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policarpo
08-24-2003, 09:32 PM
Hey gang, I've been thinking about a few things lately because of some things which have happened to a few close friends regarding work they created being used without their permission.

I wanted to open this thread for discussion to hear what you all think we can do to protect ourselves as artists from having our work and creations being used by other parties who have no right to usage.

I won't go into any specifics about what happened, but I will say that my friends just barely managed to nip the thing in the bud before it went too far.

I will state first and foremost that I don't want this thread to turn into some sort of lynch mob mentality, but that I want it to be constructive and offer a solution oriented perspective to everyone who reads it.

I feel that our first line of defense in protecting ourselves from such things is our collective group. We have so many eyes out there who know our work first hand if we are willing enough to share it on these forums. I know we all get into heated discussions at the end of the day from time to time, but I sincerely feel that we do respect one another as artists and people.

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Cheers,

js33
08-24-2003, 09:44 PM
Watermarks, copyrights and lawyers.
Hey that sounds like a song title.

I remember this happening to Taron awhile back. Some Japanese or Tiawanese company that made graphics cards was using his artwork without permission. It got resolved somehow.

Cheers,
JS

Beamtracer
08-24-2003, 10:34 PM
If someone has stolen your work, the only thing to do is get yourself a lawyer who specializes in copyright law, and go for the jugular!

Sounds harsh? If you make your money from your work and someone has stolen it, then that's the same as if they've stolen your money.

You've gotta counteract them legally. Any less and they'll only do it again.

Karmacop
08-24-2003, 11:27 PM
I think watermarking images is a bit silly but a copyright notice is good. It's fine to not put a copyright notice on yoru image though, as it's copyright anyway.

Basically the only thing you can do, and I'd suggest the only thing you should do, is keep an eye out for people using your work, or other people's work without permission. Then try to get in contact with whoever is using your work. If they refuse to contact you or they don't remove the offending article then you get your lawyers out.

EyesClosed
08-25-2003, 12:01 AM
Prevention:

1. Don't post high-res. images.
2. Place copyright info intelligently, so it can easily be cropped out.

tasmanian
08-25-2003, 12:39 AM
I would say it depends on who is "using" the stuff and to what purpose. Obviously if someone is trying to make money with your creations there's only one way to deal with it and that's court. Unfortunately going to court can sometimes cost you more than whatever compensation you would get from it. So I guess it's a balancing of principles against practicality in that case.
If we are talking of someone on some forum trying to pass your work as his/her creation I think you can inform the community and they will respond to the culprit. There have been examples in the forums of people trying to pass of stuff as their own... They usually don't get away with it, there's always someone finding out and making sure the world knows. There's also a category I would call "accidental use", like someone using your character as an avatar or something. I don't think such an offender is purposely doing this to hurt you and should be crucified for it (just my humble opinion of course), if you don't like this use of your artwork a direct mail to the offending party usually will do the job.
As to what you really can do practically without spending most of your time in court I would suggest becoming a member of a society of authors, composers and publishers. I assume most countries have them. For an annual fee they guard your rights and go to court if need be.

SplineGod
08-25-2003, 12:59 AM
Trust is not bestowed but earned.
Dont post stuff that is high enough quality to be worth stealing.
Do a little background checking on people.
Most of the time when you get Lawyers involved it ends up only helping the lawyers. This is only worth it if you have money, the infringer has money and you think you can actually collect damages. :)

Limbus
08-25-2003, 02:38 AM
I think a singnature as a watermark is a good thing. It doesnt distrub the image too much but it could be hard to erase it if its placed wise.
And dont post hires.

Lawyers can help you but the goal should be to prevent theft in the first place.

Florian

Weetos
08-25-2003, 03:49 AM
What happened lately makes me wonder many things... I won't just talk about rendered pictures, cause there are several ways available to the author so he/she can protect his own work (low res, watermarks, digital signature ...). I 'd just like to know how is it possible to prevent a shape, a 3D model or anything like that from being stolen or counterfeited. I guess it's just about patents, but in this case, the creating process would turn into what the industrial process is - a little bit of art, a few bytes of technology and the biggest part of lawyer stuff (and therefore much $$$).

