Saturday, August 04, 2007

[copyright] cease and desist?

I have just discovered that one of my photographs is being used on the front page of a restaurant's website. My website and my photos are clearly covered by Creative Commons licence that allows no commercial use and has various other specifications about how my work may be used by other people.

My first reaction was to write a hot-headed email to the owner of the restaurant demanding compensation. But once I had calmed down a little I didn't hit the send button. Instead I wondered what the best way to approach this problem would be. Should I send a physical cease and desist letter by regular mail instead? Does anyone have ideas or suggestions.


This Post was written by sam from food blog scool

18 comments:

Haalo said...

What I've done in the past is to email and point out the licence conditions explaining what you do and don't allow and ask them to remove it. Then add if they wish to continue using it a commercial agreement needs to be entered into. Most people do the right thing - unfortunately people need to be educated that just because it's on the internet it doesn't mean you can just use it.

cybele said...

An even-headed note as haalo suggests should be the start of the process. (Sent to the webmaster, who probably knows more about it than the restaurant manger.) Give them the benefit of the doubt and inform them about CC license and what they cover.

Then leave it open, perhaps that you'd be happy to give them the photo for a small licensing fee.

If that doesn't work, then go for the cease & desist ... and if that doesn't work then report them to the webhost.

Barbara said...

Work out what you feel it is worth and send them an invoice.

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Unfortunately, I don't think that people are as innocent (or stupid) as we think they are - these people have to know they are doing wrong.

I would send a levelheaded email with what you want (to remove, or do you want $$?) and if they don't comply...use your blog and post about it. I'm sure the bad publicity will be more than enough pressure to remove it.

Deb said...

I have (sadly) dealt with this a few times in the last couple months, and after reading up extensively on it, my process is first a clearly-worded and concise email requesting that the picture is removed and clarifying your copyright, etc. If you would be willing to let them purchase it, let them know that this is also an option. Should they not respond within a couple days, follow up with a Cease and Desist letter. Many templates for these available on the web. You can send it both via email and snail mail. Should they ignore this as well, the ball is truly in your court... Lots more info here and here.

Deb said...

Some links would have helped: Good information here and here and here.

Becks & Posh said...

Both the restaurant and the web designer don't provide email addresses listed so it looks like I will have to do this by either phone or snail mail. thanks for all the advice and useful links.

Sam said...

Also - PS - I found the photo had been copied onto Yelp too!

Tana said...

You have all my sympathy, Sam. It's happened to me SO many times. It's more than rude, especially since they undoubtedly know it's illegal to use another person's work without permission.

You can report it to Yelp, luckily.

You can try a WHOIS on the restaurant's website: go here:

http://samspade.org/

That usually turns up the contact information that may not otherwise be listed on the site.

And if it were me, if I liked the place, I would be more conciliatory. Ask for a fee or even a meal: photographs have serious retail value. (I don't think $200 is out of line, or more if it's a tony place.)

If they are antagonistic, you can indeed report them to their website hosts: the law is the law, and most (alas, not all) website hosts are on the up-and-up.

Hope that helps.

Kevin said...

Sam,
Bill 'em.

Becks & Posh said...

OK - now the restaurant is saying they didn't give me any rights to take the photograph which is of a 'propietary product'. Any ideas how to respond to that?

Sam said...

It's ok - they have promised to take down the picture now.

Deborah said...

I'm glad you got it sorted. I was going to say... that's like me taking a picture of my kid eating Rice Krispies and Kelloggs claiming rights to the picture. For shame!!!

Sam said...

Well - i thought it was but now I think they want to put their lawyer on me because I took a picture of their "proprietary pizza" in their restaurant without their permission.

They didn't mind that I'd taken the pciture when they were using it for their own commercial use.

We'll wait and see - was waiting to get back an email from them.

nika said...

as they say .. the pen is mightier than the sword.

Do they honestly want to go down this path with YOU. I bet you have a larger audience than they have. Perhaps they should be reminded of this.

Haalo said...

Unless there are signs in the restaurant saying that you can't take photos they really haven't got a leg to stand on. It sounds like a lot of bluster to cover themselves after being caught using your photo without permission. Unlike the restaurant you do have conditions attached to the use of your photo.

Sam said...

they seem to have backed off in the meantime.

I did some research online and I don't think they have a leg to stand on - particularly since they have been using said picture for so long themselves thereby proving they had no objections to it having been taken.

Alice Q. said...

Oh Sam - that's ridiculous. They claimed they didn't give you permission to take their picture? That's just plain stupid. A photo of a public place is not "proprietary." I assume this is what got you down on blogging. What a pain. On the bright side, I am coming up next week and hoping to see you on Thurs. I will be sending an email soon.