STOLEN PICTURES from my Website

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by LLC RI, May 22, 2012.

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  1. LLC RI

    LLC RI LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    Hi Guys,

    I had lunch yesterday with an old friend who is a lighting rep I haven't seen in a while. He asked me if I had ever taken care of the guy who stole several of my photos from MY website and has had them posted on his company website for several years now.

    I've written to this guy a while ago and he was a jerk, playing dumb, and blaming the person who created his web content. Bottom line, I checked the site today and my photos are still on his page, being represented as his own work.

    The reasons I am posting this is to make everyone aware at how important protecting your proprietary information and photos are to you and your business. Landscape lighting is such a visual product that if I see a lighting contractor, with several Texas locations to boot, unable to provide THEIR OWN lighting photos for their website, I have to wonder just how good they are.

    Check out this link:

    Note that on that gallery, 2nd row down, 2nd pic in, is mine as are 7th row down, pic 1,2 and 3

    If you go to his Virtual Tour
    You can see more of my photos, THE CHOICES photo is mine, as is Lighting Packages and Gazebo Lighting. The funny thing, the Lighting Packages photo has my old job site sign IN THE PICTURE!!!...

    IF any of you know Jim Lehman, of Accent Lighting Designs, tell him to man up and take my photos off his website. It's a shame that a 'big' lighting contractor like he is portraying himself as, can't even provide photos of their own work.

    For those of you who have a website featuring your own work, ( which is the only work your website should feature), by all means, take steps to protect that work with watermarking photos or other protection measures. This is MY Property that this yoyo has been using to get business. I wonder if I can sue him?

    Take Care

  2. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,763

    Watermarking is a good idea. Also, NEVER post the full size image. That way, only you can present the original image as taken from the camera, in court.
    YES, you can sue him. Do you stand to make anything? That's a question for your lawyer, but usually he's the one most likely to profit from this.
  3. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Of course the law is on your side. Copyright laws are very clear. You have a strong case - especially if he's a direct competitor and you can make a case for financial loss. If if he's not a competitor, there are still significant penalties.

    I suggest documenting your communications and putting forth a chronology.

    I've gone two routes in similar cases - going through a lawyer and pursuing it myself. The lawyer route is expensive and may not yield good results. If I were you, I'd just aim to get his site pulled down - you can do that yourself.

    Go to WHOIS to find out who his host and domain name registrar are.

    Go to the websites of both those companies and search for their procedures to report copyright violations. They will spell out exactly what proof they need. Follow the instructions and they will give the gentleman warnings to remove the images. If he ignores these, then they can cancel his hosting plan and take away his domain name.
  4. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,758

    you can get watermark software for free or very cheap. Put a nice 95% transparent watermark diagonal across the photo.
  5. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,156

    A strongly worded letter from your attorney will do wonders. If he fails to comply with the request from your attorney to remove your copyrighted material from his site then drag him into court and the judge will make him do it. It may cost you a few dollars to have an attorney write a letter and even more to take him to court but at least you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you ruined the guys day or even month if it goes to court!
  6. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    I found a company up around Victoria B.C. who was sporting about 7 of my photos as his own work. I sent him an email telling him to take them off, but was ignored. Thanks for the info, I may have to pursue this route.
  7. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,156

    The real fun comes if they are just linking to the picture on your site. If they have done this instead of copying your image and putting on their server then what you do is replace the image on your web server with something obscene. Disable the link to the image on your page and see how long it takes them to notice that you have done so. I've seen this done and it's hillarious.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,629

    Ive actually had compeditors take pics of my work, not my picture but my project. I doubt there is anything i can do there except tell everyone i know that he did it :)
  9. LLC RI

    LLC RI LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    Thanks for all the responses so far. I guess I'm not the only one who has had this happen to them.

    I like the watermark idea. The guy who's doing my new website ( when ever I get all my 'homework' done), will watermark my images.

    As for linking to my site vs stealing my pics.. I am pretty sure they took my pics and have them posted in their own gallery. Some of the photos were actually shot on film and so I do have the original and negatives .....somewhere.

    As for people taking pics of your work Brandon, the best I can suggest is to print out the pages that they appear on and based on the content, ascertain as to if the perpetrator is 'suggesting' that the work is his own work. IF that is the case, then you might have some leg to stand on in getting him to remove it or at least, give YOU credit for the design/project.

    Now that this is back on my To Do list, I think I will have to again find an attorney who specializes in this and try to have this guy removed my pictures. WHen I wrote to him a few years ago, and put each URL and photo that was mine and demanded he remove them, he wrote me back with an attitude, and basically blew me off. In the day to day workings of a busy business, I just didn't have the time to pursue it further.

    I found that his site pilfered my photos by doing a google image search and using generic lighting terms such as uplighting, downlighting, deck lighting, etc. I went through hundreds of pages of images and when I found some that looked famillar... I realized that they did so because they were MINE!.

  10. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Imagine if he sold 300k worth of lighting jobs from your pictures alone , 20% or 60k would be a good number to settle for rather than sue him for alot more , something to think about.
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