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View Full Version : "competitor" using my project photos


BrandonV
11-10-2008, 04:34 PM
hey guys I had a nursery customer leave a brochure of one of my "competitors" in the area called "creative landscape management" who thinks he's a landscape contractor. I thought i'd flip through it, and wouldn't you know it there is a picture of one of my projects in there 3 times, under water-features, hardscapes and landscape design. I'm totally flattered of course, but besides a friendly call to ask him to give me credit or not use the photos do I have any ways of making him stop?

sbvfd592
11-10-2008, 04:50 PM
wow i would have blown a gasket!!! if some joe blow used my pics saying its his work

richallseasons
11-10-2008, 07:31 PM
One would think that there must be some sort of legal consequences involved, have you spoken to an attorney?

BrandonV
11-10-2008, 07:55 PM
no just found out today. like most things it might not be worth the $ to do something about it.

JimmyStew
11-10-2008, 08:14 PM
Is he taking credit for the install or does he do maintenance work at the property?

Isobel
11-10-2008, 08:46 PM
i would hire an attorney!

if doesn't wish to cease at that point, take him to court. Do it properly so that that has to pay your lawyer bills.

IA_James
11-10-2008, 08:47 PM
Just take all the brochures.

Flow Control
11-10-2008, 09:09 PM
called "creative landscape management"

So is that being creative since he used your projects or is it the complete opposite?? lol

Guy probably mows the property and feels like he is just showing off one of his accounts.

Either way it is wrong, and it is your job to let him know.

mgray10
11-10-2008, 10:24 PM
Does the publication read that the pictures are the business' work? Such phrasing would read "Take a look at some of our work" or "See what we have done in Bearsnatch, Idaho!" If so, threaten with a lawsuit and follow up with a nastygram from an attorney. If it doesn't advertise it as their work, you are screwed. The caveat to this situation, of course, is if the picture is not their own; but that is rather unlikely since you did not mention it. Unfortunately, here in Virginia, there is no burden for the infringing business to provide free advertisement for you. I am sure you can see how this makes sense.

The best thing to do, however, is contact a local attorney.

After reading your post again, I think your case might merit money damages since he is seeking commerce. A judge might rule that the intrinsic nature of the publication acts to showcase the business' own work. Would also be worth mentioning false advertisment; though with transexuality not being illegal, one wonders just how much water false advertisement holds. doh

ARGOS
11-12-2008, 07:00 PM
Who owns the project? I would think the customer. If the customer allowed photos of the property and the guy is not claiming it as his work, then I can't see a legal option.

mgray10 suggested threatening a law suit. I would begin with a friendly request, then escalate accordingly. Judges like to see communication.

If the guy used pictures of your work then I would guess he didn't make many of the brochures.

BrandonV
11-12-2008, 07:18 PM
well he learned from one of the best. the man he learned the trade from used to actually follow my mother (LA) around. write down who she would meet with and then contact them telling them that we'd gone out of business.

ARGOS
11-12-2008, 07:21 PM
well he learned from one of the best. the man he learned the trade from used to actually follow my mother (LA) around. write down who she would meet with and then contact them telling them that we'd gone out of business.

Wow. Now that is rude.

baddboygeorge
11-12-2008, 09:19 PM
I had an ex employee try to pull that , I took him to court they found him guilty for business infringement, I got a restraining order on him, an a no compete for 5 years , its okay to compete but not from your hard work or on your custmer base.

Turboguy
11-13-2008, 05:21 AM
Back to the original question. Unless he claims the work is his, just showing photos of houses with nice landscaping (that you have done) does not give you many options.

One thing we all should remember is that the rights to a photo of a house don't belong to us even if we have done the work. The images of the house are legally the property of the homeowner and using them for commercial purposes could (but usually won't) get you in trouble. You should always get permission and a signed release from the homeowner to use photos of his house in any brochures or websites. Most homeowners are happy to do that and feel proud that you think thier home is pretty enough to use but once in a long while you can run into big problems if you don't get a release.

kyfireman2004
11-13-2008, 02:50 PM
Brandon
I would consider using water marks on your pictures. That would stop it from happening again. As far as the guy that is using them now ,,,,,,,,,just forget about it unless your have deep pockets. Even if you do win something its probably going to be only having the guy stop using your pics. Most guys that steal pics are new to the industry and their pockets are very shallow.............*trucewhiteflag*

Midstate Lawncare
11-13-2008, 09:52 PM
kick his a$$ sea ba$$

Spartan Pride
11-15-2008, 08:16 PM
Small claims court for the win.:weightlifter:

YardPro
11-18-2008, 07:37 AM
well he learned from one of the best. the man he learned the trade from used to actually follow my mother (LA) around. write down who she would meet with and then contact them telling them that we'd gone out of business.

we had a guy here that would do that...

about 10 years ago, if he saw someone talking to a potential client, he would wait until we left, then approach the client, offering to install our design... he would charge them $10.00/hr and they would pay for materials..

DVS Hardscaper
11-18-2008, 10:31 AM
What an idiot. (the competitor)

#1. With no copyright, there is nothin you can do. And even though there is nothing you can do, I would have my attorney send him a compelling letter that scares the living daylights out of him.


#2 - Where did he get your photos?? My guess is that he pirated them from your website (assuming you have a website)?? If thats the case - I suggest you have a watermark placed on the photos on your website, thats what I do.

Spartan Pride
11-18-2008, 04:32 PM
What an idiot. (the competitor)

#1. With no copyright, there is nothin you can do. And even though there is nothing you can do, I would have my attorney send him a compelling letter that scares the living daylights out of him.

Although I could be mistaken, I am about 95% sure that you do not need to place a physical copyright on something to protect it. The practice of putting the copyright symbol on protected materials is just exactly that, good practice.

