What can you do in these type of situations?
Depending on what the person is using the photograph for and are they claiming copyright for your own photography jobs? If the photo is used in anyway to make money then, that would be an infringement and you would certainly have grounds to take action. If you have granted use for any outside parties to use your materials including photographs then you'll be wasting your time, as you don't have 100% exclusivity rights to all of your materials.
You could contact the web owner directly and ask them to remove the photo with immediate effect or contact a lawyer if you feel strongly enough about it's misuse. It's important to make back up copies of any photo's and to take screenshots of any infringements of your work from web owners, as this could be useful later if you decide to pursue matters legally.
If you have your photos embedded with your name or web address on them then, this is clear proof that it's your work and the other party won't have a leg to stand on if they decide to challenge your complaint. If it's a private or personal web owner with not much activity then, it might be advisable not to bother taking any action other than basic contact, as it would probaly cost you more in time and even money for something that isn't of crucial importance, but if it's a big company or even a conglomerate then, you certainly have cause for concern and most legal departments would be jumping over one and other to represent your complaint and to take the necessary action.
DMCA take down notice act
This is an act which was brought about in 1998 and is commonly referred to as the United States “Digital Millenium Copyright Act” or DMCA for short and brought out two years earlier than the title suggests. This act involves the web hosting company or Internet Service Provider or ISP for short removing the copyright material concerned after the proper channels have been met. The notice given to the ISP must be in writing and signed cleary stating the problem and the requied action that should be taken and the web owner must be fully informed of the action from the aggrieved party at all times. The details will normally involve the complaining parties contact details, all of the information “under the penalty of perjury act” is completely accurate and in good faith and a call to action for the offending party to usually remove the copyright photo with immediate effect. If the offending party lives outwith the United States then, you may still have proceed with this type of action, so long as the web owners IP company address is based in the US.
Sending a cease and demand letter
Another call to action is in contacting the web owner directly depending on the circumstances and the size of the website. Most company websites have full contact details including addresses, so they're quite easy to approach if you have cause for copyright complaint regarding one of your photography jobs. This type of approach is more professional and carries more weight than basic email correspondence. If it's a private web owner then, the chances are that you'll only have an email available for correspondence, as private owners are reluctant in giving out home address details and phone numbers for obvious reasons.
Another approach is rather than getting the guilt party to remove your copyright photography jobs, you could instead suggest a friendly comprise like suggesting they can keep the photo on their website in return for credit and a link back or a free plug to your own website or online business. This kind of approach creates a win win situation in that, the complaining party gets credited for their photo work and the infringer gets to keep the photo on their particular webpage.
It is not an exact science but photographers and anyone who has a complaint in reference to their photo usually sends a bill for up to three times of the normal fee for licensing such products. This rule is not set in stone and if you were to proceed with any legal proceedings then, you could end up with more than three times the normal license fee and in some cases less. The best route is always to arrive with an amicable decision and one that both parties agree upon and that way you can both move on and put any unpleasant experiences behind you both, as getting legal teams and lawyers involved can sometimes be very time consuming and a costly exercise.
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