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digital images copyrights

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by DR2000, Oct 8, 2001.

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  1. DR2000

    DR2000 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    First of all I wanted to say that this site seems to be a great resource. I always have a lot of questions in legal matters, and no right person to ask.

    I've had this one problem for quite some time now.

    I have a site which contains a library of car pictures. All those pictures I took myself. Do I have to do anything to copyright each one of them? I update the library often, and it would be hard to be filling copyrights or something for each one.

    The problem is there is one site that likes to take images from my library, and I can't seem to make anything. I contacted the guy, and I guess he considered my requests to take it off a joke.

    Then I contacted the owner of the server who hosts his site. He said that I should get over it, it's just a pic.

    Also he told me that the only way he'll tell the guy to remove it is through court.

    The I looked up the companies that provide internet connections for the server. Here are the statements in their policies:

    "Compliance With Law.

    Customer shall not post, transmit, re-transmit or store material on or
    through any of Services or Products which, in the sole judgment of the
    Company (i) is in violation of any local, state, federal or non-United
    States law or regula-tion, (ii) threatening, obscene, indecent, defamatory
    or that other-wise could adversely affect any individual, group or entity
    (collectively, "Persons") or (iii) violates the rights of any person,
    including rights protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other
    intellectual property or similar laws or regulations including, but not
    limited to, the installation or distribution of "pirated" or other software
    products that are not appro-priately licensed for use by Customer. Customer
    shall be responsible for determining what laws or regulations are applicable
    to its use of the Services and Products."

    and another company:

    "Illegal use
    The network may be used only for lawful purposes. Transmission, distribution
    or storage of any material in violation of any applicable law or regulation
    is prohibited. This includes, without limitation, material protected by
    copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property right used
    without proper authorization, and material that is obscene, defamatory,
    constitutes an illegal threat, or violates export control laws."

    So what would be my next step? And do I have copyrights to my pictures? If not, how can I protect them?

    Thank you very much for your help.
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I'll provide a more detailed reply later today, but suffice it to say that the webmaster/host is asking for trouble. What you want to do is send this guy a notice as per the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which may impute liability to a webmaster/host for knowingly providing a resource to distribute infringing material when proper notice is given. If it's no big deal for him to make money from a client who is just posting a few measly photographs, he won't mind paying the value now would he? I wager he will!

    You do want to copyright your photographs. Ill need to look this up, but photographs do have a special section to register (as I'm sure you are aware) and there is, at least with regard to web sites, a 90 day window which one can continue to add materials to a registration. I'm not sure how it would work here and whether you might be able to consider this a dynamic collection.
     
  3. DR2000

    DR2000 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your time. I can't wait to hear your more detailed reply.

    Could you please elaborate on the issue of copyrighting digital images, because I'm not familiar with this stuff at all. All the images that I take only exist in digital form. I add new pictures to the site weekly, sometimes in big quantities.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Let us start with one at a time. You will definitely want to send the host a letter, certified return receipt, about the infringement. Under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, 17 USC 512, you need to do the following:
    We will have the DMCA online as reference in the coming week. Regarding your notice to the host, there is no question that you want to reference the substance of your conversation with the host and that he said that it was just a picture and no big deal, go away, etc.

    Note however, many hosts do not take such cease and desist letters seriously unless the letter is sent by an attorney or copyright enforcement organization. If you find that you aren't meeting with success, feel free to contact TheLaw.com and it can be done for you most economically. The goal here is to put the law into your hands and have an attorney intervene only when necessary.
     
  5. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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  6. DR2000

    DR2000 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you very much for your help.
     
  7. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    One last thing (and you are welcome! :D ) -- if you send a notice it should be by a verifiable method such as certified return receipt or via overnight mail with a recognized courier that can provide a record of delivery.
     

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