What if I want to model a car from a blue print ? is that a counterfeit? Have I stolen somebody's work? Does it depend on what I plan on doing with it, commercial or personal use?

What if I create a model and make it available free on the net, with the terms "not for commercial use"? If someone downloads it, makes some work on the structure so the wireframe is different but the result is the same when rendered in a scene... how could I say "hey! that's my creation, but I can't prove it"

Sorry for those weird questions, but I'm not a lawyer and I don't work in a big company that can protect itself thanks to an army of lawyers :(

Maybe someone can give some clues?

Weetos

facial deluxe
08-25-2003, 05:41 AM
I like the idea of the collective group, watching at each other.
If there is a doubt, let's discuss it.

For the lawyer thing, that's another problem...

xtrm3d
08-25-2003, 07:12 AM
i know how,,to protect yourself...
dont be like me...and dont believ the people so easy..
sended my last model last week.. ...grruuupppfff...

me idiot :mad: :confused:

facial deluxe
08-25-2003, 07:43 AM
Who did you send your model to ?
Any problem with it ?

Karmacop
08-25-2003, 07:47 AM
I personally hate anyone that has that stupid java script on their site where you can't right click and save images or view the source etc etc. Or people that obfuscate their code. That gves me the ****s.

As for a blue print, you can model it and it'd fall under fair use. Aslong as you don't go saying it's your design I don't think anyone would care or be able to do anything about it.

If the wireframe is completely different then I don't think you'd have any way to prove they stole it .. unless it was your own design .. but then they've obviously put alot of work into making their own version so it'd be classed as derivative and fine as far as the law is concerned.

If they took parts of your model and didn't change anything of yours, just added it to their own work, I think you'd have a fairly good case then ...

js33
08-25-2003, 08:07 AM
I remember quite awhile back when John Gross of Eden FX said they would always put their names on a model when they were finished. It would be really small where most people wouldn't notice it. But if someone did see it it would probably be easy to remove. So I think it was more like an artist signing his work rather than a method to prevent theft.

But maybe there is a way to watermark an object file.

Cheers,
JS

Alex Rooth
08-25-2003, 08:27 AM
Interesting thread. I think people should be aware that anything they post may get ripped, but as someone suggested, keeping the resolution low is one way to limit unauthorized use. Also putting a copyright symbol on your pics, because then the offending party can't plead ignorance if they remove it deliberately. Also, some people might not understand that copyright is automatic (in most jurisdictions I think) for artistic works.

As Larry said, Lawyers are an expensive way to resolve copyright issues, though in some circumstances one letter might be enough to at least scare the offending party into removing the stolen image from their site if online (or more likely scare their host). Though you could also write the letter yourself. If dealing with a larger company, it is possible they do not know they are using a stolen image and will pay compensation or appropriate royalties.

I think the idea of watching out for each other is a good one. I used to live in Hong Kong. A couple of years ago I was in Central and all along one road were posters with a beautiful weird sci-fi picture of a strange tower over a green landscape. I think the poster was advertising some band or other. Some time later I saw the same pic on the Raph 3dartists site. Absolutely no doubt that it was the same one, but I wonder if the artist ever knew about it. It was too late to contact him by then because the poster had come down. But the point of the story being that people will notice ripped off art all over the world (though too late in this case - assuming it was ripped off and not with agreement with the artist).

Closer to home, there is some stuff in the LW gallery which looks very much as if it is a 3D copy of a 2D pic by the sci-fi fantasy artist Tim White - if it isn't then it is a mind boggling coincidence. No aspect of the creative process is credited to him though, but I believe it should be. I did e-mail a Newtek employee about this a while ago, but got no response.

Maybe people that submit to the gallery should have to click on a declaration that the work is entirely their own. This would protect Newtek, who would be the ones in the firing line in the event of a copyright action.

riki
08-25-2003, 08:33 AM
Has anyone tried digimark? I think it's a copyright system built into Photoshop. I don't know if it's any good.

