Invoice Cake to People.com

    Newer Older

    Today I sent an invoice on a cake to People.com. I'm demanding $500 from them after my Cake of Resignation photo was used without permission and without payment.

    Here's a timeline:

    On August 10 this year I received an e-mail from an employee of People Magazine requesting permission to use my cake resignation photo in an article. This is shortly after the Jet Blue Steward event, prompting many 'Weird ways people have quit their jobs' news stories.

    I replied to People and said they needed a license to use my photo - meaning they have to pay me to use it. I did not receive a reply.

    On August 11 my image was used without authorization and without payment on People.com, in an article titled "Take This Job and Shove It! 8 Memorable Quitters".

    I sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding my image be removed from their website. Six days later I receive an e-mail stating my image had been removed from their website. I received an offer at that time of $75 for the use of my image. That may have been reasonable if my photo's copyright had not been willfully infringed and used for six days.

    So, today I sent the photo director an invoice for a usage license of my cake resignation photo. This cake was delivered today, September 3rd.

    The original cake of resignation photo

    My photo being used on People's website

    tedketai, Trevor H, fetching, and 52 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 3 more comments

    1. Joe Reifer 56 months ago | reply

      Unless your image was registered with the U.S. Copyright office prior to the infringement, your only hope is public shame. And you've done a fantastic job. :)
      You can only hope to recover what the appropriate usage fee would have been for the photo. Certainly more than $75.

      I would remove this sentence from your story, as it hurts your case legally: "That may have been reasonable if my photo's copyright had not been willfully infringed and used for six days." Feel free to delete/edit my comment.

    2. brainheart2000 56 months ago | reply

      Pay up, People.com. Dogseat has LOTS of friends.

    3. ambersexton 56 months ago | reply

      Actually I think he has to five years to register unpublished work with the copyright office. And 90 days for published work. Infringing publication does not count. So if someone infringes on your copyright and you haven't registered yet, if it's in that time frame you can still register it with the copyright office.

      Still I don't recommend getting to the lawsuit stage. Being sue-ey can get you a hands off reputation, even if you are the wronged party. I'm sure People.com really does pay $75 per image that appears on their site. If you press, they might very well cough up $500 but good luck ever working with them on anything, and the photo eds who who leave there and work somewhere else will also remember that.

      However I think a cake is a pretty cool precedent to send, it's kind of saying you know they fucked up, they should pay more than usual use for it and you are a good sport.

    4. Stephen Kosloff 56 months ago | reply

      You should bake the cost of the ingredients of the cake into the invoice.

    5. Mekanikal 56 months ago | reply

      You haven't had to register for copyright since 1978.

    6. Gerard van Schip 56 months ago | reply

      So if I use your photo I will get an invoice from you? Yummy!

    7. Joe Reifer 56 months ago | reply

      You don't have 5 years. Go to the ASMP's website and look it up. You own the copyright when you take the photo, but registration is necessary if you're going to sue for anything beyond the usage fee. In this case the usage fee is less than an hour of a good lawyer's time.

    8. MikeWas 56 months ago | reply

      This is true UNLESS you register within 90 days of publication. (I understand this one probably was not.)

      In any event, you can register afterwards and still seek actual damages, which is NOT necessarily limited to what you would have charged for a license fee. See a copyright lawyer.

    9. BrandonHambright.com 56 months ago | reply

      If it were a local company, you could try taking them to small claims first for failure to pay an invoice, rather than copyright infringement. It has worked in the past.

    10. Joe Reifer 56 months ago | reply

      An infringement doesn't count as publication. You do not have 90 days. Look it up. I have studied copyright law in depth and was just trying to help, but I'm finding it hard to rise above the crowd noise and hearsay. Of course advice from anyone on Flickr isn't worth the pixels it's printed on, but a good copyright lawyer will confirm what I'm saying.

    11. clintdavis 55 months ago | reply

      You're my internet hero lol

    12. hedgiecc 55 months ago | reply

      Ha ha! Great idea - good luck!

    13. Barry Yanowitz 55 months ago | reply

      lol, this is brilliant!

    14. ESLaura [deleted] 55 months ago | reply

      Genius!

    15. Jan Piller 55 months ago | reply

      You didn't invoice enough. They are likely to call your bluff and pay you only half or one quarter of what you ask (if anything at all) and wait to see if you proceed with legal action. Legal action is time consuming, stressful and exceedingly costly and it is certainly unwise to proceed in that direction. However, they may decide to follow your lead and write $500.00 on a cupcake in pink icing and deliver that you.

    16. kdoyle1 55 months ago | reply

      SMOOTH! Did you add the cost to make the cake? heheh

    17. Vidiot 55 months ago | reply

      Please keep posting about this -- let us know if you get a response. Hopefully they'll do right by you and properly license the image.

    18. © suomynona 46 months ago | reply

      I feel your pain. Thank you for sharing :)

    19. Gerard van Schip 46 months ago | reply

      I would LOVE to know what their response was, if any.

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts