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Interesting: Have you ever had a picture "stolen" from you?

Happened to me - this picture is "mine", basically, I took it and recently sold the original card via Ebay.

I thought it was enough to add something as a copy protection but was wrong. This special seller took my picture (I can prove that it is mine...), cut away most of iit including my copy protection and reproduced it as a postcard. The b*****d.

Of course I told ebay "this is wrong" but - nothing happened, as usual.

Has anyone of you had similar experiences - I would love to hear them!

Cheers

ArHo

 

P.S.: Of course I add this "reproduction" for documentary reasons only - please note that this seller produces ww1 and ww2 repros on paper with these typical ragged sides and usually puts (how ironic) some small stuff on it as "copy protection" himself...

s-l1600.jpg

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This is an extremely complicated subject.

 

Under the law, the only person who is legally protected by copyright is the original photographer who snapped the picture.  Simply because you own the photo doesn't mean you own the copyright to the photo, and the law significantly limits what you are allowed to do with it.

 

Under the law, if an item is protected by copyright, then only the copyright owner gets to say who can and who can’t copy it or use it. And the mere fact that the copyright owner sold or gave away copies of the item doesn’t mean the copyright goes with it.

 

Conventional wisdom says that any photograph or other work created 90 or more years ago is now in the public domain, meaning that there aren’t any copyright restrictions and anybody can use it and copy it as they so desire... right?

 

W R O N G  !!

 

If a person snaps a photograph, he can sell as many copies of it as he wants and keep the copyright. Buyers can display the photo at home or at work, but the only person who can make more copies or publish it or use it in any other manner is the original photographer.  Only HE is protected under law.

 

NONE of the buyers has any legal right to re-copy or re-publish the photo.  The only way another person can use or copy the photo in any way he wants is if the copyright on that photo has expired.

 

There are two requirements for the copyright of a photograph to be legally expired.

 

1.) The photograph had to have been taken 90 or more years ago, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY...

 

2.) The photograph had to have been published .  Repeat: P U B L I S H E D !!

 

If there exists no evidence that the photo was published in any way, the photo is not considered to be legally in the public domain, no matter how old it is.  And incidentally, that means published on the authority of the legal copyright owner.  Definition:

 

“Publication” is the distribution of copies of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending."

 

As I stated in my first sentence, this is an extremely complicated subject.

Edited by Simius Rex
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And Simius, correct me if I'm wrong...

 

Most people think that if they buy an old photo on ebay, they also own the photos the seller uploaded to ebay to show and sell the old photo, but they don't. 

Those new photos still belong to the seller (or maybe to ebay... I haven't studied the fine print to see if the copyright is transferred to ebay in this case...).

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Yes... unfortunately, you are wrong.

 

The eBay seller is entitled to NO copyright protection under the law because his images are nothing more than [unauthorized] copies of somebody else's photo for which somebody else owns the copyright.   

 

In order for the eBay seller to be protected under copyright law, he would have had to have become the legal copyright holder of the original photo.  

 

If that same eBay seller had taken a picture of his smiling wife in a bikini holding the antique photo and used THAT picture in his auction-ad, we are now talking about a totally different matter.  The seller is using his OWN, original photographic work for which he owns the copyright.

 

The fact is that the eBay seller was legally allowed to make and post a copy of the antique photo in his auction because of the Fair Use Doctrine of Copyrighted Material.  He has very limited rights under that doctrine.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

Edited by Simius Rex
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But it doesn't change the fact, that the new owner does not own those ebay photos either?

 

Even if the seller did have the right to publish photos of the object, the copyright of those photos is not automatically transferred to the new owner.

 

As an example (like your bikini example):

If I took a photo of medal to sell it on ebay, the new owner of that medal does not own the right to that photo.

 

To the OP:

Yes, I have published my own photos (of medals), that were 'reused' by someone else. 

Since it was done without bad intentions (only for illustrations), I didn't follow up on it...

Edited by Great Dane
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A seller's duplicated image of an old photograph for which he does not own the copyright is not considered an original work, and is therefore not protected under copyright. 

 

Frankly, the seller is technically committing copyright infringement himself when he duplicates the old photograph without the consent of the copyright owner or his legal heirs. He would, therefore, have no legal standing whatsoever claiming copyright infringement on material that he created as a consequence of his own infringement of somebody else's copyright.

 

The legal response a seller would have in these situations is that the photo falls within the definition of Fair Use as I already described above. There is no clear distinction between fair use and infringing use, but the law takes into account four factors: the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount used by the alleged infringer, and the effect of the use upon the value of the copyrighted work (if any.)

 

Edited by Simius Rex
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Very detailed and accurate presentation by Simius.

 

I'd only like to add some corrections about European laws:

 

- by EU law, copyright expires not after 90 years, but 70 years after the author's death.