Also I think you'd be surpised about how effective communities looking out for each other can be. Even communities that you don't know about or belong to. I always check the referrer report in my site stats which have turned up some interesting results.

I found links from one forum where someone had posted my work claiming it to be their own. Someone recognised the piece from my website and I was able to follow it up.

Use unique naming systems with your files, it could make it easier to search for them on Google.

Also don't forget Arts Law centres, a lot of these services are free.

If someone used my image to sell a product I would definately sue.

CoryC
08-25-2003, 08:35 AM
Another thing to keep in mind is that in the U.S., there are two levels of copyright protection.

The first level is the automatic 'at the time of creation' copyright. The amount of damages that can be collected for infringement are very limited and a lot of lawyers won't even bother with this type of suit.

The second level is effect when you register your work with the copyright office. With this protection you can go after some serious damages. There is a fee and some paperwork involved with each registration. What most photographers do is send in send in groups of images as a 'collection of work' and register everything under one fee.

meshmaster
08-25-2003, 08:43 AM
Just came across this -http://www.alphatecltd.com/watermarking/watermarking.html

looks like an expensive version of something already available for free...

If you want to watermark 2d works, you can use traditional techniques (aka layer in photoshop and combine watermark layer with other layers and export jpg), or you can use other software to prove identity of artist (combination of watermark and the other ways being preferred)... jphide (http://www.webattack.com/get/jphide.shtml) is one such program that embeds a file inside of a jpg - all you would need to do is put copyright notice in a text file in there... and there's your proof of identity - the other thing to do would be to only post this copy protected image to a server that you have control of and log ip addresses of who touches what image, so that you can track what ip address downloads - then track that back to figure out whodunnit.

jphide is used by some terrorist groups to hide messages... so it's possible that fbi, etc. will download your images if they think there is an important message is in there... but that's not a problem if you aren't a terrorist. :) I've used jphide before to put up really cheesy rants about a forum's website (caligari) and posted that image to the forums there - with this thing a picture can be worth a LOT more than a 1000 words!!!!

Also, be sure to use the password for your pics, and remember it - otherwise any bum on the street that downloads jphide can just find your message hidden inside the image, and figure out that they better not copy it for their own commercial uses, which would sort of defeat the purpose of using the software in the first place..

TSpyrison
08-25-2003, 09:03 AM
I dont realy know much about this.. But for the copyright laws to work, woudn't you have to have each image registered or something? or does putting the little copyright symbol on the image cover it?

riki
08-25-2003, 09:08 AM
No you don't need to do anything, well that's the theory. I haven't tested it.

CoryC
08-25-2003, 09:15 AM
No, you don't have to do anything. The work is copyright the moment of creation. You don't have to display any copyright notice. You can register it for more protection and the ability to sue for large sums of money.

Doug Nicola
08-25-2003, 09:48 AM
I think a dedicated forum on CGTalk (the most traffic) where people can post information about stolen work would be a very useful tool in stopping intentional theft, and educating folks on copyright law.

When word gets out that there is a very public, highly trafficed area where information on stolen work can be placed, I think you'd find that many people who might otherwise be tempted would think twice.

Also, the ability to act quickly on information would be increased.

This could also be a place where information on "Lawyers for the Arts" groups could be posted. These groups of lawyers are very familiar with these issues, and have pro bono or low cost options for consulting and other work. Colorado Lawyers for the Arts, in my area, is a good example: http://www.coloradoartslawyers.org/

dwburman
08-25-2003, 12:31 PM
I've heard that the (C) symbol is the REGISTERED copyright symbol. If you haven't actually registered the work then you can spell it out.

contents of this post: copyright 2003 by Dana W Burman. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized use of this post will probably go unnoticed and even if it is nothing will happen to you... but still... FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAWS PROHIBIT UNAUTHORIZED USE, DUPLICTATION, DISTRIBUTION AND/OR DISPLAY OF THIS WORK OF TEXTUAL ART.

Earl
08-25-2003, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by dwburman
I've heard that the (C) symbol is the REGISTERED copyright symbol. If you haven't actually registered the work then you can spell it out.

