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A photo of my 63 Electra is being used for something for sale on ebay


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Imagine my surprise while browsing ebay listings when I came across an item using a photo I took of my 1963 Electra in July 2012.

 

This is the link to the ebay item: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1963-Buick-all-model-factory-cost-dealer-sticker-pricing-for-base-options-/381152853997?fits=Year%3A1963|Make%3ABuick|Model%3AElectra|Submodel%3ABase|Engine+-+Liter_Display%3A6.6L&hash=item58be7affed:g:it0AAOSwpDdU2lFg&vxp=mtr

 

This is the photo of the item for sale on ebay:

s-l1600.jpg

 

Now here is the photo I took of my car in July 2012:

DSC_7146.jpg

I took this photo on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. In fact, this was one of the photos that Pete Phillips chose to use in the June 2013 Bugle article that featured my car.

I don't know whether to feel flattered or annoyed that this person is using my photo to sell his stuff on ebay. I guess I'm feeling a little of both.

 

Ike

 

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You should at least hit him up for a copy as compensation for use. 

 

Beautiful shot by the way, we now have a thread dedicated to shots like this ya know. :D

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Technically, he is using your intellectual property for commercial gain.  Just because you didn't send a copy to the Copyright Office, it doesn't mean you have no rights.  Registration just makes it easier to prove it is yours, but it sounds like you've got proof of ownership covered.  You could sue him, and you'd probably win, and likely never collect a fraction of what you spent going after him.

 

Personally, I would send him a note requesting that he give you credit for the photo in this publication, or ask that he quits using it altogether.  Chances are he has no idea who you are but if you provide reasonable proof that it's your photo, he will oblige in giving you credit.

 

You could also buy a copy of his work, and reproduce & resell it on eBay at half-price, just to let him know how it feels.  That would be my snarky last resort in case the guy wants to be a jerk.

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A picture I took of my former black 1982 H&E Eldorado is be is being used on a webpage by a convertible top supplier online. I don't mind, but I called for some information on parts for my Park Ave convert and they were kind of jerks. Using your pic + being a nice guy+OK.

Using your pic + being a jerk+ not so good. I probably won't spend any money there.

 

I work and have a real job. I wrote a promotional article for a trade magazine.A company copied the article and used it for their home page. They said that was how they did business and forgot to give me a byline. It was a Canadian company so I figured, with the exchange rate, they only got 75% of me fees. No groceries lost on my side.

 

PS, I'd be interested in another H&E Eldo, shouldn't have sold it.

Bernie

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On 3/25/2016 at 9:20 AM, SpecialEducation said:

Technically, he is using your intellectual property for commercial gain.  Just because you didn't send a copy to the Copyright Office, it doesn't mean you have no rights.  Registration just makes it easier to prove it is yours, but it sounds like you've got proof of ownership covered.  You could sue him, and you'd probably win, and likely never collect a fraction of what you spent going after him.

 

Mr. Special, are you sure about that?  As a regional car club editor, I understand

that an item has to be copyrighted for the owner to assert his rights.

An item need not be registered, but it must have a copyright inscription.

 

I agree that it's only courteous to ask before reusing someone's picture.

Pete Philips would undoubtedly know all the details of copyright, if he cares to weigh in.

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3 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Mr. Special, are you sure about that?  

 

Quite. I've been doing photographic work professionally for over 25 years. It's my business to know. 

 

Watermarks and EXIF tags help prove where the images came from, but can be edited by anyone.  The act of creating gives me rights that are mine until I sign them away. 

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There's information on the SEMA website about intellectual property and its protection.

 

On some pictures I've found, when clicking on "Properties" it details when the picture was taken, with what camera, etc.  Not sure if that works for all cameras and pictures, though.  If the image was downloaded to a computer, then the date the image was downloaded would then be in the "Properties" for that particular image, at the very least.

 

Even with "service marks", it's the owner's responsibility to claim ownership (and possible violations thereof) of the image.  I would suspect that if somebody found a picture on the Internet, removed any water marks or other identifying "marks", and then used it for their own purposes, that might prove "intent" to use without credit given, or similar.  Only thing is that once something gets into the "public domain", the owner has no control over the image.  Some websites will not allow images to be downloaded at all, as others have a few extra steps to get there or require membership in the website to even view the images.

 

As the vendor already has the image, it might be good to advise him of whom the vehicle owner was and where the picture was taken with the DESIRE that such information be included in their advertising.  Perhaps rather than your name, you use "A Buick Club of America Member", so some "motivated individual" might not come looking for the car?  Then, "the hook" would be that without including ownership information, that the picture not be used any more, at your request.  But then if the vendor doesn't do that, it's $$$ to get their compliance.  Doesn't cost anything to ask.

 

NTX5467

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I was surprised how common that is, I understand why you're upset. I sold this guy an overdrive on ebay, you can imagine my surprise when the next time I was browsing for overdrives I saw a posting 100% identical to mine, even with the exact same description! 

