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My image in a GIF, shared over 123k times-but no way to find where it's originally from.

Discussion in 'Internet & Social Media Law' started by E. Holt, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. E. Holt

    E. Holt Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Florida
    Ok, so I'm gonna ask for legal advice here since I have absolutely no where to look or start on this,

    In December of 2017 when I was still living in my old apartment in South Florida, I created an account with Tenor.com for their GIF keyboard feature to use for making my own custom reaction GIFs and stuff that I could download and use on my facebook among other social media sites.
    I uploaded a GIF I had created from a video I had posted on one of my Youtube channels the year prior and tagged it with #nothing #bored and #whatididtoday. The GIF ended up being featured on the home page for the search term #nothing shortly after I uploaded it. A few months later Tenor was acquired by Google and the tags for #nothing had stayed the same, thus my image is usually the very first thing that ever pops up on any search for 'nothing' in the GIF keyboard that uses the Tenor platform including Twitter and many smartphones that have it installed. Since then this GIF has been shared over 123 thousand times and counting!!
    I do not have a problem with my image being shared this many times, and this is NOT a case where I want compensation or royalties on it. I'm a graduated media major, I know enough that those kinds of cases are never winnable with my agreeing to the Tenor terms of service when I signed up and uploaded my GIF file to their platform-basically giving them permission to do what they want to do with it. What I don't know and what I do want is for Tenor to give its users more opportunity to be able to directly link to the GIF's original source. After all, since GIFs are just an internet file version image of a movie- pretty much any and every GIF you find is a media piece from something else. There is literally no way for any GIF on their website or app to be linked to it's original source and thus while my image GIF has been shared all over the internet- no one will be able to find the original video it's from and that's what could potentially make me income from my Youtube partnership on my main channel. I find this can be a case with multiple things featured on the Tenor website, it's one thing to give something exposure- it's another to not even have a way to give credit to the original.

    What I would like to know is if there is any way I could get some sort of representation to the Tenor company on something like this and hopefully get them to agree to have a way to feature and link back to my original video- I think them doing this could probably help cover their butts on a bunch of other more legitimate copyright infringement cases. I'm just one individual and I have no way to get any sort of compensation for my particular image- but I'm sure there are bigger badder companies out there who would be more lenient to agree to this as well.

    Any help or quotes?

    Elle (I live in North Carolina now btw)
     

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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  2. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Remove the links to your sites.
     
  3. E. Holt

    E. Holt Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Huh, that's weird- I actually did cuz it wasn't letting me post the thread otherwise- but when I posted it the links somehow came back... Anyways that should be fixed now. Sorry bout that!
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    For what?

    You don't object to your picture being out there. You don't want any money.

    If you want people to see your original video, upload it to youtube.

    I'm not understanding what you are trying to accomplish.
     
  5. E. Holt

    E. Holt Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I mean while it would be great to get some sort of compensation for it I'm pretty sure that's not possible so what I'm asking for instead is for the original video to be linked to the GIF's page so it can be properly credited. Tenor has no way to do that on their website or app, but I am sure that this is a totally possible feature for them to add given the situation and others similar to it.

    I can't exactly contact Tenor myself to bring this to their attention, the only real way to communicate with any company on something like this is through legal representation right?
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  6. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Why do you think you can force Tenor to do what you wish?
     
  7. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    It might be possible that you'd be due some compensation for the use of your image. There could be both copyright issues and right of publicity issues. A lot depends on how your image has been used and the terms of your agreement with the service when you uploaded them. You might want to have an intellectual property lawyer look at that.

    As for approaching the company to provide a link back to the original video, you could try doing that yourself and see if they are at all receptive to the idea. Hiring a lawyer to do it for you might not be much more effective since there isn't any kind of legal action you can take to make the company do it. Perhaps a lawyer might present it a little better. If you can find someone — lawyer or otherwise — with connections to the company who would be willing to help pitch your idea, that may be your best bet.
     
  8. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    My sympathies in believing that you have the ability to control your own content online once it is placed online. You should be able to but the practicality of controlling digital files, at present, often isn't practical and cost-effective.

    If I understand correctly, you made a GIF of your own YouTube video. I doubt there would have a copyright infringement problem but it's your call to retain an intellectual property attorney for a legal opinion. And as to your compensation issue, I don't believe the value is in the video - it's the small image file being shared for a quick convenient mode of expression. Are millions going to click to go to your YouTube video to watch the short clip?

