Friday, August 15, 2008

Spokane copyright theft

Once again, I have been placed in a position in which my copyrighted image has been taken for someone else’s use. Finding my images misappropriated and on someone else’s website is getting more routine these days, but nonetheless, it is a disappointment. It is more of an ethical issue, when you think of how many people just “take,” anything they want, when they know it isn’t theirs to take. Here is the URL of my misappropriated image:

The user of this image is called CA White, and as stated on this URL, the images are “from their hometown.” So, apparently, walking around Spokane is just one more person who could have asked for permission, but failed to do so. This does not appear at face value, to be a commercial use, but if we find that CA White has sold my image (s), then we will commence a civil action. This appears, as stated previously, to be a lack of ethics shown by the user.

Would I have allowed the person to use my work? If they had asked, would I have allowed them to do it? At this point, it is rather moot, since they went ahead and took my image and used it without any discussion. When I think of all the money invested in my photographic hardware, software, and office hardware, it makes little sense for me to put up with copyright infringement. To run a small business, it takes a lot of money, and even more effort. So, when I see someone take my stuff and use it without any thoughts given to my ownership, I can see myself becoming a lot more hard nosed about this issue.

Picasaweb apparently is a Google prodigee, so I have filed notice this morning with the Google legal staffers about this use of my image. The image in question is a December 28 image, in 2005. It has been displayed in print form at First Friday Galleries (2006 and 2007), as well as appearing on Channel 14 locally. This year the arena image was replaced with another view of the arena, although I am giving some thought to putting it back on the Spokane Night Scenes website, since the image is apparently good enough to be stolen.

One of these days I would like to have a long chat with the person who takes my stuff for their own purposes. Why did you take the image, when you already know it wasn’t yours? There are only two places the images could have been taken from, and both of those locations are owned by me. Why is it that you failed to email me to ask about using it? When the Google attorneys contact you, are you going to tell them you are sorry for using the image? Or are you just sorry that you got caught using my image?

Ironically, meeting the Google requirements for filing the complaint actually took almost as much time as I took to register just under 500 images with the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress.

CA White, shoot me an email, if you read this. Even after spending 31 years in policework, I am still very curious as to why things get taken by someone without permission.