How To Find Your Stolen Images Online

September 10th, 2013

A couple of weeks ago when I did a post about a broker asking a reader for exclusive photo rights, the post attracted the attention of Joel Rothman and Steve Schlackman who are both Intellectual Property Attorneys in Florida. Steve does a blog on the subject of IP Law for Artists.

Joel has represented a couple of PFRE readers in the past and both Joel and Steve are interested in helping educating both photographers and agents about photo licensing in the real estate industry. Steve is going to cover some of these issues that we are all interested in on his Art Law Journal blog.

I’ll be featuring some of the articles that Steve does in the future on Art Law journal. For starters, here is a useful little tutorial that Steve did recently on how to find your stolen images online.

I’m looking forward to Joel and Steve’s help at helping us sort out the best way to deal with some of the craziness of MLS copyright rules.

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5 Responses to “How To Find Your Stolen Images Online”

  • Brilliant Larry. Its important to understand how in the real world, how to protect one’s property. I know from the past you mentioned in passing that you’re not to keen on watermarking pictures as it’s sometimes distracting. Here in Spain for example, with so many brokers and now even banks it’s impossible to protect your content unless its inconvenient for the other party. For my unwatermarked images I use SmugMug as they have a no right click feature with a notice explaining the copyright issue. Obviously if someone knows what they are doing they can get round this. learnt this from watching one of the many Scott Kelby training videos, their take on watermarking is ( only for branding). We use FB a lot also so we just watermark everything.

  • I have been successful in locating photographers that have had their work posted on Facebook (without permission), by utilizing a Google image search. Handy tool, actually!

  • Another reason to watermark your images (at least here in the US), is that there is a penalty under the DMCA that does have teeth
    17 USC § 1202 – Integrity of copyright management information
    (b) Removal or Alteration of Copyright Management Information.— No person shall, without the authority of the copyright owner or the law—
    (1) intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information,
    “Plaintiff may recover “statutory damages for each violation of section 1202 in the sum of not less than $2,500 or more than $25,000” (per instance)
    and this is regardless of whether or not the image has been registered with the copyright office. So while I agree with Kelby & friends on a lot of stuff, their take on the reason for watermarking is in my opinion off the mark.

  • We pay to copyright and use digimarc on the images that we feel have a value to them. That is maybe only 25% of our images that are real estate but almost 100% of our commercial business images. For us, but not everyone, our real estate photography represents a very small life in the use of the image. I will try the site mentioned in the video and look to see if anything is copied through a google search, but for us the digimarc service works well.

  • What’s really entertaining about it, is the images it finds at the bottom of the search that “look” similar. One of my model shots was found to be similar to a beetle bug. A group of nudes models was apparently just like grains of brown rice. who knew?

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