Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by dougityb, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. From our point of view, is good, or bad, because one of my
    photos, posted only on photonet, is (what's the term...) hosted (?) by over 20
    people on photobucket.
  2. If they've copied your photo and put it on their own sites, without acknowledging where the
    image came from, that would seem to me to be bad.

    Can you clarify exactly what's happened?
  3. If your photo has been copied without your consent, and has been posted to an account on Photobucket, you can file a complaint and report the offending accounts to their DMCA agent at

    See for the complaint process.
  4. Here's what happened:

    I'm sitting at my computer, working on a picture, when my daughter comes up and says, "Dad, where'd you get that?"

    "I shot this 25 years ago" I told her.

    "Hold on," she says, and in three minutes we're browsing photobucket and there's my picture, and there it is again, and again, and again, again, again.

    She says, "Don't worry Dad, everyone knows it's someone else's picture"

    I say, "I should have been a musician. Off all the artists in the world, they have managed to put some teeth in copyright infringement penalties. If they get a royalty every time their song is played over the radio, or in any kind of performance, why shouldn't I get one every time my photo is displayed on someone ele's page on the Internet"

    Go to, type the word "swinging" in the search box, the first picture on the left, the silhouette of the little girl against the blue sky, is mine.

    I don't know much about photobucket because I never heard of it till she showed me, but apparently, images can be printed willy nilly by anyone, and you can put anyone's photos on your own page.

    I wrote to them, they replied as follows:

    Please supply the specific links that you are referring to and attach a
    digital image of yourself as proof of identity.


    Your Photobucket Support Team

    I'm sure I'm not losing anything more than pride, but it's irksome that people can snitch images from anywhere on the web and post them as their own. Old argument, I know, with solutions that include removing all my pictures, or plastering copyright watermarks all over them. I don't know how everyone else feels, and I know my photos aren't the greatest in the world, but I work hard on them, and it's not right that they're listed all over the place without proper credit.
  5. In some ways posting photos on the internet is a lot like sex... Sometimes, abstinence is the best policy.
  6. I am going to have to disagree with Evan on both accounts. Well Doug that sucks. I went to the site and something calling itself XO sugarbear claims to have taken the photo. If I click on that moniker pages of images with such disparate styles as to obviously not be the work of one person show up under this name. I'm left with the impression that the images one these pages are photos which have been deemed " cool " by some teenage something or another. There is of course a huge difference between " i like this Photo " and " I took this photo " and the page clearly states, photo by... These days it seems that photos and any art for that matter, are up for grabs and the whole concept of intellectual property is disappearing. I would pursue complaining to the site. The part about providing the site with a digital image to prove who you are is pretty weird. What are they going to do ? hack into the DMV and check your picture ?
  7. Gordon: I suspect that by getting someone to provide a photo (of themselves) along with an assertion of identity, they're keeping a 'paper' trail that can be trotted out later, in case this sort of thing gets REALLY ugly (in civil, or even criminal court over fraud issues - beyond just the infringement issue).
  8. If infringement has degrees, I'm wondering how much of an infringement has occured. As Gordon says, many of the instances in this case are most likely photos "deemed 'cool'" by teenagers. I'm obviously flattered and happy that my work has an audience, but the site itself misleads with the bit that says "photo by" and because they allow, and encourage printing. There are other sites I'm aware of,, for example, where photos can be posted by one party, and printed by another. As far as I can tell, the former party doesn't monetarily benefit from the printing, althought the site does. I don't know what photobucket's revenue stream is from this kind of activity, maybe it's a lot of money, maybe it's a little, but it comes across to me as devious, at best.
  9. Ok, You do not (somehow) have yourself on a private setting.

    I know I SHOULD be on private but I still upload all my stuff without naming them just incase. I upload them with silly things like hhkjkf888 and then do NOT name them at all.

    (just checked I am still on PRIVATE ~ whew)

    If you DID not put PRIVATE when you first signed up HERE Is how you do it.

