Google HELP! Stop This Fraud!

In Germany and I’m sure all around the world are some criminals, who are taking advantage of internet user who are not really knowing the copyright law of using pictures.

This comes into my mind when I read about those criminals. I would love to tell them straight in their eye:

And this is why!

I will give you a fictional example, which really exists, just with other products. Just to make sure I’m not getting sued by those guys.

There is a website, let’s call it Alex’ Fisherman Guide, which is about all kinds of fish, where to find them, what kind of species and so on. And with tons of pictures. They actually don’t want to give real information to the user, their description is very, very keyword orientated. All pictures are linked in an index page, very good alt description and so on.

The result? Almost every time you type in the name of a special kind of fish, you will find one of their pictures on the first page of Google.

Some hobby fisher are thinking nice picture, maybe I can use this picture on my website. There is no copyright explicit on the photo. Only if you look around on their imprint page, there you find the copyright. That’s it.

Shortly after this, the hobby fisher will receive a letter from a lawyer. Who sued him, in the name of Alex, the fisherman, for using the picture on his website.

I absolutely can understand that! That’s why there is copyright. But Alex the fisherman wants to have 3000 Euro from the hobby fisher for using a picture of shit! In the actual case it isn’t some beautiful fish picture, it really is about some stupid, generic picture of an all day product, it is ridiculous.

Alex the fisherman is attracting people on purpose to use his pictures, so he can sue these people and make quite a bit of money.

In Germany he is right, of course, because they violate his copyright. But that’s exactly what he wants! I’m kind of fine with that but there is no logical comparison of the value of those pictures and the money he wants for it. 600 to 3000 Euro for a picture of for example shit? C’mon!

Google should stop these guys and ban them from their search results. In Germany there are even reports on TV about those guys. Those people sue hundreds of people and making a fortune.

If someone knows anybody at Google or someone of Google is reading that, they should leave a comment and I will send them those people and they can research what’s going on. Many bloggers and readers are really pissed off about this in Germany.

It would be great if Google shows their moral and ban those bastards!

Do you also know some examples where people use copyright to make money?

Your thoughts?

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  1. avatar #1 - TigerTom Says:

    I would just say, OK, I’ve removed the image. Now sue me!
    Some people settle these things too early.

  2. avatar #2 - Alex Says:

    That’s not so easy as you think. Even though you remove it immediately. Use still broke the copyright and they still sue you. It’s like you steal something from a store. They catch you and you bring it back immediately. That doesn’t mean they let you go then :)

  3. avatar #3 - Joshua Issac Says:

    Isn’t that where fair-use comes in?

  4. avatar #4 - Alex Says:

    Hey Joshua, can you explain a little more what you mean by that?

  5. avatar #5 - photographer Says:

    Think of it this way. I’m a photographer. I make €20K a year taking photos of animals. Each good photo takes a day of my life. I put my photos online to get advertising revenue from my site and so that magazines will see my work and by photos from me. It’s a lot of work and it’s not well paid by most standards but I enjoy it so that’s my life decision. Of course camera equipment, travel and computer equipment are very expensive overheads, which continually need to be replaced…

    Now, a second guy comes along and wants to make a site about animals. But he doesn’t take photos – that’s too much work and not well paid enough. He just collects thousands of images from the internet and thousands of snippets of text and makes his site that way. Sometimes he makes a comment like “look at this, this sucks” and sometimes he makes one saying “look at this, cool!”, but other than the website, he invests little time in creating content. That’s because he’s got a real job or full-time occupation, or perhaps he’s a student.

    If his site gets big enough hardly anyone will see the original photographer’s site. and the photographer will lose ad revenue and clients because of that. And other people all around the world will copy the image of the fish they see, because now the watermark has been removed and they think if one person can do it why shouldn’t they.

    This is the real world. I’m a photographer, I have a website, people love it, they see things they would never have seen otherwise. Millions visit it. I can barely pay my rent but I’m doing what I love. People copy my photos because they want to make some money from advertising. They also print them in magazines in countries where they think I won’t see them. Those publishers drive nice cars and have good pensions. I don’t see the justice in that.

    Suing for copyrighted photos is usually the last resort, a huge waste of time for the photographer, and in most cases would be very expensive for the photographer who generally knows very little about legal matters i.e. he would not receive anything or not cover his legal expenses.

    I have the problem that a magazine in Germany has published my photos with telling me and it’s a complete nightmare for me trying to work out what to do. If I do nothing it’s like leaving the front door to your house open and letting people walk away with your property. But on €20 K a year the idea of hiring a lawyer terrifies me because of the legal fees.

  6. avatar #6 - Alex Says:

    Hey photographer, I completely with you and the abuse of copyrighted photos is immense. I wish for photographers like you, there would be an easier way to charge other companies or people who are using your photos without permission. And if they are not willing to pay, they have to remove them. Otherwise you should be able to sue them easily without big costs of a lawyer. I wonder why is there no union, where you could participate and if this happens you can use one of their lawyer.

    But my point on this post is, these guys putting photos on their website JUST to sue people for a picture of a tomato. They don’t do it for passion, they do photograph for money. And it’s sad, especially because nobody is doing anything against it.

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