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I fought Vinderen Elektriske, and won
October 9, 2007 7:01 AM   Subscribe

They stole an image of my son and just had to pay $4000. About a year ago I was surprised when I saw an image of my son in an ad for a shop called “Vinderen Elektriske”, selling electronics.
posted by Ljubljana (73 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fools!
posted by stbalbach at 7:07 AM on October 9, 2007


I wonder if the parent wanted them to pull the ads - doesn't seem so.
posted by exogenous at 7:09 AM on October 9, 2007


Can't hit the link... but stories like this have convinced me to take all my family photos offline.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:10 AM on October 9, 2007


This must be a very important case since he used bold type. Scary!

Seriously, he reacted the same way I would have too. Amazing how something like a simple apology and promise to make things right is so beyond some of these dickheads
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:14 AM on October 9, 2007


Most people wouldn't render every other sentence in bold face to try to inject some drama into a poorly told and relatively boring story. But he does. A lot. That's why this story is important.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:17 AM on October 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


I wasn't going to take this seriously. But the use of bold type convinced me.
posted by dhartung at 7:23 AM on October 9, 2007


"Baby pictures want to be free!"
posted by aught at 7:23 AM on October 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


I wonder if this guy missed an opportunity to start a side career as a pro photographer and give his son a bit of a modelling career to boot.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:28 AM on October 9, 2007


At 6% interest that'll be $105,825.25 when the kid turns 60.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:28 AM on October 9, 2007


Eugene Kittridge: I understand you're very upset.
Ethan Hunt: Kittridge, you've never seen me very upset.
posted by chunking express at 7:32 AM on October 9, 2007


I am mocking the linked story. That's why this comment is important.
posted by DU at 7:34 AM on October 9, 2007


There's no loser pays costs and fees rule. They should have that.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:36 AM on October 9, 2007


Actually, Ironmouth, Norway does operate on the English Rule, by which legal fees are shifted to the losing party. In this case, though, he settled the dispute so no fee-shifting rule is invoked.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:40 AM on October 9, 2007


Pastabagel, he is a pro photographer. That picture was for sale at Shutterpoint. The electronics store just used it without paying for it.
posted by Biblio at 7:41 AM on October 9, 2007


Encouraging story about being ripped off and then getting some justice. Congratulations to her/him standing up intelligently and winning. Good thing s/he knew a good lawyer.

Didn't mind the bolding, thought of it as an easy way to skim the article for salient points.
posted by nickyskye at 7:45 AM on October 9, 2007


I think it's sort of funny that you can buy a print of the scanned magazine page.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:48 AM on October 9, 2007


It's not at all uncommon in the US for the winner to be awarded legal fees, I just don't think that it's mandatory.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:50 AM on October 9, 2007


It's not at all uncommon in the US for the winner to be awarded legal fees, I just don't think that it's mandatory.

Actually, it's quite uncommon in the US. Fees are only available in certain limited circumstances where a rule or statute makes them available.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:53 AM on October 9, 2007


Take that evil company! Respect copyright! Now I must run off to check all my torrents of music, dvds, and games I will never ever pay for.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:56 AM on October 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


I found it odd that s/he says there's bad publicity... yeah, for the store, which s/he names, but not for the shitass design firm, which s/he doesn't.
posted by dobbs at 7:58 AM on October 9, 2007


I have to put aside thousands of dollars and prepare to cover the expenses if I loose.

If you're that loose, maybe you shouldn't be carrying around thousands of dollars. You might drop some of it.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:58 AM on October 9, 2007


I understand where this person is coming from, but I think it would have been cool to have a photo of me, when I was a kid, listening to an iPod in a magazine ad, but mostly because I am 37, and this would mean time travel is possible.

Instead, I grew up without there even being CDs.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:58 AM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


You can tell he was serious by the way he keeps switching between past and present tense.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:59 AM on October 9, 2007


I'm actually astonished that Vinderen Elektriske made good on this and paid the $4000. It seems the defacto route for companies is to ignore the matter until a suit is underway, and then settle. But like the article said, the company could have avoided this to begin with if they didn't decide to be dicks about it.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:01 AM on October 9, 2007


Actually, it's quite uncommon in the US. Fees are only available in certain limited circumstances where a rule or statute makes them available.

..which is why if you ever enter into a legal contract, make sure it says all legal fees are paid by the other party should it ever need to go to court. I've done this and it has paid off more than once. This only works of course if your the one with the bargaining position, or the other party is not paying attention.
posted by stbalbach at 8:01 AM on October 9, 2007


Oh, boo-hoo. He only got $4000 for the photo he was asking $2900 for.
posted by designbot at 8:03 AM on October 9, 2007


Petty copyright hoarders are just as annoying as huge ones.

