View Full Version : Is This Illegal?
07-03-2005, 11:29 PM
I have pictures that I have taken and content that I have made on my websites... if someone has taken the exact same stuff and put it on their website is that illegal even if I did not get an official copyright. Also if they saved my pictures and then put it up on a different page is that illegal? These are pictures of me and my friends.
07-04-2005, 02:02 AM
I am not a lawyer. I just wanted to say that up front, so if you consider doing anything, I recommend that you seek advice from a copyright lawyer first. I will give you my understanding of the relevant laws, but they aren't simple, particularly when it comes to some aspects of interpretation.
Basically, I could be wrong.
I have pictures that I have taken and content that I have made on my websitesThere are several conventions that protect the rights of creators, though most are limited to certain types of work. As far as I am aware, the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights (TRIPs - maybe) can all apply here, and are all multilateral agreements.
The Berne Convention typically offers the most protection as it doesn't require you to mark work with a formal copyright notice. Simply publishing the material affords you protection as long as you can rightfully claim to be the author (and if they are photographs of you, that shouldn't be hard :D).
if someone has taken the exact same stuff and put it on their website is that illegalIf you haven't granted a license for them to do so, then yes it is.
even if I did not get an official copyright.If you live in any of the contracting nations (http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?lang=en&treaty_id=15), then you should already have it. Official registration should not be necessary.
Also if they saved my pictures and then put it up on a different page is that illegal?Yes. You have the rights to control distribution and republication.
 TRIPs ratification is mandatory for all members of the WTO (http://www.wto.int/index.htm), which includes virtually every nation on the planet. Part of the TRIPs agreement also includes the Berne Convention, among others.
07-04-2005, 05:16 AM
Amazing Mike, I had no idea your extensive well of knowledge extended into the realm of copyright law, you are more informed than I of the statutes involved. Anyways, as you imply, what the law says and what happens when lawyers get involved can be two different things. I would want to know, as a lay person, and giving myself the same 'out' that Mike gave himself (I could be wrong, if it is that important to you, get a lawyer) - Were you damaged or potentially damaged (in any credible way) financially or otherwise by this obvious theft of your content? I mean, besides being pissed off, have you been harmed in any way? I think that would be a guiding principal in any litigation you might bring. If, for instance the theft was made by a for profit concern that stood to or was already benefiting financially from their theft, then you would have grounds for recovery. If you are engaged in a for profit venture that benefits from said content and its theft has somehow reduced its benefit to you, once again I'd say you have grounds. But if there is no real harm to you and no real gain to the perpetrator(s) then there is no real case. Just my thoughts on the matter. As I said, I too, could be wrong. Oh, I forgot to answer the question. Yes, I think it is illegal.
07-04-2005, 08:04 AM
Having a copyright is a mere formality. If the content is in fact yours and you can prove it, in most cases, that's good enough. Many times these issues are resolved simply by contacting the web host of the offender's site, and the web host taking action on behalf of you, provided you've proven to their satisfaction the content is in fact yours and is taken without your permission.
07-04-2005, 02:04 PM
you are more informed than I of the statutes involved.It's come up a few times on Usenet, so I remember the starting points at least.
Anyways, as you imply, what the law says and what happens when lawyers get involved can be two different things.Definitely. The wording of many laws is less than understandable, but you also have to consider any precedents which may drastically change how those laws apply in certain cases.
I mean, besides being pissed off, have you been harmed in any way? I think that would be a guiding principal in any litigation you might bring.I forgot to mention that. I agree with both you and ddadmin (so there's no point reiterating).
07-05-2005, 06:29 AM
My Mother was a copyright attorney. (what a coinsidence ;-)) I grew up with my mom talking about stuff like this...
If you had no proper (r) or (tm) marks, your information is shareware--any1 can use it... sorry. once u get it copyrighted, you can try to convince your lawyer that that person stole your pictures <u>after</u> you copyrighted them/registered them, and can then sue that person.
try that. It will most likely work. A lot of fuss about a couple of pictures though...
Next time you put ppics on the web, protect them. make it so that box that has the pictures (save, print, etc...) doesn't popup when the user mouses over it. Also block them permission to "view source"
07-05-2005, 08:16 AM
If you had no proper (r) or (tm) marks, your information is shareware--any1 can use itUnder which nation's laws? Are you aware that the USA (sorry for making that assumption) signed up to the Berne Convention eventually, which should provide automatic protection for artistic works without the need for registration? Taking a quick peek at the US Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/) FAQ, their information would reflect what I'd expect from a member of the Berne Union; copyright is automatic (http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#mywork), registration is only necessary when filing for infringement (http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#register), and notices are optional (http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-definitions.html#notice).
Next time you put ppics on the web, protect them.That isn't possible.
make it so that box that has the pictures (save, print, etc...)I use Firefox, which doesn't have that feature. Won't stop me from taking any image from the Web I desire, though.
Also block them permission to "view source"That also isn't possible.
07-05-2005, 08:25 AM
Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”
That means: Although your work is copyrighted from the beginning, if you want to bring a lawsuit, and get the person who stole your work punished, you (and i quote):"will have to register, however ...". That means that it is not illegal. It is only petty theft, for lack of a better word. The victim could have a chat w/ this person, he could even beat him up (and if caught go to jail).
07-05-2005, 09:24 AM
[If a work has to be registered to prosecute infringement, but isn't, that] means that it is not illegal [to steal that work].That's essentially what you're saying, isn't it (even if it's not what you meant)? That's how I read it, anyway. If so, it's nonsense.
You're essentially saying that a crime without evidence is not a crime at all. It is, of course, but it cannot be taken to court and that's a very different thing.
In any case, this isn't about court proceedings. It really boils down to: "Someone stole something from me and put it on display. Can I have them remove it?" To that, the answer is yes.
It is only petty theft, for lack of a better word.A petty criminal is still a criminal.
I'm not going to debate this any further. I'm not qualified to do so, anyway.
07-07-2005, 04:55 PM
Thank you everyone.
07-10-2005, 12:33 PM
most of what their saying sounds about right, but you also got to remember you need to prove that the work was originally yours and also prove how you suffered emotionally/physically/financially ect ect from this person stealing your work. Now if its just a few pictures posted up and a simple letter to the administrator of that website asking them to take it down, then you really just over reacting. Which i think you are, cause if it was really worth even remotely suing them over it, it would be something like a logo used for the company which in turn they would have most proberly registered as their trademark, just like coke, nike ect ect... But if this is the case, that they have stolen the image and used it as there logo, then you have every reason to be upset and even take legal action. The only hard bit is that you have to prove its your work.
The law can be open to interpertation, so I recommend you see a lawyer.
07-12-2005, 01:39 AM
They took my picture posted it up and then redid it in photoshop and were calling me a "fag" and stuff like that. So they posted the original and said "pool boy" and then the redid one in photoshop and it said under that "or pool girl" and they posted it everywhere and people started to make fun of me for it. So I emailed them and told them to take down my original pick because that was mine cause you really couldnt tell it was me in the photoshop one, but they never did it.
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