I have not used hubpages for around a year and have recently started to get back into it, I must admit that in the beginning I was a little Naive and posted images into my hubs willy nilly without thought of where they came from. I have recently recieved an email from a photo place saying that I have used one of their images in a hub that is now 19 months old, This hub was in my opinion rubbish and has recieved only a few hubdred views. Here is the email I recived.
it has come to our attention that you have been using one of our images on your hubpages account. The article in question is entitled How To Keep Your Feet Warm In Winter and was published on 21 January 2011. Therefore you are now liable to pay a licence fee for the commercial use of this image for the last 19 months. Should the image remain on your page on or after 1st August 2012 then you will have to pay for an additional month and for each subsequent month the image is used. The image in question is the image of a postman in the snow entitled UK in January. The monthly fee for commercial use of our images is £5 per month plus a penalty fee of £5 per month for each month the image was used without permission. Therefore if the image is removed before 1st August 2012 you will be liable for £190 plus VAT ( £228). Should you continue to use the image after that I will count that as being with consent and will invoice accordingly for £5 plus VAT (£6) per month. Should we not hear from you within 14 days we will contact hubpages and raise a DMCA complaint against you. Please respond promptly and we will provide paypal details for you to make the payment and will should you require send you an invoice for your records.
I have already removed said image but my question is this apart from apologising unresevedly for my naiviety do I have to pay this sum, as at the moment I am not in the financial position to do so. Thanks guys
This does not even begin to sound legitimate. I would not be overly concerned about it for the time being. You have dropped the image and that is the "normal" expectations under such circumstances. I could be wrong on this, but I have not heard of such a practice before, just sending an email with payment demands and such.
Unfortunately, this is real and a common practice.
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/sep/13 … -lazarus13
They can raise a civil case against you to claim their money in the small claims court which will obviously cost money and time - so they might not.
You have already removed the picture so they have no grounds to have your hub unpublished.
They also have to find you.........
I would send an email saying that you are sorry, you did it without any real understanding and you are not in a financial situation to repay them. So even if you wanted to you can't. Or alternatively ignore them until you receive formal legal notification which will probably never come for such a small sum.
If they are UK based it is unlikely they will pursue as they will know how unlikely it is that they will get the money.
That is my personal opinion and not legal advice or anything that either of my dogs would suggest doing on a Saturday afternoon.
I don't know how it works in the UK, but here in the US, the cost of raising a civil claim would be extremely low (it's about $25) and unless the defendant physically showed up to the court proceedings, you'd then automatically win your case and potentially could have increased the amount of money you were asking for on the grounds that the defendant had stolen your property and used it illegally for 19 months and then purposely ignored their responsibilities (including appearing in court).
Hopefully they won't resort to something like that, but given that they just billed you £190 with one email, you never know until it plays out....
This is the email I just sent and im hoping it appeals to his better nature!!
Firstly let me assure you that as soon as I had read your email this morning the image concerned was swiftly removed, Secondly let me assure you that it was never my attention to use your image for my own gain. I blame it entirely on my own naivety in not realising that google images contain pictures that are not free for public use. In fact your email has prompted me to revisit previous articles to make sure I have not done the same thing with other peoples work.
All I can offer you im afraid is my sincere wholehearted apologies for my naive actions, I am out of work at the moment and as such have no means to be able to pay the sum you request, I hope that this situation can be resolved by way of my sincere apology and the swift removal of said image and the promise that a lesson has indeed been learnt.
I never set out to use copywrited material I guess I just wasnt thinking when I wrote that particular hub!! Thanks for your help guys, I shall wait and see if I get a reply. OOh I just found out his website is only 6 months old so How did I cant of used an image from his site as my hub is 13 months older.!!
I think you just learned that your copyright enforcer is really a copyright troll/spammer. I suggest you educate yourself on those scenarios as well.
Oh no wait he has another photo site that is 9 years old!! Ok lets just wait and see what he says first!!
I had a situation similar to this a couple of years ago regarding a site for an offline business. I had used an unlicensed image as a placeholder when building the site and forgot to replace it. The image licensing agent spotted my mistake and sent me a bill for $2,200.
