Friday, July 22, 2011

Copyright anyone?

This morning I went through my Twitter account and saw – just by luck – somebody posted pictures of 'auroras boreales en Canada'. I was like 'hey, somebody else took shots last night! Let's check'em out'.

My stomach turned a little when I saw that as a matter of fact it were MY images I took on the night of July 21st, but with no watermark! I could swear I watermarked them before uploading them to

After checking that (I did in fact watermark my 4 shots and you can see the original post here), and some more digging, I ended up at the 'original' posters' Twitter account. A – what looks like – a genuine science and technology site.

Now I do LOVE science and I would do almost anything to help these usually under funded people out. But grabbing shots and removing watermarks (and NOT giving ANY credits or link back) is just plane old stealing in my book.

I sent a tweet out to them asking them to remove the photos from Twitpic but haven't recieved anything back yet.
I don't mind sharing pictures. As a matter of fact how would you otherwise get your work out?
But when I am missing out on potential clients that have no clue where pictures came from, that is another thing. Then you are pushing me into a corner and I have no clue how I will react.

If you look at the stats of these two images you'll see those shots got viewed approximately 9,000 times and got retweeted in about 1/10 of the views it got.

And to top that, they felt that they could repost this to their Facebook page as well.

SO here is my question. How would you handle this? Would you let this slide? Or would you sent them the bill? This is copyright infringement right? But I have no clue what I can do to people like this. Do I contact TwitPic?

Update 1
Here's the issue I am having. Thanks to all the privacy laws in place I can't see Twitter or Facebook page owners email addresses. I rather handle this through email though than shouting it in Twitter-space. So far they are not quick to react.
I got one tweet back saying, and I quote "we didn't remove it, our followers send us all the pictures, we just post them, send us the originals and we'll post them". So who did remove the watermarks then I question?
I tweeted again asking them (for the 2nd time now) to remove these shots. I am also filling in the Twitter Copyright Infringement form, but I'm not sending this off for now.
I like to believe these guys will remove the pics before I am forced to use more drastic measures.

Update 2
The owner of the page took the images down. SO that part of the issue is solved.
They claim they received these from an outside source and they were not the once that cropped the watermarks out. Could be, but how are we going to prove that?
I still like to find out who that 'source' was and go after them.

Update 3
The two pictures from yesterday were taken down. BUT I just found another one of my shots on their Twitpic page. This time around I sent them a simpler email. Asking them to take them down in 24h or I am filling a complaint through Twitter, and filling a complaint with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Update 4
After 24h the picture is still up and I am putting the wheels in motion. Yes it is a weekend (but I don't give a damn). I gave them 24h to comply OR...
So here goes.

Update 5
I just got a reply from the CEO of Twitpic notifying me that as of 7:30pm the photo has been taken down.
I also filled a complaint with Twitter. Awaiting the response of that.