    GO TO ACCOUNT OPTIONS and click on it.

    THEN go to Edit my album.

    THEN edit my album settings

    THEN edit my album my information

    THEN click save after you change it to PRIVATE.

    THEY changed all this AFTER we all signed up :)

    HOPE THIS helps.

    :) ~

    E-mail me if you have any questions.

    I too have been using photobucket for a long time and have lots of pictures on there.

    Doesn't stop anyone from RIGHT clicking here on PN. :(

    BUT, hey at least maybe NOW someone won't take anymore pics from you on Photobucket. ~ micki
  10. OMG ~ I just read it correctly. It wasn't your DAUGHTERS pictures that was taken it was YOURS!



    Photobucket will delete them but I am sure they are already all over the internet, myspace and everywhere else.

    I am SOOOOO sorry! :(

    This is so wrong!

    Right click save is the worse thing that we have here on PN. Why can't we prevent that here? Other sites do that. I know... just dreaming but it is so HARD to do and cost so much and would slow it down so much more. :( (sigh)

    I truly am sorry!
  11. Micki, Hi.

    That's how they got this particular image in the first place, from photonet. That's the only place it's ever been posted. They didn't get it from photobucket. Can you set your photonet account to PRIVATE? I didn't know that.
  12. Right. (Our last posts crossed in space. )

  13. I signed up for an account on photobucket about 20 minutes ago, and haven't come across one letter about copyright. Nothing that says I must own the photo, that it's not someone else's, etc. If it's there, it's hard to find. At least photonet, on the other hand, has copyright information on just about every page.
  14. Sorry about the problems you've been having. I understand where you're coming from,
    and I'd be really upset if someone was claiming my images as theirs, but if it's just people
    saying "I like this" then I guess it's not too bad.

    My solution to that problem is to only show images online at low resolution (712x475,
    maximum quality JPEG) and only on my own website. I feel that if someone wants to steal
    it and print it for themselves, they can go ahead and do it; I'm flattered. And, if someone
    wants to try and sell the image as theirs -- well, it'll only make a 3.5" long print at
    acceptable saleable quality, so I'm not worried about that either. Watermarks, I feel, ruin
    the image, so I don't use them.

    Oh, and I always keep all my camera originals -- things like other shots taken from a
    sequence are quite good proof that you were the original photographer. EXIF data can be
    spoofed but it might help as well.
  15. Micki: It's worth mentioning that the only way to impact a visitor's ability to right-click/save a displayed image is to somewhat discouragea it by making it take a couple of extra steps. There is absolutely no way to prevent someone who can SEE an image on a web page from saving it locally. Only very unsophisticated users are stopped by using browser-side script that traps right mouseclicks. Scripts can be blocked, simple screen-captures are only a singel keystroke, etc. People can easily view the source code for a page, and just come up with the direct URL for an image, and so on.

    Because the audience on PN is pretty sophisticated that way, deploying an only VERY marginal preventative is probably pretty low on the list of priorities compared to a lot of other pending improvements. I'm sure you've heard it before, but any time your web browser is displaying an image, it already HAS been transferred to your local computer - if only briefly. Saving it as a stand-alone file is trivial, by any of a number of methods, so alas we all have to be prepared to deal with the consequences when we decide to reap the benefits of exposure on the web.
  16. How, DOES "REALLY" make money? hmmm ~ they don't have many advertisements and I have only used them as an avenue for stocking my pictures to post them on a blog.

    Weird. I took a look and the only thing I can think of is to UP your membership.

    You don't have to pay to be part of their site.


    You can NOT set your PN account to PRIVATE EXCEPT for putting pictures into a 0 folder where you just send certain people directly to that picture. BUT then what would you do send people to that ONE folder and have nothing to show people that come to your profile.

    They can still see that you have a folder but no pictures if you look on your picture page. It is weird but it works in a weird way.

    It is for those pictures that you are trying to kind of NOT have out for the general public to see or browse by.
  17. I found the copyright info:
    section five says users are not supposed to post work that's not theirs.
    has their copyright infringement redress procedure.