Immediately upon receiving the notice I removed the offending image and replace it with one for which I had rights. I then sent an email to the agent informing him of the mistake and that his image had been replaced. I also told him that I had an account with iStockPhoto and the image in question was worth at most $4.50. I informed him that I'd be happy to pay him the $4.50.
When I received a return email from the pesky agent telling me that my information was irrelevant, I sent a reply to him informing him that his demand was bordering on blackmail and that I was considering filing a charge against him. I haven't heard from him since.
Not exactly helpful now, but in the future, stick to
1) Wikipedia pictures, which is Creative Commons licensed
2) pictures that are similarly licensed. Use a CC search engine (look for it, I think one's on lifehacker)
3) http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ Free for use on a blog, tons of low-res images that just require a linkback to the main site.
Legally, the photographer does have a right to charge you, but are you sure the person you are dealing with is the true owner of the photograph?
In your case, I would plead ignorance. I don't mean that in a derogatory way. But, you really didn't know. Right? If this person wants to hire and attorney, which he or she probably won't because the cost of an attorney would be more than the fee being charged to you and it is such a hassle to deal with something like this in person - having to go to the courthouse and all.
I wish you all the best, but my gut feeling tells me this photographer (or possible scam artist) is just fishing for fools. Don't be a fool. Don't pay it unless it is demanded of you from a court official. Consider it a lesson in life and doing business on the internet.
Incidentally, Google does have a statement on their web site that tells readers that the photos are not to be used without the artist's permission. Most people don't read that part of the page when they are looking for images.
The photo artists that I know are happy when people use the photos that they place on the internet. They are happy with a back link to their web page where potential clients can communicate with them directly and order their photography service. These photographers look at it as a form of advertising. The photographers that I know would never try to collect money from users of their work. That's what makes me think the photographer you are dealing with is a scammer.
It makes me think they photographers you know are not full time, non-stock photographers (many of whom are wildly annoyed by unauthorized use). You can ask the photographer to document their identity with a full DMCA take down notice before you pay up. But assuming they are a scammer might mean walking backwards into a bill with four digits. And as an artist there is a good chance they can get legal representation for free. The defendant, not so much.
Yes. The photographers I am familiar with are full-time, some of them past clients of mine. Not everyone works in the same prescribed manner. Just because they are non-stock does not mean they are not full time professionals. The photographers I refer to understand that once something is on the internet, there is a chance it will get "stolen". The object is to take advantage of that and merely ask the person to create a back link to their web site. Or, if they don't want to be affiliated with the user, then they ask them to take it down. You don't need to get paid for everything. Some things you just do for "good will", and good will has a value. Also, if I eluded that people should "assume" these unknown photographers are scammers, then I chose the wrong words to convey my message. I didn't mean to say we should assume they were scammers. By all means verify first.
I think the photographer's reply on this thread pretty much eliminates up any suspicion that the letter might be a scammer that can be blithely ignored.
I agree with you on that. And, somehow it is comforting to know that the photographer is a real person who deserves respect for the way he handled things in the end. I would do business with a person like that, further, I would refer business to him because he showed compassion and understood that there was no malicious intent to take advantage of him. Yes. He could sue and win, but he chose not to do that - and that is what makes him an honorable person.
I was going to just reply to warchild75 privately but having seen all the messages on here I thought it would benefit more people if I posted on the thread. Who knows now I have an account I may just do a hub on this subject. I know the initial email I send is quite abrupt but it is an email that can be used in court proceedings so has to be factual and precise. I saw some people thought it was a scam and lets be honest there are a fair few scammers out there. I figured that rather than hiding like most companies do I would pop in and say hi. Hopefully this has helped some people avoid ending up in this situation especially as companies like Getty don't back off once engaged.
Yes. You should do a hub on the subject - from the photographer's point of view. That would be enlightening and teach us how to keep out of trouble. We all want to make money, but it should never be at the expense of someone else. I would read your hub and I would share it to help others learn a valuable lesson about the use of images.
Thanks everyone!! I'm not malicious and have a better understanding of it all now! I am going to email him tonigt and apologise and explain that I cannot pay! It is a uk based company and I'm hoping an apology does the trick!! Thanks for the help!!
When I get home I will compose an email and put it on here for you guys to see to see if t sounds ok!
Did you link to the image's URL? Or did you download the image and then upload it to Hubpages? How do they know you didn't purchase the image?
