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Is this kosher ?
Old 06-25-2016, 07:10 AM   #1
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Is this kosher ?

A few years ago I was asked to take some photos of the neighborhood for the HOA website. Today I get a flyer in the mail from a real estate company that has my photos plaster all over the front of the flyer. Neither I or the HOA was asked permission to use the photos.

I few of my photog friends said this is absolutely illegal and that I should send an invoice to the real estate company.

Although I am an amateur photographer I have done some paid works in the past, if that makes any difference.

Your thoughts ?
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Old 06-25-2016, 07:32 AM   #2
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Absolutely send an invoice. If they refuse to pay, your next recourse is either small claims court or you can threaten to negatively, and factually, review them on Yelp.

I think in the long run, you're helping them by keeping that realtor honest and reminding them of professional courtesy, civility, and the law.

A little off topic, but I have a friend who goes through this all the time. Sounds like the magazine industry really tries to exploit professional photographers by using submitted samples without permission or notification and ignoring subsequent invoices.
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Old 06-25-2016, 07:54 AM   #3
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Contact the broker of the RE company. If they are reputable, they will chastise the agent and not use them any more.

It was likely a young agent, looking for business with the flyer. It was a violation of copyright law.

I doubt you will get paid, but maybe you will get $100 or so as a good faith measure.
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:00 AM   #4
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Were your photos copyright protected?
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:06 AM   #5
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Were your photos copyright protected?
Yes.
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Old 06-25-2016, 09:21 AM   #6
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Do some reading on copyright violations on photography forums and blogs. There are ways to cause them major problems if they don't offer you just payment.
Hopefully the photo files they used will still have the exif info showing your camera.
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Old 06-25-2016, 09:22 AM   #7
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Defintely pursue it.
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Old 06-25-2016, 10:18 AM   #8
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Whether you are professional or amateur, copyright rests with the creator unless (s)he transferred rights. You clearly didn't.

So it's not kosher.
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:30 AM   #9
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Were your photos copyright protected?
I do not believe the photos need copyright watermarks to be protected.
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Old 06-25-2016, 12:47 PM   #10
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What matters is whether the photos were registered at the U.S. Copyright office. Unless the photographer signs away his rights copyright automatically belongs to the person who pressed the shutter button. That's very nice, but without registration enforcement is all but useless. Given the timelines it may not be too late but get the photos registered. Today (well, Monday anyway) and you may have a case.

This video is long at 1:15 but covers the subject well. I also have their book on my bookshelf.

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Old 06-25-2016, 12:47 PM   #11
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A little off topic, but I have a friend who goes through this all the time. Sounds like the magazine industry really tries to exploit professional photographers by using submitted samples without permission or notification and ignoring subsequent invoices.
A friend in NJ was taken aback when a newspaper article about a promotion at her job was accompanied by her FaceBook profile picture. She hadn't offered it- they just tracked it down and used it.

Definitely say something- people need to know that just because a photo was available to them it wasn't meant to be used elsewhere without permission.
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Old 06-25-2016, 01:49 PM   #12
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The fact that the OP's photos were "published" several years ago on the HOA website certainly bolsters the ownership, although doubtful the agent would claim he/she owns them. Write a cordial letter to the agent with your suggestion of how to make it right and copy the agency owner. Don't mention the lack of registration with the (c) office, and if that comes up point out that it us just a formality (unlikely the agent is familiar with current copyright laws anyway).
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:26 PM   #13
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My thoughts on this differ from everyone else's thoughts.

Basically, you regard yourself as mostly an amateur. You weren't paid for the photos.

So somebody took an amateur's photos from the internet, big deal (IMO). Like THAT never happens, right? What I would do, if you care at all, is to get them to mention in small print that you are the photographer. I wouldn't try to get money for them, because really as an amateur photographer you did not incur a loss. Maybe legally, but not in my version of the real world.

It looks like I am the only one who thinks this, so probably you should ignore all of the above.
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Old 06-25-2016, 05:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
My thoughts on this differ from everyone else's thoughts.

Basically, you regard yourself as mostly an amateur. You weren't paid for the photos.

So somebody took an amateur's photos from the internet, big deal (IMO). Like THAT never happens, right? What I would do, if you care at all, is to get them to mention in small print that you are the photographer. I wouldn't try to get money for them, because really as an amateur photographer you did not incur a loss. Maybe legally, but not in my version of the real world.

It looks like I am the only one who thinks this, so probably you should ignore all of the above.
I pretty much agree with you as I'm not after the money at all but do enjoy being a bit ornery at times. My first thought is to invoice them for $250 per photo, totaling $1000 and then if they contact me and want to negotiate just tell them to make a $500 donation to the HOA. It is a national real estate firm which should know better in the first place.
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Old 06-25-2016, 06:09 PM   #15
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I am clearly in the minority here but I would probably ignore and move on. It is a compliment to your photos, has no bearing on you whatsoever and so what's the big deal!? I would ignore. Life is too short to worry about every "injustice" that happens to us.
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Old 06-25-2016, 06:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
I pretty much agree with you as I'm not after the money at all but do enjoy being a bit ornery at times. My first thought is to invoice them for $250 per photo, totaling $1000 and then if they contact me and want to negotiate just tell them to make a $500 donation to the HOA. It is a national real estate firm which should know better in the first place.

I bet that the firm who published this is a locally owned entity.... it would be a franchise of the national RE firm...
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Old 06-25-2016, 07:38 PM   #17
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make a stink. Far too many ppl think "oh it's on the internet it's free" and steal artists works all the time. if nothing else you'll teach this offender that they need to AT LEAST ask for permission in the future.
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Old 06-25-2016, 07:47 PM   #18
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Your thoughts ?
Be prepared to document and substantiate your losses due to this unauthorized use of your pics. Otherwise, after you pay your legal team to adjudicate this infringement, all you'll receive is the satisfaction of having them ordered to cease using the pics.

While I sympathize with your displeasure at finding your snapshots being used to promote your neighborhood without your permission, if I was the real estate company, I wouldn't pay you a nickle until, and if, a judge ordered me to do so.

BTW, was your work clearly identified as yours on the HOA web site so the real estate company could have contacted you for permission?
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:25 PM   #19
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Send them a bill for whatever the HOA paid you.
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:44 PM   #20
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make a stink...if nothing else you'll teach this offender that they need to AT LEAST ask for permission in the future.
And just how would you propose to: "make a stink...teach this offender that they need to AT LEAST ask for permission in the future"?
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