That's not what I've heard. As far as I know, the (C) symbol could be for either registered copyrights or unregistered ones. But, perhaps I'm wrong... :rolleyes:

CoryC
08-25-2003, 12:56 PM
In the U.S. the only way to get full protection is to register with the copyright office. The use of the symbol has been optional since 1989 but using it adds some protection in other countries. If you don't register your work, you are still protected. You just can't get statutory damages or attorney fees.

For more info, take a look at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html

Earl
08-25-2003, 01:24 PM
The use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.

That was taken from the link supplied by CoryC to www.copyright.gov

A Mejias
08-25-2003, 07:32 PM
I had originally posted this info as part of another thread that was removed. I'm reposting an edited version here in the hope that you'll find it helpful in protecting your work and avoid infringing on other's work. I urge you ALL to read all the material at www.copyright.gov, register your work and keep a good copyright lawyer handy.

Here is the original post:

...On a related subject:
Intellectual property disputes are common, counter productive and very very expensive for all parties involved - I'm speaking from first had experience here. It's no fun to have your work stolen and worse yet used for commercial purposes. Most of these problems start because there is a lot of misinformation regarding the subject. I could write a whole article about it, but there is already plenty of info available. And best of all it's FREE! There is good and bad news though. The bad news first, U.S. patent law - once the best in the world - was weakened during the last administration. The good news, copyright law has been strengthened and that's very good for creative professionals like us.

I'll give you some main points here.
Note these apply to the U.S. and works created in the U.S...

Trademarks:
1. Logos, names and short phrases are NOT be copyrightable. They fall under Trademark law.

2. Trademarks take effect on first use, provided they don't infringe on anyone else's. They can be owned by individuals and companies.

3. To protect them you should use the "TM" symbol. The "R" in a circle is solely reserved for registered trademarks. You don't need to register, but you get better protection and can recover legal fees and other damages. You'll sometimes see an "SM" symbol. That is a servicemark used for services not products.

4. Trademarks must be defended or they may be weakened (This may have changed, but don't risk it.) There are some time limits involved for filing suites.

Copyrights:
5. All visual arts, performing arts (if recorded), writings (including computer programs) are copyrightable. Sometimes computer programs can be patented IF they contain some new "process" or innovation in technology. Ideas are NOT copyrightable.

6. Copyrights take effect at the point of creation or recording, provided they don't infringe on anyone else's. You make it, you own it. All of it! You determine when, how and if any reproduction is made. They can be owned by individuals and companies.

7. To help protect your copyright you should use the "C" in a circle symbol. You no longer need to show this or any other warning to protect your copyrights. It is ALWAYS assumed to be copyrighted. You don't need to register, but you get better protection and can recover legal fees and other damages.

8. You cannot lose your copyrights unless you explicitly give or sell them. You do not have to defend your copyrights - they do not weaken. There are some time limits involved for filing suites and it must be registered before you do so.

9. You may NOT use any part of anyone else's copyrighted "work" without license or consent. "Fair use" is not what you think it is. There are very very specific circumstances, like parodies, but it's iffy and many have lost in court The "10% rule" (i.e. change it by at least 10% ) is a myth. This is called a derivative work and is an infringement.

10. Public domain works must say "public domain" or words to that effect or have some kind of license statements that give permission to use the works from the copyright holder. The rule is ALWAYS assume it's copyrighted unless otherwise clearly stated by the owner of the work.


OOPS! I forgot a couple very important points. They kind of goes under points #6 and #9, but are so important and apply to so many of us they deserves their own points.


11. The only time the creator does not automatically own the rights to his work is under a "work for hire" situation. Normally this would be stated in a contract, but under many situations it's automatically understood. (This may also have change to help the "little guy" but don't count on it.)
In general, if you work for someone else in their facilities, using their equipment, materials, etc., as an employee - your work belongs to them. This is the case for most of us. If you work as a subcontractor in your own facilities, using your equipment, materials, etc. - then you own your work unless stipulated otherwise by contract or is a derivative work.

