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AdviceCopyrightCopyright ViolationLegalUgh

Copyright Violation - What would you do?7042

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pixelray private msg quote post Address this user
So, I'm hoping for some feedback here - recently a realtor that I serve informed me that another realtor had stolen 7 photos of condo common areas and used them on two other listings in the complex. The photos she used, I took for my client only - she sold her listing and that was that. Well, when she was competing for another listing in there, she pulled comps and realized that this other realtor had stolen my images. Not once - but on two listings. What would you guys do? This is the first time I have known of this happening to me. I'm guessing I have a copyright violation case and could get my attorney to send a letter in hopes of a settlement. But would that make me "the bad guy"??? Or should I stand my ground and not stand for this?? Someone suggested I contact her and simply inform her and say, "How do you want to make this right?" Suggestions????
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HarlanHambright private msg quote post Address this user
Start softly and turn them into a new client. Next phase inform them of unauthorized usage fee. Next phase big guns.
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eggardner private msg quote post Address this user
I like the 'how do we make this right' approach!

One of my realtor clients had something similar to this happen and she reported the offending realtor to her local board of realtors and that is when the offending realtor took action and removed the images.
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jasondavidpage private msg quote post Address this user
While the best way is through an attorney, I like to reach out to agents in these situations myself. In my email (I always approach with writing vs calling), I explain who I am, what I do, and that most likely this was a misunderstanding (their clients providing the photos to them, they found them on google, etc.) and explain the basics of copyright. Then I outline my requirements for making the situation right. Because the units have apparently been sold, removing the photos isn't a way to remedy it, so a nominal fee is usually assessed. I don't try to be a hard ass and always treat them with kindness and ignorance at first. If they begin to deny they did anything wrong or escalate the situation, I then turn it over to an attorney for C&D and demand letters.
I use PIXSY to search for my commercial and stock photos, so I use them as my method of "finding" them.

Dear Agent,

I was alerted by my copyright search agent that some of the images you are using to market 123 Anywhere Lane are some photos I took for XXXXXX that was marketing the home.

I wanted to reach out to you before my agent does to see if you are interested in licensing any of those images for the listing. Technically, since you have already used the images in the property marketing a license fee would be required, but I like to make contact first because many times it's a misunderstanding between parties somewhere.

If you are interested, I have an additional bonus because part of the marketing included (aerial photos / drone photos / video / Matterport) that I can "throw" in for you. The standard relicensing fee for images is XXX.

Please reach out to me as soon as you can, because my copyright agent is set to reach out to (Association of Realtors) and the various syndication sites (Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, etc) next Tuesday to request DMCA takedowns of my photos.

I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Jason
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GlennTremain private msg quote post Address this user
@pixelray did you actually copyright them? register them or just put a watermark on them?

If after you reach out to them and THEY contact a lawyer they will tell them in order to get damages they have to be registered.

no one here can guide you. Talk to a copyright attorney. anyone giving you advice here otherwise is just guessing.

However you can do what others have said and try to make a client out of them but normally you send a cease and desist and they take it down and that is that. You might get more out of it but go for it and I hope you get new client out of it.
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pixelray private msg quote post Address this user
I do copyright my images. I downloaded what they used and under properties of the photo you can still see my copyright info.

I know my client already turned them into the MLS and the MLS does nothing but inform the agent who violated. No fines or anything from them
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pixelray private msg quote post Address this user
But as far as registering them, no I have not registered any images. I always thought that putting the copyright in the metadata took care of protection
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GlennTremain private msg quote post Address this user
@pixelray then you are gold. under the law its an immediate judgement against them for a lot of money.

so its all in how you present it. They will go to an attorney and they will tell them they are cooked. Google getty images extortion to see the money you will make.

With that said you are in a great position to be their photographer for life :-)

Good luck

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oops just saw your second message saying you didnt register them. Talk to a lawyer
Post 8 IP   flag post
jasondavidpage private msg quote post Address this user
Copyright is immediate upon creation @pixelray, however, registering your copyright provides for additional remedies.

Register online at https://www.copyright.gov/registration/
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eggardner private msg quote post Address this user
Another option you have if you find your images on another site is to issue a DMCA takedown notice (https://www.naturescapes.net/articles/business/using-the-dmca-takedown-notice-to-battle-copyright-infringement/) - that would have the effect of their host suspending their site until they either remove your work or contest the copyright. If the house hasn't yet been sold this would be pretty detrimental to the agent/broker if their site was suspended.
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GlennTremain private msg quote post Address this user
everyone watching this that has been in business 5 years, 10 or 24 years and has sued and received damages for over $10k and forgave twice as much from clients while spending money learning the quickest way through this please raise your hand
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pixelray private msg quote post Address this user
Eggardner - the two properties she used my photos on have been sold.

Thanks for the copyright registration link. That may be an issue. We shall see!!

Thanks for all your input.
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jasondavidpage private msg quote post Address this user
I've been in business 8 years now, collected approximately $3,600 in copyright violation fees from agents using my photos without permission. Collected around $1,900 for non-real estate images from commercial images. Forgiven or traded around $9,500 worth of fees.
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angusnorriss private msg quote post Address this user
Issue a ‘cease and desist’ letter.
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VTLV private msg quote post Address this user
I like @eggardners approach along with a bill for using the images referring to a letter similar to @jasondavidpage mentioned above.
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pixelray private msg quote post Address this user
Jason - since you have gone through this, If I was to take that approach and send a bill, can you give me an idea of what you typically bill for each image stolen?
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jasondavidpage private msg quote post Address this user
@pixelray when I re-license the images to a new agent, I typically charge half of the rate the original agent paid. Of course, that goes for when agents reach out to me before using them. As long as the person is cordial I stay pretty flexible and kind (because word gets around quick from agent to agent and office to office.)

If it is just stock images I've created of a particular condo / community / complex then I throw out a flat rate (between $25 and $100 depending on how many images there are.)
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GlennTremain private msg quote post Address this user
How did it work out? Saw this and had me think of this thread https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUEbi4r8Pg0

@Jasondavidpage 's approach seems very fair and I hope it all worked out.
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