Below is a copy of the mail I got this morning after having sent them a "Cease and desist" letter that included a request to have them automatically scan for our footer (black banner on the bottom of every photo) in the same way as they scan for porn.
Not very positive reply I'm afraid.
Dear Mr. Lundgren:
Upon receipt of your message, Sara deleted from the Webshots Community the postings in which Airliners.net asserted copyrights and sent warning messages to the users responsible for the postings. I believe that this process is familiar to you as Sara has previously deleted the postings you have contacted Webshots about, and she has either sent warning notices to the responsible users, or in at least one case that you reported to us, terminated the user's account because the user had been the subject of repeated complaints.
Sara has asked that I respond to the other demands contained in your message. As you may know, the Webshots Community is an online forum for users to share their photographs with each other. It contains more than 6 million images today, and this number is rapidly growing. We cannot review each posting for possible copyright infringements, and in most cases would not be able to determine whether a posting infringes a third party copyright.
Moreover, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the "DMCA"), which governs online forums like the Webshots Community, we are not legally obligated to conduct such a review or make such determinations. The DMCA explicitly states that "monitoring its service or affirmatively seeking facts indicating infringing activity" are not expected of an online service provider. 17 USC Sec. 512(m)(1). Additionally, the legislative history of this provision states that a service provider is not required to "investigate possible infringements, monitor its service or make difficult judgments as to whether conduct is or is not infringing." H.R. Rep. 105-551)II), 1998 WL 414916 at *154.
Your assertion that Webshots sells Airliners.net photos is mistaken. Users upload and download images to and from the Webshots Community free of charge. Webshots does not print or sell photos; for the convenience of users, the site offers links to the web pages of Ofoto, which provides photo development services. User transmissions of photos from the Webshots Community to Ofoto are governed by Sec. 512(a) of the DMCA. Ofoto has its own copyright policy; questions regarding it should be directed to Ofoto.
As I believe Sara has told you previously, Webshots is prepared to promptly delete from the Webshots Community any photos identified as infringing the copyrights of Airliners.net and to warn the responsible users or terminate their accounts in appropriate circumstances, just as it has done in the past. Moreover, while we cannot agree to monitor a rapidly growing forum that currently contains more than 6 million images for possible infringements, I can assure you that whenever Sara or any of her colleagues become aware of a posting which contains indications that it has been taken from the Airliners.net site, they will delete the posting and send the responsible user a warning notice.
John J. Sullivan
Associate General Counsel
Senior Director of Intellectual Property
Working on the site from morning 'till night that's livin' alright (1997-2007)