Since so many hubbers use pen names, how do these places know the images weren't purchased under another name?
From now on - stick to Morguefile and the like, but I'm unsure how they would know you didn't purchase it.
Warchild--I think many signs point to this being a scam to extract money from you. For one thing, they're asking you to pay with Paypal rather than offering you the option of sending a check. If they were a legit business, they would accept either form of payment. They know that if they accepted a check you would know their names and physical location, which they want to keep secret.
Also, how do they expect to bill you or sue you if all the info they have is your Hubpages username? Your profile doesn't show your legal name. And I hope you didn't give it to them in your first email.
I suggest you use tineye to look for all the possible sources of the image and use whois to find out who owns the sites you mentioned. If it was me I would simply take down the image and ignore these emails because something seems fishy about all of it. Good luck to you.
ETA: I just used tineye to see other places where the image might have been used and the only thing that came up was this news article
unlike the other images in the article, this one is not watermarked with "PA", "Getty" or any other source.
Unfortunately, a copyright owner demanding payment for your use of their photos is legit, legal, and within their rights, although the majority of copyright owners are nice enough not to exercise their rights.
For example, this blog paid $4000 after receiving a similar letter, charging them for the time they had the photos up before they removed them.
This is especially true if it's a commercial photographer or artist who makes a living through their photos. They offer their photos for a fee. You used their photos, so they're asking that you pay the licensing fee just as you would if you'd gotten use of those photos legally. You can't say, "I used your photo without permission, so I don't have to pay its licensing fee!" That's like saying, "I broke into your theater's side door illegally, so I don't have to pay the theater the ticket price for any of the movies I watched!" if you get caught.
At this point you've got a few choices:
-- Get a lawyer and see if you can get off the hook with a fair use argument, but you'll have to go to court for that, which costs money.
-- pay up. To me, 5 pounds a month sounds like a fairly standard commercial photography licensing fee.
-- try to negotiate for a fee reduction on the grounds of ignorance. You might offer something else in return, like giving them a hub about their photography service...free advertising?
-- offer to pay them half your hubpages income until the licensing fee is paid off, with maybe a little interest?
I donno if they'd go for those last two; I'm trying to come up with creative ways to deal with a fee you didn't know you owed.
At least they're not charging you damages for copyright violations on top of what the stock photo actually costs.
The short answer is that the copyright holder does have the right to charge you for the use of the picture. How much is a difficult matter, I don't know exactly what they are allowed to charge. The amount cited seems not unreasonable and it may well be cheaper to pay it than to engage in a legal battle or wait until they make it a debt collection issue or bill you for their legal fees. I hope your letter is considered sufficient apology, but that would be at their discretion.
Well let me as the photographer in question address a few points here. Those of you advising warchild75 that he has breached copyright and should work with me to reach an amicable solution are giving good advice. I am not a scam artist and I do own the copyright to this image I can if required produce the original image to prove this. I am not fishing for fools I am merely protecting part of my income which I obtain through licensing images for use on the web and in advertising leaflets etc. People have mentioned some photographers being happy with the link and credit neither of which I got from the use you made of my image. probably because you got it from the BBC news website not my site. I can provide bank details or accept a cheque and I can provide a full VAT invoice for the purchase.
For those thinking that it costs a lot to start legal proceedings it may surprise you to know that a solicitors letter for an unpaid invoice can be sent for as little as £2.50 and once done £40 can be added to the invoice. An invoice for £228 will become nearly £500 very rapidly. I know because I have chased unpaid invoices from businesses (not for using images I would like t add). I have had a look at the site and taken into consideration warchild75's likely income from the use of the image (not much I would think) and as he is not a business but just some guy trying to make some extra money I have decided not to pursue him and will hold the invoice on file to be submitted if he uses another of my images without consent. I will email Lee showing that I have already obtained an address for him just to show that tracking people down isn't an issue either.
Hopefully everyone on here can learn from warchild75's lucky escape and photographers like myself can stop seeing or images being used without permission, after all we are all doing the same thing, just trying to earn a few quid.
Well said. I know Warchild did it through ignorance, but it constantly amazes me how many writers have a double standard. They get their knickers in a knot if someone uses one of their articles without permission, but they think it's OK to use the work of a fellow creative artist (a photographer) without permission!
