Company used my image for advertising but says "There will be no compensation"

Joined
Nov 3, 2009
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468
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Florida
This morning, I was tagged on Facebook by a friend in Alaska that said that "you made an ad in Alaska". I looked an a furniture and home audio business had posted a sale using one of my photos they had likely pulled from Google Images.

I wanted to reach out to the Nikon community to see if I am going about this the right way. Here is our conversation so far.

ME: 3:12 AM
Good morning. I wanted to contact you regarding your advertisement video on your Facebook page that was posted on Sept 8th. One of the images you used in the video was a photo taken by me of my living room. The image I’m referring to is the three pair of Klipsch Speakers side by side (RF7, RF83 and RF7 II in my living room) with the animated Klipsch Logo over the top of it. Although I am flattered that you chose to use my image, I was not contacted prior to you using my image to request permission to use the image. I would like to request to be compensated for using my copyrighted photo in your advertisement.

Thank you kindly,

<Here I provided them with my name, email, website address and phone number>


COMPANY: 3:53 AM

Is that picture copyrighted ? Do you have permission from Klipsch to sell photos of their products ? If so can you send me a copy of the agreement ?

COMPANY: 4:40 AM
There will be no compensation. Are you notifying me of a cease and desist ? Keep in mind you published the photo on a public forum and did not put a copyright c on it.


COMPANY: 8:04 AM
If you really want it removed we would be more than happy to do it for you. Just a suggestion in the future to protect your work I would put a “©sole Productions Michael Stevens” on every photo you publish on the net. Excellent photo though. We did pick it out of thousands of pictures out there. Without a copyrighted mark we can’t really tell who the photo was originally taken by. Keep in mind it’s illegal to remove such marks. Have s good day.


ME: 9:47 AM
Good morning. Thank you for your prompt reply, albeit your initial response at 3:53am and 4:40am were a bit rude and argumentative. I am not upset, nor am I at the present requesting a cease and desist. I do however want to express my concern and see if we can come to an agreement. Yes, under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation. Unless you have permission from the photographer, you can’t copy, distribute, publicly display, or create derivative works from photographs. It is not required of a photographer to have a copyright watermark on the images that I share online. I love photography and I love Klipsch and have over 1000 images that I have shared with the Klipsch community where I serve as a moderator in the Klipsch forum. I do not sell my photographs but when a company is using my photos to advertise and sell their product, yet asks me if I have permission from Klipsch to sell photos of their products, I do find that a bit hypocritical.


COMPANY: 9:54 AM
We will remove your picture and put up one of our own.


ME: 10:00 AM
You also mention that it is difficult to tell who the photo was originally taken by yet in a previous sentence, you stated you found it in a public forum. This is the forum that is in question https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/146143-rf-7-vs-rf-7ii-vs-rf-83-comparison/ and it would have been really simple to contact "Youthman" which is me and kindly ask if you could have used my photo. In the past, Klipsch has used my photos in their marketing and they have requested permission prior to using my photos.

I'm not trying to be jerk about it but the photo has been listed on your Facebook page for over a month so removing it now doesn't negate the fact that your company still used my photo in advertisement for your business without my permission and is only fair for me to be compensated for it accordingly.


I then posted a screenshot of the Ad on their Facebook Page showing the Sept 8th date that it was posted.

They have removed the ad and have not responded.

Any thoughts?
 
Joined
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468
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Florida
So my questions are...

1) Am I in the right for asking for compensation?

2) If so, how do you determine an amount to ask for?

3) If they do not respond, should I right a letter to the company requesting compensation?

Thank you for your advice in advance,

Michael
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,880
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UK
Sounds like they put the office junior onto the case.

That individual seem to have only the vaguest notion of copyright so turns into the Jerk, not you.

I am no copyright legal eagle (beware of internet users that claim to be so!) but I would imagine that as you were photographing a purchased object in your home environment that you would not need anything from Klipsch e.g. model release.

Therefore it would be fair to expect, as you do, that contact should have been made to ask for permission to use the image at the very least and they should have made the effort to contact you as your name on the forum along with your image - so poor excuse from them.

Is it worth pursuing the company for remuneration for the period they used your image - I do not know. My thoughts are that they would fight it on the grounds that they had no idea it was your image and in any case they took the imaged down after this fact pointed out - they were just a little naive. I know that ignorance of the law is no excuse but just my feeling that they may well try and squirm out of paying any fees.

Of course you should seek proper legal advice from someone knowledgeable about copyright laws in your part of the world.
 
Joined
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UK
So my questions are...

1) Am I in the right for asking for compensation?

2) If so, how do you determine an amount to ask for?

3) If they do not respond, should I right a letter to the company requesting compensation?

Thank you for your advice in advance,

Michael
My opinion
1. Yes ask or demand compensation
2. Difficult one - ask for at least twice what you think it worth
3. You may want to write a letter prior to their response detailing your cost for them to use your image for a month

First is there anyone with legal knowledge that you can consult with that my offer their time and advice FOC for an initial consult about legalities
 
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I really have no desire to take this to court but I have no problem mailing the company a certified document explaining my case and requesting for a set amount. Again, I have NO idea what that amount could or should be. Is $250 a fair amount? Is $500? I don't know.
 
