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Author Topic: New owners are using my images on their Website  (Read 23265 times)

rethmeier

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New owners are using my images on their Website
« on: February 10, 2015, 08:55:24 pm »

Hi Guys,

I wonder if any of you could give me some advise.

A couple of years ago,I did some photography of a retreat here in Sydney and I verbally gave permission for the owners to use the images on their website.

The business has since been sold and the new owners are using the same images now to promote their business.

Can I send the new owners an Invoice for usage rights of using my images?

Or could the old owners have sold my images with the business?

Any advise what to do?

Cheers,
Willem.
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PeterAit

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 09:35:05 am »

So, you gave permission to use your images on the website, just the website? And now the new owners are using them for other purposes as well, such as in advertising brochures?

I'd say continued use on the website is OK, but you would be justified in expecting something for other uses. Approach it politely: "I gave the previous owners permission to use my images on the website only, and I need to talk to you about the other uses."
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Peter

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rethmeier

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 03:58:24 pm »

Thanks for your reply Peter.
I'm not sure,if the new owners are using the images for advertising.
I've asked the same question to ArtsLaw here in Sydney.
Interesting to see what they come up with,
Regards,
Willem.
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Box Brownie

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2015, 06:16:48 pm »

Hi

Your post caught my eye as I like to watch and learn.

Did I read this right?
  • You gave verbal permission for web use of the images but was this to the individuals or 'the business'?
  • Apart from the fact that the permission was verbal i.e. nothing recorded that could be proven or challenged it is possible the old owners took as a given that the images usage permission was "for the business" and hence part of what they sold when they sold the business
  • As for whether based on how a verbal agreement with one business can be carried over to new owners.................I look forward to seeing the legal position you get given.  Misuse or otherwise of imagery on the web needs better understanding by both sides

Best of luck with the advice and any position you are able to act upon? :)
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Chris_Brown

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2015, 08:19:31 pm »

It might be too late, but register the images with the U.S. Copyright office. Then tell the new owners that they have no permission to use the images. If they continue, contact a lawyer to see if you can sue for damages.

If your images had been registered before you gave the original owner written permission to use them, and the permission was to the person and not the business, you could legally force them to stop. And if they continued to use the images, you could sue for damages.

But it sounds like there's no way to enforce your "ownership" of those images.
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Box Brownie

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2015, 08:56:01 pm »

It might be too late, but register the images with the U.S. Copyright office. Then tell the new owners that they have no permission to use the images. If they continue, contact a lawyer to see if you can sue for damages.

If your images had been registered before you gave the original owner written permission to use them, and the permission was to the person and not the business, you could legally force them to stop. And if they continued to use the images, you could sue for damages.

But it sounds like there's no way to enforce your "ownership" of those images.

Chris,

Willem says the 'arrangement' was verbal one and he is in Sydney Australia so does that jurisdiction recognise the U.S. Copyright office for such claims for damages???
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Chris_Brown

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2015, 09:46:13 pm »

Is the company in USA?

No? What are the copyright laws of Oz?

Perhaps he just needs to send them an invoice.
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rethmeier

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2015, 06:08:05 am »

Hi Guys,
I did send the new owners an Invoice of $1500 AUD for using 5 of my images on their website.
Here is the link:
http://spicersretreats.com/spicers-sangoma-retreat/
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PeterAit

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2015, 08:49:30 am »

Hi Guys,
I did send the new owners an Invoice of $1500 AUD for using 5 of my images on their website.
Here is the link:
http://spicersretreats.com/spicers-sangoma-retreat/

I must say, if I got a $1500 invoice out of thin air I would be mighty pissed off. Too late now, but my approach would have been to contact them and politely say that while you had given the previous owners permission, that permission did not extend to a change of ownership. If they would like to continue using the images, you'd be glad to discuss a licensing arrangement.
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pcgpcg

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2015, 10:57:01 am »

With all due respect to your photography business and desire to be compensated, and with no regard to Australian law (of which I'm not familiar anyway),  if I were to think about this purely on terms of my ethics and common sense...

