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Copyright Infringement

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
We have discussed this before, but not for a while. I am so tired of finding my web site copy, and sometimes photos, on other framer's web sites. I recently found my copy on this page, verbatim on another framer's site.

What would you do?

I don't think the Art Law class at WCAF covers this, but I wish someone would. Our son is an intellectual property lawyer, but this is small stuff, and as he says, probably not worth the aggravation. It is just so annoying. We all work hard to make our web sites unique, and that can take hours of Photoshop work and long evenings writing text, only to have people steal our work who cannot be bothered to do the work themselves.

I am considering a trademark registration for our name and logo, however, and we will soon be amending every photo on our web site and watermarking the whole batch.
 
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johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Not a lot you can do except post on some blog like the one in the link to publicly ridicule them: http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/ thought it seems that nobody has posted there since September.

Or just read there yourself to know you're not alone and drown in a friendly sea of commiseration and empathy.
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
Googling some of your text from the first couple of paragraphs, I found 4 sites using your text.

I don't see any copyrights on any of your pages; will you be adding them when you make your changes?

Every page on my site has the following at the bottom of each page:

 

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
This has happened to our site at least a half dozen times, too. Most of the time they left links to pictures hosted on our server, so it was easy to see it in the logs. In one case, they kept Andy's name in there! heh One refused to take it down, and I was feeling a bit evil...... We replaced the photos on our site with "other photos" that basically said it was stolen content (but the images weren't very polite :smiley:), and renamed the originals on our site. It was taken down a couple days later!

To prosecute, you'd probably have to hire a lawyer who is licensed in THEIR state. (the state where the crime is happening, not necessarily California)

In all but one case(Sweden), a polite email to the business that copied was all it took to get it corrected. something like..... "You may not be aware, but your webmaster has stolen (C) content from our website and posted it on your own. This is bad, because the search engines may penalize both sites for duplicate content..."

This allows them to save face/blame a third party (the "webmaster") and they are usually quite receptive to take it down immediately.

Your mileage may vary. This is a subject that really gets me upset, too!

There is also a website that lets you scan, to look for plagiarized sites.

Great thread!

Mike
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
..and neither you nor your son thought to have him send a letter to this place on his letterhead about it??:faintthud:

You have a powerful tool in your son.. use him!! He doesn't have to open a full blown case, just throw a legal scare into them and see if that works.

Otherwise, find someone to hack their site and trash it.
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Are they calling their place the same thing as your place?

I'd love to have a link to their site, please.

How did you find out about it?
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
I didn't ask how I found out about it ... how did Kirstie find out that their stuff had been poached.
Take a look at the OTHER threads started today in the business forum. That's most likely how Kristie found out.
 

johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I understand how it can feel when you take the time to write something in your own words and it's lifted. In this case I don't think it's going to cost you anything though. And hey, sincerest form of flattery right?

And I think you're going to be flattered a lot. Because you're teaching classes in e-marketing (not to mention taking the lead on going Green) you can probably expect your enthusiastic students to sign up to your mailing list and copy large parts of it, or change it up a bit to fit their own businesses. It may not be right, or ethical, or respectful but I think it comes with the turf. Some of that is likely to spill over to your website, even though that's kind of John Ranes turf.

Let's face it. You're becoming a star. And so you're going to get copied a bit. How you handle it is important.
 

SportShots

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Do you actually own copyright to the photos they display? If so a DMCA takedown notice to their ISP is in order. He can shut them down in a heartbeat - but make sure you are the legal copyright owner of the image you claim.

More geared to photography but he links below can give you helpful information.

Find out what reality is and let them have it with both barrels. Your creative work is yours and this includes code written for web pages.

http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2011/06/01/what-to-do-when-your-image-is-stolen-online/

http://www.jeremynicholl.com/blog/2011/06/13/the-10-rules-of-us-copyright-infringement/

http://www.photoattorney.com/
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Like others mentioned, we use Copyscape for our pages and

Digimarc.com Professional edition/subscription
, digital watermarks set to highest durability on all our images larger than thumbnail size. Even with some significant editing, the digital watermark survives. It's a Photoshop plugin where you embed the watermark in the last step before saving the image as a single layer JPG.

