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24 Nov, 25 tweets, 14 min read
1/ German photographer, Marco Verch, has posted hundreds of thousands of “free” images across the internet. His photographs have turned into a spiders’ web waiting to trap people who do not follow the exact terms and conditions. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
2/ Universities, small family businesses and charity organisations are among those to have been ambushed with demands for huge payments after publishing Verch’s apparently “free” images. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
3/ Patty Knoops founded a volunteer organisation to help older women find work. She received a legal demand for €950 from Verch, precipitating the charity’s closure. She became depressed and unable to work.@ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch perma.cc/M7LQ-D3PC
4/ Jenna Davis received a legal demand from Verch just before she was about to give birth. “His response: ‘All the best for your upcoming birth. You can pay the invoice end of September if this helps.’” @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
5/ In the US alone, Verch has filed lawsuits seeking damages totaling up to $4.5 million from people who have used his “free” photos. He sought the statutory maximum $150,000 from Columbia Uni for using an image in a Tweet @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch. perma.cc/2ZGF-P4TK
6/ In the US, Verch works with a controversial lawyer, Richard Liebowitz, dubbed a “copyright troll” by a US judge for filing more than 1,120 copyright suits. reut.rs/3lYECdn @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
7/ Verch’s activities are entirely legal, but they have left behind victims who have been penalised for making honest mistakes. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
8/ Verch uses an outdated version of Creative Commons license, CC By 2.0, to enforce the copyright on his photographs. “The vast majority of people are using my photos correctly in the way the licence was intended for,” he said. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch bit.ly/3kWLO8x
9/ Verch requires each photograph to include three web links and if the photo is edited in any way, this must be mentioned. Make one mistake and you could find yourself with a legal demand. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch bit.ly/3nKkdsM
10/ People who have given interviews to Computer Weekly, and published comments in blogs about Verch, said they had received intimidating demands for money from Verch or his agents despite making honest mistakes. perma.cc/HK4C-BRX2 @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
11/ An investigation by Computer Weekly found that Verch outsourced much of his photography to workers in Eastern Europe and Latin America. One contract showed that Verch was paid $3 for each image. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
12/ Verch has set up his own company, Plaghunter, which uses image recognition to automatically hunt people who use his photographs. He also uses the enforcement service Pixsy to target people who have not attributed his “free” photos correctly. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
13/ For Verch, it’s all about enforcing his rights as a photographer. Victims feel they have been caught in a copyright “breach trap”. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
14/ Verch’s photography scheme operates on a huge scale. Verch posed nearly half a million images on Flickr. A now deleted ‘trending topics’ site contained hundreds of thousands more images linked about trending news stories. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch perma.cc/Y4ZC-XPYL
15/ Computer Weekly calculated that some 900 images were being uploaded a day to Verch’s accounts. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
16/ You can read the full story in Computer Weekly
And in Süddeutsche Zeitung
17/ Following our story, Verch disabled public access to his own website containing his portfolio of photographs, his 'Twitter Trends' photographs website, along with his LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter profiles and his YouTube account. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
18/ A Twitter account, using Verch’s username @wuestenigel, made veiled threats, by linking to a photograph of Chad O’Carrol, journalist on the story, and the phrase, “Vengeance: A love of justice perverted to revenge and spite. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch bit.ly/2HrfdKb
19/ Victim Jenna Davis, received a legal demand from Verch while just before she was about to give birth to baby. Following our story on her case, she found that someone using Verch’s identity had ‘liked’ pictures of her young son on Instagram. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
20/ She said that the person had “somehow found my personal account on Instagram and ONLY liked the photos of my son," She has since protected her account. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch
20/ Copyright enforcement service Pixsy has attempted to block publication of letter sent to journalist Chad O’Carroll claiming breach of copyright. The letter demanding $750 payment on behalf of Verch.
21/ We believe its publication is in the public interest. @ComputerWeekly #MarcoVerch bit.ly/2V6BMax

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