Tag: copyright

Why Are Our Images Stolen Online? Expert Lawyer Explains
Newsdesk

Press release from Copytrack:

Author Jonathan Appleby, Copytrack.com 2018

Copytrack know all too well that managing content online can seem like nothing but a mess. 85% of online images are used without a licence showing serious work needs to be done to combat digital image theft. Internet users are often left confused when talking about copyright online, especially when trying to get their heads around rights of use – “It’s free to use, right?” It’s vital to understand when you can and can’t share images online to prevent digital theft. This leads to interesting excuses created to deny digital image theft.

But why is digital image theft online so common? Why is little done to prevent it? Despite it being easy to obtaining digital content, it is copyrighted and has to be paid for- shock horror. To help us understand what the hell’s going on, new author and long-time lawyer Marie Slowioczek-Mannsfeld has come to the rescue. Together with Robert Golz she has written the book How to use Photos Legally Online (Fotos Rechtssicher Nutzen Im Internet) that finally outlines all the dos and don’ts when it comes to obtaining and using content online. This is what Marie had to say to Copytrack about image theft online.

Do we all have to pay for images that we share online?

Whoever earns money only should be sure that they’re not infringing on other’s rights. This is especially valid for someone who is using the images on products. It’s just not a question about being fair to the photographer, but also infringing copyright can be expensive, annoying, and take time to resolve. This is where the book comes in, it helps ensure image users avoid these issues, when you know the rules.

The biggest misconceptions when it comes to digital content

The biggest misconception is that everything available on the Internet is for free. Many internet users think that everything they find on Google can be copied and used without further ado. A common misunderstanding is also that copyright notice is needed to protect a picture. That is not true. A photo is also protected without copyright notice. Another common misconception is that you can use an image if you give the source. This is true in a few exceptions, but in most cases, it is not correct.

Why is content online stolen so often?

Because it’s so easy. On the Internet you have constant access to everything 24/7. All you have to do is enter a search term in Google and you will get the image you are looking for, which can then be downloaded quickly and in good quality. You don’t have to register, you don’t have to pay anything. And all this takes just a few minutes. And often there is a lack of knowledge that images are also protected by copyright online.

Why do you think digital theft isn’t taken as seriously compared to theft in the real world?

I think that’s because of two things. On the one hand, image theft is very widespread on the Internet – it is considered a trivial offence. On the other hand, this is in the nature of the digital world. If you steal a carpenter’s furniture- it’s gone. He worked for nothing. If you steal a digital image from a photographer’s website, at first glance they don’t have any damage at all. The picture’s still there, he can sell it on. It’s just a copy after all. One can already imagine: Why does the photographer act like this in the first place? The fact that the photographer makes a living selling prints or copies of his photos is often not thought of.

What are your top tips for business looking to utilize images for their businesses?

Do not rely on free image databases on the Internet. If you want to use photos commercially, spend some money and purchase a license from a reputable agency. If there is something wrong with the rights to the image, you can take recourse at the agency if necessary. And if you buy images from an agency, make yourself familiar with the license terms. Agencies are subject to severe penalties for violating the license terms. Often there are also good overviews, which summarize the rights of use in detail.

“The internet/technology is developing faster than the laws that govern it.” In the future, do you think the law will ever be able to govern the internet affectively without restricting its users?

The legal system is a lengthy one, especially if it works internationally, for example at European level. That is why the legislature cannot react so quickly to any change or new invention. I am positive, however, that one day it will be possible to regulate the Internet in a sensible way. If we look at what has happened in recent years, we are probably on the right track. In addition, there is also the further development of the law by the courts. However, as long as there are still questions about the tolerability of framing, so there is still a lot to be done.

“…no one likes it

when they’re proven wrong. 

A lot of digital image theft is

not committed with intention,

but instead a result of a lack

of knowledge.”

Law varies from country to country; however, the internet is a global body. What kind of issues does this create and what can be done to resolve them?

A picture that is used illegally on the Internet can be accessed around the clock from anywhere in the world. That begs the question: Where did the infringement actually happen? The answer to this question is important, because it determines not only the law under which the use of images must be examined, but also which court has local jurisdiction. However, the question is often not so easy to answer. This is definitely a problem of the global nature of the Internet. Once the applicable law has been determined, the principles of copyright law are internationally similar, but the laws differ in detail. A clearly infringing act in Germany, for example, can be completely legal in the Netherlands. Finally, of course, the question of the amount of damages is also open. For example, Austrian copyright law stipulates that the author may claim twice or their appropriate remuneration as compensation for damages. German law does not recognize such a doubling. All this requires special knowledge, which can often only be assessed correctly by an expert. This often makes cross-border enforcement of copyright infringements cumbersome and expensive.

