Does anybody know anything about copyrights?

Nigella(9a-steamy)December 17, 2005

I've just discovered an Ebay seller using a photo I took of a passionflower in a store listing, truly, I just stumbled across it, I wasn't looking for it. I'm stunned! I know for certain that it's my picture, I will post a link to the listing if anybody's interested. How does copyright infringement work? Should I send the guy a bill? I'm having a bit of a time with this, I never thought anyone would do such a thing. TIA for any advice.

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Mentha(9 CA)

I'd contact Ebay and tell them that the guy is using your picture, they will then remove the auction. You can also leave a comment on their seller's feedback for all to read. That's about the best you can do.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 11:13PM
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Cena(S CA 10A)

There have been a couple of discussions on this down through history, here. I haven't seen any lately. The best thing to do is to contact the person, explain that they are using your intellectual property without consent, and you would appreciate it if they stopped. You might have to go a further step, and you will have to figure out how comfortable you are, and how far you want to go. If you get no satisfaction from the user, and you wish them to NOT use your property, then contact eBay, and follow up.

I would suggest that you start embedding your DragonFly Eye in everything, even past pictures. It can be done quite unobtrusively, and I know your are 'literate' enough to make it happen. Once you identify your property, folks are much less likely to use it willy nilly, and you will get legitimate requests to use a photo. I have never had this happen. I don't sell, and really would have not much heart burn letting someone use a photo of mine. I WOULD have significant heartburn if they just up and helped themselves!

You might do a search round here, and see if any other forums are discussing this subject. It happens a lot more often than you would expect. I know of at least one fellow who pretty much quit posting at C&S because of this type of pilferage. He was adamant the only place he had ever shared any of his photos was on that site, and that someone just helped themselves.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 3:32AM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

Thanks ladies, I have written to the seller demanding that he discontinue using the picture. He pulled it from Hortiplex, I'm pretty sure. This is the one he's using:

Since the picture was taken as a 75th birthday present for the fabulous Nell, and she has the only copy of it I ever printed, it's like a double violation. This fellow is a competitor using my work to promote his listing, so that by itself would have raised my hackles, but it also feels like he stole from both Nell and me.

If he doesn't take it out by noon I'll be reporting him not only to Ebay but also to Andale where he hosts his pictures. I only WISH he were stealing them directly from my PhotoBucket album, lol. I have something for people who do that.

There are ways to "watermark" a picture that carry a digital signature that doesn't interfere with the visual part of the image. I may have to get real interested in that one of these days. In the meantime I kind of hate to have to put that tag on my GW pics but it may come to that if this kind of thing keeps up.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 4:39AM
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ooojen(z4MN)

That's a gorgeous picture! I hope you get some satisfaction out of this whole deal. Like you said, it's a violation on several levels, what with the picture-nabber being a competitor & all.
I've had pictures lifted off the C&S forum. I wouldn't have known, but someone recognized my shots and gave me the heads up. I'm not aware of anyone swiping shots that were really special to me, but they're still mine, and I'd like to be asked. A little byline, "photo by...", would be enough to satisfy me. Of course, I'm not selling on ebay!
The "THIEF FRAUD" insert is a great idea! Very clever!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 10:27AM
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catalina_101(UK)

Margaret--I'm so sorry, for the double offence that person has brought on you. How frustrating it is!

What I would recommend is just what you said--you can embed a watermark right across the centre of your photo with your eBay ID in it so that if this person tries it again, they'll just be advertising for you (not a part easily cropped). I think you're an ifranview fan and there are ways to create watermarks in that program. If you would like I can find a link for you.

In the meantime, contact the person if you can and let them know that they've stolen your photo. The fact that this person is in direct competition with you makes it worse. Also alert eBay--they must have policies for such things.

Good luck, and if you need any help finding information on making a watermark please lmk or email me. I'll try to dig up some pages.

PS This happened to me last year--I'm a real photography buff and an old regular on EZ Board, and an online friend let me know that my signature (a photo of the very distinctive mountains in my hometown) was in someone else's signature. I messaged the woman and asked her to k indly not steal others' photos. I never post any photos openly anymore, only in private photo forums or in 'public' with watermarks--like you say it's just too upsetting to see your work stolen.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 1:58PM
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foxykitten350234(z6)

I honestly don't know the legalitys on this issue. I was once contacted by a magazine about one of my pictures asking me if they could use it in one of their atricles. I didn't know if they had to ask me or if they were just being considerate. I wrote back to them giving them permission to use that speciffic photo for that speciffic magazine and article. I covered all the details just in case. I didn't want to give them free reign over all my pictures. Lately I have noticed that some of my pictures have been accessed and obviously posted somewhere. This bothers me only because whoever has done this didn't ask. I have been tempted to make my online album private because of this, but I know I like looking at other GWers albums and I like to give them the opportunity to look at mine if they want to.