I try to remember the visible watermark but always use the invisible, digital watermark.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Like others mentioned, we use Copyscape for our pages and

Digimarc.com Professional edition/subscription
, digital watermarks set to highest durability on all our images larger than thumbnail size. Even with some significant editing, the digital watermark survives. It's a Photoshop plugin where you embed the watermark in the last step before saving the image as a single layer JPG.

I try to remember the visible watermark but always use the invisible, digital watermark.
Good source. Thanks. Can you save as a png file rather than jpg?
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Googling some of your text from the first couple of paragraphs, I found 4 sites using your text.

I don't see any copyrights on any of your pages; will you be adding them when you make your changes?

Every page on my site has the following at the bottom of each page:

This has been on my mind for a while and will be this year's chore. Remember, though, marked or not, there is implied copyright on one's work.
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Just tested in PS7 and digital watermarking works for PNG. I could save and read the watermark.

If someone reads the watermark, they are taken to our Conditions page where we have verbiage that will only keep honest people honest.

Digimarc has a spider that crawls looking for watermarked images. Any images found with your watermark embedded are put into a report within your account so that you can take whatever action deemed appropriate.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
There is also a website that lets you scan, to look for plagiarized sites.

Great thread!

Mike
Quite honestly, the last time I did this, I found it so upsetting it was just not worth it. As our son is an intellectual property specialist, I know only top well how hard it is to prosecute in other states. Oh well, maybe PIPA / SOPA will help me. (LOL!)
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Just tested in PS7 and digital watermarking works for PNG. I could save and read the watermark.
So we would have to redo all the hundreds (?) of images on our site, I guess. Quite an undertaking but a few a day and we could get through it. Does the watermark show up or is it hidden digitally? Not quite understanding the process. Thanks. Rick, I downloaded one of your images and opened it in CS5 with no hitch. Should it have stopped me?
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
No it will not prevent you from downloading them but if/when the digimarc spider finds the images, it will let me know.

You should be able to use the watermark reader app from digimarc to read the watermark. There's a stand alone version and a PS plugin.

It is hidden digitally and does affect the image clarity depending upon the durability setting chosen when it was embedded.
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
So we would have to redo all the hundreds (?) of images on our site, I guess. Quite an undertaking but a few a day and we could get through it. Does the watermark show up or is it hidden digitally? Not quite understanding the process. Thanks. Rick, I downloaded one of your images and opened it in CS5 with no hitch. Should it have stopped me?
You can add copyright information to a jpg (don't know about other formats) in the EXIF record in the image file. Anyone viewing the actual byte data will see the copyright. I have done this problematically myself to images using code that I have written. There is software available that will batch process images and add your copyright info to the images without you having to open each one in Photoshop or other editor.

An command line batch editor that does this would add your copyright information quickly.

I have not used any of these tools but Googling "command line exif editor" or "exif editor" would find you some.

Here is the first one I found in a search; Power EXIF

I have no idea if it is good or bad but it will give an idea of what is available.

That's the plus. The bad news is that a sophisticated thief will know to look at the EXIF data and how to erase your copyright notice in the data; the casual thief won't have a clue.

It's an inexpensive alternative to a visible or encrypted watermark.
 

janetj1968

PFG, Picture Framing God
I believe sometimes it can happen innocently. Sometimes info may sound incredibly generic (or that it sounds like a vendor written description, in this case).

Being perfectly honest, it makes me think about a mistake I almost made myself. It was during a time when I was creating my Digital Examples section. I took the time to contact DigitalCustom to verify which examples belonged to them.

Seeing them mixed in with images from another framers page, I almost just used them...assuming they ALL belonged to DigitalCustom.

It's very easy to assume things.

But how close? >< This close.

I would just mention it to them and go from there.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
You are right, Janet. On the page in question, some pieces of information were taken from vendor sources. I wrote to each rep and asked for the most relevant info that I could use on their green services. So yes, it could be confusing for someone looking for copy. It is always best in this situation to go directly to the vendor or service provider in question. We sometimes use images from vendors in our newsletters and social media posts, but we always ask for permission and we always link back to the source.