 

- there are also a few exceptions (allowances) for reproduction, including:

 

reproductions by public libraries, educational institutions or archives for non-commercial use;

use for illustration for teaching or scientific research, to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose; (this would cover militaria and other research forums, IMHO)

quotations for the purposes of criticism or review; (mostly for works of literature)

use for the advertisement of the public exhibition or sale of art; (that would apply to ebay-sale pictures)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_European_Union

 

And there's important thing that Simius already stressed (bikini case): copyright protects only works of art, with some artistic/creativity/uniquenss added value. That means, a shopping list is no work of art and hence not protected, but a poem, or aphorism, is. Photography must have some artistic value (in broad sense) to be protected by CR; studio portraits fulfill these requirements, but simple document face photo probably not. The same goes for photos of medals etc.: if you just make a picture for illustarive purposes, it has no artisitc value and hence no CR. I'm not sure about casual soldier's photos made in barracs or on the front (I didn't dig into case-law), but i think they should be CR protected, as thy have at least documentary value, like news photos, which are also protected.

 

One more thing to carry in mind with photos of personalities is personal's rights (as part of human rights) - there's a "right to one's own image", which protects ordinary people from being photographed and published elsewhere. There are several exceptions to this rule, i.e. public figures or persons photographed incidentally in public places (i.e. if you take a pic of historical building, or public rally, and there are random perosns in the photo), and I also believe if someone publicly posted a photo of deceised relative for sale or otherwise, he/she tacitly relinquished claims for such rights.

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One thing that worries me is quite often unscrupulous people of dubious parentage steal photos from auction catalogues and dealers lists of coins and medals and then put them on e-bay claiming to own them. Obviously when the successful bidder pays for his purchase its the last he sees of his money. I noticed a few Russian badges/jetons which had appeared in a certain London auction for sale.

P

 

 

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Hallo to all and thank you all for your input - this has become far more than I expected, a most interesting discussion!

I will not go in depth on the several interesting aspects here but just want to clarify in short my initial idea when I opened this thread: Of course I do know that the question who "owns" an antique picture often is not easy to answer and I consider myself as the curator of my collection, less the "owner". And: I gladly give away copies of the images I have in stock for free for scientific purposes (for projects I have myself profited from other's collections this way). But I was just astonished that someone would simply take the image I had made, reproduce it in bad quality and sell it. That's all because I never expected something like that to happen. So I just wanted to ask if anyone else here had similar experiences. Well, enough of thatm I personally will use more "copy protection" materials in the future and that's that, I guess :-) 

All the best!

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On 24/06/2021 at 12:44, ArHo said:

Interesting: Have you ever had a picture "stolen" from you?

Happened to me - this picture is "mine", basically, I took it and recently sold the original card via Ebay.

I thought it was enough to add something as a copy protection but was wrong. This special seller took my picture (I can prove that it is mine...), cut away most of iit including my copy protection and reproduced it as a postcard. The b*****d.

 

P.S.: Of course I add this "reproduction" for documentary reasons only - please note that this seller produces ww1 and ww2 repros on paper with these typical ragged sides and usually puts (how ironic) some small stuff on it as "copy protection" himself...

s-l1600.jpg

 

This isn't much of solution, but it might get the "Special Seller" attention.  For every photo of yours that he stole and is offering for sale on eBay, you post the exact same photo for sale.  Even copy/paste the special seller's language for your description.  The reason?  Most buyers on eBay are searching ALL items in their category.  They are going to find the duplicate posting and wonder what is going on?  Who has the real photo (if either seller)?  This will throw the bogus photos into disrepute and should dampen the sales price.  Second, the Special Seller may contact you and ask why you are stealing his description and photo for your listing.  He may even want to report you to eBay police.  At this point the irony is complete.  Stealing from thieves is not theft.

 

You mentioned in your latest post that you use more copy protection materials in the future and sadly i think this is your most practical and logical next step.  

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Going into legal matter discussion, I can add (law is my profession), referring to Pauls and initial ArHo's question that fraudulently presenting thing A as being something else (thing B) is a crime, a fraud. I'm not sure what is the definition of fraud in other legal sistems, but according to Slovenian law, it could roughly translate as:

 

Who intentionally wrongfully presents facts with an aim to deceive other person and get himself an illegal material gain, on the expense of other person's material assets, is punishable with up to 3 years in prison.

 

So, presenting a forged (yesterday made) photo as 100 years old photo (which has substantially higher material value than modern copy), with intention to get the money one should get for 100 y.o. photo, and not just money for new photo, is a crime. Claiming to having for sale some medal or coin, that "seller" actually doesn't own and can't transfer to the buyer after the closed transaction, is even more obviuos fraud. The problem is, such international fraudulent deals are almost impossible to prosecute, as police officers of all countries have no time for such relatively small crimes.

 

Within EU, some protection can be offered by civil law, with european small claims procedure, which can be filed in plaintiffs (buyers) home country. If a seller is a business and a buyer a costumer, a costumer can also file a lawsuit (regardless of the value of the claim) in his/her home country, with use of his own law (EU regulations "Brussels I" and "Rome I"), even if a defendant (business) is from another member state.

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