>It's a little hard to tell from your post, but I'm assuming that you are
>not arguing in opposition to registering the copyright on one's images.
>If your image is registered, even the "casual image buyer" will have much
>to fear from you, because he will have to pay your court costs. You will,
>in all likelihood, end up owning his business.
Even if logically true, this is not practically so. The "casual image
buyer" often has little or no knowledge or understanding of copyright laws
or the consequences of violating them so they do not typically serve as an
effective deterrent in the case of that class of buyers. Those in that
class of buyers who do regularly infringe on copyrights or are prone to will
continue to do so playing the laws of averages which favors their not
getting caught or having legal action being pursued against them. Having
said that, one also has to recognize that the monetary fines and legal
penalties associated with the criminal aspects of copyright infringement
depend on the decisions of the judge who often takes into consideration such
things as the deliberateness of the infringement and any potential "fair
use" aspects that might apply when deciding on penalties and sanctions.
Moreover, such penalties and sanctions (i.e., criminal sanctions and costs
as opposed to civil) go to the state and not the copyright owner who in
criminal cases is not the plaintiff. The copyright owner is the plaintiff
only in the civil aspects of the case where court costs, legal costs, and
damages are granted to the copyright owner under the provisions of the
copyright law. But here again, it is up to the judges discretion as to how
much within the range permitted by the law will be allowed. The judge does
not have to grant the full amounts stated in the copyright law's statutory
statement of penalties and damages but only has to grant a reasonable amount
given the circumstances within those statutory limits.
>I don't believe the incorporation status matters. Incorporation cannot
>shield one from illegal acts.
Since most copyright law violations and infringements are civil matters and
not criminal violations, incorporation does furnish a great deal of
protection to the individuals within the corporate structure. If the
violation was a criminal one rather than a civil violation under the law,
you might be right. However, incorporation also typically affords
protections in that commercial violators often are corporations owned by
corporations who are subsidiaries of corporations that are owned by layers
of holding companies. This is one of the reasons why mail order scams never
result in the arrest, trial, conviction, and sentencing of individual
perpetrators who are the main beneficiaries; it is only the small fish that
get caught and punished.
>If an individual uses your copyrighted images on their website (and you
>find out), you can notify the ISP of the infringement. Since they don't
>want to hand their business over to you, they will generally cooperate, or
>so I'm told by those who have done it.
Once again the effectiveness of this action depends on the ISP. Many ISPs
claim and argue that they are mere conduits for information and data
transfer and not policemen. They will take action only after the courts
have deemed the infringement legitimately an infringement in violation of
the law (i.e., after the legal action has be resolved by the courts). If
the general effectiveness of the suggested approach were high, I would
suggest that we would see similar effectiveness in the impact of complaints
on ISPs controlling spam and pornography that flows over their portals
and/or via hackers utilizing their networks and addresses. The fact is that
any effort on their part at preventing copyright infringement tends to work
with only the honest violators who have done so without malice of deliberate
intent and not on those who knowingly and deliberately use images in
violation of copyrights.
It is for these reasons that I say you might be overly optimistic.
[mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Stan McQueen
Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2001 9:25 PM
Subject: RE: filmscanners: Digital Copyright
It's a little hard to tell from your post, but I'm assuming that you are
not arguing in opposition to registering the copyright on one's images.
I have never experienced infringement myself. I am getting my information
second hand from the EP and StockPhoto lists.
I should have mentioned that the people who have told me this have all
experienced the infringement at the hands of (otherwise) legitimate
publishers who would normally have licensed the image, but probably didn't
due to some administrative foulup.
If your image is registered, even the "casual image buyer" will have much
to fear from you, because he will have to pay your court costs. You will,
in all likelihood, end up owning his business. Of course, if the defendant
is judgement-proof because of no funds, it doesn't matter what you do--you
I don't believe the incorporation status matters. Incorporation cannot
shield one from illegal acts.
If an individual uses your copyrighted images on their website (and you
find out), you can notify the ISP of the infringement. Since they don't
want to hand their business over to you, they will generally cooperate, or
so I'm told by those who have done it.
Finally, the point I was trying to make is that, in order to avail oneself
of the fullest protection of the law, your image copyrights need to be
registered with the Copyright Office. Otherwise, your rights of recovery
are limited by law to actual damages, which are not usually worth pursuing.
At 12:25 AM 7/21/2001 -0500, you wrote:
> >I'm told by those who have that virtually all infringers will
> >gladly pay your triple licensing fee in accordance with ASMP and EP
> >practice rather than chance a suit over a registered image.