A very reasonable compromise to this problem with an educational experience for all.
I agree that you should work with the person involved and see if it can be resolved in a nice manner
Friend of mine used a Getty image on her website and yes, legally they can charge for commercial display/use of the image. This is specifically why, when creating a Hub, the capsule warning states:
"...import images you have the legal right to use".
All Hubs deemed commercial -meaning they can be used to generate revenue- that display imported or uploaded images created, owned or licensed by another individual or site, are considered enhancements to that revenue generation. Therefore, the owner of that image or video, has every right to request remuneration for usage. Attribution does not satisfy the commercial issue, unless the owner of the image, video, etc grant that permission.
This forum has made me more conscientious of my use of images. I'm grateful for that because I don't want to step on anyone's internet earning capacity. Previously, I was using an image for my HubPages profile that gave me permission to use it for blogs, websites, etc. Permission was granted to modify and use the image in whatever manner I chose. But, then after reading your comment about "commercial" use, I realized that my hubs are commercialized. So I went back to re-read the agreement. Sure enough, there was a phrase about not using it on commercial sites. I immediately changed my profile picture to one of my own photos - my morning cup of coffee.
Ignorance is bliss, but ignorance is no excuse. Right? Fortunately, there was no charge to use the former image; it just can't be used on commercial space. I'm glad I came into this forum. It's the little things that get us into trouble.
Thanks Richard, Lesson learnt, I am now spending then next few days carefully going through my hubs looking for other breaches of copywrite, im glad you could see it was an honest mistake and have sent you an email stating such. I think this calls for some more investigation and possibly a new hub to write so as other people who are writing hubs and placing pictures without to much forethought understand it a little better.
warchild75- I think this would be a worthy hub to write your experience has been an eye-opener.
Agreed! Reading the title, I was very curious to find out the end result of this forum post. Now, I'm glad to see how it turned out, and that we got to see both sides of the story. This experience organized in a hub would make a wonderful example for others to witness. It might save someone future troubles as well.
Since you have already removed the photo, I would reply to the e-mail and explain your situation. The photographer seems like a reasonable person and you may be able to reach some sort of compromise or reasonable agreement. But, I wouldn't ignore the e-mail. The photographer is protecting his work just like Hubbers protect theirs.
Im glad my naivety in the subject gave many people in this forum food for thought, I will definatly write a dummies guide to publishing pictures within your hubs as im sure there are hundreds of hubbers out there doing the same thing. The scary thing is, is that im quite an experienced hubber and should of known better. Still we all overlook things from time to time.
The e-mail sent to you appeared fraudulently and a way to collect money via PayPal. I would recommend searching for the actual photographer and asking if he could grant you permission to use the image. Something fishy about that e-mail and if they were a legitimate company they would know the Tos rules for Google and I don't believe anyone can collect that far back. The Tos rules are not that old.
Wow, I'm just thinking how wealthy I would be if I did this to every single person on every single junk revenue sharing site who stole my content. Except I can never find them and half the time the sites disappear too before I a formal complaint can go through.
It sounds like nonsense to me. I think they are trying to scare you into coughing up a wad of money. What are they going to do? Sue you? And then what? If you were someone famous it might be different, but it seems they are banking on you feeling horrified and scared.
You might read the rest of this thread and find out about the nice guy you're insulting.
I hope Howzatphotography hangs around and decides to write some hubs now that he has joined hubpages- sounds like he'd be a great contribution to the hubbing community.
I don't see it as an insult. I'm just sharing how I see it. I did re-post after this when I saw the issue had been resolved with howzat.
It's easy to get insulted in forums when no insult was intended, and I was not nearly as harsh as some others in stating my thoughts on the matter.
so you dont see this
"It sounds like nonsense to me. I think they are trying to scare you into coughing up a wad of money. What are they going to do? Sue you? And then what? If you were someone famous it might be different, but it seems they are banking on you feeling horrified and scared."
as an insult? sounds to me like you are accusing me of trying to scare money out of people
So, I just read why you resolved this and the post by Howzat.
I stick to Wiki and Creative Commons license images from Flickr, and include attributions when I use them, but I still find this tactic unnecessarily aggressive. It would be great if we were all well paid for what we do. We're not. While I understand why it's wrong to use copyrighted images (and that's why I don't use them), I also think it's ridiculous to pursue every internet infraction like it's first degree murder.
