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02 September 2011

**Tips on dealing with infringers**

This is an update on my previous blog post regarding copyright infringements found by the Google Search Engine. Well, after a series of negotiations, the police department eventually put up their hands and I settled with them for an amount which bought me a nice couple of L lenses. I got an apology from the assistant of the TV personality and another apology from the Sydney television network but I was sorely tempted to forward it to "Media Watch" but I accepted the apology anyway. Because they were not actually commercial blogs, I don't usually bother hassling them for payment. At the moment, I am pursuing several web developers in the US who have knocked off my images without licensing them. You always know if there is a long delay in their response because they are attempting to find out why it happened and whom to blame. My US IP attorney, Carolyn Wright of PhotoAttorney advises that "both the website and the web developer are liable for the infringement but you can only get one award. The company is likely to seek indemnification from the web designer if held liable". A week or so ago, I found one of my images on the front cover of a Turkish book publication but despite numerous emails, I have yet to receive a response. I then checked out a couple of lawyers in Istanbul to pursue the matter on my behalf but, yet again, no response. Amazing! Back to Google! After many emails to an Israeli online newspaper, they settled my account for the princely sum of $250.00 for one of my images on the web newspaper. When they wanted me to send the signed document releasing them, by certified mail to Tel Aviv, I told them that I was certainly not going to spend money on certified mail but they said unless I did so, I would not be paid. I told them that they had a nerve in requiring this as it was THEY who were infringing my copyright and they were getting off lightly. The next email, they backed down and said it was not required. The weird thing was that they wanted me to also fax the documents to them - fax? What's a fax!!! I emailed them a PDF.

So a few tips on what to do after finding an infringing website. For PC: Firstly, take a screen shot. (Keyboard PrtScn) then hit Start > All Programs >Accessories> Paint > Control V and then save the screenshot in My Pictures (or where you can find it again). I am advised by a helpful Fred Miranda member that for Mac, you can take a screen shot by pressing Command + Shift + 3. If you want a screen shot of just a specific area of the screen, you can use Command + Shift + 4 and select the region of the screen to capture. Both of these methods will place an image on your desktop. Secondly, you need to know how long the image has been on the offending website. For this you should go to the Wayback Machine. Here you will find the various pages on the websites on certain days, months, years. You will get the picture as soon as you try it out. This is very handy as many times, when infringers are caught, they tend to tell porkies about how long the image has been on the site. Having the actual dates handy is good ammunition should you require it. Don't get bogged down on blogs. If they don't have any money (and most don't), and its not a commercial blog, demand that they remove the image or alternatively, they place a link to your website. Most are happy to do so. If they don't remove the image or you don't get a response, then send them a DMCA Notice. Here's a link how to do this from National Press Photographers Association

I should add that if you have images on stock libraries, you should couch your email to the possible infringer that "should you have obtained this image through one of my stock libraries, please advise". You don't want to look silly if they have licensed the image but your stock library has been tardy in advising you!

Update:  It would appear that Google, for reasons unknown, is now not showing all sites in their search.  I would strongly recommend that when searching images, go down the left hand column of the Google Search My Image page and click on Past Year and this will bring up far more results than the normal search.  I found this out when going back to get information for my Canadian IP attorney to find that the current search did not come up with the Canadian infringers but using the Past Year function, the sites showed up and indeed the image was still current on their websites.  Of course, many of the sites will have been removed but its worth the extra click as you may be missing sites still currently showing your image.

Happy hunting.

1 comment:

  1. Great info, it's sad that so much of our time does have to be spent on this, but this tool saves some time over doing it one image at a time manually.

    ReplyDelete

After Topaz

Using Topaz Spicify, the image has been enhanced in both colour and "pop". This may be a tad OTT but when printed out, it looks rather good (even if I say so myself!!).

Elderly gents

Image enhancing filters

I have recently been experimenting with different filters for post processing images. Topaz has been one of them. Using the adjust filter, one can change rather dramatically an image which may (or may not) need enhancing. Purists argue that one should not enhance or change an image but in this era, we are bombarded with enhanced movies so it seems a natural progression to enhance still images. The pic directly above is the original image (shot RAW and converted using Adobe Camera RAW).

Rather boring shot of Sydney Harbour

I am going to show how a somewhat boring shot of Sydney Harbour (if there ever could be one!) can be turned into something a little more spectacular. Below is the original shot (shot in RAW format with my Canon 5D) and taken off the back of the Manly ferry.