It would be great if copyright law were to be standardized internationally. But this should remain a dream. It would already be helpful, if the copyright law would have been as evolved as the trademark law, which has been harmonised throughout Europe. When it comes to copyright law, there are some approaches and guidelines at European level, but we are far from being standardized.

Will the internet ever be a safe place to share work, or is the risk just part of the internet’s nature?

Pictures will always be stolen on the internet. However, I think that the advantages of presenting and offering your own pictures to a photographer on the Internet outweigh the disadvantages of digital image theft. It is not the case that photographers are completely unprotected. There are technical possibilities to prevent image theft in different ways. It’s there at the photographer to figure it out. You don’t leave your front door unlocked.

At copytrack we work to try to make the internet a fairer place, and help ensure photographers get paid for their work. However, we’re often met with a lot retaliation, and called scammers, why do you think people react in this way?

Firstly, no one likes it when they’re proven wrong. A lot of digital image theft is not committed with intention, but instead a result of a lack of knowledge. This means many image users have no guilt about using the images and become a little sceptical when someone tells them that they have broken the law. As well as that there are many scammers online, who are always trying to convince gullible people out of their money.  So actually, it’s completely understandable that people are sceptical when a service like Copytrack approach them asking them for money. Often, however, even after the explanation of the facts of a case, there is a lack of the empathy and understanding. There is still a lot of educational work needs to be done.

Marie Slowioczek-Mannsfeld, is the Head of Legal at Copytrack, and has been working with intellectual copyright for over 4 years.

More information and a sample reading of her book can be found on the publisher’s homepage (German only): Fotos rechtssicher nutzen im Internet 

Contact COPYTRACK:

Jonathan Appleby, Oranienburger Straße  4, 10178 Berlin
jonathan.appleby@copytrack.com, Tel: 00 49 30 809 332 962

About Copytrack:

Copytrack (www.copytrack.com) was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt and currently employs around 25 people from legal, IT, customer service and finance. The service supports photographers, publishers, image agencies and e-commerce providers. It includes a risk-free search of the global Internet for image and graphics data uploaded by users at Copytrack are found with a hit accuracy of 98 per cent. The customers define if images are used without a license and even determine the amount of subsequent fees supported by an automatic license calculator on the portal. Copytrack is fully responsible for an out-of-court solution in over 140 countries as well as a legal solution in the areas relevant to copyright law. If the image has been successfully licensed, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The pure search function is free of charge.

 

Are you respecting image copyright?
Ian Burley

Press release issued by Copytrack:

Copytrack

Finally revealed: TOP 10 Errors of image use online

Berlin, 11 July 2017: If we´re all honest it´s incredibly easy to find images online. But there’s always that doubt “can I use just use this image or do I still have to ask for permission?” To help with these concerns Copytrack introduces the top ten biggest misunderstandings of using unknown images online. A massive issue on internet, especially on social media.

1.No crop can cut copyright: Altered pictures are copyrighted

When someone wants to edit a photo, whether it´s changing colour, size and then use it for their own purpose, the copyright still needs to be obtained. Only if “free use” is stated or the original image is barely recognizable, permission from the copyright holder is not needed.  You have to be careful what “free use” means though, as it varies for each image.

2.Not true: A lawfully acquired license lets you do everything

In order to be able to advertise a product range, companies hire photographers to create product pictures and then acquire special licenses for images. The terms of the licenses are usually very specific, and the picture can´t simply be used for other purposes. The manufacturers’ licenses do not automatically apply to the product distributors.

3.Extra, extra, read all about it: Newspapers spread easily online

Scans, screenshots or photos from newspaper articles are often shared a lot online. However, copyright still needs to be taken into consideration when sharing newspaper articles. The publishers are usually legal owners of the texts. But that might not be the same when it comes to the pictures.

4.Always check: The worldwide web can be a large free image database

Searching for images on the net is very easy and fruitful. However, images extracted from search engines are still copyrighted. Often the image sources and the copyright owners are not immediately visible. Despite this the copyright owner always has to be researched and the conditions for the image usage have to be clarified. Otherwise you could be paying for your mistake.