His whole story was pretty annoying "I know this famous lawyer, I know that famous lawyer!" Not that it mattered, since he couldn't even afford their fees (at least not the fees of DVD Jon's lawyer.)

And then he acts like he's going to "RILE UP" the internet against these people with his important story! What's the saying X is not your personal army (NSFWish site)

Plus, anyone who uses "steal" when they mean "infringed copyright" un-ironically gets extra lameness points.
posted by delmoi at 8:03 AM on October 9, 2007


Hooray for the rights of the little guy! Way to go. For me, the bolded type was comparable to highlighting text in a reference source; as noted above, it let me skim through the article quickly for the salient points.
posted by misha at 8:06 AM on October 9, 2007


halp! dey stealded my foto!

that was kind of boring
posted by bhnyc at 8:08 AM on October 9, 2007


Also, the guy is not a very dynamic photographer. All his pictures are boring.
posted by delmoi at 8:10 AM on October 9, 2007


This must be a very important case since he used bold type.

Surely if it were really important he would have indicated this IN THE ONLY WAY THE LORD ACCEPTS.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:18 AM on October 9, 2007


The epic battle between David and Goliath truly ends on a modern heroic note: Goliath offers Noah $4000 to stop throwing pebbles at him. Which Noah accepts and strides off triumphantly to whinge about the experience online. Which is why I don't quite understand what people are hooraying about. The little guy did not win. The little guy pussied out and settled out-of-court for a piddly fucking $4000 which is probably taken out of the low-level employee bonuses that year. He got paid for his work as he should have been initially. And that is it.

Making sure my family, most of my readers and huge amounts of people around the different forums where this story has been shared also hate dislike them.

Fools.


Yeah, as all the 29 diggs and the comments in this thread, mostly criticising his appalling writing, prove. Take that you random Norwegian company! 50 people on the internet think you're not cool any more!
posted by slimepuppy at 8:18 AM on October 9, 2007


I need to learn to take better pictures so people will want to steal them.
posted by padraigin at 8:21 AM on October 9, 2007


He got paid for his work as he should have been initially. And that is it.

So you're saying he was compensated for his loss? Heaven forfend!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:30 AM on October 9, 2007


Noah?
posted by cortex at 8:38 AM on October 9, 2007


A local electronics shop is a "Goliath"?
posted by brain_drain at 8:42 AM on October 9, 2007


Again, that's the way he tries to spin the story.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:48 AM on October 9, 2007


Windoze
posted by Debaser626 at 8:55 AM on October 9, 2007


hey, why should regular (meaning not-famous) have rights to their own image?

(corrolary: why should famous people be arrested for commiting a crime?)
posted by neuph at 9:00 AM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know what we're yelling about?
posted by triv at 9:07 AM on October 9, 2007


I had this happen to me once. There were some illustrations I had done that had been lifted from a web site by a fairly well-known architectural firm. I contacted them and someone from the firm called me back within a few days, admitted fault, and negotiated a settlement. They were really good about it, and in my opinon handled the situation really professionally. (unlike their exhibit firm who made the screw-up) We both avoided a lot of unpleasantness.

And boldface fonts.
posted by Mcable at 9:11 AM on October 9, 2007


Seriously though, as much as I sympathise with the chap's viewpoint, he did lose me with his overuse of bold type and the way he came across as overly sanctimonious when it's just a case of - take it down please, my lawyer says so.

I am willing to go on and charge him for violation of teh interweb.
posted by triv at 9:12 AM on October 9, 2007


Yeah but no but my point is, Noah? If that wasn't an inadvertant character-switch, then this is a really complicated biblical allegory, is what I'm getting at.
posted by cortex at 9:25 AM on October 9, 2007


It is the story of Noah and Goliath. Noah had to take all the animals to put on his ark, but Goliath didn't want to go. Instead, he just went swimming.

Then Goliath gave him $4000 dollars and a son in a magazine. It's in the Bible.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:31 AM on October 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


He kept going on how it was such an important case, and how an important law professor tells him that he should pursue the case because it's so important. But then, he just rolls over and takes the cash, and their's no case. No important battle in court. He just got them to roll over and hand over some cash, and he didn't even get his documentation he wanted. What a waste of electrons. I'm going to sue him for wasting my time, and I want documentation as to what he's doing with it.
posted by Eekacat at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2007


Oops.

I always get those Lord of the Rings biblical characters confused. I was in an internet-rage.

Or it was a clever allegory.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2007


It is an important case because it happens often
posted by magullo at 9:40 AM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't understand the ridicule heaped on this person. Poke fun of a parent who was ripped off of their child's image, decided to take adult legal action and get some kind of justice? What's so funny about that? In a world of injustices, it is inspiring when somebody wins against rip off artists, especially one who felt entitled to be arrogant about it.

