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What to do if your images are stolen

The message What to do if your images are stolen first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Darina Kopcok.

If any of your images is displayed online in any form, it is inevitable that they will be stolen.

With the internet, copyright infringement has become rampant and a worldwide phenomenon.

Some people don't understand copyright and think that because an image appears online, it's theirs to take.

However, there are many of them businesses steal and use images for commercial purposes – to sell their own products!

How do you know if your image has been stolen?

You can search for random images on your images in Google. This is a cool feature, but rather annoying and incredibly time-consuming. If you have an extensive library of images, this can take more time than you would like to spend.

A better alternative is sites such as Copytrack, Pixray or Pixsy, these are image tracking services that not only find your stolen images, but also file a claim for copyright infringement and claim damages on your behalf.

This is a great way to find a refund for stolen photos without the hassle of doing everything yourself. Not to mention the fact that you cannot scan millions of images on the internet in search of your work in any way. The technology that these services offer does it all for you.

The use of an image search service is something that every photographer should consider. It is a sad reality that so many photographers are struggling today, while thieves benefit from our hard work.

An image tracking service can save you a lot of work. Usually it's as easy as uploading your photos. If you are notified that some of your photos are displayed without permission or license, you can submit a DMCA removal request or legal claim through the service.

The image search function is free – to a certain extent. It depends on the number of images you upload. If you file a legal claim, the service will receive a commission.

A warning about using an image tracking site is that if you run inventory photography, it may be difficult to determine where your image is lawfully displayed.

Securities agencies usually do not disclose who has licensed your image. Many partners have also collaborated with other stock agencies to sell your work, making your images even harder to follow.

How an image tracking service works

According to the site for image tracking, Copytrack, Every day, 3 billion images are shared online. 85% of them are stolen.
License images are about more than just detecting infringements. Once you discover an infringement, you must make a decision about what to do about it.

Both Copytrack and Pixsy can take the legal side in the fight for a fair payment for your work.

You simply upload your images while their image search function works in the background. They will inform you of your competitions by e-mail.

After you confirm the stolen images, they take steps to enforce your copyright.

You do not have to do anything.

What are scribble sites?

One of the worst types of offenders in the field of stolen images and online copyright infringement are scraper sites.
Scraper sites steal your content for their own sites or blogs. Some will simply scrape content, but most use automated software that places your images and messages on their own site.

These sites take pictures from Pinterest, Google and your own website and host them illegally.

Not only does your website host the images for them, they also take up your bandwidth!

If you write a blog in addition to posting a photo, your content may appear on these sites.

What are your options if your image is stolen?

If your image is stolen, your first option is to do nothing, which is exactly what many photographers do. The hassle sometimes can't make it worth the effort.

However, if the company that stole your image is a large company, you can hire a copyright lawyer to bring them to court, because this type of claim might be worth thousands of dollars.

In most cases, the best option is to use a company like Pixsy and let them have a file DMC Takedown Noticeor submit a claim on your behalf.

A DMC Takedown Notice is a request to remove content from a website at the request of the copyright owner of the content.



Request a DMC removal

DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If you want your stolen content to be removed from a website, you must submit a removal request from DMCA.

To submit a DMC removal, you can either hire a service or do it yourself.

You must know who owns the website. You can use a Who is lookup tool.

The problem is that it can be difficult to find out who the owner of the website is to send them the notification, because many of these sites hide this information. For example, they use Cloudflare to hide their real IP address.

Fortunately, there are DMC removal services that can help you with this. DMCA charges $ 10 USD per month for their security services and charges $ 199 USD for a complete removal.

How to register your copyright

As a photographer you automatically own the copyright once you have created the image. This means that you do not necessarily have to submit a copyright for all your photos.

In most countries you do not need to submit copyright papers to prove that you own the content or copyright. Government registered copyright is NOT necessary to have your content removed, but requesting compensation IS easier if you have registered your copyright.

To register your copyright, search online with keywords such as "register copyright Canada / US / Australia" etc. to find the Intellectual Property Office in your country.

Finally

If your images have been stolen, it is up to you to decide whether you want to request a refund.

Minor offenses may not seem worth the time and energy, but if someone makes money from your work, you may consider seeking compensation. Not only for the money, but also for the principle.

Have you stolen one of your images? Share with us in the comments below.

What to do if your images are stolen

The message What to do if your images are stolen first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Darina Kopcok.

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