5.Ignorance is not bliss: Licenses can be distributed easily

Anyone commissioning an image and acquiring the license for the use of this image does not automatically have the right to pass the image on to a third party. Copytrack has a lot of experience of dealing with cases where images are shared to third parties without a proper licence.  When the third party uses the image without a proper license- he is still at risk. Licenses always need to be checked.

6.How free can it be? Make sure you understand CC licences

Images marked with a creative commons licence are actually available free of charge to the delight of many. But they are still copyrighted. Before use, it is also necessary to check the terms of the CC license as they vary, for example check if the photo be edited or can it be used for commercial use.

7.Mistake: copyright protection is not just for private individuals

Here is a double misunderstanding of many image users: not only professional photographers, but also amateurs have instant copyright when creating photos.

Secondly, it is irrelevant whether or not an image has been used for private or commercial purposes. Unauthorized use can always lead to copyright abuse.

8.Mistake: Stock photos can be used as desired

If you want to use stock images, you acquire a certain license (standard or exclusive), which may look different for editorial or commercial use. If a stock image is used onto a company blog, this can soon be confused with editorial use. However, since the blog is a company and this usually increases the click rate, a commercial usage license must be purchased. When purchasing a standard license for commercial image use, it is also important to note that stock images, which are distributed online, have different licensing rules depending on the site that sells them.

9.Irritating: Everything made, can´t always be sellable

Using an image without permission is illegal. Just because others might do the same, it doesn’t mean you’re protected. Individuals are always responsible to check they have the right to use photos online. Those who make these mistakes are just the same as image right abusers. Ignorance helps nobody when it comes to image rights, so always be aware of what you´re sharing.

10.eBay- Auctions offers with product photos

Whoever uses original product photos for private eBay auctions puts themselves at risk of image theft. When someone sells a product they don’t suddenly get the right to use the original product photos. The best option is to take a little time and take a photo yourself.

About Copytrack:

Copytrack (www.copytrack.com) was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt and currently employs around 25 people from legal, IT, customer service and finance. The service supports photographers, publishers, image agencies and e-commerce providers. It includes a risk-free search of the global Internet for image and graphics data uploaded by users at Copytrack are found with a hit accuracy of 98 per cent. The customers define if images are used without a license and even determine the amount of subsequent fees supported by an automatic license calculator on the portal. Copytrack is fully responsible for an out-of-court solution in over 140 countries as well as a legal solution in the areas relevant to copyright law. If the image has been successfully licensed, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The pure search function is free of charge.

US image copyright advice from Copytrack
Newsdesk

Press release issued by Copytrack:

Copyright

US Copyright Office: If copyright is free, then why should we pay for photographic protection? COPYTRACK breaks it down

Copytrack knows dealing with image piracy on a global scale is tricky as copyright law is still territorial. The closest we get to a global copyright law is the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, established in 1886, which helps with photographic protection. The agreement now includes over 190 countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Australia.

The US initially had reservations of signing due to the changes it would have on their own copyright law. They finally joined the Berne Convention in 1989, but amended some of their laws so registration was required to tackle infringements in court.

Now, just like Europe in the US copyright is free and instant. You don´t need to do anything to create it. Photography protection is done this way to encourage people to keep being creative. If everything we ever made could be easily stolen we wouldn’t be so keen on making and sharing it, right?

So where does the Copyright Office come into it?

However, if that´s the case, then what´s all the fuss with registering copyright with US Copyright Office for photography protection? Costing around $35 a picture it´s really something you have to think about. But what are the actual benefits of it? Here are some listed on the office´s website:

  • Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.
  • If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
  • Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
  • If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.

So, these are some pretty beneficial points to registering, and it´s clear it helps with photographic protection. The fact you can only go to federal court with a registered piece of work is pretty defining. It means you really should consider registering your work, and early on too. One of the main benefits of registering is statutory damages, but what are they?

Statutory Damages

Predetermined payments established by law to compensate for certain injuries. Statutory damages are sometimes made available because it is too difficult to calculate actual damages. This is a really nice perk of the registration and the statutory damages can range from anywhere between $750 to $150,000!

Should anyone outside of Europe considering registering?

Copytrack warns photographers that just because you’re not based in the US doesn’t mean your work won´t be published there. With the internet as it is, you can never be sure where your work might end up once you shared it online.

