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Caters News Agency has caused me great harm, and more...

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

It all began back in January when Caters News Agency, a news agency based in Birmingham, UK, showed interest in making publications on my miniature origami.

I supplied them my images for free and took my time to answer their questions thoroughly. They said my images would be used for no other purpose than media based publication, and that they would let me know what was happening with the publications. However they never gave me any prior notifications about the publications; I found them all out on my own. Meanwhile they have altered the information and images I supplied them to the extent I got hurt. Later on I also found out they SOLD my images to another business!

The image they sold is currently in this group; and is being sold here

There is an additional 26 of my images being sold here

I don’t know if they have sold anymore to any other business.

I have complained to Caters many times over and nothing has been getting done. So finally the past weekend I decided to give them a final warning e-mail before I take legal action. I CC’d my e-mail to any other e-mail address I could find on the Caters News homepage. By doing so I’ve managed to get a hold of the firm’s director, so I’m now communicating with him as opposed to the staffs who contacted me initially – the ones who have been giving me problems. He says he is collating information from various Caters’ staffs and will report back to me with his findings…

So hopefully that will be settled soon; but if the situation does not resolve in due time (I said they have until next Monday), I’ll keep this post updated.

Meanwhile, the errors in the publications have been repeated in many blogs; and I’ve been striving to reduce the spread of false information by posting my original answers to the interview questions from Caters, and asking for it to be passed around.

The origami of Mui-Ling Teh – The true story in her own words

It seems to be having some effect. However there are a few other sites that are still problematic. Somehow it seems that the publications, while already hurting me through misinformation, have influenced people to leech images off my portfolio…

© Karin Taylor © Karin Taylor 3783 posts

I’ll be watching with great interest and am very deeply concerned about the injustice and breech of agreement, particularly concerning is the sale of your image to another party by the first party and equally frustrating, the misinformation initially and now spreading….but perhaps worst of all, the accusations made against you by others when you are so obviously such an honest and innocent person Mui-Ling – having your character and genuity questioned is extremely painful, but just knowyour have hundreds of supporters here who know you’re honest and would never have made that claim which some are accusing you of…..I am so saddened and so sorry :(
let’s hope your negotiations will be fruitful from hereon my friend… Hugz

© Joe  Beasley IPA © Joe Beasley... 3921 posts

Contact info on Milestone Media

contacts
directors

Valentino Catalani [vale.catalani@milestonemedia.it]

Paolo Granata [paolo.granata@milestonemedia.it]

Marco Toldi [marco.toldi@milestonemedia.it]
editorial archive

archivio@milestonemedia.it
picture desk

redazione@milestonemedia.it
advertising photography

richieste.pubblicita@milestonemedia.it
royalty free photography

info@royaltyfree.it
footage

film@milestonemedia.it
accounts department

amministrazione@milestonemedia.it
company details and address

Via Adolfo Wildt, 19/5 – 20131 Milano

tel: +39 02.2564769

tel: +39 02.26680702

tel: +39 02.70603583 (Royalty Free)

fax: +39 02.26681126

info@milestonemedia.it

Their terms for the use of images:

*icensing conditions for Rights-managed images

1. All the images on www.milestonemedia.it website can be used to create comps and presentations for internal use only. You are authorised to create one single copy of the image you have chosen on hard disk for a single computer not connected to a network. It is forbidden to save the image on moveable memories (such as floppy disks, CD, DVD, zip or jaz). After usage, clients must delete the layout or the presentation from their hard disk.

2. Before deciding on any usage, please check the availability of a specific image. Milestone Media does not guarantee that all the images can be used for any trade because images are sometimes licensed exclusively for specific uses.

3. Images are not licensed exclusively unless this has been specifically agreed. Milestone Media does not license its images unlimitedly.

4. The cost of an image varies according to its usage, distribution, duration of the ad, number of copies, name and trade of the final user. In order to get a quote promptly, clients should make this information available. In case of digital images, size and resolution of the file should be specified together with the code of the requested image*
link

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

Thanks Joe… but the problem is Caters News… they are the one who sold my image to Milestone Media; and they are the ones I hold responsible to stop the distribution and sale of my images…

© Joe  Beasley IPA © Joe Beasley... 3921 posts

I agree! Consider that a future email to Milestone Media, if necessary, explaining that Caters did not have the right to sell your image could add to the incentive for Caters to reach an agreement with you.

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

I’ll keep it in mind…

On Caters disclaimer page it says “We are Members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PRESS AGENCIES. [We subscribe to the following code[s] of conduct: NAPA CODE OF CONDUCT. This code can be consulted electronically at www.napa.org.uk.” And Caters DEFINATELY broke conditions two and three in that code! I honestly can’t believe such a awful firm is listed in their member directory!

© Joe  Beasley IPA © Joe Beasley... 3921 posts

Also #14

Are you aware of TinEye It is a visual search engine. I ran a search on your image and got 20 matches. It may not find all because they have not yet entered all images on the web into their database, but It can be a useful tool.

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

Right. Someone has told me about TinEye

janpiller janpiller 6239 posts

Awww dang!!! So sorry Mui-ling! All I can add is to breathe deep!! Be patient. Stay on top of it. And save the web pages where you’re finding your stuff. You won’t have any proof if they start removing the web pages.