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I really have no desire to take this to court but I have no problem mailing the company a certified document explaining my case and requesting for a set amount. Again, I have NO idea what that amount could or should be. Is $250 a fair amount? Is $500? I don't know.
Forget fair, the amount is what you think they’ll pay.
 
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Ohio
Cease and Decest is easy to get enforced. Claiming compensation can be a bit harder.

Here is a brief bit of info on claiming compensation.

"Calculating potential damages for copyright infringement is critical in determining your legal strategy. The analysis is the same regardless of whether you’re the one suing (the copyright owner/plaintiff), or the one being sued (the infringer/defendant).

The first question to ask is: ‘Has the infringed work been registered with the copyright office?’ The answer to this question will have a large impact on damages. All creative works are automatically protected by copyright law (check out this page for a background on copyright law), but registered works are afforded much greater protection. Copyright registration records are held in a free online database that you can access from the Copyright Office website.

There are 2 types of damages for copyright infringement: Statutory Damages and Actual Damages. For a copyrighted work that has been registered prior to infringement the plaintiff may choose to claim Statutory Damages or Actual Damages (in addition to claiming for attorney’s fees). A plaintiff who is claiming infringement for an unregistered work may only make a claim for Actual Damages."
 
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This thread reminds me of how grateful I am for my two very professional and respectful experiences:

I was asked by an interior design firm for use of two of my photos posted at a site similar to the Cafe. They wanted to print, frame and hang them in a building they were designing if I would provide them one-time use of the electronic file. We quickly agreed to a price and they paid me ahead of schedule. They even made a mistake in their ordering process that required them to buy a third photo.

A company that I regularly buy wine from saw my wine photography displayed at my website, including photos of wine they had sold. They asked for permission to display a few of the photos at their Facebook page. When I provided them a price, they decided not to pursue the idea. That worked fine for me and I thanked them for asking for permission.
 
Last edited:
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I'm sure many of the photos posted here and other forums are being used without authority for all type of commercial purposes. The rule of thumb is if you don't want it stolen don't post it.

If you get lucky and find your photo used by someone who is willing to pay for it after-the-fact, consider yourself lucky. Good luck suing a corporation/business for a small amount. I used to live on the harbour in downtown Vancouver and took lots of Yacht photos, many of them were stolen by Boat Brokers for their sales/rental purposes, when I caught a few, the best I could do was getting them to take the photo down. I even had one European Yacht Broker email me a virus (seriously).
When I post any assignment type photos here and elsewhere, they are only the B type and not my first choice/paid for ones.
 
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This is just a response in general to the topic of "borrowed" images used for commercial purposes. There's another photo forum I frequent where this topic came up and one user has mentioned pixsy.com as a website that will find and fight image theft on your behalf. On a verified case apparently they come to an agreement and you get a portion of the proceeds. The way it works is you link the platforms from which you share photos, it looks for matches and notifies you of any. You take it further from there.

I'm not in any way affiliated with any of the above.
 
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You got what you wanted. They stopped using your photo without your permission. Hopefully you taught them a lesson.
Time for you to move on.
As much as it pains me, as someone who has successfully pursued copyright infringement, I have to agree with Mitch. If you are not prepared to take this to Federal court, you might as well stop where you are. The compensation you are likely to end up with won’t be worth the effort you spend seeking it.
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
468
Location
Florida
Thank you to everyone for your advice and help on this matter. The seller has agreed to pay me $2000 for the 1 month use of my photo and also is willing to make an apology on their social media platform for stealing an image for advertisement purposes without my consent. Oh sorry...was I just dreaming? LOL

This was one of those cases where I reached out to the company and was hoping they would be willing to pay but they have removed the image and I'm fine with that. Funny thing is if they would have contacted me and asked nicely if they could have used it in their ad, I would have loved to have received compensation for it but if they weren't willing to pay, I would let them use it for free. I guess it just rubbed me the wrong way with their initial response that was rude and argumentative.

I'm cool with it now. I'm going to write a kind reply to them thanking them for removing the ad and encourage them in the future to seek permission before just grabbing images off of Google.
 
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Nov 3, 2009
Messages
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Florida
I just sent them this message:

Good morning. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for removing the image. I realize that I could seek compensation through small claims court but feel this is unnecessary. In the future, I would like to encourage you seek permission from photographers prior to using any image you find online, whether it's from social media, a forum or Google Images. As a photographer, we take pride in our work and have a lot of money invested in camera equipment. As I mentioned before, I have received requests for organizations and businesses to use my photos and depending on the circumstance, sometimes I would let them use them at no charge. My thought is if you are using someone's photo to help you profit, it is only courteous and right to provide some of that profit to the creator of the photos you are using. Anyways, no harm, no foul. Blessings to you and your business.

Michael Stevens
SOLE Productions
 
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You can't sue for copyright infringement in small claims. c Copyright is a federal issue and can only be handled in federal court.
 

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