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Copyright Letter on Picture of Framing Sample

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Framerdude, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. Framerdude

    Framerdude Grumbler

    Received a letter from attorney asking for thousands of dollars for copyright violation by using an image of his clients work. A picture was taken of the customers artwork to show the type of work we do. Has anyone else experienced this?
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  2. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    No, but if I were you, I'd contact a copyright lawyer first thing in the morning.
    AaronF likes this.
  3. Framerdude

    Framerdude Grumbler

    If this is possible every framing shop better take down any examples of customers framing work done. If they are able to file a possible lawsuit over this.
    AaronF likes this.
  4. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I only take pictures and post after I receive permission from my customer. Get yourself a lawyer. Good luck.
    AaronF, Dave, prospero and 2 others like this.
  5. Framerdude

    Framerdude Grumbler

    Same here. We only post pictures when given permission from the customers. As we did for this one. The letter is from the artist's attorney not the customer.
  6. artfolio

    artfolio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Putting on my lawyer hat I doubt this is anything but a try-on and the most the artist could demand is that you stop using the image. Unless you are selling knock-off images of the artwork or benefiting from it commercially somehow you would not be breaking any laws in Australia.

    However, I would definitely suggest talking to a lawyer before responding in any way.
    shayla likes this.
  7. Freddy L

    Freddy L Grumbler in Training

    Depends on the context of how you used their work. Was it simply a framed work on a wall in your shop or was it used in brochures etc.. ? That, I believe is the crux.
  8. Framerdude

    Framerdude Grumbler

    No Brochures Only in a photogallery on website under sample framing. Low resolution photo as well.
  9. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    AaronF likes this.
  10. Freddy L

    Freddy L Grumbler in Training

    ah ok. The website thing might encroach on commercial use more than hanging on a wall (but I'm not a lawyer so ymmv). I'd be tempted to speak to the photographer directly and see if it can be worked out. Is this a very good client and have you dealt with them often, in the past ? I'd be concerned that this might make its way around the grapevine and could affect your reputation.
  11. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The only times I have put photos of customer's artwork on the net as a example of framing is with their express permission.
    Most don't really mind or care less.

    You have to be careful however. Sometimes I write 'SAMPLE' though the image to render it useless for reproduction.

    My advice in this case is to try to do a deal though the attorney. Copyright is a very convoluted subject in law and any
    case is by no means cut and dried. They might be more amenable to and out of court payment than the risk of a court case.
  12. artfolio

    artfolio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Let us not forget, too, that any legal process is a money gobbling monster and even if you "win" it can still cost big money. I once had a dispute with a supplier over a defective machine and had to resort to taking legal advice. The matter was settled amicably out of court but still cost me $1,000 or so in lawyer's fees. Those guys even bill you for wear and tear on their pants while they are sitting at their desks.

    Definitely, without making any offers of settlement, it is worth talking to the complainant and seeing what you can work out without "lawyering up" and heading for court.
  13. kartoffelngeist

    kartoffelngeist Grumbler in Training

    Is the attorney's client and your customer the same person?

    That's to say, if it's not your customer's own work then they can't really give you permission to use it. As an aside, whether you make money off it is much less relevant in ip than people imagine.

    I would take it off the website and reply to the lawyer thanking them for drawing it to your attention and letting them know that you've now taken action to resolve it.
    As others have said though, check with a lawyer first...
  14. GreyDrakkon

    GreyDrakkon MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I would contact the artist and let them know that you had permission from the client to post their artwork, and will immediately remove any likeness of their artwork from their site. However, I would give them the option of leaving the free advertising for their art up on your site, and include a link to their gallery (if you're so inclined to do so). This doesn't need to end in bad feelings, and can work out for both of you.
    Dave, Grey Owl and shayla like this.
  15. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Much of the response you receive will depend on whether this was a case of the tail wagging the dog. If the artist reached out to the atty., a simple resolution is more likely than if the atty. is one who seeks out potential violations, then contacts the artists to sue.
    JWB9999999 likes this.
  16. cjrojik

    cjrojik CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Was the letter was from Getty Images? They sent me one before and I replied that I did the framing and had permission from the owner of the work to use its image on my website. They replied "Never mind."
  17. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Definitely contact a lawyer.
    Is this a well known artist? I hope you can work something out, remove it from your website to start with.
  18. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Speak to an attorney. In my opinion this artist and their attorney are more than likely fishing to see if you will pay-up without a fight.

    It is always best if you speak to a copyright attorney to see if they really have a case but in the mean time I would take the picture down.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  19. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Please let us know the outcome.

    I always try to have approval for all images, including those for educational efforts. I have used a few images during my seminars where I have not had approval [basically I had not asked] so I have blocked out parts of the images so people were not recognizable.
  20. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've blocked or pixellated parts of images too, including names on diplomas or wedding invitations.
    :cool: Rick
  21. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    We all need to keep in mind that image searching on the web is as easy as keyword searching. Any artist can search for their own image and if it on you web site it may well come up.
    Grey Owl and shayla like this.
  22. wcox

    wcox CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I do believe there might be an issue here. You can hang the framed art in your shop waiting for a customer to pickup. But you cannot reproduce the art with out the artist not the art owner but the artists permission. Taking a picture and posting it would be making a copy. I hove noticed on many tv reality shows and newscasts etc, art work is usually fuzzed out. Must be a real reason for that.
  23. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think that whether a photo of a piece of art in situ, as it were, is not clearly a "copy".

    I do know that many TV shows do not show product with identifiable logos, because that could be construed as an endorsement of the product.
    JWB9999999 likes this.
  24. jim_p

    jim_p SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    No, the reason they don't show products with identifiable logos is that said products did not pay for the privilege...
    FramerInTraining likes this.
  25. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I recommend this topic be moved to the "double secret probation" section, for reasons I would elaborate there.
  26. AaronF

    AaronF CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    This is just sad. The client couldn't have come to you first requesting you to remove it? Come on... What's going on with the world these days?! No one wants to have a "difficult" conversation anymore.

    Good luck with this OP. Please let us know how things progress. We're all in your corner here.
    JWB9999999 likes this.
  27. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yes, and it will cost you too. We have an attorney in the family, and so it only cost us the amount of the settlement, which was paltry compared with what a lawsuit would have cost. Our problem is that we forgot to add the contact information for the customer's upcoming show. We have a permission form at the shop that we give to customers whose work we would like to feature online. In this case, the art was shown in a newsletter and someone forgot to have the artist sign the form. We sent out a new version advertising the artist's show and paid her a chunk of money after she signed a non-disclosure agreement. Done, and done. We all make mistakes sometimes, and sometimes it takes one to clean up our procedures.

    I would find an attorney who will contact your client's attorney and work something out. No attorney wants to go to court; they want to settle, and yours will too. BTW, most attorneys will not just send a demand letter for specific funds, so I would be wary regarding who actually sent this letter.

    Even if yours was a letter from Ghetty, your attorney can contact theirs and probably lessen the amount requested. Been there, done that too. Even though I paid for the image, it was an old image that we bought from iStock before they were acquired by Ghetty. It was on and old page on our web site to illustrate a name mat example. I did not keep a copy of their terms of use at that time, and I could not find the receipt. Now we are exceedingly careful with regard to all potential copyright matters.
    shayla likes this.
  28. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    What about sharing gallery photos of 3-D art, such as art glass, pottery, sculpture, etc..... Are images of those items proprietary to the artists, as well?
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