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Contact, Demand and Settlements sent, Lightroom 5, Criminal implications

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Lightroom 5, what do I think? I like it. It is a learning curve for me because I have not used it since 2.7. I am more of a Photoshop guy but I am working on changing the work flow to use LR5 more. It does pretty well with the RAW files I shoot. The catalogs will be a big help as I get things working better. The cloning and healing brush takes some time to get used to as they are different from PS.

The raster files (the pixel part of the photo) is well handled and the vector part gives a lot of options as I have learned. Unlike Photoshop it is a non-destructive editing so you can actually move the healed and cloned areas around. Not sure why you would want to do that but really it is pretty cool.

Do I recommend it? I am not one to give large reviews on programs as I think those are up to the individual and how they work. The work flow and the processes in the programs are different which means each person has their own decisions to make about them. Be comfortable with them or do not use them. I am comfortable to a point with LR5 but getting more comfortable every day. The nice thing is if you have a previous version of LR and I have two this is just an upgrade fee. $79.00 is not a bad price and I do like the way it handles the work with sliders. I do wish I could edit externally with CS5 but I do not see how to do that because of the ACR is a newer version and they are not going to update the CS5 version. I find that somewhat disturbing for future upgrades. CS5 is not that old and should be upgraded to work with LR5. The answer to the question, yes I do recommend it. There are other programs out there that you might like to try if you do not like the way LR and you get along.

The questions about sending notices and letters to the infringing public are interesting. This weekend I have mailed letters. I do not waste a lot of time doing them as they are probably a waste of time. I want to restate a couple of things here. First if you are not going to follow up and finish the suit, do not send the letters. Second, be aware that you are probably going to be ignored and will have to send a demand letter to get their attention. Another item for you to consider, if you do not ask, the judge cannot give it to you. Ask for all you are allowed to have.

When you send a standard contact letter be nice but put some emphasis on what happens if they do not respond. Once you get it written and ready to go make sure you put the line “address service requested” or “Address Correction Requested” on the envelope. There are several places you can put it but the most common is under the return address. The letter will be forwarded if there is a forward listed on the address and you will be notified of a new address. When you get to the demand letter and actual court issued documents, they need to be sent with a form of proof of delivery. The contact letter is a good way to start. Remember, there are several types of letters, contact letters, demand letters, settlement letters and notice of a federal lawsuit. Try your best to get solid information about the infringer and their counsel if they have one. Do not forget you are the injured party not them. The Morel decision made it very clear that using false copyright notices and watermarks are actionable and should be done to protect the integrity of the business. We cannot afford to let one of these blatant cases go unpunished. No one has the right to take your work and put their name on it. The court was very strong on that. They also did not like the distribution of the images without consent.

The real estate case is coming together also and it also involves “watermarking” my images with name of other companies or individuals. Here is part of the information from the Morel decision concerning putting a name on an image that is not yours. Notice how well it fits to the real estate case and the direct infringement case. The other areas are also very meaningful but this is absolutely a direct match. With respect to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims where the infringer provides false, removes, or alters copyright management information (see 17 USC 1202 (a) and (b)). The court confirmed and ruled:

“that AFP and Getty added their watermarks to at least some of the Photos-at-Issue, which is facially suggestive of ownership.

Although AFP has presented declarations suggesting that these captions are not “intended to provide any information about copyright ownership,” there is evidence that the caption does, in fact, convey information about copyright ownership. In fact, Judge Pauley has already held in ruling on the motion to dismiss in this case that “Morel’s allegations that AFP labeled his photos with the credit lines ‘AFP/Getty/Daniel Morel’ and ‘AFP/Getty/Lisandro Suero’ are sufficient to plead falsification of CMI.”

If you do not understand this it really means that if you put your name on a photo that is not yours, you are violating the DMCA in two ways which allows for the image count to double. In this case it does double and at up to $25,000.00 each that gets a bit salty. If someone has taken your work and put their name on it, it constitutes two violations of the DMCA and needs to be seriously addressed. The images also do not have to be registered. It will be interesting to see how my cases go as my images are registered. Remember, intent is not a defense and changing the names on multiple images is not considered a mistake or oversight. One can be innocent but over ten can be criminal and result in felony charges. We are just getting started it seems.

I am not an attorney. These are my personal opinions and general information only. These are not legal advice and should not be used as such.

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