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Photo in PD now copyrighted

 
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tommyleej
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Joined: 15 Feb 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:28 pm    Post subject: Photo in PD now copyrighted Reply with quote

Hello, I am new and I dont know if this thing was already discussed at this forum. I cannot find it, so i will ask, sorry if i am asking again but this is rather important to me.
I ve been contacted by collection company. The photo I used in article in 2008 was taken from the public domain photo base offering free photos for private and commercial use (i dont remember the website now as its been 9 years ago when i was using it and didnt know back then that i have to store such info). To my surprise 9 years later, they contact me and asks for 1000 GBP payment because i used their photo without license. I have made my own investigation as I never use anyone's material without permission or never use any google photos, and certainly make sure photos do not belong to royalty stock companies (always public domain or free stock photos with very clear note that it is free to use for commercial purposes as well and is under Public Domain license). I have found out that this photo started being in in their stock from 2014. So few years after it was available in use. I do have proof for that.

I have made a search through my videos and blogs now (took me few days - lots of time wasted) and found that some of the photos i used there in 2008 and 2009 are now copyrighted by stock companies.
I know where they were taken from as some free stock photo bases required credits to authors in order to use them freely. Now when clicking on some of those links that are now in Stock paid photos bases, i see a note - link does not exist.

Is there any protection for the user of photo which was used far before it became available in stock paid collection companies?

I do not want to delete my videos or blog posts or remove my leaflets because i used photos from Public domain sources (which now do not exist). Currently I am using free public domain photos base where no credit is required or link, so what is my protection here to prevent from such tricky practices? Ie someone gives photo to such website and later takes it away and sell it to stock company and they do search and send legal letter. Then I cannot find this link or photo as it no longer exists.

Thank you for your help.
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Nick Cooper
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Joined: 30 Jun 2013
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You say you have links to the original origin of the photographs you use. Have you tried putting those links in the Wayback Machine at www.archive.org ? If the link/s resolve to an archived version of the PD site showing the terms of use, you can cite them in your response to the stock agency. On the latter issue, there are a number of threads on this site about similar disputes.
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AndyJ
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Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1582

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi tommy,

Nick's suggestion is a good idea. If you can establish the provenance of the images prior to the time the stock agency first 'acquired' the images, then you would be in a better position to rebut their claims. But not entirely out of trouble, because even if the site says the images on it are free for anyone to use, that of itself doesn't mean they actually are! Many people collect stuff (like on Pinterest) that they have no rights to and can then declare the images to be available as you describe, with very little risk, especially if their site is hosted in some obscure jurisdiction where getting an injunction or criminal investigation to close down the site can be very difficult and expensive.

As for the claim itself, £1000 is utterly disproportionate, unless it is for several images. Have they provided details of the infringement they allege, eg for how long etc? They certainly cannot claim for any period before they gained whatever rights they now claim for the image(s). The other thing to try and establish is: who is the photographer? If you are able to contact him or her, you should be able to establish if they previously put the images on the free stock website. Also is there any metadata embedded in the image(s)? This is sometimes referred to as EXIF data, and you may need to use speciallist software to read the data, or you can use a free online service such as exifdata.com or metapix. If there is any metadata, it should tell you the date the image was created, the type of camera and quite possibly the name of the photographer and his/her contact details.

As this sounds like it could be difficult to resolve, because even if you manage to locate the original site that may not categorically establish that the image(s) had been released under a open licence such as creative commons, I suggest that you contact Citizens Advice, over how to deal with the stock agency and their demand.
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Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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tommyleej
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Joined: 15 Feb 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok thank you. I have now made photo screen prints off all the photos i have used on all my websites and work which clearly states the Public Domain license and the place where it was taken from. Should be enough proof now, even when pages are gone or invalid in few years. At least i can secure myself this way. Thanks
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