MarthaP wrote:Hey, Alpinist,
I'm honestly not certain that because a nonprofit says it's illegal that it is. I contacted the FCC not so long ago about this very same issue and there are no concrete Federal regulations regarding intellectual property and stuff that can be considered "purposefully pirated," meaning photographs that could obviously be taken by one person.
So it's still a slippery slope. Unless you can absolutely prove that a photograph is yours, by whatever means, you really don't have a leg to stand on. And the problem is so unbelievably rampant how many folks are actually going to bother to pursue litigation? I don't think there's a lawyer in town who'd think this was worth their while even on a class action basis.
Sad but true.
Using someone's photo without permission does violate copyright and is illegal. However, getting any satisfaction from them may be expensive and not worth your time. I think that's what you're referring to. But copyright law is pretty unambiguous. If you take a photo, you own the copyright, and if someone uses it w/o permission, that is a violation.
If you are dealing with a reputable business that doesn't want to get in trouble (this includes businesses like Google that host blogger websites) than an email or a letter from a lawyer can typically get the violation corrected. You generally wouldn't have to pursue litigation. However, if they are in some far off country there is not a lot you could do.
"Intellectual property" law is a different and more complicated set of issues than copyright law - it has to do with things like patents, trade secrets, designs, and so on. The issues there are often less clear cut than copyright.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.