest target.

All the best!

UK Getty Images Letter Forum / Re: Getty images infringed my copyright
« on: October 02, 2018, 01:52:52 PM »
Hi Ivo, curious why you terminated your contract with Getty? You mentioned poor business practice citing lack or delay in payments? Did you also use Getty to file lawsuits or send demand letters for copyright infringement?

This post made my day! Even better than someone winning a lawsuit and better than doing a settlement for $0.

I will gladly donate to anyone who is willing to work on exposing copyright infringement extortion as a real thing and a social harm due to the fact that it causes immense emotional stress in nearly all victims who do not have deep pockets.

I compare it to Pay Day Loans scams.

Legal Controversies Forum / Re: Richard Prince Instagram Case
« on: October 01, 2018, 10:56:22 PM »
Contrast this to this case: "Judge rules that embedding a photo tweet is still copyright infringement"

Thanks for sharing this! Keep us posted!

Also, can you share the URL of the CC image? Also, is this just one image they are after or multiple images or multiple use of the same image?
Do you know who is the copyright owner of this particular photo and have you tried to reach that person?

What services/forums are those?

Creative Commons feeds all types of Wikipedia. Flickr is one example which is one of the sources Wikipedia editors frequently look at.

Who sets the "fair market value"?
That's why I said, that may very well be $0. The digitization of everything has commoditized everything. A nice photo of the Eiffel Tower is no longer worth $1000. A nice shot of Eiffel Tower (digital copy) is $0.00 as per the current fair market value.

Ah, victim blaming. "If they didn't want to be assaulted/mugged/raped, then they should/shouldn't have [insert perceived 'asking for it' or 'not being careful enough' transgression here]"
Please, DvG don't do silly extrapolation. A human body or a stolen car or bike is not same as digital distribution. You should know better, this same logic that you have used has been made by several pro-copyright photographers in the comments sections of various articles.

Often the example is of bicycle theft (if its not locked). Physical objects (and human to human violence) are very, very bad examples to compare copyright infringements of digital assets.

Please allow me to help you make your argument sharper. Later you can use this line of argument with a future copyright victim.

But for heaven sake, don't mix rape/mugged logic with digital photo reproduction. This just brings everyone's cumulative IQ down by 15 points.

Material asset vs. Digital asset
A digital photo is a digital assert. If I steal your physical object or a non-reproducible object (such as a bicycle, a hard copy of an old vintage photo album, or your secret soda recipe, etc.), you suffer an intimidate loss.

Either I have your bicycle or you have it. We both can't have it at the same time.

Likewise, either I sell that particular flavor of Coke or KFC (a trade secret that already has a market success), or you sell it. But, we both can't sell the same Coke under two different brand names.

At the minimum, with idea theft, there is a market confusion (or Trademark confusion).

But when we talk about, digital asset, by me taking your unsalable photo, one, you still have your photo, and second, you can ask me to stop using it. You never lose the possession of the item in the first place.

Your clients are not buying your photo from me. Nor, I am selling them. If I do, I am in a more serious trouble.

The key issue here is: "rights to distribution" and that's how the copyright law states it.

If I don't have the rights to distribute your photo, I should stop distributing. Period. If I fail to do so, yes, litigation makes sense as potential next step.

I know, you will jump now to what about the loss of income or my private property rights, my copyright/IP rights? And this my friend, is the problem with so many photographers.

Understand, in 99.99% of cases, you have and you will not suffer financial loss. And second, "rights of digital asset with 0 reproduction and distribution cost in the internet age needs to be re-discussed.

Copyleft is definitely a progress. But, even with Copyleft, we need much relaxed and broader range coverage for "fair use". Also, an updated definition of what constitutes "commercial" vs. "non-commercial" usage.

I have my dogs in both camps. I would love to make money from my photos. But, I am not banking on that future. That's why I am producing goods and services and that's where I want to make my money. But, not by extortion.

So, yes, "victim" is the correct word. And so is "legal extortion". Please wake up. I am sure, we need to meet somewhere in the middle. But it seems, you photographers are still living in the 80s.

Most victims never wanted to buy or license that damn photo or whatever anyways.
... yet they were happy to make use of it when they thought there were no cost or consequence for doing so? Sounds a lot like "Not sorry for breaking the law, just mad at being caught"

This is a wrong conclusion or interpretation.

Most copyright extortion victims are genuinely not aware of the exact copyright laws when it comes to digital goods. They take something which appears to be free (while it is actually not free) and then the merchant comes after and asks for his arms and legs.

Photographers and Photo Publishers should also be held liable for sharing copyrighted work on forums which otherwise promotes free distribution.

Or, at the minimum, set clear expectations and rules that if you upload your photos to Flickr or Pixabey, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and if your photo is shared without your authorization, you can't sue the publishing platform AND ask for money more than what is the fair market value (which may very well be $0 in most cases).

Lastly, if you don't want your photos to be shared without your permission ever, DO NOT upload them to open Internet platforms with global userbase AND keep them password protected on your own servers and website AND make it only viewable by your clients.

In the above example, if I came to your shop and asked how much for this photo to share on my Twitter and you say, $100. I will reply, "no, thank you. I am not buying this, I have other free options."

Moreover, if I ever pay for generic photos, it will be like music steaming costs, so $0.02 or something like that per photo.

I understand, it is not up to me to judge what constitutes "fair" in a collective sense. But at least let's talk about it and then do something about it.

Before I debate further, I want you to know that I am 100% in agreement on the below. And, I am a little surprised and actually happy to see this from you.

That said, if you were a slave owner, you would always see some good in owning slaves and therefore prefer laws that protected slave owners. Likewise, since you are a (professional?) photographer, you will always be biased towards photographers in general because you guys are making easy money harassing and intimidating, and threatening lawsuits on people.