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

Thanks Jan. I have printed pdfs of the articles containing errors, and the places where criticisms based on false facts are occuring. The Milestone Media page, where my image is being sold, I found by chance as I was flipping through pages of sites when I googled my name. I don’t know if there are anymore out there; and it’s hard to find the time to monitor everything when I’m so busy with school >.<"… all the distress is affecting my school progress as well… But I have saved the Milestone Media site. I have also saved all my e-mails – sent and received – for evidence…

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

Well… I had said before to Caters News that I want to hear back in a week otherwise I’m taking legal action… One week passed and no answer – looks like Iegal will action will take place…

janpiller janpiller 6239 posts

Oh – so sorry Mui-Ling!! That just pisses me off. Maybe a quick phone call is order to make sure they’re maybe processing the cheque and you just haven’t received it yet?

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

They are definately not processing a cheque; they have not asked me for my banking info nor my address; and they were supposed to reply to me regardless. I have complained to them so many times already that I have decided that my last e-mail would really be the final warning before I actually do something.

© Joe  Beasley IPA © Joe Beasley... 3921 posts

I have had some issues with some people/groups in the past and have resolved them without going to court, but you must keep up the pressure so that they get the message that you are not going to go away.

janpiller janpiller 6239 posts

Have you tried going right into their offices and raising a ruckus there? I would do that! I would wiat till there’s lots of people there first.

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

Well I myself can’t do that; I’m in Canada and they are in the UK. I do have lots of connections in London though since I have worked there before. My former flatmate did once say if I wanted him to make an angry phonecall to the company he can do so. But another friend was advising me to be careful that he does not do anyhing that can get me into legal trouble.

Well I can’t get in trouble for exploiting the company for what they did to me though; I have a journal up about it. All I’m doing after all is telling the truth and saving other artists who may fall into their trap. I’m still being easy going though; I don’t mention any names of the individuals I dealt with; including the director.

janpiller janpiller 6239 posts

That’s the trouble with these big conglomerates – they’re the ones that have behaved badly but they also have the legal back up to make life miserable for us. I’ve never heard of Caters News but maybe there’s rival news services that would be happy to run a story on the incident. (see? I can be evil too! Mwhahahahahaha!!!)

© Joe  Beasley IPA © Joe Beasley... 3921 posts

A lot of times the TV stations in our area will do news segments about where the average person is having trouble with companies or government departments.

janpiller janpiller 6239 posts

Yes – we have the same thing here too Joe but the stories are usually on something that affects a larger portion of the population.

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

Actually a friend of mine recently has suggested I do that. I have in fact been contacted by two other news sources ever since the publications, but I turned them both down since my experience with the media has been so bad and I wanted to resolve things with Caters first before going into another dangerous place…

When some of those sources contacted me I replied that I had to think about it because of all the errors in the UK publications and I showed them this journal. They said they were sorry to hear about my experience and offered to let me see the article before it gets published; although I haven’t given an exact answer to that yet… and have not kept in touch since.

At one point, I thought about asking them to make a story about my incident as they had already shown interest in me; but someone else said “I would not say anything to them about Caters…they all know each other and may even be owned by the same parent company…”

Although since I already showed them my journal, I have essentially already told them about Caters right?

janpiller janpiller 6239 posts

Yah – I think you have to do what feels right to you Mui-Ling. Some other people might blaze ahead into a lawsuit and others might just ignore the whole thing. You have to do what feels right to you. Have you called the Caters News Accounts Payable department? Did you even send them an actual invoice? that’s something I would do right away if you haven’t done it yet. Make it official. Send an invoice.

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

That’s true; I’ve been getting a few different opinions…

© Joe  Beasley IPA © Joe Beasley... 3921 posts

Thru Milestone Media they are licensing at least one of you images for stock use.

licence type

Rights-managed image (no Royalty Free):
See Licensing conditions.
release information:

Model/Property Release: NO
See Licensing conditions.
availability:

Availability for this image cannot be guaranteed until time of purchase.
price:

They need to give you a accounting as to where they have placed you images
Also they have changed the copyright information on the image.

I would not send a invoice for the use of the images until I knew what uses they had been put to and that all the images had been pulled from stock agencies.

Mui-Ling Teh Mui-Ling Teh 230 posts

I’m a bit confused about your last sentence… Can you clarify? Also in terms of sending an invoice, I think Jan was talking about sending one to Caters.

Meanwhile, I have sent a few e-mails to some lawyers in the UK. Then I just thought about e-mailing a Birmingham based one (Caters is based in Birmingham) – but then it just occurred to me; what if the Birmingham firm I contact happens to be one that serves Caters News? What do you think about that?

Anyways I’ll be heading to bed soon. I’ll keep you posted.

© Joe  Beasley IPA © Joe Beasley... 3921 posts

At this time, you don’t know what uses your images are being put to. Milestone is offering it as a "Rights-managed image(no Royalty Free). This means that they are going to charge their client for each separate use. A royalty free use is when a one time fee is paid and the client gets unlimited use of the copyright material. For example I have a royalty free CD of music. I can make unlimited use of the music in slide shows that I create using my images, and sell them, but I can not sell copies of the music by itself in any form.

AS a example of "Rights-Managed, I sold to the Newseum the right to use some photographs the I own the copyrights to in a documentary. The Licensee conditions that they wanted gave them the right to show the documentary in their museum and to do two public broadcasts on Washington DC TV stations within a year. If they put the images to any other use, they will contact me and pay additional fees.

My worry is that Catars could construe an invoice from you as a selling of all rights to the image to them.

If the law firm that you contact has any connection to Catars, they must inform you and tell you that there is a conflict of interest. I would consider sending a “cease and desist” letter to Milestone Media telling them that the copyright information on the images has been changed and that Catars did not how the right to licensee the images for stock use.

Edit: Jans case is different. MIT is the end user. They are not “reselling” her work as stock for other uses. She has a better idea of what uses her image has been put to.