Every once in a while I google search on myself and my so-called studio name, silverystars just to see what pops up. Its interesting how bold people can be and often times I’ll see my photos posted to others’ blogs or filckr accounts. If they’re done with attribution, I generally won’t have a problem. But last night I found an account on flickr that had one of my photos posted to it and it was the only photo in this person’s gallery there.
So, appropriately, I contacted the Yahoo Copyright and Intellectual Property folks and said this:
Copyright for the the image in the link below is owned by me Scott Nichol and has been posted to your site by a user unknown to me and without my permission. The copyright data for this image is still embedded in the metadata of the JPG image file and viewable on your site. it still indicates the copyright holder to be me, Scott Nichol.
Please remove this image at your earliest convenience:
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at:
[address, phone number, etc…]
You would think that this info along with the fact that the person had only one image in their flickr gallery and that my copyright info was still embedded in the photo’s metadata would be enough to satisfy a DMCA takedown.
Interestingly, though, Yahoo!’s response to me was as follows:
Yahoo! would like to help you with your request. However, in order for us to process your complaint, we require that you comply with Yahoo!’s Copyright/IP Policy at http://info.yahoo.com/copyright/details.html and the statutory requirements for a valid DMCA notice (set forth at 17 U.S.C. 512(c)(3)).
Specifically, in addition to the information you have provided below, please include in your notice:
- A statement that you have a *good faith belief* that the use of the content in question is unauthorized; and
- A statement by you, *made under penalty of perjury,* that the information provided in your notice is accurate.
Until we receive a complete and effective notice of infringement, Yahoo! will not be able to address your complaint.
Copyright/IP Agent, Yahoo! Inc.
What’s really interesting to me is that a statement of good faith belief is more important than empirical evidence when it comes to intellectual property on-line. In the end, once I included these statements in another email, Yahoo! pulled the image.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me with my artwork. And the bottom line is if you’re an artist posting your work on-line, its really important to send out these notices no matter how ridiculous some of the steps can turn out to be. If you don’t follow through, it sends the message that its OK to copy your work without your permission. And if there’s a really serious case of infringement its harder to defend in court if you haven’t already taken reasonable steps to protect your intellectual property in the past.