Lately I have been battling foreign run companies putting my images on rugs, shirts, hoodies, bed sheets, blankets....I'm not sure if they are lifting them from here or off my Face Book page. I just spent the last 2 days plastering copyright water marks on every photo on my Face Book....
1. Registered your images with the US Copyright Office?
2. Considered signing up for an image monitoring service? Such as Pixsy or ImageRights? They have legal partners in foreign countries that can help for viable cases of copyright infringement throughout much of Western Europe, Australia, Canada, and the US.
Images are stolen from FAA fairly frequently because the watermark doesn't include the words "Copyright" nor does it include an artist name. So the argument I usually get about a stolen FAA image is that I sold my image and my rights to FAA and have no rights to the image anymore. Or that they (the person taking the image) thought they were harming a big agency or company and not an artist. Both BS arguments, but nonetheless they seem prevalent.
Theft is unavoidable. If you want to sell your work, you'll have to deal with some amount of it, and just be prepared on how to handle it when it happens.
what size are you uploading to facebook? if they are full size, then they come from there. only upload small things. if you have a webpage - same thing. people sometimes upload a full size and force it to look small. but its still big. they can get the small image here, but can only print small things. you might want to get one of those internet lawyers, i think you get half of what they collect. i assume they can also force someone to take it down from a store as well.
"So the argument I usually get about a stolen FAA image is that I sold my image and my rights to FAA and have no rights to the image anymore. Or that they (the person taking the image) thought they were harming a big agency or company and not an artist. Both BS arguments, but nonetheless they seem prevalent."
They can make these lame excuses for their crime to your attorney.
Yes Edward, they can. But the reality is, sometimes people dig in so hard believing these lame excuses that they simply will not pay. And it's hard to get someone to pay if they really don't want to. Worse, they can generate a ton of bad press for you in the process.
Wherever possible, I like to minimize the chances of getting lame excuses :-)
I agree, for most print on demand sites where anyone can sign up, there isn't much you can do. Sometimes you can though - sometimes someone leaves their real name and contact info somewhere, maybe by accident. Never know. But usually an attorney is involved in the case of some sort of business, even if only a sole proprietor. And those often end up settling eventually.
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