Margaret I hope you can get this all straightened out quick. Please keep us updated on your progress and anything you learn about this subject.

Foxy.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 2:17PM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

Thanks for all the kind words, I can't tell you how much I appreciate them. I have been using Irfanview to "sign" my images for Ebay, and a few slip through to GW, but I think from now on they'll all have the signature, which I don't like because it's only a matter of time before someone decides to sabotague one of my auctions because they don't like something I say over here. Danged if ya do, danged if ya don't. Or something like that.

Here's what I wrote the man last night:

>> Please remove my picture from this listing. If it is not removed by Sunday, December 17, 12:00 noon, I will contact Ebay about copyright infringement. Here's his reply:

>> Which is the picture. There are 4 on the page puchased from Jack Mayhoffer's Nature Catalogue.

So now I know that he seems to have "bought" it from someone else who.....uhm......borrowed(?!!!???!!!?) it. I'm trying to figure out how I can track this Jack Mayhoffer down, a Google search doesn't turn up anything.

BTW, I replied to him about 2 hours ago but the picture is still there. Ebay is gonna be tough, they don't make it easy to report stolen pictures unless they're stolen from an auction. Sheesh!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 3:27PM
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foxykitten350234(z6)

Margaret, you could always try asking him how to contact Jack Mayhoffer. He could very well have some choice words for you in response, but it is worth a try. I would also suggest you tread lightly with this Jack Mayhoffer just in case the seller who is using your picture is lieing.

Foxy.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 3:51PM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

Aw Foxy, thanks for the good advice. I've already written to Mr. Hirt(at least I guess that's the name?), here's what I said:

>> Hi,
Thank you, sorry to be so angry, you're a competitor after all, but I don't usually blow my stack. The picture has special significance to me. This is the picture:

It was lifted from my Hortiplex entry at GardenWeb where it has been posted for approximately a year and a half:

http://hortiplex.gardenweb.com/plants/jour/nph-jdisplay.cgi?username=Nigella&key=gw1028669&order=alpha&page=5

Can you give me the link where you found the picture in question and who gave you authorization/sold you the right to use it? Thanks,

"I am not obsessed, I'm focused"...Margaret Crow

So far I haven't heard back from him/her and the picture is still there

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 4:12PM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

Oh, and Mentha, I'd have to buy something from this person again to leave feedback. I ordered a couple of things from him years ago and found out that isn't such a great idea.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 4:13PM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

I bet you're all bored to tears of this already, but I did go to Ebay's Seller Central board with this as well. I feel sooooo stupid now, I wish I'd seen this before I made a nice, intelligent reply to the jerk:

>Jack Mayhoffer's? Are you sure this person isn't pulling a Bart Simpson on you? I'm not going to translate my interpretation of what that name could sound like.

If you're serious about wanting the seller to remove the picture, write back to him again and insist he does so regardless of where he said he got the pic from. Or, on another route, offer to allow him to use the pic on this one instance if he will give you the contact info of the person who he says sold it to him.

My personal bet is that he is jerking your chain... We'll see.

Well, of course he is, how idiotic of me! I can't believe I fell for it, I'm really getting old, I guess. I wonder how he likes the invoice for $150 I sent him through PayPal? And I wonder how many times he's had to explain his way out of a mess like this to VeRO? The last laugh will be on him, I promise.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 9:10PM
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Mentha(9 CA)

I just have to say you've been a lot more lienient than I would have been. I would have reported immediately to ebay. Passing go would not have been an option. I've been stolen from also, and it's not fun, I'm not patient any more.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 12:10AM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

Mentha, there's no option through Ebay for reporting pictures that are stolen from another site that I can find so far. I asked about it on Seller Central and nobody's answered so far. Since it's going to be a pain for me to drag the fax machine down to go through VeRO I'm willing to give him a little leeway. I'm pretty sure he's just going to sink his boat a little further but maybe I'll have a little un-looked-for cash in my pocket and a renewed confidence in my artistic abilities. Nothing is as much of a inspiration as having a good idea make money, lol. I might feel otherwise, and act otherwise, if I could go ahead and report easily.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 12:24AM
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lunamoon(5 MA)

I can imagine how maddening it must be to have your picture stolen. I hope this gets resolved satisfactorily for you.

Out of curiosity, I tried searching for Jack Mayhoffer and encountered another thread on a different forum discussing the eBayer in question. Seems like a name he uses often... Turns out I bought some seeds from him quite a while ago. None of them germinated.

