Image Theft

wildflower(z7b)August 5, 2005

I discovered this morning that an Ebay seller has swiped one of my images and is using it to sell. I've reported this person to Ebay, but seriously doubt they'll do much besides contact this seller and tell them not to do it again.

Does anyone know if there are laws in place to protect against image theft, and what else I can do about this situation?

I suppose I'll have to re-do all of my pics now and write something over them....

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Watermarking your images is a way of making this kind of thing more difficult. If you have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements 3 this is very easy to do otherwise there is a downloadable software called iwatermark that costs under $20.
A watermark is an imprint, name, date, warning etc. that appears on your photographs and cannot be erased. You choose the size and the transparency etc..
There are laws to protect intellectual property, if you watermark your work you can prove that you own it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 12:16PM
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Contact the person who stole your image directly. Tell them it is yours and that you have copied their page with the date and the stolen image. Tell them they have 24 hours to remove your image or you will pursue them for copyright infringement. Sound calm and legal. A bit of research before you contact them could help you choose good legal words and phrases.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 9:38PM
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I appreciate your responses. Wasn't sure if this was the correct place to post this or not. I figured I'd wait to see what Ebay does before I contact the person directly. I've been using my same pic for well over a year now (and can prove it), and am just finding out that he's been using it for about the last month.

I WILL check into the water-marking. It's just kills me thinking of how much time it's going to take me to change over 200 pics...

He isn't using my pic at the moment, but it's only been about a week since he last did this, and he doesn't have anything list right now.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 9:59PM
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On the contrary, assuming all your images are in a folder on your computer watermarking 200 images will take about five minutes.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 8:26AM
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debinca1(zone 7 CA)

Wildflower, I am sorry to hear about this. I know how irriating it is because the same happened to me.

I used to sell perennial seeds on ebay. I am into photography and used all my own images, one day I found another seller using few of them.

I contacted her directly..........this was in the infancy of ebay about 4-5 years ago. " excuse me I noticed you are using my images in your ads, this is an infringement of the ebay rules....etc." She quickly apologized and removed the pictures. It unfortunatly happens all the time, you just have to watch out.

Watermarks help, but really if the same person wanted to they could remove the watermark. I also had another person using my ad script. Sheese! Writing the ad should really reflect the seller.

I think ebay is much more buisness like now and also more crowded, reporting her to ebay seems logical but contacting the seller directly might be quicker.

Good luck, debinca

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 2:47AM
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There is a problem with copyrights and that is that there are no copyright police. You may own the rights to your images or text but keeping track of who's using it and bringing them to justice is all up to you. You can't call the cops and point to the crime and expect them to pursue it. Even if you have a lawyer involved, the thief gets to keep using your copyrighted material and making money off of it until they get the cease and desist letter from your lawyer. You get to take them to court AFTER they continue to use it from that point. If they aren't making a ton of money off your images your lawyer will tell you give it up and hope they clean up their act after recieving a legal sounding letter. You might even be in a situation where you do take them to court and you could win a judgement against them, but if they simply don't pay it you have to take them to court again to force them to pay up. It is all a big mess that really only works out well for people that find their work being used illegaly by businesses that make lots of money. So basically all you get to do is huff and puff and the other party may choose to ignore your threats - I've seen it happen before.

Some creative solutions is to only use low resolution images on the web (so that when they steal it they are restricted as to its size, thereby limiting its use); and you can place a clear box over all your images so that when they try to cut and paste they only capture a clear box and not the image underneath it.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 4:27PM
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toyon(USDA 9b/Sunset 14 CA. (Sacram)

An easy way to put an abrubt stop to it:

Place another image with the same filename on the webserver (where you host the picture). For example, if they steal your picture of Matchbox cars you can put a picture of anything else on the server with the same filename as the original picture. Their eBay ad will then show the wrong picture.

You will have to make some changes so your ad shows the correct picture, but it is worth it to see their ad for Matchbox cars showing something else.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 12:29PM
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I use Photoshop daily and would be happy to help you watermark your images- no charge. Send me an e-mail and we can set something up.

Anne : )

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 1:43PM
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Thanks again to all of you for your answers. I was a little upset when I first posted this since I had just discovered this. After I had time to calm down I realized it would be rediculous to try and do anything legal about it. We're talking about a plant that rarely sells for more than $4.00! Ebay did contact the seller and pulled his/her completed listings. They also must have told this person not to do it again, because I see the same listing now from this seller, but with a picture other than mine...I had no idea this was such a common occurance, and it was only by chance that I found this out in the first place. I had a non-paying bidder and was checking to see what else they'd bid on and when the other auctions had ended.

Anne, thanks so much for the offer and I will e-mail you now!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 9:26AM
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