I took a business law class a few years back and obviously I'm no lawyer, but we were taught that proprietary works are always subject to protection with or without the copyright symbol. I think you definitely have a solid case against this guy.

Now whether or not a landscape installation is able to be protected by a copyright or not is a whole other discussion.

EagleLandscape
11-18-2008, 07:10 PM
brandon never said that it was a copy of his photo, the guy could have taken a picture of brandons install though...

2low4NH
11-22-2008, 10:19 AM
if he took the pictures he can use them! or if you post them up on the net they are in the public domain and can be used. the person who photographs anything is considered the owner and has all rights to use the pictures. i would be pissed but i dont think you can do much about it

Chrysalis
01-03-2009, 04:46 AM
The images of the house are legally the property of the homeowner and using them for commercial purposes could (but usually won't) get you in trouble. You should always get permission and a signed release from the homeowner to use photos of his house in any brochures or websites. Most homeowners are happy to do that and feel proud that you think thier home is pretty enough to use but once in a long while you can run into big problems if you don't get a release.

Holy mackeral I know that for sure.. About 2 months ago me and my guys were finishing up a 3 day project waterfall and the homeowner was so nice up until the last day of the install when she saw me in her back yard taking pictures of the install and I could of swore she was about to run and get a bat to try and beat me. There was steam coming out of her ears and was saying things like "how dare me" without her permission and "delete the ******* pictures now".. lol I let her cool down and 20 minutes later I knocked on her door and left with the final payment. :)

lifetree
01-03-2009, 08:16 AM
... though with transexuality not being illegal, one wonders just how much water false advertisement holds. doh

What the heck ?? Duh !! :hammerhead: :hammerhead:

kootoomootoo
01-04-2009, 03:39 PM
lets see...I have found my pics on a couple of other guys websites but the biggie was another co. telling a neighborhood where I did a few bids that I owned another co that had ripped of a few customers in the area.

All these guys were lawnsite members.

nobagger
01-04-2009, 09:38 PM
wow i would have blown a gasket!!! if some joe blow used my pics saying its his work

Some one on here last year used one of my property photo's on his web sited. I was flattered but dont steal my hard work go get your own. That screams lazy and incompetence! I would make my own brochure and follow him around and put them next to his and on the photo page say these are actually my work thanks!

sgallaher
01-05-2009, 07:50 AM
Is he using your pictures or did he just take pics of your work? Either way if he is claiming to have done this work when he actually has not then that is fraud and you can press charges. No matter which way you look at it it is illegal if he claims the work is his. If you do not do something about it it may come back to hurt you in the future. You may try to get a job and show some pictures of your work and the potential client may already of seen these jobs from this guy and think you are a fraud. I would do something about it. At least make a call to him and legally threaten him and talk to the police fraud unit.

Fiano Landscapes
01-06-2009, 11:00 AM
I have a very similar situation that I'm dealing with on a project we just finished. The pool guy for the project, which only completed the pool structure and plumbing has put it on his website like he has completed the entire project. He even has pictures of some of my features that aren't even around the pool. He is clearly trying to sell future customers work based on my product. It really makes me sick how he did this. Come to find out that his website now no longer exsists, and maybe not even his business. It's funny how those things seem to work out on there own.

topsites
01-06-2009, 11:12 AM
Y'all are losing way too much sleep over this, just let it go and allow karma to take care of it,
see that it couldn't have been any easier, blam, done, go back to sleep and rest some more.

Not that I think taking pictures of any work except your own is very smart, at least I wouldn't recommend it.
But who cares anyway, how's the guy supposed to know it was your landscaping?
Just let it go, don't worry about it no more, the BS will likely bite'm in the butt anyhow (for being so 'creative').

That's how I look at this kind of stuff...
Stick to what you know, and when 'it' happens make sure to look stupid so you don't let on that you know better :p
Peace out

nosparkplugs
01-06-2009, 11:36 AM
Look at all the "copy cat" products we have out? unless you have a copyright on these photo's legally their is little recourse. Sadly if you get to aggressive trying to contact this guy about these pictures you could be charged with harassment. The cost to hire a professional attorney would not be worth it.

This kind of behavior is BS he should have not taken the photo's, but it's legal the way he's doing it.

mdvaden
01-10-2009, 12:31 AM
no just found out today. like most things it might not be worth the $ to do something about it.

Sometimes the local news shows will take a story on something like this, because if they are claiming the work is theirs, when it was yours, I think it may qualify to be fraud.

It probably depends on how the picture was used.

If it is your copyrighted image taken by you, that would probably be illegal.

But suppose the guy "cleaned" the water feature that you installed, and used a photo of the feature with his own camera, and placed it under a general water feature heading that said "water feature installation, CLEANING and aquatic plants" they may be able to get away with it.

But if you built the feature, and they tried to claim they built it, that would be false advertising or fraud it seems.

JimLewis
01-25-2009, 01:11 AM
What most people don't understand about legal threats and lawsuits is this; it rarely matters who's right or who's wrong. What usually settles the matter is one side not being willing to spend the money to go all the way to court.

I am a big proponent of pre-paid legal. You pay about $25 each month but then when something like this comes up, you can just call them and they will send out a cease-and-desist letter for you for free. A letter like this from a professional law firm will scare most people straight. But if he does care to escalate the matter, you have 57 hours of pre-trial legal hours on your side, already paid for. You can file a lawsuit, subpoena records, and all sorts of other stuff without paying a dime. Fairly soon, he'll realize it's not worth the fight and just give in.

Doesn't matter if he's liable or not. Doesn't matter if what he's doing is legal or not. All that matters is; is he willing to pay thousands of dollars to defend what he knows is wrong. And we all know the answer to that.