It is also the name of a character in a SNL skit...

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 1:01AM
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Mentha(9 CA)

I know on the epiforums there was a guy who stole a picture from one of the big epiphyllum sellers. Somehow they were able to get the auction shut down. I figured he used the contact on ebay's site to file a complaint. It took me a while to find it.
Good luck :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Ebay contact

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 1:05AM
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foxykitten350234(z6)

Margaret, I'm not bored to tears of this...not at all. I'm hanging on every word! I'm curious about copyrights on pictures on the internet and I want to see you have the justice you deserve. I had a feeling he was lieing to you in his response, but never thought he was making up a person to put the blame on. This man is, well I can't use that kind of language on here, but I'm shure you have an idea of what I think of him. Go for it, report his miserable @$$ to ebay and get his auction shut down! It is bad enough he stole from you, but to respond the way he did just adds to the insult.

Foxy.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 3:35AM
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mrbrownthumb(z5 Chicago)

Technically you own anything that you create, but you don't have a copyright infringement unless you've sent out your images and got a copyright.

Your 'invoice' was a good idea. But chances of you getting the money are slim to none. And unless you worded it with the proper legal language you may have created yourself another problem. Did you sell him the rights to a one time use or did you grant him the right to use it forever? Or did you sell him the exclusive rights? If he pays it he may end up owning the image which will grant him the right to use it or sell it.

MBT

Here is a link that might be useful: info on fair use.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 12:11PM
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Mentha(9 CA)

Having worked in website design for quite a while I know that you do not have to have a piece of paper stating copyright. Once it is created it belongs to you and only you. Now if you wanted to share it with someone or even sell the use of it, you may, but the picture still belongs to you. Unless you sign over the rights to it, it will belong to you until whenever legal copyrights are ended. Fair use can not be used for sales, but only personal use. This is not a case of fair use. I have to ask permission for each and every picture I use in web design. So now I only use my own photographs. They may not be professional grade, but I know they are mine and only mine.

Here is a link that might be useful: What is copyright?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 1:34PM
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foxykitten350234(z6)

Margaret, any updates? Did ebay shut down his auction?

Foxy.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 1:35AM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

Well, I got better advice here, from Mentha, than I got from Ebay's Live Chat, lol. Thank you, Mentha!

Luna, the Zephyranthes citrina bulbs, which are southern US natives, I bought from him under a different name took months to arrive from Holland and were basically just papery shells full of more papery stuff(dried out past salvaging). Even before this I wouldn't have bought anything from this person. In my opinion he's the Michagan Bulbs Co. of Ebay.

Foxy, yes, there is an update as a matter of fact. The fellow in question, whom I will not call a gentleman, refused my invoice, which I expected, but he also took my picture out of his listing. I thought that would be the end of it, this person is a powerseller after all so you'd think he'd be a professional, but this evening he used a different, but very similar, powerselling ID to send me 8 different harrassing emails, many about the "poor quality" of the pictures I used in one of my store listings. I ended up feeling like I had to make a report to the Trust and Safety Board over there. Since he's a powerseller I doubt that anything will come of this single incident but you never know. I wish we had a venue for independent sellers on GW. I've made the suggestion over at the Suggestions and Comments forum but since others have made it in the past and nothing has come of it I doubt anything will this time either. Oh well, Ebay sucks but it seems to be the only show in town.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 3:55PM
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foxykitten350234(z6)

Oh Margaret, this guy sounds like a class A jerk. Keep reporting him everytime he emails you or steals one of your pictures. I guess that is about all you can do. At least he stopped using that picture.

Foxy.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 1:23AM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

Oh Foxy, you should see what he did to the other three pictures! He's good with PhotoShop or The Gimp, I'll allow that. I'd give you a dime to a dozen that they're......borrowed as well. I'm tempted to look over all his auctions and see if I can trace down the owners of all this intellectual property, I have a feeling that all of those pictures are borrowed without permission.

He can't email me anymore, I've blocked him every way I know how. If he does get through he's really pushing, which probably means he's a little unbalanced, which I suspect. Of course I'm going to keep reporting him, lol, it makes me feel almost alright to be able to do that.

I sent you a couple of emails last night but never heard from you :( LMK when you're up to a phone call and send me your physical address or PO Box number, I have something for you.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 4:44AM
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foxykitten350234(z6)

Sorry Margaret, I haven't been on the computer as much the past few days. I'm going to be up late tonight, as usuial.lol I'm ready for a call. I should be off the computer in about ten minutes so the phone line will be open.

Foxy.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 12:15AM
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