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Jason Combs
Lives in Tokyo
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Please share my story.

Like many other photographers on Flickr, or elsewhere on the Internet, I fell in love with photography and decided to show my photos to anyone and everyone who wanted to see them.  I never had a plan of making a living off it, but if by chance somebody found value in one of my photos and wanted to use it in exchange for reasonable monetary compensation I would be ecstatic.  Sadly, this isn’t one of those stories.

Sometime back in November I was bored and randomly did a Google reverse image search on this photo. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jason935/4095276374/ To my surprise I saw it was being used as an album cover to a single by a New Zealand band by the name of Late Nyte Hype.  The returned links came back to the song on the iTunes Store, to Warner Music New Zealand’s home page, Spotify, some other music stores, and a promotional video on YouTube.(all have since been taken down)  Doing some research I found out via the band’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/latenytehype) that the song had been on sale since September of 2012, but nobody had made any attempt to contact me about using my photo. There was even a free download of a large version of the album artwork via the band’s Facebook page.

Being that I live in Japan and the theft took place in New Zealand I took screenshots and print outs of all the webpages where my stolen photo appeared and contacted a lawyer in New Zealand.  His plan was to demand a one time payout from Warner Music New Zealand, so to avoid any public embarrassment for them in court for using a stolen photograph and that would be the end of it.  The deadline for the response from my lawyer came and went and Warner Music New Zealand never replied to my lawyer.  At the same time my lawyer had contacted Scotty Ray Nicols from the band and he quickly apologized, claimed they hired a designer/photographer by the name of Michael Braid in New Zealand http://michael-braid.com, but made no offer to right the wrong except to pay my lawyer fees so I “wouldn’t pursue this any further.” What about Warner New Zealand you ask? Well, it turns out there is a provision in New Zealand's Copyright Act that excludes claims for damages from innocent infringers.  Instead, a claim for profits from the innocent infringement can be made. The song was terrible and it didn’t catch on.  My lawyer said in all the song made about $230 total. What about this Michael Braid guy?

Michael Braid is the designer/photographer who works out of New Zealand and is the criminal in this case.  He claims that he did this work and all of his other photography and video work for free because he “loves doing this work for fun in his spare time.” If you look at his portfolio on his website, you can see that he has photographed artists LMFAO, Lupe Fiasco, Kings of Leon, Jimmy Eat World, Neon Trees, etc. This guy does this all for “free.” I would also like to point out he made a TV commercial for Toyota New Zealand for free as well apparently. Here’s a link to it. (http://michael-braid.com/video/toyota-tvc)  

His story to me was that he has never heard of Flickr and that he found my photo on a stock image site, but he “can’t remember which one.” This right here is a blatant lie.  Anyone doing photography for a hobby while using the internet has heard of Flickr.  Anyone doing professional work (free or not) documents where they got stock photos from and confirm usage rights.  I should mention that my reverse image search on my photo does not pull my photo up on any stock photo sites and that I have only ever posted it to Flickr to where it says my photos usage rights are “All Rights Reserved.”

I talked nice and kept things civil.  It seemed Michael was going to work out some compensation between us, but the last I heard from him was on February 5th of this year.  I emailed him for an update on 19th and the 24th, but he seems to be ignoring my emails. My lawyer agreed to work off a percentage of the settlement and didn’t find it worth while to pursue Michael Braid any further as it was unclear as to how much money he has.  Me being a new Father, I don’t really have the cash to chase this shady character down only to find out he can’t pay up and be stuck with huge lawyer and court fees.  

This leaves me like so many other photographers before me.  Ripped off and nothing can be done about it.  All I can do it warn others of Michael Braid’s amoral way of doing business to make up for his lack of creativity.  

If you would like to contact Michael Braid and express your displeasure to him of people stealing other people’s work, he has posted his contact information (phone and email at the bottom of his webpage) as follows:

Email: hello@michael-braid.com or braid.mike@gmail.com
Phone: +64 021 044 0356
LinkedIn: http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/michael-braid/4b/b06/781

You can also find him on Google+ here. https://plus.google.com/101040137968917825477

His Twitter account: https://twitter.com/mikebraid

UPDATE:

+Mike Braid responded to +Heath Smith's tweet, but deleted it after I countered his claim that it wasn't true with evidence of him playing stupid to the whole thing when he originally tried to contact me. You can +Mike Braid's tweet here. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bj4v0iWCMAAc2Lh.jpg:large  Why won't this guy just pay me and be done with it?

UPDATE 2:

Good news!  He contacted me last night and was really cool and understanding about paying me for my photo.  I'm in the process now of setting up payment.  Hold off on any more sharing.  He's being really cool about it now.  It seems his lawyer told him to ignore me hence everything that took place.