>This statement is slightly over-optimistic and a little lacking in
>First, it probably is truer of legitimate established picture buyers, who
>would probably pay the licensing fees anyway, than the average man on the
>street or the causal image buyer who is running a personal home office
>operation. The latter do not understand, like, or support copyright rights
>and reject notions of having to pay to use things on the web, for starters;
>they also are willing to play the odds against getting caught since they
>often are engaging in relatively small and narrowly focused distribution of
>the used images. Moreover, they often count on the costs in time and
>as well as the monetary expenses of the copyright owner undertaking
>proceedings against them legally to dissuade any such action from being
>taken against them since they recognize that they are little fish and that,
>despite any court's orders, you cannot get more money from someone than
>have - they also may be protected from personal penalties if they formed a
>corporation and acted under the cloak of that corporation.
>Second, it is up to the copyright owner to be vigilant in protecting his or
>her copyright, which means that you would have to be spending a lot of time
>and effort keeping track of your images and their potential and actual uses
>in the marketplace in order to be able to bring any action against an
>infringer. This is often more trouble than it is worth; and most
>know that. Furthermore, they also know the speed of the courts in hearing
>and acting on cases, which is extraordinarily slow and tedious. Thus, they
>are prone to count on the copyright owner not pursuing the case to a legal
>conclusion but - at worst - settling out of court for pennies on a dollar
>what they might have obtained if they had gotten the license fees or the
>legal penalty had been levied.
>Like locks, copyright notices and the like are basically only for the
>and should not in and of themselves be regarded as practical protection
>against deliberate infringements - actual or potential.
>[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Stan McQueen
>Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2001 11:32 AM
>Subject: Re: filmscanners: Digital Copyright
>At 12:07 AM 7/22/2001 +1000, Rob Geraghty wrote:
> >I note there's been some discussion of copyright lately. I just uploaded
> >stack of new pictures to my website, and it's taken quite a while to
> >them all. On the larger images I've put "(c) Rob Geraghty 2001" where
> >(c) is the proper copyright symbol. I've also marked each picture using
> >Digimarc watermarking, which is built into Paintshop Pro. The
> >works OK on larger images (like 1024x768) but makes smaller images
> >really poor. It makes the images look like they've used a higher level
> >compression than they have. I guess 320x200 is so small that nobody
> >do much with it, but it's also too small to put the text copyright
> >Has anyone else tried this sort of thing? If you want to see what the
> >images look like they're on http://wordweb.com and click on the Stories
> >in the index at the top, then the link to the story about Airlie Beach.
> >They've all been scanned using a Nikon LS30 scanner with Vuescan. This
> >the argumentative film which Vuescan's dust and scratch filtering doesn't
> >seem to work on.
> >I'd be interested to hear the comments of others on the subject of
> >copyrighting images for web publication.
>I do something similar on my website ( http://www.smcqueen.com ). I wrote a
>Perl script that takes the original TIFF file, plus a text file with info
>for the database, and produces two JPEGs--one for a thumbnail and a larger
>one to display when someone clicks on the thumbnail. Both images are
>produced in 72ppi density. The larger one has some framing that contains a
>copyright notice. The thumbnail doesn't, because as you've noted, there
>really isn't room. Although I use PSP, also I don't bother with the
>Digimarc watermarking, because it is not that hard to break (or so I've
>been told) and I think degrades the image somewhat. With small (200x200 or
>400x400) images at 72ppi I'm not too worried about someone stealing the
>image and producing a magazine spread or calendar layout. In addition to
>the copyright notice on the larger image, there is a copyright notice on
>the entire site noting that all images are copyrighted by me unless
>otherwise marked. (For example, I have a picture of me taking a picture on
>the front page. That photo was taken by friend and fellow photographer Gary
>Hall. I have his copyright notice on it and a link to his website.)
>Finally, I register all my images with the copyright office by periodically
>sending a CD containing JPEGs to them. This allows me to recover actual
>plus punitive damages plus attorney's fees in the event of infringement
>(more than $100,000). This is really important, because without
>registration you can only recover actual damages, which are like to be
>fairly small--just the income you lost by the perpetrator stealing your
>photo rather than licensing it from you. I haven't experienced infringement
>yet, but I'm told by those who have that virtually all infringers will
>gladly pay your triple licensing fee in accordance with ASMP and EP
>practice rather than chance a suit over a registered image.
>Photography by Stan McQueen: http://www.smcqueen.com
Photography by Stan McQueen: http://www.smcqueen.com