If your work is created outside of the US it´s not mandatory to have work registered to file a lawsuit. However, when you register early statutory damages are still available.

It´s key to note, when you share an image online it could end up anywhere. It could be found in the US meaning to tackle the copyright abuse you would need to take finical risk going to court in the US.

Copytrack
understands the importance of global protection and is ready to battle image theft worldwide for its users. We ensure users are kept risk free, and never bear legal costs when tackling image theft.

Our tip: Definitely consider registering your work, especially when you are working in the US. It might not be free, but you are well protected.

For additional information about registration, go to the U.S. Customs and
Border Protection website at
www.cbp.gov/.

 

About COPYTRACK
COPYTRACK was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt. The company now consists of a team of around 25 colleagues from legal, IT, to customer service, and finance. The service is offered to photographers, publishers, picture agencies and e-commerce providers, and includes a risk-free search of the Internet worldwide. Photos uploaded by the users are located by COPYTRACK with a hit accuracy of 98 per cent. The customers can then define if images are with or without a license, and even determine the number of subsequent fees, supported by an automatic license calculator on our portal. COPYTRACK is fully responsible for out-of-court resolutions in over 140 countries, as well as legal resolutions in the relevant areas of copyright law. If the post-licensing process has been successful, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The search function is free of charge.

Christmas isn’t time not to pay for copyright images
Newsdesk

Copytrack Internet image copyright tracking serviceFor photographers, Christmas is now year-round

COPYTRACK helps authors to pay for more widespread images 

Berlin, December 19, 2016: The holidays annually demand extra spending, tearing a big hole in the budgets of many. Those who receive a Christmas bonus for their work during the past year can consider themselves lucky. For many photographers however, the opposite is usually the case.  Often they don’t even know yet who still owes them for the use of their images, or how much. COPYTRACK would like to change this and also help image rights holders to their rightful wage.

The problem relates to both laymen and professionals. They all invest time, money and know-how in the production of their images.  When you upload them for commercial or non-commercial purposes on the Internet, you can hardly track, by whom, where and how often their images are used.  “Most of our customers are surprised, we show them how many purchasers there are of their photos,” said Marcus Schmitt, CEO of COPYTRACK.

It is common for images found on the Internet to be used for their own purposes, without asking for the owner’s permission, without paying royalties and designate them as owners. Schmitt estimates that globally 1.7 billion photos are circulated in this way daily on the Internet. “The owners and authors don’t receive a cent for their work” Schmitt states. To change this, COPYTRACK offers a full-line service, which regulates the concerns of its customers in a fair way. The service includes a permanent research with intuitive handling. Using a complex image recognition technology, the entire Internet is screened for duplicates of images uploaded by COPYTRACK customers.

The complete search is free of charge and has a hit accuracy of over 98 percent. If an abuse is discovered, the customer can determine the amount of any subsequent license fee by means of the help of COPYTRACK. The service provider does not push to make any decisions. The copyright owner can also decide completely against the demand for a subsequent fee. The goal is to find a fair agreement with the users of these images. In this way, new and lasting business relationships are often created. Should it come to legal proceeding, with COPYTRACK there is no risk of staying at a cost, as it would be with the classic use of a lawyer. The service provider assumes all responsibility with his international partner attorneys and provides the evidence for the court hearing.

As a rule, however, this step is not necessary. Most tracked image users pay after receiving the first letter by COPYTRACK. “We have a large number of customers to who we could transfer their money within a few days after uploading their pictures. For both photographers and non-professionals, this feels like a fiveer in the lottery – or these days even as a very special Christmas present, “says Schmitt.

Whether it is judicial or out-of-court, COPYTRACK provides a subsequent license payment to the rights owner, which is up to 70 percent of the collected license fees.

About COPYTRACK:
COPYTRACK ( www.COPYTRACK.com) was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt and now employs around 25 people from legal, IT, customer service and finance. The service is aimed at, among other, to photographers, publishers, image agencies and e-commerce providers, and includes a risk-free search of their images of the world wide Internet of photos uploaded by the users of COPYTRACK with a hit accuracy of 98 percent. The customers define images used without a license and even determine the amount of subsequent fees supported by an automatic license calculator on the portal. COPYTRACK is fully responsible for out-of-court resolutions in 140 countries as well as a legal resolutions in the relevant areas of copyright law. Only if the license has been successfully licensed, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The pure search function is free of charge.