I can't speak for other photographers, but the above is almost exactly the process I follow except when the infringer is an entity that regularly licenses images e.g. newspapers, media companies and so on. For the latter, I almost always refer the issue to legal representation in the relevant jurisdiction/country.

For everyone else, my base licensing rates for editorial images start at around €100, and commercial/promotional uses start in the mid-three to low-four-figure range. I don't pluck arbitrary numbers out of thin air, since I rely on FotoQuote to price my licenses. I also have a client base who pay my asking rates, so I have ample evidence of my loss of income, should it come to that juncture.

These facts aside, I'll tell you this: most of my polite and cordial messages, summarised as "Hey, you used my work - but you'll need to pay for doing so", elicit the following replies

Around 30% will apologize immediately and offer to pay - and I'll send an invoice/license to them, allowing continued use, along with a bespoke replacement image file with embedded copyright management information and a specific filename (this helps me track licensed uses of my works and, if an infringement of that file occurs, I can trace it back to the licensed source)

Perhaps 20% will say "whoops, sorry - we've now stopped using it" and then either plead poverty and/or say they're unable to pay the full fee. Depending on circumstances, I may entertain a lower-than-standard-rate payment or drop the matter entirely, but that is wholly contingent on communications being sincere and courteous.  With that said, on two occasions where I have dropped a claim, the same entities infringed on different works at a later date. "Fool me once..."

40% will cease using my work and not reply at all - forcing me to escalate the matter. Of these, perhaps half end up getting legal representation, kicking matters into the negotiation phase. At this juncture, I'll be weighing up litigation, and I'll be seeking significantly more than the licensing fee alone since I have had to incur additional costs at this phase.

9% will cease using my work, flat-out refuse to pay, and be... let's say grossly unprofessional or reckless in their responses. These are immediately passed over to a law firm, which usually results in either a relatively quick (6 ~ 18 months) settlement, or initiation of litigation.

1% will continue using my work and again be grossly unprofessional in their replies. I litigate every single one of these rare instances, and have not lost a single claim yet.

Now, please allow me to explain my position.

Most of the victims are mostly bloggers or small business owners (mom and pop type stores, services, etc.)

The problem is you are carefully ignoring the time and money cost of auditing each and every photo. Plus, there is also genuine negligence when it comes to what is FREE and what is Not-Free when you search on Google > free to use.

Almost 100% of small businesses are started with little or no money. This forum doesn't get Hilton and Amazon representatives fighting the injustice of copyright trolling. The people who come here are generally amateurs and first time offenders.

It will also help you to understand, first and foremost, that majority of these people are not trying to steal your photos but they might be overwhelmed and overburdened. Heck, they may be even totally ignorant. They may have broken the law without even realizing it.

A good society flourishes when people coordinate and support each other, not file civil lawsuits against each other to fight for pennies like street dogs.

Your battle should be for overall copyright reform where creativity is promoted not restricted. I stand for copyleft. I also would support any movement to limit the statuary damages reach, reduce the minimum fine, and remove the compensation for legal fees.

Then, it's a fair battle between two civilians.

For, soloprenuers/civilians vs. a large corporations, a different sets of rules should apply.

..the ability to seek redress for civil grievances is one of your First Amendments rights. Laws exist to serve as mechanisms to right wrongs, but also to deter (not prevent) acts from occurring in the first place.

Nice try. You are covering half of the perspectives here. The other half you are missing is systemic abuse, intimidation, and extortion.

I have read your earlier posts in other threads and I am aware that the photographers are the ones pulling the litigation shot. You have a three way evil conspiray here:
  • Software companies like Pixsey, PicRights, etc. advertising make money from your couch
  • Photogarhers (lazy customers who are pathetic but wants money because everybody got bills)
  • Lawyers (the ones having the last laugh calling the victims imbecile)

"[The infringer] cannot expect to pay the same price in damages as it might have paid after freely negotiated bargaining, or there would be no reason scrupulously to obey the copyright law.”, Iowa State Univ. Res. Found., Inc. v. Am. Broad. Cos., 475 F.Supp. 78, 83 (S.D.N.Y.1979) aff'd, 621 F.2d 57 (2d Cir.1980)"

Agree. (plus that's obvious, for example, parking tickets could be $25 for a $2.50 parking meter).

"...obey the copyright law.”
Question: If I have successfully obeyed the copyright laws 999 times and failed to notice one time where a CC photo got slipped into my twitter, and upon notification, immediately rectified my error, in that case, am I a copyright laws obeyer or a "gotcha victim"?

Most victims never wanted to buy or license that damn photo or whatever anyways. My whole point is majority of pissed ELI members are pissed because they feel personal injustice from this whole gotcha business model.

If you are even a good enough photographer or artist, then don't be a coward and ask the infringers, hey, you want to buy my photo or license it. It's only $10 a photo? If the infringers ignores you, then by all means, go after them for that coveted $30,000 honeypot. In that case, those infringers rightfully deserve it.

Life Lesson for all loser photographers: Making money is hard work. Directly seeking statuary damages for $750 (split between Pixsy and you) is a shameful way to buy your next camera.

Instead, become unique, get better, learn marketing, build a real business, and don't spend your days harassing other humans.

There is competition out there. May be you should NOT be a photographer. Stop bullying. Make money in ways you can proudly tell your kids.

Legal Controversies Forum / Re: Short history of copyright
« on: September 30, 2018, 08:12:39 PM »
Thank you, Engel, for doing this research! This is gold.

Curious, if anyone on ELI thinks we will see another major change to Copyright laws in the US. If yes, what needs to happen? If no, what's the major impediment?

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