I once ran some of my images through an image search and found pictures of my family that I had on our Name Mat page on a web site in China! Sending the complaint was really difficult and eventaully another Grumbler contacted them for me.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
You are right, Janet. On the page in question, some pieces of information were taken from vendor sources. I wrote to each rep and asked for the most relevant info that I coudl use on their green services. So yes, it could be confusing for someone looking for copy. It is always best in this situation to go directly to the vendor or service provider in question. We sometimes use images from vendors in our newsletters and social media posts, but we always ask for permission and we always link back to the source.

Strangely enough, shortly after we launched the Green web page a few years ago, I was contacted by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) because one of my suppliers erroneously said that their moulding was FSC certified, when it was not. Thier moulding came from managed forests, but was not specifically certified. FSC contacted both the vendor and me to ask us to remove the information from our web sites. We immediately complied. There are obviously a lot of organizations and businesses checking on web mentions throughout the Internet. Google Alerts helps with this.

I once ran some of my images through an image search and found pictures of my family that I had on our Name Mat page on a web site in China! Sending the complaint was really difficult and eventaully another Grumbler contacted them for me.
 

janetj1968

PFG, Picture Framing God
This reminds me a little of the enigma in reproducing newspaper obituaries for inclusion in genealogy research.

The newspaper publishes them and that's normally where you start in asking for permission.

But the truth is, obituaries are seldom written by the newspapers. They're written by the families, usually at the funeral homes. They're only published by the newspapers.

I don't know if they'd really have a hat to hold if someone wanted to use them, because the newspapers don't really own them.

In all cases, if you reproduce anything from anyone even with permission...I wouldn't think you could just copy it and stamp it with your copyright because you don't own it. It's not original content.

I do commend you for asking permission from the vendors. That says a lot about trying to do the right thing, the right way.

And realistically, the vendor isn't likely to re-write it for everyone who asks permission. The vendor probably doesn't care WHO puts their name out there as long as its positively promotional. So we can wind up with a whole lot of something, thats exactly like something else...which is the absolute thing last thing we want to do in our websites.

It blurs things.

It's better to keep everything original...wording and images. That way we an have a better chance of protecting them.

This one has really made me think.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Thanks for bringing this up again. I just ran a few scans and came up with more than a dozen sites using articles I have written, without my permission and without proper attribution.

I like to share, but when others claim my work as their own, I get tense. Their theft is a cheap tactic, and their deception is unacceptable.
 

johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I know everyone is going to ignore me again and secretly call me an idiot but regardless I'll just say one more time that as our industry educators, pundits, and leaders you guys need to have more tact.
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Take a look at the OTHER threads started today in the business forum. That's most likely how Kristie found out.
Sorry... I DID look at the other threads and I can't find anything.

So, instead of just TELLING me which thread your are referring to, you are making me have to go back and read ALL of the threads?

Can you be maybe just bit more helpful?:icon9:
 

FramerDave

PFG, Picture Framing God
I know everyone is going to ignore me again and secretly call me an idiot but regardless I'll just say one more time that as our industry educators, pundits, and leaders you guys need to have more tact.
Wait, what? Their intellectual property is being ripped off and they're the ones who are supposed to be kind and sweet about it? How exactly does that work?
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
Sorry... I DID look at the other threads and I can't find anything.

So, instead of just TELLING me which thread your are referring to, you are making me have to go back and read ALL of the threads?

Can you be maybe just bit more helpful?:icon9:
Sorry, but the culprit identifies themselves in another thread in the business forum. I didn't want to name names, so I was a bit oblique. Since there were only two or three threads started yesterday ion the business forum it shouldn't be hard to find. I will PM you with the thread.
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
Sorry, but the culprit identifies themselves in another thread in the business forum. I didn't want to name names, so I was a bit oblique. Since there were only two or three threads started yesterday ion the business forum it shouldn't be hard to find. I will PM you with the thread.