 

http://m.ebay.com/itm/1941-1942-1946-1947-1948-1949-1950-PLYMOUTH-DODGE-OVERDRIVE-TRANSMISSION-R10-G-/331789627918?nav=SEARCH

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Same thing just happened to me when a picture of Big Blue was used to illustrate an emblem being sold.  I don't really care personally.  Didn't cost me anything, and they're not getting rich off me.  I guess it would depend on the use.  If it was a family member that would be different.

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23 hours ago, NTX5467 said:

Even with "service marks", it's the owner's responsibility to claim ownership (and possible violations thereof) of the image.  I would suspect that if somebody found a picture on the Internet, removed any water marks or other identifying "marks", and then used it for their own purposes, that might prove "intent" to use without credit given, or similar.  Only thing is that once something gets into the "public domain", the owner has no control over the image.  Some websites will not allow images to be downloaded at all, as others have a few extra steps to get there or require membership in the website to even view the images.

 

Ike's name was edited out of the photo (look at the licence plate).  There's some intent...

 

Posting on the internet does NOT make it public domain.  The creator must specifically dedicate his/her work to the public domain.  That's why the wiki sites all have Creative Commons copyright notices.  All materials created after March 1, 1989 must be assumed to be copyrighted unless specifically stated otherwise.

 

Copyright notices have been optional since March 1, 1989, when the US joined the Berne Convention. Under the current Copyright Act, copyright protection is automatic. As soon as a work is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression” (written down, recorded, painted, etc.) it’s protected. No notice is required. (source)

 

The question is not if Ike's rights have been violated, they very obviously have been.  The question is what Ike wants to do about it.  This article lists Ike's options, and as it says, if you take photographs, it's not a matter of if, but when your work will be stolen. It also includes links to Photo Attorney Carolyn E. Wright's page.  There's so much good stuff there I can't link to it all, but the long and the short of it is that "A photograph is protected by copyright at the click of the shutter."  Period.

 

23 hours ago, Plyroadking said:

I was surprised how common that is, I understand why you're upset. I sold this guy an overdrive on ebay, you can imagine my surprise when the next time I was browsing for overdrives I saw a posting 100% identical to mine, even with the exact same description! 

 

Now you know why so many sellers plaster their website or store name all over their eBay photos.  That's not so you remember who's selling it, it's to keep people from stealing the seller's photos.  Lifting other seller's photos got to be a very popular thing to do back in the days when eBay didn't host item photos.  You had to upload your photos to a separate hosting site (or eventually PAY eBay by the image) and link back to them in your description.  It was easier and cheaper just to link back to someone else's image than to upload your own.

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I really appreciate all the comments and discussion my post generated. I'm sorry I haven't responded sooner.

I must say that I'm not that upset about my photo being used (perhaps I should be); rather, I was slightly annoyed by it because it seemed dishonest. I guess I was misinterpreting the posted name of the item:

 

"Details about 1963 Buick all-model factory cost/dealer sticker pricing for base + options $$"

 

This initially suggested to me that the seller was trying to pass off the cover sheet as part of a factory options/pricing catalog. Clearly, he/she just created a cover sheet using a modified version of my photo and slapped on the photocopies of the documents he's selling.

 

I suspect that the person found the photo posted online and therefore assumed it was in the public domain.

Old-tank said "Somehow the pic got on the interweb." Well, that's my doing. I recall contributing this and another photo of my Electra to a web site that features car photos. (http://www.classycars.org/buick02.html)

 

Matt (SpecialEducation) points out that:

"Ike's name was edited out of the photo (look at the licence plate).  There's some intent... "

Actually, that's my doing, too. I blocked out the license plate in the photos I submitted, and I intentionally requested that my name not be associated with the photos. So even if the eBay seller wanted to contact me for permission to use the photo, my contact info was not available.

 

I will consider the suggestions everyone provided and decide if I'm going to take any action. Honestly, I don't know if I'm going to bother to do anything about this. As lancemb said about a similar situation he experienced, it "Didn't cost me anything, and they're not getting rich off me."

I suppose, at a minimum, I could follow a combination of the advice offered by MrEarl, SpecialEducation, and  NTX5467: 

  • (MrEarl) "You should at least hit him up for a copy as compensation for use."  :P I like this idea. I'm curious, but I wouldn't buy the material he's selling.
  • (SpecialEducation) "...send him a note requesting that he give you credit for the photo in this publication, or ask that he quits using it altogether."
  • (NTX5467) "...advise him of whom the vehicle owner was and where the picture was taken with the DESIRE that such information be included in their advertising.  Perhaps rather than your name, you use "A Buick Club of America Member" ..."

Ike

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On 3/28/2016 at 10:16 AM, therios said:

"...or ask that he quits using it altogether."

 

 

This is a common enough issue that the interwebs have no shortage of 'cease & desist' form letters for this purpose.  Just do a Google search and find one to your liking, if it comes to that.

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