Using Photos From Other Websites

  • twalters84
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hey there,

On my website, I am creating a section that allows green businesses to upload photographs. I have a few legal concerns.

I realize that all photos on the internet are not in the public domain.

1. As the website owner, do I need to try to verify that the image is in the public domain before it actually appears on my website?

2. Verifying each image can become very time consuming if thousands of photos are eventually added. I noticed facebook has a little disclaimer when uploading a photo:

"I certify that I have the right to distribute these photos and that they do not violate the Terms of Use."

Is this message all I need to have on the website?

3. If somebody complains that an image is copywritten, can they sue me before notifying me that the image is copywritten. For instance, if I find out an image is copywritten, I would gladly delete it from the gallery.

4. Does anybody know of any good websites to find environmental photos that are in the public domain?

Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions.

Sincerely,
Travis Walters
admin@green-watch.org
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
1. As the website owner, do I need to try to verify that the image is in the public domain before it actually appears on my website?


How many sites have you seen where you can upload photos and they're displayed immediately ?
How long have they been around ?

Quote:
2. Verifying each image can become very time consuming if thousands of photos are eventually added. I noticed facebook has a little disclaimer when uploading a photo:

"I certify that I have the right to distribute these photos and that they do not violate the Terms of Use."

Is this message all I need to have on the website?


"all you need", probably not. It would be a good idea to get some DMCA literature together for your TOS along with an address such as "dmca@domain.com" to handle complaints. Most sane copyright holders will look for ways to contact you about it before they do anything so they don't look like assholes in front of a judge.

Quote:
3. If somebody complains that an image is copywritten, can they sue me before notifying me that the image is copywritten. For instance, if I find out an image is copywritten, I would gladly delete it from the gallery.


Anyone can sue anybody for anything in America. Whether they'll win or not depends on a lot of things though. If they decide to sue you without at least sending a request via email for you to take it down, or without filing a DMCA complaint with you or your host, they're going to look like a fool in court and you'll most likely get out of there with a promise to take the content down, provided you've made it easy for copyright holders to contact you in these situations.
  • twalters84
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hey there,

Thanks for the quick response.

I know quite a few sites where photos display immediately including myspace and facebook. The difference between them and my small company is that they have the ability to pay for a law suit. We are not actually going to be making any money until next year :)

It is definately easy to contact me through my website, but I will take your advice and I will put a notice on the photo details and / or gallery page with a notice.

You have replied to a lot of my questions over the last couple months. Always nice seeing you help people in the community.

Thanks again.

Sincerely,
Travis Walters
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
I know quite a few sites where photos display immediately including myspace and facebook. The difference between them and my small company is that they have the ability to pay for a law suit. We are not actually going to be making any money until next year


Then why would anyone want to sue you if they can't get any money out of you ?
It would be easier for them to contact you before filing a lawsuit if all they want is to have their image removed. :)

Quote:
It is definately easy to contact me through my website, but I will take your advice and I will put a notice on the photo details and / or gallery page with a notice.

Be careful about making it stick out like a sore thumb. Scaring people away by being over-cautious isn't good either. It took me a few times to figure that one out. :)
  • devilwood
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I was concerned with this issue too but not just for photos and what I found out from a Circuit Judge is pretty much the same as Joebert:

1. Don't be concerned with too many legal issues when starting a business or internet business until you start making money. Everything changes with money.

2. You will always be given 60 or 90 days to take the content down and a request to do so should be the first step by the plaintiff.

Ultimately, his advice was to do what you need to do to make money and worry about that later. :-)
  • jacksmith
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I suggest you add the photo from your site, as many photos owners don not want to share the photo to others.
  • vijayshekar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This post solved some of my concerns about getting photos for my site.
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  • suzie
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I suggest you look at the small print, usually at the footer.

If it says 'copyright' then you have two options. (1) Take the time to write a small e-mail asking permission to have a copy to display on your site, with a link as most photographers like to know where their images will be displayed. They will also *expect a credit back to their site.


Or (2)you could leave with nothing but footprints.

I have no problem asking and usually they allow one image of my choice, and I always credit professional photographers back.

And Wikipedia is very good for images too.

S
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I understand the original question revolves around the responsibilities of the person running a site where other people will be uploading images, but considering Suzies' reply I figure it might be worth mentioning a somewhat recent experience I had with an artist and using their images.

I stumbled across some awesome artwork and wanted to create wallpapers from it for a site.
I contacted the artist through their website and asked permission to create the wallpapers from their artwork. I offered to create a new category specifically for their images and do all of the work myself.

The artist got back to me the next day and asked which images exactly I was interested in because they were not the photographer of every image their artwork was based on and feared copyright issues with some of them. I haven't found anything this person has done I don't like so I said anything I can use.

The artist agreed, but said they would rather create the images to be displayed themselves. I suggested a template for the specific format I needed when asked and the waiting game began.

As I look through my email records I see it was roughly 3 weeks between the agreement and when I was sent images to use.

I remember after about a week I started to wonder if they'd forgotten about me, or perhaps they'd started having second thoughts. I didn't bug them though, I waited patiently.

I think after the second week I'd started to give up hope and assumed they'd changed their mind. Still, I waited patiently, I didn't pester them.

By the time I was contacted again I was saying to myself if I don't hear from in a few days I'm going to break down and bug them. I remember being estatic when I received the next email and it had images attached. I'd already had everything else together and I got everything setup and running pretty much immediately.

The whole process took roughly a month taking into consideration the weekend between initial communications. But it was certainly worth it, if for nothing else, for the peace of mind. :D

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