Never mind, johnny just outed them
 

johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Wait, what? Their intellectual property is being ripped off and they're the ones who are supposed to be kind and sweet about it? How exactly does that work?
By all means feel free to reject the suggestion by trying to polarize it. "Having more tact" doesn't equal "being kind and sweet to people who are stealing your intellectual property" and you know it.

But trapping people in a public forum and going on like this isn't good for people who are also trying to sell themselves as educators, speakers, and leaders.

Those who choose to be educators are inherently teaching things that should be copied. That doesn't mean everything they do is a free-for-all by a longshot. But it's a good idea to accept the fact that some people will be overenthusiastic and reach too far into the pot. How you handle these people says a lot.

And I think people will ignore that to their own detriment which goes far beyond the cost of, for one example, having someone copy a page of benign text that is related to vendors rather than the business itself.

If you ask me these threads should be nuked and the conversations started fresh. It would be better for everyone. It's not likely to go much different though.
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Thanks!!

I had to do a bit of digging but finally found what everyone was talking about.
Now that I can see what Kirstie was talking about, I take back my original comments on what I thought she should do about it.

Here's my updated opinion on this situation.

That has to be one of the better example for laziness i have seen in awhile.

Shame on you guys. You need to fix that and then post a sincere apology to Kirstie.
At the least, if you find copy that you like, take the time to reword it so it sounds less like the original copy. It's really not that hard to do.

Remember WAAY back in high school when you had to do a term paper on something?
You couldn't just copy from the encyclopedia and sign your name to it... you needed to rework the info into YOUR OWN WORDS.

Same here. :nuts:
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Well, I certainly did not mean to publicly trap anyone and did not mean to have people sleuth around to find culprits. As Janet aptly pointed out, this is a mistake that could have been made given the nature of the text. Not a good mistake, but possibly an honest one. The whole point of my original post was to start another discussion on this topic, and most of this thread did just that, providing useful information and sources for copyright protection.

As far as being a star, are you kidding me? Putting on classes when asked by PPFA is an honor, but it is a TON of work for a very small amount of pay that is often eaten up by expenses. The reward comes from helping other framers, getting to know people, sharing ideas, and being part of the organization.

Meanwhile, I hope y'all have the red carpet ready.
 

janetj1968

PFG, Picture Framing God
At the least, if you find copy that you like, take the time to reword it so it sounds less like the original copy. It's really not that hard to do...Shame on you guys. You need to fix that and then post a sincere apology to Kirstie. .
I know that Kirstie is trying to do things the right way and I don't think Dick meant any harm either.

But the point I made was that some of what she has on her site came directly from Larson Juhl's site. The rest of the info was written or provided by her suppliers. Did it become hers exclusively? I don't think so. But hers could've been the only actual website that had permission to use it.

So... she had permission to use it and in turn gave them a reciprocating link. So it still has to belong to them if they wrote it, right?

That being said I can understand her being upset if she created it all herself. I would be, too...she's made genuine efforts. Kirstie is a good person. She's not descending on anybody. She brought up a valid discussion.

The best thing to do is always re-write everything you get. It doesn't take a lot of effort. But generic copy is just that. Generic. I don't think the info was ever intended to be exclusive.

If the suppliers have no gripe in this case, maybe there is no gripe?

So everybody's doing it.

You have to put it into perspective.
 

johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Well, I certainly did not mean to publicly trap anyone and did not mean to have people sleuth around to find culprits. As Janet aptly pointed out, this is a mistake that could have been made given the nature of the text. Not a good mistake, but possibly an honest one. The whole point of my original post was to start another discussion on this topic, and most of this thread did just that, providing useful information and sources for copyright protection.
I would say it was an excellent chance of being an honest one since they posted the site here for everyone to criticize.

As far as being a star, are you kidding me? Putting on classes when asked by PPFA is an honor, but it is a TON of work for a very small amount of pay that is often eaten up by expenses. The reward comes from helping other framers, getting to know people, sharing ideas, and being part of the organization.

Meanwhile, I hope y'all have the red carpet ready.
I'm being completely serious, not kidding at all. It doesn't matter if the classes are a lot of work for little pay. The result is that people look up to you. You're a leader.

