Hi all,

I run an image hosting site. A user submitted a copyrighted image and now the copyright holder has asked to take down the offending image, which I did immediately. But he is asking to pay for damages. Which are of ridiculous amounts.

Please help and advise what do I do from here. Thanks!

and next time, be more careful about what you allow your users to post.
make sure you put up a disclaimer and user-agreed conditions on your site, stating they're responsible for everything they add.
but whether it'll be a "bulletproof" fix for futher infringements? doubt it.

for the current problem: I'm with Pritaeas on this one. since it is a legal problem, they'll be better suited to help you out than a technical forum.

yeah. Consult a lawyer. And try to compromise with him only somehow if it is possible, because lawyer fees and the time which courts and lawyer will take, that may cost you much more than the cost which he is expecting from you. i have seen many cases like this (as my brother is professional lawyer), that in these type of cases, you may suffer alot. suffer--> time, money and reputation in some cases. My advice will be that compromise with him if you can otheriwse lawyer is always there for you at any time. ;)

Hi, guys! I got into some copyright problem. A month and half ago I have shot Rhythmic Gymnastics competition. There were girls from 4 states there. I also set abackdrop and was shooting pictures of the girls there. I got all pictures done and they were given to the parents and girls. Everybody was happy. A local coach I gave 10 pictures for free as a favour and I was talking to her to shoot the group and individual pictures of the girls at the end of the season next month. All photos that I gave her had a copyright mark with my name on it.

Yesterday I have found out that she put the image of the girl from her group that I have shot in March in the ad for her club in a local newspaper. She didn't ask me for that and I didn't give her any permission for commercial use of my images.

I don't want to loose this gymnastic club as a client and the coach is making main decision which photographer to hire. But at the same time I consider it terrible how she used me and my image without any permission.
Please, give me an advise if you could, folks, what should I do.
Thanks for all your help.
Sincerely,

without knowing the specifics, it's impossible to give any advise.
And even knowing the specifics, I'd not give any legal advise as it's far too risky in putting me at risk from being implicated in anything you do acting on that advise.

Intellectual property right claims like that can go very different depending on where you are, where the claimant is, where the person who uploaded the content is, when all this happened (laws change, as do international treaties), what court it ends up in, etc. etc.

I've been loosely (as in, I knew some of the people involved) involved in one somewhat similar case where a notorious pirate was tracked down and takedown orders issued.
It was a complete mess with the IP owner being in the UK, the pirate in Spain, his hosting company in France, and the servers he was hosting on in Italy.
In the end courts just threw in their hats and gave up trying to determine who was to pay what damages to whom, and it ended with the hosting provider agreeing to stop hosting the pirated content and scrapping the pirate as a customer, the IP owner in the end getting nothing but the knowledge that for a short while a large scale pirate had been put out of action (he was back a few weeks later with servers hosting in yet another country) and a legal bill running into the hundreds of thousands of Euros.

also wcttech: adding a mark 'I've got copyright' doesn't mean you do.
it also doesn't mean you are the only person who has copyright.

every single person in your pictures, that is recognizable in said pictures, has copyrights, and you just posting those pictures online, let alone handing them out, without their explicit permission to do so, might land you in a lot of trouble if they have a problem with that.

so: before complaining that somebody is breaking your 'copyright', do realize you are breaking the same copyrights to a lot more people yourself, just by using/distributing those pictures.

uh, no. If I take a picture of someone, copyright does not rest with that person.
It rests with me, the photographer.

The person(s) in the photo might have some rights, depending on jurisdiction, to place restrictions on how I can use that photo, but that's it.

no, it doesn't.
well, I admit I 'm more familiar with the dutch terminology on this part. publishing or using someones picture without their (written / explicit) consent, is a breach of 'auteursrechten', which, as far as I know, is the same as copyright.

've seen this returning in several courses concerning auteursrechten on the web, if one is wrong, sure, might be. but all of them? doubt it.

jwenting is correct where the UK is concerned. Unless you didn't give permission for your photograph to be taken in any place where you expect a "right to privacy" the copyright belongs to the photographer. When you hire a photographer, you pay for their time, any editing they do and (typically) a single use licence.

If a photograph is taken without your permission in a public place (typically, anywhere outside) you have no legal recourse over the use of the image. However, if someone took a picture of you in your home and it was not comissioned, you can take the photographer to court over that.

post the relevant article of Dutch IP law, stultuske, as AFAIK no such law actually exists in the Netherlands (at least not a blanket law relating to images taken in public).

Then why all the hoo-hah over Google street view? Google had to blur faces and licence plates due to privacy issues which, when you think of it is pretty ridiculous with all the other surveillance cameras out there.

I was talking about courses colleges and employers in Belgium gave me over the years. do I know what the relevant articles are? no. I do remember the one who forgot to take that into consideration on his project for a class, causing him to get a nice 'college sponsored' summer vacation occupation =>
for breaking copyright law on the pictures he (taken by himself) had posted.
zing. see you back for the second exam period august-september.

so you vaguely remember one schoolteacher who disapproved of one kid's submission for a test in Belgium, and claim that to mean that Dutch law prohibits you from publishing photos of people under any condition without a signed model release form.
Farfetched to say the least.

And given the number of people visible in photos published in newspapers and everywhere else all the time, almost certainly incorrect.
Do you really think a journalist is going to go to the trouble of asking permission from all the thousands of people visible in his photos of a rock concert or political rally whether they agree to having those photos put in a paper or shown on television?

Usually this is not a problem. For portrait photography this is most likely, because you'll more often need a model release. For photos taken in the street a lesser issue. You have to be careful about what you snap and publish, because people can have grounds for revoking rights to publish.

JWenting: I "claimed" nothing at all about Dutch law. I said the dutch (as in language, you might be aware that it is also one of the official Belgian languages) term is auteursrechten.

there-as, I have said that there might be an issue: just because someone has the legal grounds to have a photograph removed from a site/journal/... doesn't mean he or she is aware of that, neither does it mean they are willing to put any effort in it, nor did I claim the other party wouldn't easily be able/willing to pay enough lawyers to keep them out of this kind of trouble, even if an 'incident' occured.

I'm not talking about a 'schoolteacher', I was referring to the first time I had a course about that (not high school, since that is what you seem to think), it was a semester course purely on the legal laws concerning legal issues surrounding the use of/development of webapplications/websites/....

I also said, I saw this comming back in several courses, so minimizing this to "so you vaguely remember one schoolteacher who disapproved of one kid's submission for a test in Belgium" is not really correct.