So the parent photographer gave the savvy lawyer who succeeded a shout out by mentioning their name. Seems like a civil way and sane to thank the professional who was helpful.

S/he has a right to be angry, s/he had their work taken and used for commercial purposes without permission, credit or compensation.
posted by nickyskye at 9:57 AM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


WTF? Someone takes his intellectual property and uses it for commercial purposes and it's hard to get paid? In the US, you get smacked for $100Ks for downloading songs for personal use.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:14 AM on October 9, 2007


Photographers, let this be a lesson for you: if you must put your photos online, make them no more than 300 pixels square, add a distinctive watermark across the middle of the image, and hide them inside a confusing and unusable Flash interface. AND FOR GOD'S SAKE DISABLE RIGHT-CLICK!
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:16 AM on October 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


I think it's largely a reaction to the presentation, not the premise, nickyskye. As a news blurb, it'd be a head-nodder of a story: okay, company takes advantage, company gets nailed for some compensatory damages in a settlement. Good, so be it.

It's the drama and the bold text and such that stands out here. It's the flashlight apology scene from Blair Witch. It's LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE. There's such a thing as an unsympathetic victim, and bad writing on the Internet is as good a place to find them as any.
posted by cortex at 10:24 AM on October 9, 2007


My favorite part is how he's offended that this company referred his legal complaint to their lawyer.
posted by aubilenon at 10:26 AM on October 9, 2007


He yanked the bold text, we're being watched.
posted by iamabot at 10:30 AM on October 9, 2007


Turns out he hadn't licensed his <b>s properly.
posted by cortex at 10:35 AM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


magullo, it was a crappy case because s/he barely made any money off of it after legal costs, and he didn't get the documentation of it's use s/he so wanted. It would have been important if it had been a wake-up call to businesses that steal photographs that it would be cheaper to buy the photos instead of stealing them. As it stands now, they might as well steal them, and since it's too expensive for most people to pursue them in court they'll continue to get away with it.
posted by Eekacat at 10:36 AM on October 9, 2007


Vinderen Elektriske is not exactly "Goliath", it's a small neighbourhood shop in Oslo, Norway. In 2005, their turnover was NOK 16 578 000 (ca. 3 million US dollar).

BTW, Eirik Solheim has updated his blog:

"Edit:
Metafilter links to this article. The discussion over there ended in a very nice discussion about my use of bold types to emphasize certain points of this article. Actually I agree with them. It didn’t really work, so I removed it.

Another more or less useless discussion about the case can be found at Bannination.

That was the jokes. You find more interesting thoughts here.

Edit2:
Okay. One priceless comment from the discussion at Metafilter:

WTF? Someone takes his intellectual property and uses it for commercial purposes and it’s hard to get paid? In the US, you get smacked for $100Ks for downloading songs for personal use.
- posted by Mental Wimp at 10:14 AM on October 9"


For some reason, Mr. Eirik Solheim does not quote the people here who thinks he's "an unsympathetic victim" and that "all his pictures are boring".
posted by iviken at 10:47 AM on October 9, 2007


The bold text might be what stands out for you cortex. It's that justice was served that stands out for me.
posted by nickyskye at 11:10 AM on October 9, 2007


And that's the glory of the Internet! I've got no ill feelings for Mr. Solheim—I'm glad he got some justice on the deal—but when bloggy writeups on the front page are off the table for style and content criticism, it'll be a very different website we're visiting.
posted by cortex at 11:21 AM on October 9, 2007


No problem with style or content criticism but heaps of ridicule for something minor seems juvenile and petty, when the main point is his winning legally against a rip off artist.
posted by nickyskye at 11:29 AM on October 9, 2007


Perhaps I'm delusional. (Probably.) Or maybe it's my browser here. Or perhaps he saw this post and changed it. But... ummm... I saw no bold type. Is this like one of those Magic Eye posters? Because I never saw what I was supposed to see in those either.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:32 AM on October 9, 2007


When there were a dozen comments in this thread ridiculing his having bolded maybe six sentences in his article, he unbolded them, no biggie.
posted by nickyskye at 11:37 AM on October 9, 2007


Yeah, he made a note in the article about the reformatting. And nickyskye, while I think we probably disagree somewhat on matters of degree and the appropriateness of the venue, I don't disagree with you about the conflict between ridicule and criticism. It's a bit silly and a bit bared-teeth in here today, I'll grant that. There's just a vital difference between a quiet post on one's blog and a post on one's blog that's blasted across the front page of mefi and chalking up diggs besides.
posted by cortex at 11:44 AM on October 9, 2007


blasted

huh. Never thought of posts here being "blasted across the front page". Are you using exaggeration as a type of verbal bolding?