#photography #stolenphotos #filmphotography #publishedphotography #believeinfilm #publishedphotographer #publishedwork #michaelbraidphotography #michaelbraid #NewZealand #warnermusic #warnermusicnewzealand  
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Good news!  He contacted me last night and was really cool and understanding about paying me for my photo.  I'm in the process now of setting up payment.  Hold off on any more sharing.  He's being really cool about it now.  It seems his lawyer told him to ignore me hence everything that took place.  
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Jason Combs

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I rarely get excited for a new album release anymore, but the new Tycho album is going to be amazing from the tracks I've already heard.  Its release date is 3/18.  #Tycho  
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Jason Combs

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Good stuff by a friend. #photography #japan
 
My Suicide Forest story on @Medium https://medium.com/photo-blogs/72dbe78fb048
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Jason Combs

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If you haven't seen Adman Magyar's slow motion video of the view from a train pulling into Shinjuku Station in Tokyo yet, you should watch this.
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No idea. He doesn't say.
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Have him in circles
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Fantastic work by my friend +Sean Lotman from his travels while in India. Great stuff. #photography #filmphotography #believeinfilm #flickr  
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Jason Combs

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Last night after work I picked up the new Tycho album. I'm really digging it. It's a bit early, but this will most likely end up being my favorite album of 2014. #Tycho #Awake
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+John Bobosh Ha! No it's not.
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I just posted a new photo from my skiing trip this past Sunday.  Have a look and a read if you are into either skiing or film photography. #skiing   #japanphotography   #filmphotography   #japan   #photography   #kagura  