    Could you get a link to the image? Unless there is a way for you to add information about an image, I doubt that they will create a custom solution for you (and that would mean everyone else) unless you have a legal right.

    As to the control issue, you are probably correct. Even if you could remove the image from Tenor, it has been downloaded, used and shared multiple times in various places, including a forum on this site of which I am familiar (software development. site.) You'd have to send a DMCA takedown notice to every website which has 'ripped' this image from Tenor to preserve the value you're seeking to preserve. There are companies which can be hired which send search spiders and send for takedowns.

    As to the Tenor terms of use, you are correct about the legal challenges and there is only a limited amount you can do. Take a look at the Tenor terms of use, key words in bold.

    you automatically hereby grant to Tenor a worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, fully paid right and license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, modify, adapt, create derivative works of, publicly perform, display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part), publish, transmit and distribute such User Content on your behalf in any form, medium or technology now known or later developed, and to transmit such content on your behalf to recipients of your messages (the “Personal License”). You may remove your User Content from your App at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content from your App, the Private License granted above pertaining to such removed User Content will automatically expire; however, you acknowledge that Tenor and recipients of your messages may retain archived copies of your User Content, and that neither you nor Tenor can control the use of your User Content by recipients of your messages.

    Essentially they don't want to have a problem with a user removing an image and then having a broken image appear on what could be thousands or millions of shared posts on their system.

    Perhaps you may want to take advantage of your unexpected meme celebrity. That might be the best revenue driver and use of your time.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    You should also highlight "transferable" and "sublicense"
     
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  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    How Can I Contact Tenor?
    You may contact us at support@tenor.com or at the address below.

    Your submissions to us are subject to this Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service at Tenor Terms of Service.

    Tenor TOS

    Tenor Terms of Service

    Tenor Privacy Policies

    Tenor Privacy Policy

    ===================================

    What Happens to the GIFs and Videos that I Upload to Tenor?
    You may upload GIFs and Videos to Tenor through the Tenor Apps and Site. When you upload a GIF or Video, the GIF is "Personal" and is initially stored on your device for use later on that device. Once you create an account and log in to your account, your GIFs and Videos will be stored in Tenor's service and your GIFs and Videos will be available on any other devices logged into that account. If you decide to add a tag or tags to your GIF or Video, your GIF or Video, along with the associated tags, will be submitted to Tenor for review and, if approved, will become part of the Tenor content library and "Published" for use by other users of the Tenor Services. If you added a tag or tags to your GIFs or Videos prior to logging into your account, the GIF and Videos, and the associated tags, will be automatically submitted to Tenor upon logging into your account. Do not tag GIFs or Videos if you do not wish them to be Published and associated with your Account profile. When your GIF or Video is Published, it will be available to other users of the Tenor Services, your username and other Account profile information will be displayed alongside the GIF or Video, and Tenor users will be able to search for other GIFs and Videos you have uploaded based on your username.

    GIFs and Videos are not encrypted or hosted on a private URL, which means it is possible for others to figure out how to access your GIFs and Videos, even if Personal. Do not store any GIFs or Videos on Tenor that you do not wish others to be able to access or which you do not wish others to be able to associate with you.

    How Can I Correct Information that Tenor Has About Me?
    If you would like to correct any personal information that we hold about you, you may update your information in the user settings of your online Account (to the extent that functionality is available) or email us per “How Can I Contact Tenor?” below. For marketing emails, you may also follow the instructions in the email to opt-out.
     
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  11. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    So...you want this company to alter how it conducts its business.

    Not sure what "representation to the Tenor company" means. If you're looking to hire a lawyer, there is a "Find a Lawyer" link at the bottom of every page at this site.

    Sure.
    "We can walk our road together
    If our goals are all the same.
    We can run alone and free
    If we pursue a different aim.
    Let the truth of love be lighted,
    Let the love of truth shine clear.
    Sensibility, armed with sense and liberty,
    With the Heart and Mind united in a single perfect Sphere."

    N. Peart

    You can contact the company yourself, but I think it's unlikely that it will alter how it conducts its business whether you have a lawyer or not.
     

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