Calculatings Fees & Damages For Stolen Images

Posted on 3/8/2018 by Jonathan Appleby | Printable Version | Comments (2)

Trying to decide how much you should charge for your image can be a bit like asking “how long’s a piece of string?” At Copytrack we help photographers get paid for uses of their work. When using us a photographer receives around 360 EURO ($443) for each one of their images successfully licensed.

But how do we go about getting that figure? Copytrack are going to break down how we calculate the license fees and damages to ensure you are receiving the right amount for your work.

Keeping it easy

A key point to the Copytrack service is the easy-to-use nature of the portal. We want to reduce the work our users have to do, and therefore have introduced many automatic functions. We do this as well when it comes to pricing. Using just a few tick boxes based on the MFM table a calculated fee can be created.

How does the MFM work out calculations?

The MFM table covers all common types of use for image usage through different calculation modes. The fee is determined according by following:
    •    Type of use - medium in which the image is used

    •    Scope of use - size/format in which the image is reproduced
    •    Dissemination - edition, the print/produced quantity of the medium and/or, in the case of online media, the duration of the publication
    •    A distinction is made between editorial, advertising, and use for a commercial product.
    •    Aerial, panoramic and underwater shots: 100% surcharge
    •    Photographs with photo models: 30% extra charge, from 6 models 100% extra charge

    •    Missed picture sources/copyright: 100% surcharge

Calculate manual fees

Copytrack also allow users to set their own fees. If you have your own set prices for your images that are lower than the MFM’s calculation you have to stick with your original pricing value. Just keep in mind, should you charge more than the MFM when creating your own fees we might ask you to provide evidence, such as proof previous sales, to check that your fee is reasonable. This case could go to court and when standing in front of the judge we need to ensure we can prove the money we are asking for is fair.

Differences between calculating post-license and infringement fees

There is a core difference between calculating damages and a post-license. At Copytrack we don’t want to go around making enemies but instead make new customers for our service users. So rather than point the finger of blame, in our first approach we offer the image users the chance to buy a license for the image they are using. This means no stressful legal action, but rather an amicable settlement, which allows the image user to continue using the image. In the first stage, the post-licensing, the license is based on the original price to buy the image. Should you not have an idea of how much you would sell your image for the MFM can be used as a template.

Calculating damages

When it comes to calculating damages it’s a whole new kettle of fish. Now the image user has either rejected or ignored our friendly offer. This is where we start to wave our legal finger. We’re now calculating damages. There are three different grounds that justify claiming damages:
    •    Compensation based on the profit the image user gained by the illegal use of the image
    •    Compensation determined by the profits lost by the rights owner
    •    Compensation based on the original cost of purchasing a license or using official price lists that help determine the price of a license based on the image usage

Offline sales

We can easily figure out how much an image user has to pay when using your images online, because all the information we need is online. But what if your image is being used offline? If your image is being used on a product, such as clothes, plates, or mugs, etc., we have to contact the image user asking them how many times the product with your image was sold. This can take a little longer to resolve, but we want to ensure our photographers are being paid the correct amount for their work.

Adjusting the figure

Image theft is worldwide. This means when Copytrack finds your images it could be an image user in a different country. We like to be realistic when it comes to our fees and let’s say someone has used two of your images with a total bill of 900 Euro. In Europe this is a fair figure to charge a company, however that isn’t the case in some countries, due to lower incomes and currency rates. To help reach a fair settlement Copytrack will establish the fee based on the relationship between the average income in the image user’s country compared to that of Germany. This allows us to ensure our fees are fair for the image user.

Give it a try

This whole process of calculating license fees or damages for images might seem a little daunting, but is actually simple. Copytrack works to ensure photographers are paid the correct amount for when their work is used. If you’re interested to learn about the value of your images contact our team at to learn more, or signup now for free and try out our portal.

Copyright © 2018 Jonathan Appleby. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


  • William Warren Posted Mar 8, 2018
    I fail to see how the 'portal' works. Do they maintain giant computers, searching for possible infringements, of subscriber photographers? How does that work? Who's paying for all the service?

  • Peter Chigmaroff Posted Mar 10, 2018
    I'm not sure how many of these companies there are now. I think quite few. I do like it that technology has become efficient enough that we can track image use on the web with relative ease. We were approached by a different company offering similar services and who did a test scan on 10,000 of our images. I'm not sure how many uses it missed but it certainly hit on a lot. As this article addresses, the main point I think to consider, is how much to make the retroactive license offer for. It can't be less than the sticker price on the website or it wouldn't make sense for a company to actually buy legally if the only down side was paying less and only if after you get caught. So lets say you have a sticker price of X, what would people ask an infringing party for to compensate them if they didn't have to do any real work and that party would just pay them now. Would it be 2X, 5X ????

    Peter Chigmaroff

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