That said, when I come to Metafilter I often enjoy the juvenile and petty but just not especially in this case. People being ripped off of their creative work just isn't especially funny to me.
posted by nickyskye at 12:06 PM on October 9, 2007


Cute kid.

I bet if Erik looked around he could find a mess of people that this retailer and designer ripped off intellectual property.
posted by tkchrist at 12:27 PM on October 9, 2007


Eh, I didn't really intend it as bolding so much as statement of fact. Posting something to Metafilter is de facto introducing it to a tremendous amount of scrutiny. Something that reads as a hot-button morality play (questions of little guy vs. corporation, of intellectual property rights, of principle vs. pragmatism in the denouement) about ten times as much.

Doesn't make it Solheim's fault that the criticism and nastiness is there, but it's the sort of situation that is going to invite wildly differing reactions from different folks, ranging from empathy and identification to harsh rebuke. I'm not sure if he considered the metafilter attention a net positive or not, but in a very real sense that's the cost of doing business as a blogger, and throwing e.g. a digg widget on a post reads as much as anything like an explicit acknowledgement of same.
posted by cortex at 12:31 PM on October 9, 2007


He yanked the bold text

Let this be a lesson to those who claim net.griping is ineffective.

On preview, Metafilter: identification to harsh rebuke.
posted by ryanrs at 12:51 PM on October 9, 2007


Well, I'm glad of this post, that his story got attention and hope his success inspires others to stand up when/if they get ripped off. I was looking forward to reading comments about how others have handled similar situations.

Looks like before this litigation Vinderen Elektrisk used the image elsewhere than just that one ad.

On Erik's blog of the OP, Zonker responds:

"As an Art Director on a large ad account in the US:

Child talent $700
Person to see that the child is not pushed too hard (required by law in many states for a child this young) $400
Stylist $500
Photographer’s fee $800-2,500

A “buy-out”, where you can run this picture in any way for all time can be negotiated, but might cost a few extra thousand depending on the child’s management (parents).

But, to use this child’s image exclusively, not allowing any other pubs to use the child’s likeness, would be almost impossible to buy for under, I don’t know, $10,000 depending on the child’s management’s idea of the child’s future work.

So, in my opinion, they’re getting off VERY cheap, with almost no real punishment for “stealing” this photograph."
posted by nickyskye at 12:54 PM on October 9, 2007


ps, Adding a legal link, the World Intellectual Property Organisation with resources for delegates/observers, journalists, businesses, innovators and students.
posted by nickyskye at 2:21 PM on October 9, 2007


Don't understand the ridicule heaped on this person. Poke fun of a parent who was ripped off of their child's image, decided to take adult legal action and get some kind of justice? What's so funny about that? In a world of injustices, it is inspiring when somebody wins against rip off artists, especially one who felt entitled to be arrogant about it.

Haven't you heard? Copyright isn't cool anymore! Sometimes the RIAA abuses it! And that means it's an unnatural right, a tool of the evil dead tree MSM designed to suppress our one true right to download shit we don't want to pay for live free and express ourselves in this new digital world!

We're in a new paradigm now, don't you know that photos are just 0's and 1's that cost nothing to store and transfer? Isn't that trippy, man? We can't play by those old rules anymore! Everyone knows that photographers should just starve in the streets, why should they get some kind of arbitrary government mandated monopoly that lets them determine how their life's work is used?
posted by bradbane at 4:30 PM on October 9, 2007


ah, Thanks for explaining it succinctly. By the way I like your photographic work too. This one's fun.

So, what does that do to creativity? The non-celebrity, non-famous creative people who don't have legal representation to protect their work get poorer and the corporations ripping them off get richer. Seems like a death spiral there.
posted by nickyskye at 4:48 PM on October 9, 2007


Lesson learned from all the mocking here is that being a good writer matters as much or more than being in the right.
posted by orange swan at 8:38 PM on October 9, 2007


nickyskye Here are two clues for you and the art director:

Stock

Microstock
posted by magullo at 2:27 AM on October 10, 2007


nickyskye: thank you.

I don't think you have to be a celebrity or famous to protect your work. There are Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts organizations everywhere that will do pro-bono work to protect your copyright. And of course there are always organizations like ASMP who will go to bat for you, or at least hook you up with a lawyer you can afford. If you are represented by a (real, not micro) stock agency, they will enforce your copyright for you, that's part of their job after all.

If the guy in this post had taken it to court in the US he would have been laughing all the way to the bank and lawyers probably would have been falling over themselves for a piece of such a cut-and-dry violation. I cringed when I read it, not only did they rip his photo off but they used a minor without a model release, those are separate, very serious issues that would have resulted in a lot more than $4000 if he had pursued it.
posted by bradbane at 7:11 AM on October 10, 2007


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