CC: +Brano Beres 
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So you have the full on Roll photos - Am I there?
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Great photos and a great story to go along with them. #photography   #filmphotography   #believeinfilm  
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Has anyone seen this film? It doesn't look that good story wise, but there sure are a lot of nice looking cameras in it. #TokyoShutterGirl #東京シャッターガール #Japanesefilm #Japanesemovies #filmcamera  
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Have him in circles
373 people
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Tokyo
Previously
Dayton
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I'm that guy that does that.
Introduction
I'm the Jason you know that moved to Japan. That pretty much covers it for those that would know me. 
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My wife and chose this place on a very last minute spontaneous decision to take a trip somewhere for Golden Week. For the price I think we got about what we expected. The first thing you will notice is the post apocalyptic location. The hotel is located inside an armed security compound so it's safe There is still the stray dog running around, but they were never threatening and left people alone. To be fair all the resorts on Mactan are in compounds. The decor of the hotel was modern, so I'm guessing it was built in the last 10 years, but the management of the place was pretty terrible. It seems as if there is very little proper up keep going on the place other than cleaning at the very basic level. The thing that stuck out is the elevator had mirrors in it, but it seems they were never cleaned with windex, so they didn't look dirty as they appear to have been cleaned, but not the kind of clean you would expect a mirror to look if it was properly cleaned. The hotel has a free breakfast buffet which is what you would expect. Nothing great, but nothing bad either. The one thing that struck me as odd though was that what they claimed was orange juice was actually Tang. (what a throw back to my childhood) No problem though, they had pineapple juice so I drank that. The hotel claims they have a beach, but only by the term. The beach is so small that when the waves break, the entire beach is covered in water. There is really nowhere to sit and put your stuff. Sand is relatively cheap, so why they haven't purchased more sand and have it dumped there is really beyond me. The staff of the hotel were very friendly, but the smallest request that might be outside of what they are use to doing will make their heads explode and they will look really confused. For example, if you are going to spend the day at another resort using their facilities (and I recommend you do) you should have them call and check to make sure the hotel can accommodate you as if they are fully booked, they will turn you away. This almost happened to us on a previous day, so the next time we went to another resort we had them call ahead. Getting them to do so was more difficult than it should have been. They thought we wanted to call a taxi, but after explaining a few times they understood. I experienced this at other resorts I visited during our stay, so this appears to be a cultural thing maybe so be warned. I recommend using a guide book (Lonely Planet, etc.) to plan your daily exertions as it was a lot less stressful. Everything is not all that bad though. The rooms were big, clean, good AC, they had satellite TV, and the beds were nice. The hotel has decent free wi-fi in the lobby, so bring a smart phone and/or laptop to look up information about activities etc. The bottom line; you get what you pay for. If you are looking for beautiful beaches, nothing Mactan island has to offer will satisfy you. Mactan seems to cater primarily to Koreans and Japanese whom are flying in and flying out without really going anywhere else on the island or Cebu.
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Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago
Last night (Dec. 11, 2013) I agreed to meet a friend here after work for dinner. Neither of us had been there and since my friend was running late, I arrived there first. They were busy, but it was almost 8pm so it was to be expected and I expected to wait. I walked in and was greeted by the hostess with a very unfriendly/unwelcoming expression. I told her "2 please" in Japanese and her response in English was "We are full." I asked her if I could wait (in Japanese) and she just pointed at a chair. I waited not all that long and finally some people left. A waiter came to seat me and before I could even sit down he told me "You just can't sit here and drink water. You have to order something."(in Japanese) Before even sitting down I ordered a beer. It was a round table near the entrance and unfortunately in view of the hostess who would periodically glare at me. Shortly after receiving my beer the waiter came and asked me to move to another table because my party was only going to be two people and I was at a table that could seat four. Fine, I thought. I moved to the other table and texted my friend to please hurry as this was the rudest customer service I've had in the near five years I've lived here. My friend finally arrived and we ordered food and ended up getting desert. The food was alright. It's what you would expect for their prices, but did not extend itself in anyway as to standing out among similarly priced restaurants/cafes. When we went to pay, the receptionist handled it and she unapologetically told us we couldn't pay separately. (something that is normal to do in Japan) Fine, the service had been terrible thus far, so what should I expect. We both paid and the change was going to be ¥500. You would expect her to to give us change with 4 ¥100 coins and 2 ¥50 coins. Nope, she gave us 1 ¥500 coin. I will never go there again. It's on センター街 for crying out loud. What is there to be snobby about?!?
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Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago
I discovered this place as it was on my route from Kyobashi Station to my client's office. Recently they were forced to move the restaurant to Ginza (just a 10 min walk from the old location) due to all of the old buildings in Kyobashi being torn down to make way for new sky scrapper projects. Yesterday was my first time to the new location and it was great. They remembered who I was, thanked me for coming, and afterward gave me a free espresso to thank me for coming back. That's service! On to the food; Their pasta is some of the best pasta in Tokyo in my opinion. Often in Tokyo many pasta restaurants use cheap ingredients and make their tomato based sauces creamy. That's not the case here. Everything is done to perfection. I've never been here for dinner, but for lunch it will run you ¥800 for most lunch sets on the menu. This includes a romaine lettuce salad, a piece of bread, generous plate of pasta, and a glass of water. (free refills) The decor of the new location doesn't have as much character as the old place, but I think they are still setting up as a lot of the cans of tomatoes etc. are missing. Nevertheless, it's a warm and inviting place and would still be a nice place to take a date. Here is the new address: 1-5-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
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Food: ExcellentDecor: GoodService: Excellent
Public - 11 months ago
reviewed 11 months ago
Having already spent a lot of money for my Wife's and I's wedding and never actually been to this church, I was a bit nervous, but it was actually an amazing experience and everything went very smoothly. I feel like the pictures of this place can't do it justice. The view of the ocean from inside the church is breath takingly beautiful. The service itself was nice and they went over it with me ahead of time if there was anything additional I wanted added or taken out. All in all it was an experience of a lifetime and I am glad we chose here.
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Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
7 reviews
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One thing Tokyo has a lot of is great places to get a cup of coffee, but the place where nearly all of them go wrong is their hours of operation. A coffee shop is suppose to open early and close late, but Tokyo coffee shops seem to think otherwise. So often if you have to be somewhere early in the morning nearly all places with a decent cup are still closed. Get off a little late for work and just want to unwind and have a nice cup of coffee? Impossible! Nearly everywhere closes between 7 - 8pm. This place however stays open until 12:30am and opens at 8am!!!! That's doing it right. Enough about the hours of operation. This place actually has really great coffee and a really small, but cozy and welcoming atmosphere to to enjoy a cup. Unfortunately for me I'm rarely in Ebisu, but when I am I will hit this place up again.
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Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago
I eat here for lunch a few times a month. Hands down the best burger in Tokyo in my opinion. Tip: Go for lunch on a weekday and you shouldn't have any problem getting a table.
Food: ExcellentDecor: ExcellentService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
I've lived in Tokyo for 3 1/2 years and this place is by far the best place to get a drink for those that really love beer enough to want to drink something other than the big four. The place is a bit small, but not surprising as this is Tokyo. My recommendation is to get there early in the evening so you can get a table. It's also important to get there early as food items and popular beers on tap can run dry. There is always plenty of other great beers to try, but if you want to try them all you will need to get there early. To sum this place up; if you are in Tokyo and wanting to try some of the best brews in Japan, this is the place to go. Great service, nice crowd, and it's non-smoking!
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Atmosphere: ExcellentDecor: Very goodService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago