Pixsy: Find and Get Paid for Image Theft

November 3rd, 2014

CopyrightSteve Schlackman over at has an article about a new service that is launching soon called Steve describes the service as follows:

Pixsy approaches the problem in two steps: 1) discovery and 2) action. First, user upload images that they want to track. Pixsy uses reverse lookup, aggregating results from various image search engines to monitor the locations of your images across the internet. When your image is found, it’s URL will show up on your Pixsy dashboard. At that point, the user can either approve the URL, or if the use is not approved, take further action.

In step 2, Pixsy provides the user with several options. Pixsy can send letters to the infringer asking for attribution or initiate a takedown request. But Pixsy’s primary revenue model is to help the artist negotiate a reasonable licensing fee for use of the work. As the starting point for a meaningful negotiation, Pixsy will use a pricing structure based on fotoQuote, the industry standard photo-pricing guide for stock and assignment photography. Pixsy will confirm those numbers with the artist, of course. For any successful negotiation, Pixsy will retain a percentage of the licensing fee.

Pixsy is not taking a Getty Images approach to infringement, in which a lawsuit is threatened unless the infringer pays several hundred dollars. Pixsy understands that infringers aren’t always intentionally trying to rip-off artists. While the Internet is an amazing tool, we must all admit that it has a habit of spreading disinformation, particularly regarding laws surrounding intellectual property. Getty uses that lack of understanding to generate a revenue stream based on coercion. Pixsy wants to generate revenue based on mutual agreement and understanding.


For the full story see Steve’s full article here.

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3 Responses to “Pixsy: Find and Get Paid for Image Theft”

  • This is awesome news. Seems as though, however if you’ve got low res files out there they can’t be duplicated with any good quality but I’d still like to know where my images go.

  • This is really interesting, I was wondering when something like this would be developed…

    I guess every image is like a fingerprint, pretty easier to identify with the right software.

    I wonder if it can detect small parts of images that are used in compositions too?

  • The first step is to register your images regularly and before publication if possible, but within 3 months if you need to save a few dollars by combining more jobs into the registration.
    There are other companies that will search the web for infringements and want you to sign an agreement authorizing them to act exclusively as your agent in copyright matters. Before you do that, talk to your own attorney first.
    Forget the model of going after infringers for a few hundred dollars. If you have registered your images, the amount is in the thousands of dollars for a settlement and around $10k PER INFRINGEMENT minimum if it actually goes to court (rare).

    Big brother is gathering your data and attorneys have subscriptions with personal data companies to research how deep an infringers pockets are. It makes little sense to pursue an infringer that doesn’t have any money, but you need somebody who can determine if that is actually the case. If you haven’t registered your images, you can’t file a suit in court and an attorney would get in trouble if they threatened one knowing a filing would be rejected. A DMCA take down notice might be the extent of what you can do for unregistered images, but I have heard that it might be possible to go to court under the DMCA act in some cases. A junkyard dog IP lawyer will know.

    @Allison, watch the videos on YouTube with Jack Resnicki and Ed Greenberg on copyright issues. There are some Kelby teasers and a couple of full length presentations recorded at BHphoto. The attorney, Ed Greenberg, makes a mention of how often low res files are used in all sorts of packaging and point of sale displays. Awards are calculated ‘per infringement’. If you find your low res image being used on product packaging, there could be thousands of infringements. One per package. You need an attorney to send a demand to their attorney for a full accounting. A court award would be frightening, so you would be likely to be offered a substantial settlement right up front if their attorney is good.

    Google has a search by photo tool. Go to Google Images and you will see a little camera in the search terms box. Click on it and it will search (a tiny fraction) of the web for an image that you upload. It’s pretty amazing. Whether it will detect a fragment of your image in a compilation is hard to say. I’ve dropped in images that I use on my web site and it pulls up my pages, no problem.

    I just photographed a major news story recently and have been ripped off nine ways to Sunday. My attorney is starting work on it next week and it isn’t costing me a dime. I registered all of my images before anything was sent out and there is a very strong possibility that I’ll make much more money that I did licensing the images to major news companies.

    Send an infringer a letter to ask for attribution? You must be kidding. A photo credit doesn’t pay to send your camera back for a sensor cleaning and maintenance. The infringer stole your image because they didn’t want to pay a dime for it in the first place. They could have easily gone to a stock agency and chose a suitable photo from the millions available, but instead just copied yours. Caught with their hand in the cookie jar, the last thing they will want to do is to enter into a meaningful negotiation to find an agreeable licensing arrangement. They’ve already picked the one they want…. Free.

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