Earlier this year The Concours d’Elegance of America inadvertently used two images they didn’t own, one on their website and one in a printed brochure. I notified them of this error and the images were removed. After an initial discussion, the Concours reached out and offered me compensation for the works that were used. I accepted the offer, and we both look forward to working with each other in the future.
August 29, 2016
We are patiently waiting for a settlement offer to reach us.
Thank you, again, for all the support and encouragement.
August 15, 2016
Contrary to a statement made by the Concours on August 8th (which many of you have received by way of e-mail from the Concours office), no official settlement offer has been made as of yet. There were some inaccuracies in the statement sent from the Concours. Please feel free to contact me for clarification. I would hope that they eventually correct the wording and details, and send an apology as well.
August 8, 2016
I updated this on August 5th, while I was believing that we would have a mutually agreed upon settlement the follow week. At the time of that update, I deleted my original post.
After reading a statement that the Concours of America sent out today, I'm not so sure that a quick settlement is in the works, especially if the creator and/or artist in the end, is made out to be the greedy one.
Between today's official Concours statement, and a disturbing phone call that I received from a board member representing the Concours several days ago, I'm not sure that we've really made progress. I'm attempting to only state the facts (and not get too emotional) - and, I have total brain freeze at the moment. (I fear I'm a bit stressed.) In any case, here's my original post:
August 3rd, 2016
As a freelance photographer and writer, it’s important to protect the works that I create - both for me, and for other writers and artists.
In April of this year, and quite by accident, I discovered that the Concours d’Elegance of America (formerly known as the Meadowbrook Concours d’Elegance) used one of my images for advertising and promotion as their banner image, on each and every one of their web pages. The photo was used without my permission, and my copyright marking was altered and covered by “grass” - which was "copied and pasted” over the copyright watermark.
In mid-July, again by accident, I found out that the Concours d’Elegance of America used another photo of mine (with the copyright marking tightly cropped out) in an advertising and promotional brochure that was mailed out. I have no idea if 100 brochures were mailed out, or 10,000 (or more), or if these were also distributed in other ways.
At this time, I can confirm that two of my images were used without permission, and with the copyright markings either altered and/or cropped out. (* The statement from the Concours on 8-8-16, mentions one additional photo usage!) I have no easy way of knowing if more of my images have been used without my permission, copyrights altered or cropped out, or in what ways the images may have been used.
I have attempted, since April 19th, 2016, to work out a settlement with the Concours d’Elegance of America. On May 24th, 2016, the Concours d’Elegance of America had their lawyer contact me. Unable to come to any reasonable settlement, I had a lawyer contact them (for the first time) on July 22nd, 2016 (three full months after I first contacted them, and attempted to work this out, without going through the legal system). We appear to be at a standstill, with no current offer.
This is an issue, which if pursued in the legal system, must be filed in the state of Michigan, and in federal court. As you can imagine, this is a very expensive process.
I’ve been strongly encouraged by fellow photographers, artists, writers, editors, publishers, and others, to follow up with the Concours d’Elegance of America, and protect my copyrights - not just for me, but for everyone else as well.
The funds raised in this Go Fund Me campaign will go towards all my legal expenses, and other necessary expenses to pursue this.
*** Any and all additional funds will go towards helping others in similar situations.
Misc. Copyright / CMI Information:
17 U.S. Code § 1202 - Integrity of copyright management information
(b)Removal or Alteration of Copyright Management Information.—No person shall, without the authority of the copyright owner or the law—
(1)intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information,
(2)distribute or import for distribution copyright management information knowing that the copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law, or
(3)distribute, import for distribution, or publicly perform works, copies of works, or phonorecords, knowing that copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law,
More information on the code can be found here: http://rising.blackstar.com/heres-why-you-should-add-your-name-and-copyright-notice-when-posting-photos-o.html