Imagine one day you’re surfing the web, going about your own business, when all of a sudden you spot a photo you recognize. That’s unmistakably your photo, except you never posted it to this website. It all of a sudden becomes clear that somebody is using your image without your permission. Maybe they’ve even gone as far as to put their own watermark over yours. What do you do now? Read on to find out.
First of all, determine if the use of your photo is actually an infringement. If you work with a licensing agency, it’s possible that they authorized the use of the image. Did you give them a broader license than you intended to? If so, other people may be able to use your image.
Make sure to save proof of the infringement. Make both hard copy and print copies. This way, if the person removes the image, you’ll still have the proof that it was used. You could need evidence at some point throughout this process.
Find out what you can about the person who used your image. Check out their website, try to find their name, and note down their contact information. If you’re having trouble locating this information, use a “Who Is” service to get the details you need. On these websites, you can enter a URL and then get contact information for the administrator or owner of the website.
Once you have the information you need, decide what you’re going to do. One option is to not do anything. If the person is in a foreign country, you could have a very difficult time contacting them and getting them to take down the photo. Also, if the image is on a small, personal website that doesn’t get much traffic, you may decide that pursuing the issue isn’t worth your time.
If you have your mind set on getting them to take down the image, prepare a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice. This act, which was enacted in the late 90s, says that an Internet Service Provider isn’t liable for infringement if they remove the materials after getting notice of the violation. You can also choose to send a cease and desist letter, which demands that the website owner remove the photo from their website. At this point, you may also choose to ask for the person to pay you for use of your photo. Whatever method you choose, keep track of everything so that you have proof of communication should the case get more serious. Contact Parsons & Goltry today at 480-991-3435 if you have any questions regarding your Intellectual Property and legal rights.
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"Michael Goltry is the most professional, honest and effective patent attorney whom I ever met in my 40 year professional engineering career. I started to work with him over 20 years ago and plan to work indefinitely."
"Mr. Goltry took a provisional patent that we'd filed ourselves, and quickly and professionally turned our innovation into U.S. and foreign applications. His [patent claims] were a thing of beauty, and I was amazed by how deftly he countered the inevitable office actions. His language held up, and the U.S. Patent just issued. He was easy and efficient to work with, and his fees were remarkably reasonable. We're not planning to go anywhere else, ever."
"I applied for a patent through Parsons & Goltry. After being on the docket for 2 years at the USPTO, I received notification that my patent request had been denied. Michael Goltry contacted me immediately to review my options. After I informed him of my decision to move forward, he filed a response to the USPTO. In his response he got the examiner to fully understand the claims in the patent application and the "denied" decision was reversed. I was able to secure and receive a "patent granted" decision. Thank you, Michael Goltry."
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