Like I said, I've had my content stolen so often it's not even funny, and if I tracked down every single instance of it I'd have time to do nothing else. I would rather write than sue people with no money.
I take my own photos!
It is not difficult these days with a smartphone or digital camera. Use a white sheet or black cloth for the more dramatic backgrounds or to get a studio "look".
The new cameras take care of a lot of problems and they give good images for most, if not all articles. You can upload them to any number of free photo storage and editing sites and manage them well.
In some cases, a single photo can be cropped and edited, then used for many purposes.
Good for you, Xenonlit! (Not meaning that in a snarky way. Can't think of another way to put it, however.)
Your approach seems to be the direction HP wants us all to go.
Take your own photos and shoot your own videos.
I'm a bit daunted by that idea.
I'm a WRITER.
I have some aptitude for (sometimes) stringing words together in a way that makes sense.
That is the extent of my abilities.
I do not have the eye, the technical skills, or the TIME to become a full-service publisher.
I doubt I am the only one here (?).
I must rely on photo sites that are "fair game" to enhance my hubs.
But good to know how others are handling the challenge.
This is a great thread because this kind of info sharing is what the HP COMMUNITY is all about!
what can I say, looking through this thread with the number of people jumping in to call me a scammer, a con artist and a chancer. All claiming that my claim has no basis in law and you should all ignore people like me. Non of them taking the time to read the whole thread and spot the important facts, like its been sorted out. My claim could be pursued through the courts and if the person has no money then goods to the value of the debt can be seized by bailiffs. Its probably because they jump in thinking they know best and ignoring sound advice because its boring that they end up in serious trouble.
Yes there are better things to do than chase everyone that uses my images. I don't, the overseas ones aren't worth it. The UK ones I do chase, if like warchild75 they apologise, remove the image and clearly haven't made much from it and don't have much I tend to let it go. If they have made a lot from it then I insist on my share of it. If it is a business then I always insist on payment, businesses that have their on lawyer or a solicitor they regularly use usually either pay up or negotiate a settlement. Those that don't generally give lots of abuse then when they get the solicitors letter they get legal advice and pay up.
Yes this does all sound harsh but I take images to sell just the same as the local shop buys stock to sell, try stealing their stock and see what happens. Now I have said that some people will say yes but they have lost the stock you still have the image to sell. yes I do but I can no longer sell it for exclusive use which is about the only form of sale that makes a decent price. I will detail some of this in a hub when I get 5 mins
Welcome to Hub Pages!
Please do write a hub on this, as it will be invaluable to the community.
Many of us have seen our work plagiarized onto other sites and it's infuriating and frustrating.
I imagine that is how you feel when you see your images being lifted for so-called "commercial use" (speaking for myself, and my HP earnings that would be something of an overstatement).
What do you see as a mutually beneficial solution here?
I agree with the others. Writing a hub on this subject would be very beneficial to the community.
At the end of the day finding pictures is our own problem. There are free-to-use places like sxu and morguefile and pre-copyright work. I think some of my hubs cross the line and this has been a good reminder to review them.
I think a better practice is whenever you are using an image, always mention the resource where does it come from.
You don't have to put a backlink for that, you can just mention in the image description.
Except that listing the source does NOT give you any right to use it, unless it is expressly presented in that manner. Wikimedia, for instance, lists the license under which you may reproduce the photos there and most simply require listing the source. But most photos on the web give no such permission for use no matter what you do - listing the source, with or without a backlink is worthless as you are still violating copyright law.
Interesting thread. It's given me the idea of charging sites who have duplicated content from me. If photographers can do it, what about writers? Instead of a DMCA, we send them a well worded invoice...
Is it acceptable just to use the website address under each photo?
Not unless the photographer gives permission to use the photo with attribution.
Instead of using the web site, you should list the photographer by name, provide a link as courtesy or if required, and it helps if you name the type of license (assuming the images are listed under "free to use, even commercially").
Although I do not share Howzat Photography's mindset when it comes to photos used on hubs, blogs etc (not including major publications) I have to admit that he is within his right to "demand" payment for the use of the image although it is usually limited to the regular prize charged others for a similar use.
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