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Author Topic: Great Home Page photograph!  (Read 15127 times)
dlashier
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« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2006, 11:45:35 PM »
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As someone who earns their income exclusively from stock sales you've piqued my interest.
If it doesn't compromise any legal action on your part could you provide a link to your
online magazine with the image in question in use and a link for the stock agency?

Hi Mark,

I've pulled the entire site temporarily until I have time to review it and make sure there's no other ticking time bombs. I was not the editor of the site but simply the host and sponsor (and owner of the domain), but the editor was a retired newspaper professional and very careful about copyright issues. I will tell you that the agency is superstock.com, and doing a little googling this isn't the first time they've tried to nail some poor innocent with outrageous fees. I think I'm on fairly firm ground and suspect it's just scare tactics like the time that Newport Corporation sent me a letter threatening legal action if I didn't immediately turn over "their" domain name (newportnet.com). I called them up and told them they were off their rocker and never heard anything more. I suspect the same thing will happen here although they haven't backed off yet. As to why a stock agency would post rights managed photos to an image sharing site where they display on a page that says you're free to post them on your website (and in the process give a wide open sub-licensable license for any and all purposes to the sharing site) is beyond me.

Here's one of the google results, I suspect victims of the same sharing site which has a link "email this image" in addition to the "post this on your website" stuff. This is almost starting to look like a scam and I'm considering filing a complaint with the Florida Attorney General's Office, deceptive practices, entrapment, extortion attempt etc.

edit: I've not yet pointed out to superstock that they have no standing in the case since by posting the image they gave away all rights to cnet. If cnet wants to sue me (which I doubt) then I'll deal with them. I find it strange that superstock's lawyers don't realize this - apparantly they didn't read cnet's TOS. Cnet has their ass covered by the TOS but they did scramble to post a restricted rights notice when superstock called them, although the image still offers a "post to my site" option with no charges involved and the q/a still says you can post to your own site.

pps: a bit more research and I've concluded that technically this was third-party content (I didn't post the image myself but rather the author of an article) and I've done all that's required under the DMCA by responding to the complaint and pulling the image. And in fact the DMCA provides me with safe harbour so I'm just going to consider the case closed and ignore any further threats from superstock.

- DL

oh, and on an unrelated matter, I apologize for my previous post, I was still in a very bad mood last night over this issue and it generalized .
« Last Edit: June 18, 2006, 03:21:33 PM by dlashier » Logged

mtomalty
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« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2006, 08:08:55 PM »
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Hi Don

Thanks for the followup.

After reading the link to the legal forum you included it looks like the agency is pulling a
classic bait and switch scam.

Times are tough for many in the stock agency but I can't  begin to fathom why a
reasonably 'reputable' agency would need to resort to such tactics

Mark
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dlashier
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« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2006, 10:33:23 PM »
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> it looks like the agency is pulling a classic bait and switch scam.

It's much worse than that - it's deceptive, a setup followed by a shakedown and intimidation, basically it appears to be an extortion racket. Notice that they're not putting their RF stuff on there but their high priced royalty managed stuff so they can demand high amounts. I wonder how many people (corporations probably) have just paid up. I'll be filing a complaint with the FTC.

> but I can't begin to fathom why a reasonably 'reputable' agency would need to resort to such tactics

This is what happens when lawyers get in control. Recall the joke: "Q: Is there a criminal lawyer in town? A: We think so, but can't prove it"

- DL
« Last Edit: June 19, 2006, 02:02:57 AM by dlashier » Logged

dlashier
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« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2006, 11:41:12 PM »
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It's much worse than that - it's deceptive, a setup followed by a shakedown and intimidation, basically it appears to be an extortion racket.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=68502\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Cnet's webshots has now updated their site a bit but the language is still very contradictory on various parts of the site. A page will say "post this to your website" yet you click a link now that says you can't Huh

As far as superstock, I haven't heard back from them and maybe should give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was not a maliscous scheme but simply an example of incredible corporate stupidity on Superstock's part and incredibly poor site design and conflicted policy on Cnet's part.

A local web designer stopped by today to discuss a new site she's doing for a non-profit organization. I suggested that maybe I could provide a photo to base the banner on and she said "don't bother - I can get one from webshots". I showed her the $3900 invoice from superstock and she said "oh no!" and ran out the door to remove some images from one of her own websites. So this is a common misconception, not surprising since webshot's pages say "post this photo to your website" and have the image toolbar on.

I'm still filing an FTC complaint though - this behaviour is outrageous, intentional or not. I might /. them also.

- DL
« Last Edit: June 20, 2006, 03:34:28 AM by dlashier » Logged

kian
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2007, 10:55:32 PM »
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Hello,
I believe that I am another victim of Superstock "bait and switch" strategy. Is this still a topic of interest to the group? If yes, I will post my story!
« Last Edit: May 08, 2007, 10:56:22 PM by kian » Logged
wmnewton
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« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2007, 08:06:00 AM »
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Yes, I am interested in hearing your story about SuperStock since I recently received a letter asking for over $11,000 for images I believed to be in public domain.  I also wonder how the other previous situations turned out.  

