Mike Hill was discovered stealing my image “Clouds, Birds, Moon, Venus” for his enterprises Moonshine Agency and Moonshine Movies. Professional copyright scammers.
In 2010 Mike Hill from Melbourne (Australia), contacted me to acquire a license in order to print one copy of my photo “Clouds, Birds, Moon, Venus” for his personal use. In his e-mail (you can see here completely), he asked me:
“… to pay a small license fee enabling me to access a high resolution version of the photo to print one copy from. I can provide you with paperwork confirming that only a single print would be made for personal use only.”
His request seemed correct – specifying the particular use of the image -to print- and the number of copies -once, and a certificate. He looked like an honest person, we specified details such as resolution of the image and the integration of his company logo (Moonshine Agency – Moonshine Movies).
In our e-mails we had repeated many times (I keep all of them) that the license was for 1 print on canvas and for personal use. Even on the license fee invoice was mentioned that it was for printing 1 copy on canvas and notice “Note: All rights reserved by the author”. Then a few years later I visited his web and saw what he had done with the image! I was stupefied. Take a look:
It was certainly a big disappointment. Mike Hill had cheated me and had been using my image for more than 3 years for a totally different use than the license that I had given him. The image had been used on their company websites: www.moonshinemovies.com, www.moonshineagency.com.au and littlestars.tv; videos on Youtube, etc. He even used it in his film Life Before Death Moving Pictures Advocacy distributing on DVD and iTunes (you can still find it).
In addition, of course, he did not mention me as author of the image, which is an irreparable damage, since they implied many times that picture was a work of audiovisual company Moonshine Agency and Mike Hill. But in reality they were copyright thieves of my picture.
Mike Hill is dedicated to the world of image and he worked perfectly aware of the restrictions of his license. This evidenced that this was not an oversight but the theft had been purposely commited.
Quickly, I went to a notary to certify all uses of copyright theft that Mike Hill had done with his company Moonshine:
The total value of unpaid licensed that had been used, created to Mike Hill a legal claim in the amount of 9,180 € for the concepts of:
- Image used in web (background and headers), without authors’ name.
- Image used as company image, brand, without authors’ name.
- Image used in video productions for sale without copyright credits.
- Penalty for unlicensed use.
- Legal fees.
And the matter ended up in the hands of lawyers and justice.
I recommend visiting this web Stop Stealing Photos “…dedicated to photographers that feel that it’s okay to steal others’ work and post it as their own.”
And this other links could be very helpful too:
What to Do If Your Photographs Are Stolen
DMCA Notice Generator