12. All derivative works are copyright infringement and belong to the owner of the original works, except where allowed by license, permission, or "work for hire." Example #1. You love Spider-man, you make your own Spider-man animated short and distribute it on the web for free. You are in violation of Marvel's copyright. Example #2. You are commissioned by Marvel to design a new Spider-man costume. You work in you studio and create the new design. Marvel ends up never using it. Marvel still owns all rights because it is a derivative work.

13. Just because you give it away for free does not make it "fair use." "Fair use" is not well defined and even following the guidelines can be argued away in court. If you really need to use a copyrighted work always get permission first.

14. VERY IMPORTANT! Copyright infringement is not shielded by corporate or other legal entities. (I think it's falls under tort law.) You can be held personally responsible and liable if you are in any way involved in copyright infringement, even if you are in a "work for hire" situation. Let say you are working on a movie production and you are ask to "make it look like this." You could - and in all likelihood would - be named in a suit, along with everyone in the production from the president of the company on down. So watch your back.

Some very useful links and "MUST READS" for any artist:
http://www.copyright.gov/
http://www.uspto.gov/


I hope you all find this helpful :)

Dr. Dardis
08-25-2003, 08:00 PM
I would Imagine that if push came to shove and the courts got involved, a fairly conclusive way to prove ownership of at least rendered images is to ask them (the filthy little thieveses) to present the original .lwo and .lws that produced the rendered image. When it is obvious you can and they can't, should be a win-able position that you are in.

obviousy if you are going to distribute .lwo on the internet, get them registered copyright though, much harder to protect them than a LW image.

CoryC
08-25-2003, 08:23 PM
Just to add a little to A Mejias' post which covered pretty much everything dead on. The courts use a set of very vague guidelines called the four fair use factors to determine if fair use applies.

1 - What is the character of the use? Non-profit, educational, and personal tip it towards fair use. Commercial tips it against. Criticism, commentary, parody, news tip strongly to fair use.

2 - What is the nature of the work to be used? Factual and published uses tip for and fictional or unpublished used tip against.

3 - How much of the work will you use? How much of the material is used, quoted, etc... How it tips the scales depends a lot on #1.

4 - What effect would this use have on the market for the original or for permissions if the use were widespread? Sometimes this one weighs more than the other 3 combined and sometimes it is insignificant.

They weigh each of the questions against one another and come up with a determination.

riki
08-25-2003, 08:34 PM
I just tested you can open an LWO file in Simple Text and add copyright details at the end of the code and it works fine.

riki
08-25-2003, 08:38 PM
Here's an example

Edit : aauugh bad idea. If you subsequently edit and save the file it writes over the copyright info. Forget that :(

Karmacop
08-25-2003, 09:23 PM
Well you could add your own code chunk to place copyright information .. or maybe even save it as a weight map or something. I'm not sure if your own chunk would get over written though, and how well a weight map would stay intact ...

riki
08-25-2003, 09:28 PM
Maybe we need a feature request for embedding and reading copyright details. Something with a nice interface panel, encyrpted password protected permissions would be nice.

Limbus
08-26-2003, 01:49 AM
It would be great if NewTek could implement some digital signature into the lwo, lws and any image files.

Florian

A Mejias
08-26-2003, 03:37 AM
Originally posted by Limbus
It would be great if NewTek could implement some digital signature into the lwo, lws and any image files.

Florian

WaveFilter did this. AFAIK NewTek bought the code then it went open source.

Also check out Digimarc http://www.digimarc.com, which has been supported by Adobe Photoshop and other image editers for years.

kevman3d
08-26-2003, 05:30 PM
I wouldn't think it would be hard to add a 'summary info' chunk to the LWO file format that was *required* to be there with the file for it to load correctly. Add in a mathematically calculated checksum to prevent 'hex editing' of the file and that way you're covered...

Of course, would make your LWO's slightly larger (unless data was in a compressed/encrypted format) but I think its a fairly easy thing to do.

Maybe in [8] - Asset protection?

riki
08-26-2003, 06:41 PM
After the recent Mark Taylor debacle it seems like a good idea.

re: http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=84343

richpr
08-26-2003, 10:04 PM
It seems that most remedies would involve behaviour changes as mentioned above with regards to images, models, etc.