    I'm sure no one ever reads these, not the teenagers, anyway. Lack of mature sophistication, as Matt says.
  18. I'm sorry that doesn't look clear enough.

    The folder would be numbered "0" like you numbered others "1". The picctures in there would not be in your gallery of pictures out in public but the FOLDER would still be visible in the list of folders.

    Boy I am just not clear today. Must be the heat of FLORIDA! :)
  19. Silvan, I understand totally what you are saying but keeping things that size is not the issue here for this matter. If they steal a photo even that size they can reduce it to the size of 300x300 and make it into a cute little GIF or little funny clip art to put on their myspace (I have no clue what picture it was DOUG). Here is a picture I did for my kids for their myspace. How easy would it be to just take anything that is about 800x500 and just reduce it to 400x300 (ish) for a little comment on myspace/facebook? That is what they want it for. That is what DOUG's daughter saw on photobucket. That is what is "COOL" right now. Clipart, Gif's and such.
  20. Matt says ~ "it already HAS been transferred to your local computer - if only briefly. Saving it as a stand-alone file is trivial, by any of a number of methods, so alas we all have to be prepared to deal with the consequences when we decide to reap the benefits of exposure on the web." ~ Yes (I giggled)

    I found this out while testing Google's new program on their desktop picture screensaver (what pictures you have been to) I saw pictures I didn't even know I had looked at or HAD on my computer that I had seen on the web. VERY eye opening for me. YES that program was quickly deleted. :)

    We do OPEN ourselves up any time we put anything up on the WEB, including our pictures. BUT then, how would be be able to get our work out to anyone? I think what DOUG should do is RE-ISSUE this picture with HIS name on it (better quality) and start putting it out there again. SEVERAL places AND maybe a few other pictures and put a place where he actually sells his stuff (a website). Capitalize on it.
  21. Micki --

    I recognize what you're saying. And, as I stated, I would be upset if someone took my photos
    and claimed them as their own.

    However -- and I say this without any pedantry -- I don't think it's such a big deal if some kids
    use the image on their website. If they start making icons out of them and selling them, or
    something, then it would be a serious issue. But just taking the image and posting it
    somewhere as a user icon...well, I don't see how that has caused any damages. I agree with
    everyone here who says that, if you're going to use the internet to gain exposure, you are going
    to have to deal with a certain lack of control over where and when your images are used. The
    best protection from people stealing your photos over the internet is to not put them on the
    internet in the first place.

    To reiterate: my response to Doug is that yes, it is bad, or at least not-good. However, since no
    one is trying to sell his images as their own, and no one (so far, that we know of) is using the
    image in any commercial way, I think it may not be worth pursuing in a legal context.
  22. Right Silvan, I agree. Not worth any legal action, other than (perhaps) getting photobucket to remove the image from the user pages. Micki is also right, most of the users are just posting small thumbnails, which won't print well, if at all.
  23. Silvan,

    AND, I understand what you are saying.

    The person stealing the art is NOT making the money. They are just doing it do be recognized and use the art. Yes. I understand that. BUT look at a site like this.

    This is a WELL known site that has LOTS of clip art and LOTS of gifs and such. Art that I am sure that you could find several pictures that have been pirated off of PN and other well known ARTISTS that have been stolen from. It is not the person that is stealing the art that is making the money. It is the person (company, website) that is keeping it ON there website that is making the money beccause they have advertisments on there.

    THAT is the problem. That is where you can not let it continue. When thumbing through the Glitter Graphics clipart I can quickly see at least five pictures of movie stars that I know are famous pictures. Those alone are copywritten. BUT somehow places like these websites can keep them up till someone says something then they are removed.

    Doug could literally spend all day long chasing that ONE picture on many sites. The problem is not in the people that steal the picture (yes they are not making any profit except that they are using the picture). The websites that are gaining profit through adware and advertisement for utilizing that picture for people to USE it for their own pleasure IS against the law.

