Taking my photos and putting them on another free wallpaper site is one thing, very hard to stop that. However, when there is profit being made without compensation sent back to the artist, that’s where the law has really been broken.
From a self-lesson I have been dealing with this since I put two of my better photographs on a free HD Wallpaper site called InterfaceLIFT, my profile
Since then my photos have popped up everywhere which shows that InterfaceLIFT is a free source of HD images that people scrape off their their own use. Even though InterfaceLIFT has Terms, no one reads them and they are just a CYA move on their part to absolve them from any wrongdoing for those that steal the images off their site. I put a link and their text below.
I have dealt with this before for takedown notices and blogged about these photos specifically –
Here’s all the other places I have displayed my work for the two photographs in question –
Every now and then, about once a month, I will run my images through TinEye to see where else they were being used. Only this time VividEditions.com popped up quite a bit in August 2013, recently. I found an Ebay ad, Etsy listing and their own website selling my photos. Not just using them but selling them from $10 to $20 a print. Based on comments, reviews and activity they have made sales on my work. They never contacted me or have paid me any royalties on those sales.
Stopping short of accusing their business model of selling unauthorized works I dug into their gallery which you can too, http://www.vivideditions.com/collections/all and started searching on other photographs they are selling through TinEye. How you can do this is by simply right clicking on the image, copy the shortcut and paste it into the URL search in TinEye. Coincidently every single image I checked, and I searched about a dozen, was also on InterfaceLIFT and/or Flickr.
And so on…
This goes to show you how as a consumer you may be purchasing works that are not financially supporting the artists themselves. Entire businesses, websites, ebay shops are built around ripping off works from other places and selling them as their own pocketing every dime for themselves. People assume those grand galleries of the world’s best photographs and art are authorized to be sold by the website. Regardless where it’s sold, in this case it was an ebay store and Etsy. To legit, large sites yet the sellers were violating the law.
I sent off a cease and desist letter and am consulting with legal counsel to pursue real action against Vivid Editions if they don’t take down my work or arrange a royalty payment with a back payment to me for their prior sales. It is what it is, but the law is the law.
Lesson learned on my end but business owners should know better and it’s only a matter of time until other artists stumble on to similar site’s scams like this and shut them down. But another will pop up and the cycle goes around and around. That’s why sites like TinEye are becomming so powerful and valuable because they cache and store the information forever and makes it very easy to catch new violators. Since these new image search engines look at the image and not the file data, you can’t manipulate the file to hide from it.
UPDATE – As I am writing this post I re-checked their sites and stores and the images have been removed. I did not recieved an email back confirming their action but it appears they received, read and complied to my request. However, the story still needs to be told to inform and maybe help others seek out this type of activity.
I have setup scans and alerts now around this website and company to see if they try to re-post my works in the future but I do not think they will. If they do there will be no request, straight to the lawyers.
Just another day in the world of the Internet. If it’s posted, it can be searched. You just need to know how and where to go and you can find out anything.
How Vivid Editions advertise themselves.
Welcome to our shop! VividEditions is a small family run business located in New York City. We offer some of the most outstanding prints and posters for traditional or contemporary-style rooms. Our pieces are bright in color and full of detail and will make any room unique.
Copyright Policy and Content Usage Rights
This document outlines what end-users of the InterfaceLIFT.com website and “Backdrops” iPhone application are legally permitted to do with content downloaded from this web site and how to contact the copyright holder(s) to obtain legal permission for other types of usages.
All user-contributed downloadable content hosted on InterfaceLIFT servers is copyright by the original authors of that content. It is licensed only for personal use on computers, cellular phones, and other personal electronic devices. All other uses (whether or not for profit) including redistribution (with or without modification of the original work) is strictly prohibited by law without additional written permission by the copyright holder.
If you wish to use user-contributed copyrighted content from InterfaceLIFT in any manner other than described above, you MUST obtain written permission from the copyright holder (not the owners/operators of InterfaceLIFT). You may do this by submitting an electronic request through the ’email artist’ link accompanying the copyrighted work found on InterfaceLIFT.com. This will send an email to the last known address of the original copyright holder. Additionally, some artists have provided a website address in the ‘website’ link that accompanies their content. If you are unable to reach the copyright holder through our email form, you may have better luck by visiting their website for more up-to-date contact information.
It is important to note that copyright holders are not obligated to respond to your request for permission to redistribute, profit from, or otherwise use their content in a manner not granted in the license indicated above. If they do not explicitly grant you additional permissions (whether because they did not receive your request, ignored it, or denied it) you may NOT legally use their content in any non-licensed fashion.
Failure to respond to your request does NOT imply permission or indifference. Please respect the legal and artistic rights our our contributors, many of whom make a living from their creations. It is not enough to simply give an artist ‘credit’ instead of obtaining legal permission.
You should never assume that freely-downloable content is free from copyright restrictions or in the public domain.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.