We were using 3 images on an nonprofit website, 2 of which are still downloadable on webshots.com and they have the webshots logo, not SuperStock.  We were never contacted about their use, just sent a bill from SuperStock for damages with ficticious dates of usage.  We immediately removed the photos.  We were not using the photos for any commercial purpose and were using what we thought were public domain photos that you find everywhere on the internet.  We don't know how they located our website except that it is a setup to extort money by uploading to a site like Webshots with a specific filename.  Then they wait until they pick up sites on Google and send their letter.  Why would they let the photos remain on Webshots if they are protected?

Please let me know about any others who have been contacted like this and what do you do to protect yourself from this kind of activity?  I had never even heard of SuperStock before this happened.
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sigmon
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« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2007, 01:59:06 PM »
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I have rcd a large bill from Superstock also.  My web disigner used a photo that is on their web site.  They are threatening to sue and my attorney advises me to settle rather than fight because of costs involved.  Anyone elso have any info on them?






Quote
Yes, I am interested in hearing your story about SuperStock since I recently received a letter asking for over $11,000 for images I believed to be in public domain.  I also wonder how the other previous situations turned out. 

We were using 3 images on an nonprofit website, 2 of which are still downloadable on webshots.com and they have the webshots logo, not SuperStock.  We were never contacted about their use, just sent a bill from SuperStock for damages with ficticious dates of usage.  We immediately removed the photos.  We were not using the photos for any commercial purpose and were using what we thought were public domain photos that you find everywhere on the internet.  We don't know how they located our website except that it is a setup to extort money by uploading to a site like Webshots with a specific filename.  Then they wait until they pick up sites on Google and send their letter.  Why would they let the photos remain on Webshots if they are protected?

Please let me know about any others who have been contacted like this and what do you do to protect yourself from this kind of activity?  I had never even heard of SuperStock before this happened.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=118520\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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lightstand
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« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2007, 12:09:56 AM »
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  My web disigner used a photo that is on their web site.  Anyone elso have any info on them?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=122843\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm sorry but there is no free lunch in this world.  The idea that you are all photographers or at least interested in photography is incredible how arrogant you would treat others' images with the 'assumption' on rights without even having an email "stating" that the image you have downloaded is free to use.

Why in the world as photographers could you not even contact the photographer or web-master asking for permission to use the images on your website? Do you realize that there are Diane Arbus photographs on Flicker to download? You think she uploaded them giving everyone usage rights to her images? Even if you knew 100 percent that the image was free to download and use, in today's world why would you not have some type of written communication stating that!?!

My post is not about how sleazy the organization that is trying to pull a fast one is? My post is about none of you stating my email receipt with webmaster/artist/someone-anyone clearly states I have usage rights for said image in the first place. And without that I just did NOT want the image on MY website.

jeff
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Rob C
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« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2007, 01:42:01 PM »
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I think that this is a problem created as much by wilful ignorance of copyright as by any intent to entrap.

A previous poster has questioned why anyone would imagine that a picture should be free to usage by the world and his wife. The fact that such usage might be for a non-profit purpose makes no difference at all and I do honestly doubt whether anyone using the internet can really claim ignorance of copyright - there has been so much noise about it both in respect of music and images, that there shouldn´t be an occassion when the ´I didn´t know´card can ever be played again.

Yes, things get murkier when a site fails to make itself as easily understood as might be desired, but even so, such innocence is hardly credible.

This problem is exacerbated in a world where photographers show such desperation to be seen that they will provide images at no cost. However, a commercial site is something else and one should simply expect the no free lunch ethic to apply.

As I have said here before, the amateur should be that; the pro shoud be what he is. It is the confusion within that space between which brings about many tears for both parties.

Rob C
« Last Edit: June 23, 2007, 01:43:31 PM by Rob C » Logged

grom
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« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2007, 08:57:15 PM »
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I am another victim of superstock and their bait and switch tactic.  I used a image from a free download site and now they want $2600.

The most frustrating part is the image was on a secondary page of my site which is rarely seen by visitors...

What is the strategy to deal with these guys?  

I have removed this image and any other ones I did not personally take from my site.  

Should I ignore the invoice amount and hope for the best?  What have others done?

I saw on another forum where someone claimed there are no pending litigations by supershot which if true, confirms they are full of __it.  

HELP PLEASE.

Thx, Grom
« Last Edit: June 26, 2007, 08:57:48 PM by grom » Logged
lawguru
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« Reply #30 on: August 16, 2007, 10:28:33 AM »
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I have a friend that told me about his similar situation with SuperStock. It seems like this company is trying to scam money out of small businesses. There are several organizations that you should file complaints with.

1) Attorney General's Office in Florida (850-414-3990);

2) Better Business Bureau in Jacksonville (www.bbbnefla.org);

3) Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov)

4) Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov)

When many people file complaints with these organizations, a pattern will be identified and action can be taken to stop the unethical behavior. The more times that SuperStock gets its way, the more they will bully people for money they didn't earn.
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