This article If you don’t want your photos stolen don’t post them on the internet was written by a very talented photographer based in New Hampshire called Sarah Ann Loreth. The link for her website is in her name and you can also find her work on Flickr.
My photos "borrowed" (only visible if logged into Facebook). If you ever wonder why photographers make a thing out of copyright, just take a look at this Facebook album for a sample of how many times this professional photographer has had her images "borrowed" and used online without credit and without payment.
Until she spots them and sends an invoice.....
Imagine if this was your artwork!
How to deal with copyright infringement
Her article explains what has happened to her photography and how, over time, she has evolved an approach which works for her over time.
When I come across an image being used without payment or permission, I ask myself these questions:
- Is the person making money off of your image? Have they slapped it on a t-shirt, book cover, or are selling prints?
- Are they using your image to promote hate or slander?
- Are they slandering your business?
- Do they have a big social media following?
- Are they using your image to market or promote their business?
- Could going after this person bring a negative outcome to your livelihood?
- Is the infringement located in a country with similar copyright laws?
- Is the monetary value worth the energy of the inevitable battle?
How to prevent copyright infringement (and associated 'battles')
In terms of her tips I'm going to highlight the basic principles below but you need to read the article to understand the reasons why and how to apply them
- Learn how to Google Reverse Search your images. This is a link to my website about How to do a reverse image search which you might well find useful
- Know your rights
- Watermark your images - this one includes a cunning tip!)
- Register your images with the Library of Congress or any similar resource in your country - includes a tip for the most cost effective way of doing this
- Only upload low resolution images to the internet - something I say to people again and again - and also because it makes your website or blog load faster!
- Add your copyright information into the metadata of your photos - One point worth mentioning here is that many sites strip out the meta data. So in principle a good idea - but you need to know Flickr is one such site.
Thanks to Alison Staite - a friend and another photographer - for highlighting this article to me.
These are links to:
- my blog posts
- Tips for repelling plagiarist bloggers - which includes the process I use when somebody plagiarises my blog.
- Copyright infringement - why Courts make people pay - which is very educational
- my website Art Business Info for Artists which has a section on Copyright for Artists
- my website Pinterest, Copyright and Spam - for Visual Artists & Photographers (currently offline)