Some ID information inside models and scenes would be good, although encryption measures etc. have limited value... And usually increased security means limited flexibility.

And besides that, people that want to really get to those resources, usually have the tools and the knowledge to circumvent...

I think the communities have self-regulating mechanisms that detect these sort of things and report on it... That's what makes them great. People see 'things' all over the world and report back...

Once, it's detected, you can get your lawyers out...

tasmanian
08-27-2003, 12:15 AM
Originally posted by riki
After the recent Mark Taylor debacle it seems like a good idea.

re: http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=84343

Quite a spectacular example of how someone just blatantly steals from others. How low can you sink ? Good news is that in this case the forums showed to be a good watchdog. A little word of caution though. I would suggest that any allegations against anyone would always be backed up by proof, we don't want any witch hunt.

Don't offer anyone any source files seems to be advice n1 in the protection scheme.

facial deluxe
08-27-2003, 04:12 AM
I'm affraid I don't believe in software solutions for copyrights protections.
All the more it will protect you at a tiny very first level, but nothing is easier to cheat.
Look at the money (bills) protection, in the end it get so complicated that no one could tell what's an original look like.

If eficient, I doubt that, it could serves as a proof for legal and lawyers things, but I don't see how it can prevent from the thief itself....

seventh
08-27-2003, 04:49 AM
originally from Eyesclosed
1. Don't post high-res. images.
2. Place copyright info intelligently, so it can easily be cropped out.

Unfortunately I did this and still got burned. Did some logo layouts, simple b & w, reduced it to 800x600 at maximum compression in PS5.5 twice which made it about 2k with about a dozen logo variations. Pixellated beyond belief and quality only good enough to get an idea, the guy took the one he liked to his printer buddy and did all sorts of things with it: business cards, brochure, banner etc... :mad: Never saw a penny. I would hate to think that the largest thing I can post or send is something to the equvellant of an avatar size.
Right-click save-as disabled would'nt work because of "printscreen"
What I liked about the old newtek forum, if I remember correctly, all the members had their real names (as well as online nicknames) which gave me a better level of comfort knowing that just nobody was hiding behind an online name. To me, the old way seems to hold members' credibility and accountability. There was also a lot less "squaking" back then.
I don't think Mark is Dale which is a bit unerving because it seems to be a growing trend. :(

js33
08-27-2003, 05:27 AM
If you were just posting something for approval a simple half dissolved word "SAMPLE" over the artwork would protect it from being used unless someone just took your idea and copied it and recreated it. But most people either wouldn't or couldn't recreate it.

Cheers,
JS

CoryC
08-27-2003, 07:30 AM
It probably isn't a growing trend. It is just that with the way information travels these days, it is a lot easier to get caught and a lot easier for everyone else to hear about it. I'm sure that a long time ago, some caveman saw the original design for the wheel and ran home to tell everyone in his cave about 'his' new idea. Unfortunately there is always that small percentage of people that will do this stuff. Also, people don't sit around talking about all their work that has never been ripped off.

Earl
08-27-2003, 09:55 AM
Originally posted by seventh
Right-click save-as disabled would'nt work because of "printscreen"

And for the record. That right click disable script really doesn't accomplish much (except for making the website that uses it look ignorant). Not just because anyone could 'printscreen' to grab the image, but because all images are stored in your temporary internet files anyway. After all, you can't display it without downloading it SOMEWHERE on your machine.

sketchyjay
08-27-2003, 10:35 AM
So what size images do you post? I've been posting 3-400x500 size images. wonder if that is too big?

I love looking at big images but I wonder if it is too big a temtation for those stealing artwork?

Also I think that the forums and even turbosquid may be part of the problem. People want to be part of the pack so they steal artwork or files and present them as theirs. Not that I think forums should Ever go away but there are some kids who want to be part of the group so bad common sense flies out the window.

Turbo squid is, well, a way for some to get money. I rememeber Userdelta's horse model wound up on it. Luckily he found out and decided to under cut the thief by selling his for less in order to teach him a lesson. Half the free models from 3D Cafe also are up on Turbo Squid.

