QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
COPYTRACK offers its image searching and post-licensing service worldwide. If your case needs to be handled in a way which requires legal enforcement, COPYTRACK also cooperates with partner lawyers and legal service providers in over 140 countries.
No! Using COPYTRACK is completely free to use. We only charge a certain percentage of the success fee. In most cases, you get 70% of the post-license or the compensation, and then COPYTRACK receives 30% of it. Only when the case is taken to court outside of Germany and when a lawyer or debt collector is needed do we take 50% of the fee. The payment will be automatically transferred by our system into the bank account which you have registered with.
Our innovative technology handles the image searching, matching and filtering the search result all automatically. Therefore, we are able to offer our service for free without any sign-up fees, or monthly payments. We only fund ourselves by taking a 30 % commission in the event of a successful case. Only when the case is taken to court outside of Germany and when a lawyer or debt collector is needed do we take 50% of the fee.
Our innovative technology is based on a multi-stage image search combined with a new image comparison software developed by COPYTRACK. Thereby, we not only work with the metadata of the image but also compare the pictures pixel by pixel. Thus, it is also possible for us to find photoshopped, cropped or vastly modified images.
To make your search as effective as possible, we recommend that you only upload images you have already sold for the online usage or those which are freely accessible online. Only these images can be stolen and be found by our search engine.
COPYTRACK´s image search is also designed to find modified versions of your image. That means with the original image, collages, retouched, trimmed, or colour adapted images are found by our system. So, there is no need to upload several versions of your image to COPYTRACK.
The images you upload need to be identified clearly. The width should be at least 600 pixels long. Meaning thumbnails are not suitable. Of course, you can also upload very high-resolution images, but it will make the uploading time longer and is actually unnecessary because the images will later be automatically reduced to the optimal resolution by our system. Software like “jpegMini Pro” can help to reduce the size of the file and therefore speed up the upload.
A Collection is the same as a folder or album on your PC or Mac. They are used to structure and organize your images as well as the search result displayed in your inbox. We, therefore, recommend you to split your uploaded images into several collections. You can simply use the already existing folder structure from your PC/Mac or you can use the structure which is available on other online portals like Flickr.
Each account is initially limited to 1000 images by default in order to prevent abuse of our system. If you wish to upload more image, simply contact us, then we will unlock the limit according to your need, and of course, it always stays free.
The Internet is huge therefore the number of illegally used images is also huge. However, not all illegal usages are 100% legally applicable. For this reason, our software pre-selects and filters out all inappropriate images. These include images which are too small, thumbnails and cross-link pictures, but of course, always feel free to contact us for an individual solution, if you would like all your results displayed.
Most photographers and photo agencies sell their photos to multiple customers that use the images online. Thus, we also will be able to find many legal copies of an image online. To be able to pre-filter these legal copies of your image and to only display potentially unlawful uses, we introduced the “whitelist domain” function. With this function, you can exclude either a whole domain from being displayed in your inbox (see account settings: “Manage” then “Whitelist”) or release a domain specifically for an image by clicking “Whitelist Match”. You can see all the images that were found on a whitelisted domain under “Hits” and then “Whitelisted”.
THIS ONLY APPLIES TO CUSTOMERS IN THE EU: Tax calculation on license fees is a very complicated matter. This also affects the payout to you as a customer, and therefore, it is very important for us to know if you have the obligation to pay the value added tax or not. If you register yourself or your entity as a business owner or a company, then you are subject to the VAT and any credits of the license payments must also be distributed to you with the tax added. For us to be able to automatically check whether you are a registered business owner or run a registered company, we need to know your EU VAT-ID. If you are based within the EU, but not Germany, we will need your EU VAT-ID in order to use the Reverse Charge Procedure, so that you are no longer responsible for paying the German VAT. If you are a registered business owner or are running a registered entity, but do not have an EU VAT ID yet, please contact your local tax authorities for further details.
When you submit a claim to COPYTRACK, first of all, we will ask the potential infringer if they can prove a valid license for the images in question. If the infringer is unable to provide us with a valid license, we offer them a post-license to use the image. You can therefore also submit those claims which you are not sure about, but you have to make sure to inform us by stating that you don’t have the exclusive right for that photo when submitting the claim. If you need or want to know more, please read up on the following question ” What happens after I click “Submit Claim”?”
Licensing under Creative Commons creates free content and licenses the image for free use. Therefore, a picture published under CC license is difficult to track. However, if you have chosen a CC license with conditions (for example, attribution or link) and there is a proof that these conditions were disregarded, you can do something. The legal enforcement is difficult from our experience since the image was already deliberately made available as free content to the public by you. It´s nearly impossible to request post-licensing because you do not require a license for the image. If at all, we recommend a warning and that informs the infringer that has not followed the rules of the CC license, and potentially charge them up to a max sum of 60,00 €. Important: When submitting a case to a picture published under a CC license, please add a comment.
We start by using the MFM table to calculate the required license fee. This is table the prices of commercially available images compiled by a German photo association. The fees are can also be used by courts as a guideline for the calculation of photocopies of professional photographers. The level of license fees is based on various factors, e.g. the duration, and the location of the application, whether an author is indicated or whether the image was used in an online shop (further information on MFM can be found here http://bvpa.org/mfm/). The MFM table is a first point of reference and in no way carved in stone. The realistic demand for license fees can also be lower, especially if they are simply product images or the images have already been licensed for a smaller sum in the past. In special cases, however, we also require licensing fees higher than the MFM list. This is the case, for example, if the photographer or the agency has suffered a significantly higher damage caused by the copyright infringement, e.g. because the images are usually licensed for significantly higher sums. If you are unsure about submitting your claim, we will be glad to advise you which fees are appropriate for your pictures.
COPYTRACK is a fair portal! You do not take any financial or legal risk by submitting a claim. What makes us different from our competitors is that the infringers are not immediately cautioned by us, instead, they will have a chance to get the illegally used image licensed. If the violator fails to comply with the request of a post-license, we will manually review the case to see whether sending out a warning letter or legal enforcement is necessary and possible. This decision depends on the enforcement capability of your claim. You take no financial or legal risk in these cases as well.