    Now is this making more sense.

    THE only thing I was NOT aware of is that PHOTOBUCKET got in this same game of sharing pictures. ~ (sigh)
  24. Unless you've registered the copyright in the photos, you can't take legal action anyway. US Copyright law requires copyrights to be registered before an infringement suit can be filed. For $45 (if I'm reading correctly), you can file an "unpublished collection" of work. Probably $45 well spent. And posting a photo on the internet doesn't appear to constitute "publication" under US copyright law.
    The best way to protect your images is to put a copyright notice on them. If you object to a watermark, try positioning a copyright notice along the side or bottom (a la Getty Images). See Copyright Office Basics
  25. Jennifer ~ thannk you for this info. Never knew this. :)
  26. Does this "unpublished collection" apply to any works you feel like? What about works that
    are created after the date you filed for the copyright? What about works created before?

    That could be a really useful thing...I'd love to know more about it. Or if you know of a site
    that describes the concept in greater detail, that would be awesome too.
  27. Doug, fairly regularly I'm being alerted to my photos being used illegally. My take on the situation, which may be totally wrong, is that we have a whole generation of computer users that think all material, whether it's software, music, or art, should be open source. These people simply think that copyright laws don't apply to them and I don't have the time or the resources to go after them legally. For this reason, I no longer post images that I plan to sell as stock photography on the internet.
  28. You can take legal action even before registering copyrights but you don't get access to Federal courts or statutory damages.

    Photobucket is neither bad or evil, also they owned by Myspace now which is owned by Fox which is in turn owned by News Corp. You will have almost no chance in fighting them in court. Okay maybe they are evil.

    So you will have to sue for actual damages which in this case may amount to couple of dollars or maybe 10 cents.

    It doesn't matter anyways, if people like your picture they will just link it to the Lesson is, don't post stuff online if you don't want it shared.
  29. Doug, best thing to do is set up your own account on Photobucket and post a higher res copy of the same image there, with your name on the bottom of it. Also set up your own web site so viewers can purchase your prints, and include the web address for this with your name in the image in Photobucket. While you're at it with your own website, get a load of "pay per click" banners on there.
  30. It appears that one of the characteristics of the 21st Century is the growing acceptance of criminality as a behavioral norm. It will probably get worse.
  31. Silvan -- about 4/5 of the way down on the page I provided the link for, there's a brief description of the filing requirements for an "unpublished collection." There may be more details on the form used to register copyright in Visual Arts, originally called Form VA. I should say here that I'm not a lawyer; I spent about 10 years running an intellectual property licensing program which is where I picked some of this info up. Googling "copyright" and "unpublished collection" turned up /">this site, which may provide more of the details you're looking for. The info is from 2000, though, and may not be up-to-date. There were plenty of results to the search, so I'm sure you can find more info out there.
    Sam, I was lifting information from the US Copyright Office site. Sorry if the information was incorrect. I did think, though, that copyright violation claims had to be filed in federal court, not state or local. Thus, if you can't get access to federal court without registering, you've got no ability to take legal action.
  32. Jennifer,

    If you don't register you have what is called a common law copyright.

    Here is an example of a case that went to state courts rather than federal courts.


    Copyright infringement of by itself is not a criminal offense, it is a civil matter. In the 1700s copyrights lasted less than 20 years. So had copyright law have not been changed in Doug's case his picture would be in the public domain by now.
  33. Ok, I am not by any means a computer knowledgeable person BUT I used to work in a bank and most checks had a feature that when you scanned or copied them VOID would appear all over. We are all photographers and we have thought at a time or another about the possibility of our work being used without our will or knowledge. Is there no computer programmer out there that can create such a system that would make my name appear all over my picture as soon as someone saved it on their computer? If there is a way to "steal" someone else?s picture, there must be a way to prevent it. Being OK with it is not an option. Doug, thank you for sharing this with us. I know you are upset about your pictures being cloned but please keep just one watermark on your pictures. I want them back!

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