I think it is reasonable to assume that the new owners assumed that the photos were part of the business.  I also think it is reasonable that they should be, since you gave the previous owner permission to use them as part of his business, and in my mind you thus gave them to the business. Thus, I believe those rights transferred with the sale of the business, along with all other things that came with that sale, including the website itself and the text and photos it contained.

I think a better business decision on your part would be to magically make the invoice you sent them disappear from existence and from their memory, then send them a letter introducing yourself as the photographer that shot the images and that if they ever need any photography services you would like to continue to provide them with quality photographs.
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jferrari

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2015, 11:12:02 am »

Hi Guys,
I did send the new owners an Invoice of $1500 AUD for using 5 of my images on their website.

Well that action guarantees that you will never see a dime for your efforts. They will simply stop using the images and get a friend/relative/acquaintance to shoot similar images for less. Like it or not, we now live in an age where: if you own a camera/tablet/laptop/cell phone you're a photographer. You have just advertised on a public forum that opportunity exists.
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rethmeier

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2015, 03:48:10 pm »

Interesting replies so far.
I'm still waiting from ArtsLaw to hear what they got to say.
In the meanwhile ,I would be happy to hear more from the forum.

The reason,why I send an invoice in the beginning,this advise was given to me by some other photographers,that have used this technique with great success.

Anyway,

lets wait and see and thanks for all your advise,
Cheers,
Willem.
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Hägar the horrible

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2015, 12:08:26 pm »

those "some other photographers" dont have anything to loose in this case. you could have asked them how they felt about letting you do a new set of images for a fair price.

+1 for jf
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2015, 12:29:43 pm »

... The reason,why I send an invoice in the beginning,this advise was given to me by some other photographers,that have used this technique with great success...

That is not a bad advice in cases of clear copyright infringement, i.e., when someone, deliberately or not, uses your photographs without asking. Your case is much less clear-cut, however, and this out-of-the-blue invoice must have come as a total surprise to them. I would be annoyed, if in their shoes, and much less likely to cooperate. Not that you have a strong case in the first place.

SZRitter

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2015, 12:49:57 pm »

My thought, being from the US, and not a lawyer:

If you have a copy of the original contract, look at it and see if you licensed the images to the owners or the business. If the business, I would assume the license travels with the business, assuming they didn't re-incorporate as an entirely new business. If they re-incorporated as an entirely new business, than I would consult a lawyer on if it voided the previous contract or not.

Now then, it may not be too late to salvage the relationship. You may just want to call them up and say that the first invoice was sent by mistake.

Another thought would be to see if they plan renovations or anything of the sort. Then offer to license for free the current images and then shoot (for your normal rates, obviously) everything when their upgrades are complete. By my understanding, you aren't really losing anything financially, as the original fees you received would have still been covering what you would have been compensated had the original owners not sold. But instead, you now stand to profit with a good working relationship and possibly good word of mouth marketing.
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rethmeier

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2015, 04:09:39 pm »

Thank you SZRitter,
this is the best advise till now and I'm planning on using this.
Regards,
Willem.
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Box Brownie

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2015, 05:06:31 pm »

Thank you SZRitter,
this is the best advise till now and I'm planning on using this.
Regards,
Willem.


SZritter's advice is very good in regard to building and creating a positive outcome from a possibly negative event but for one key hurdle.  You said that the original agreement was verbal so does that make your position poorer and compounded by the potentially now upset new company owners seeing you as aggressive and pushy???
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rethmeier

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2015, 04:25:56 pm »

O.k,
I just had a telephone conversation with a lawyer,who specialises in this matter.

The verbal licence I had with the previous owners is not transferrable and therefore I can give the new owners notice to  terminate.
After that I can then offer the new owners a new licence for the images.

Also,as I own the copyright ,I also have moral rights,as I'm not identified as the author on the website.
As the license is no longer in force,they are in breach of copyright.

From the above,it looks I have a good case to get paid,

W

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rethmeier

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2015, 08:14:33 pm »

All the research has paid off and the new owners have agreed now to pay me a usage fee.
I couldn't be more happy,
Cheers,
W
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Box Brownie

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Re: New owners are using my images on their Website
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2015, 09:09:49 pm »

All the research has paid off and the new owners have agreed now to pay me a usage fee.
I couldn't be more happy,
Cheers,
W

Congratulations for a good positive business outcome.
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