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour
Rather boring shot of Sydney Harbour

Conversion

Using Adobe Camera Raw ("ACR"), I converted the raw image with parameters: Blacks 7, brightness +31, Contrast +61, Clarity +77, Vibrance +7, Saturation 72 and a bit of Curves which brought me to the below image.

Harbour

Harbour

Flood filter conversion

I then produced a "reflection" using Flaming Pear flood filter. For those unfamiliar with this filter, it gives the image a perception of a reflection (poetical!) and I see it often in publications and I find myself examining ALL images with reflections to see if the photographer had used this very handy filter. I have details of the conversion if anyone is interested but to post it would be a tad boring. Flaming pair flood filters can be found here

Reflection

Reflection
Sydney Harbour reflection using flood filter

Sea of Hats

I was on my lunch hour when I was strolling around The Rocks area of Sydney when I saw a group of private schoolgirls on an excursion. As soon as I saw their hats, I knew that there was a good opportunity to get a good snap. As luck would have it, they started to cross the street to where I was standing. I knew in my head the image I was looking for and I had to be above them. With an enormous amount of good fortune, a ramp up to a shop in this old area of Sydney was a few metres away. I raced up the ramp and shot this image. It was taken with my Canon 70-200 f/4L at f/5.6 which gave me a shallow depth of field leaving the centre hat in sharp focus and the rest of the hats out of focus. I submitted this image in late 2005 to the Black and White Spider Awards and it won Outstanding Achievement - People and also won me the Photographer of the Year 2005 - amateur. It really is nice to get recognition of one's work and even though I am now a professional, it still gives me a warm feeling when I look at my certificate!

Sulphur crested cockatoo in flight

This is an image on which I have added a "flood" filter. It is quite effective and quite a nice shot in any event. Flood filters can be found here and they are worth every cent. There is always a debate regarding "Photoshopping" images but as long as one is honest about the origin and digital changes to the image, I think its legimate. The original image, taken in our garden, of the cockatoo actually landing on the lawn, had a piece of its left hand side wing missing so I "replaced" it in Photoshop CS4. Cockatoos actually dislike water and when they start attacking the timber balustrades on our verandah, all I have to do is get out the spray bottle and walk towards them. They are endearing creatures, very intelligent but are enormously destructive. They are very long lived (up to 80 years) so don't even think of buying one unless you plan to outlive it and put up with the high decibels of squawking! I really hate seeing them in cages and they must long to be free when they see a large flock passing by.

Surfing the storm

Late one afternoon, I was snapping at Avalon Beach, Sydney, when a storm approached. This did not stop a late surfer. This image is available as a print via my RedBubble site. Click on image which will take you to the print site.

Sydney Opera House abstract

An abstract look at the famous icon. It is very difficult to take any pics of the Opera House as everyone and their brother has done it before. For this particular image, I used Optikvervlabs filter.

Leopard seal

I took this shot of a leopard seal exhaling bubbles at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. This is, apparently, one of the few leopard seals in captivity. Apparently it was found injured awhile back and is happy in its huge enclosure at the Zoo along with its mate. Through a stock library, this image is to appear as a full page in a textbook.



Alice

Alice
A portrait of an elderly lady
This is one of my favourite images of Alice, an elderly aboriginal lady who sadly is now deceased. I would occasionally see her at Circular Quay in Sydney and she would often smile at me. I used a Dragan filter to bring out more texture to the image. I am often asked if I have ever been challenged when photographing candid subjects. Only on one occasion, I was asked not to take a photograph of a female street performer which was odd as that is where they often make their money. So, of course, I acceded to her wishes. Many buskers or street performers expect payment for taking their photograph and its something I always do as its their living, as taking photographs is mine. One of my most popular galleries on my website is one of Sydney Aborigines and I have many kind comments on my work. I did have one person, a Sydney academic, who actually called me a thief as she was under the erroneous impression that I was selling images of these colourful folk without payment which in fact is not true. I have model releases from many and I have made subsequent payments to them.




The smoker

The smoker
An elderly man puffs on a cigarette

Mudda Mudda

Mudda Mudda
My favourite subject
Mudda Mudda (aka Cedric) is an aboriginal busker who is often found at Circular Quay, in Sydney, accompanying other aboriginal buskers. He has such a great face and this image won me a UK award last year for traditional portraiture here