For you specifically, you're an industry leader in the areas of going green and e-marketing.

When people read your articles or attend your classes they look to you for leadership.

If a picture framer is wondering how to phrase the Green section of their own website and they just don't know what to do they are probably going to look at yours.

If someone is stressing over their own newsletter and they can't figure out what to do they are probably going to look at yours.

I know you weren't the one to publicly ask where the verbiage was taken from in the other thread. That's what led to all the negativity.

But I hope that you temper your frustration with being borrowed from in the areas where you are a leader, because if you handle it the wrong way you risk killing the good will that you're building as a byproduct of all your hard work.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
The best thing to do is always re-write everything you get. It doesn't take a lot of effort. But generic copy is just that. Generic. I don't think the info was ever intended to be exclusive.
I agree and disagree. I used a few sentences here and there to describe supplier's history and efforts, and the page was approved by vendors, but most of that page is my text, in my style, and except for attributed sources on social media and the web, everything else is original.

We work hard to be original. BTW, we don't copy images, and if we need something as on some of our newsletter and web page banners, we buy the image from one of the stock photo sites. Even when we borrow ideas, we ask first. Making an effort and taking the time to be original is just good business.

This thread is moving away from its original purpose and I would like to see it continue with a sharing of ideas to protect copyrighted text and images.
 

janetj1968

PFG, Picture Framing God
I agree and disagree. I used a few sentences here and there to describe supplier's history and efforts, and the page was approved by vendors, but most of that page is my text, in my style, and except for attributed sources on social media and the web, everything else is original.
I respect that. And you do fantastic work. You really are an example of how to do lots of things right.

I do see your side of it too. Just to eliminate any argument though, you have to make your entire website 100% original. And add that copyright banner.

That way, no one else but you an be in control of who can copy your page.

Here's a link that might be helpful:
http://www.wiscocomputing.com/articles/protect_web_sites.htm
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
So where do you draw the line? I have seen some of my framing designs on other peoples sites including Kirstie's. Does sharing something that we have done give others license to copy it?
 

blackiris

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm wonder if anyone is using mine!? :nuts:
 

D_Derbonne

PFG, Picture Framing God
Dave~are you saying that you saw your photos on someone elses site? or that they copied your design?
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
One of my jersey designs where I created a custom background.

This is more then just a mat combination, it was created by me in photoshop. I am just wondering where the line is drawn.
 

FramerDave

PFG, Picture Framing God
Most recently, I have seen a number of folks "sharing" the Larson-Juhl facebook entries on their walls. It appears to be exclusive of those individual shops. How does this measure up in light of the discussion here? Just asking.
LJ puts those up with the intent that they be shared by their customers to promote their businesses and good frame design in general. Apples and oranges.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
There is an important distinction between piracy and posting/copying/sharing intellectual property with permission and proper attribution. Obviously, Larson-Juhl is pleased that so many framers want to display their creations.

Most of us who create or propagate intangible products, such as articles, images, classes, instructions, mat designs, and frame designs are willing to share with reasonable limitations. Of course, some of those things represent our income.

Personally, I have seldom declined a framer's request to use all or part of an article or design concept I have found or created. Generally, I ask (and reasonably expect) only proper attribution.

Fair is fair. Piracy is not. Ask permission before using anything that has been used by others before you. You will probably receive an affirmative response.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
One of my jersey designs where I created a custom background.

This is more then just a mat combination, it was created by me in photoshop. I am just wondering where the line is drawn.
Hi Dave,

If you remember, I wrote to you at the time and told you that, inspired by you, we created our own football design in Photoshop on a jersey background Ours was created by our graphics manager and was a bit different and did not include those cool custom mat walls yours had. At the time I thanked you for the idea as well as the idea to use the jerseys in a slanted fashion. We haven't sold any of those mat backgrounds, so if you consider this a proprietary idea, I can take it down.

This is an interesting discussion and I would certainly like to know more about what happens, and what are the expectations when one publicly shares an idea and it inspires others to so something similar. Creative Memories, for instance, has had sports backgrounds available for their scrapbook pages for years. Now other companies have them too.
 
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