And I was just beginning to enjoy the models posted on 3D Festival. wonder if it will continue after this?

Jay

meshmaster
08-27-2003, 11:12 AM
Adobe uses
http://www.baytsp.com/solutions_copyright.html

I wonder how much that sort of thing would cost or if turbosquid would be interested in it to help stop or reduce pirates selling stuff there?

seventh
08-28-2003, 04:13 AM
Originally posted by js33
a simple half dissolved word "SAMPLE" over the artwork

Oh believe me, leason learned from my recent experience. :o
Next time they won't be able to see the work without looking through a wallpapering of SAMPLE :D I am currnetly looking into formal contracts for clients (researching the forums and web for info) as a possible alternative although I must admit, I don't particularly like to work with people that way. Whatever happened to the good ol' days when a handshake was as solid as anything? I guess my hand has been forced. No pun intended.

js33
08-28-2003, 05:42 AM
Yeah better safe than sorry.

It doesn't take long to figure out ways to secure your work if you've been ripped off once.

I've been lucky in my last 3 years of freelancing because i've worked with people I know or through people I know.

Also it doesn't take long to figure out if a client is legitimate but you can't be sure about anyone at first.

I always try to work with companies rather than individuals but I know you can't always be safe.

Cheers,
JS

meshmaster
08-28-2003, 10:24 AM
Use right click supression... won't help a lot, but maybe some... log ip addresses on your server... Use a div html tag, combine it with a layer tag - use javascript absolute positioning to make the top layer an invisible gif... that way they download the gif instead of the real image... won't help much, but maybe some?

riki
08-28-2003, 10:55 AM
Whatever happened to the good ol' days when a handshake was as solid as anything? I guess my hand has been forced. No pun intended.

I know it seems like a tough and unfriendly approach but it's not such a big deal really. Plus it makes you look more professional. Build the contract into some kind of account/order form/invoicing system. You don't have to mention the 'c' word. "Please sign the contract" sounds a bit scary. But "I'll need to setup an account for you!" sounds like your doing them a favour. Just make sure they sign it.

Place terms and conditions in the fine print on the back of all quotations. Get purcahse order numbers from your clients. Ask them how they intend to pay. Setup accounts for them and give them the choice of either Visa card details or 33% upfront.

You can always blame your 'non-existing' business partner. Just say to the client. "I'm sorry but my business partner won't let me work on the job unless you have an approved line of credit".

The other option is to continue on with your current path. But before you know it, you'll look back and see, half a dozen clients that have screwed you over.

In my experience its usually people your known/ ie friends that rip you the most.

Also clients go bankrupt all the time. I've had about 6 clients go under. You need something in writing. Otherwise your just pissin in the wind :)

Of course once you have it in writting you can always sell the debt to a debt collection agency.

riki
08-28-2003, 11:00 AM
Use right click supression... won't help a lot, but maybe some... log ip addresses on your server... Use a div html tag, combine it with a layer tag - use javascript absolute positioning to make the top layer an invisible gif... that way they download the gif instead of the real image... won't help much, but maybe some?

People can just take screenshots to get around things like that.

Some of the porn sites that I've worked on have good systems but nothing is fool proof.

seventh
08-29-2003, 04:49 AM
Riki-

Your absolutely right about the feelings of taking an approach like this but ultimately, it does make sense to give your freelance business a more "professional" feel to potential clients and to CYA. I should be able to get over the "intimidation factor" that would initially accompany this approach, at least for me. Hell, I used to sell Cutco Knives door to door. Can't be as bad as that:rolleyes:

Still, aside from "personal-freelanced work ripped-off", the present issues going on just in the communities with final renders and models needs to be addressed. I would hate to see all the forums out there with a disclaimer of sorts before signing up for membership "Caution. Post renders and models at your own risk."

Again, I must say I am in favor of what the old newtek forum did with having the users real name which would hold more accountability and credibility to members, maybe in hopes of "the phonies" shying away from trying to pull a fast one. Atleast it's a start of sorts.
I'm just too stupid when it comes to any type of computer savvy to offer any other suggestions:D

Ken