OT- I'm sick of it !!!

Started May 28, 2013 | Discussions
mshetzer
mshetzer Contributing Member • Posts: 744
OT- I'm sick of it !!!
10

Friends,

Today I woke up with an email stating one of my images won a Gold Medal award for best in print.

Here is the downside:  Someone stole it from my site (http://shetzers.com ), and submitted as their own.

Here's the image

Every week I have to address stolen images.  Just in the last month I have had the following.

  • An internet news agency used an image on the cover of their site and lead article.
  • A major organization purchased a stock image and didn't option for full licensing, however used it for full licensing. (I finally received full compensation but it took lots of additional time)
  • A professional painter reproduced an image for Giclée print sales.
  • A website distribute an image to over 1,0000,000 people via social media.  Took the time to strip the watermark.

I'm getting tired of chasing organizations.  The amount of time this takes and rarely achieves any compensation.  Normally the image is used, distributed for their purpose (normally with financial gain in the form of advertising to their site) and taken down when I peruse them.

I watermark all my images at the bottom.  I really don't want to watermark across the middle of the image as I want people to enjoy the image and I rely on a nice presentation of an image to increase stock sales and promote workshop locations.

Is it financially worthwhile to legally peruse these folks, or are you just paying legal bills?

I'm sure every one is struggling with this same issue, and I'd love to hear what you do.

Thanks all !!!

Matt

-- hide signature --

************************************
Matt Shetzer
Checkout my portfolio at:
http://Shetzers.com
"Shetzers Photography" on facebook
Blog at:
http://shetzersphotography.blogspot.com
D4, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 105mm macro, 200-400mm, 500mm
http://www.shetzersphoto.com/photos/1236482083_RMqYR-O.jpg

 mshetzer's gear list:mshetzer's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +5 more
Hugo First Contributing Member • Posts: 780
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!
1

it never ceases to amaze me when people run huge, obnoxious watermarks on the most mundane and forgettable images -- items that no one would pilfer in a thousand years...

in your case, however, and with the substantial loss you potentially have suffered at the hands of thieves, you would be justified in placing a watermark smack dab in the middle of any image with commercial potential.

the law of the jungle applies in this case: you are responsible for protecting your own interests.

MOD TOF guy Forum Pro • Posts: 16,088
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!
2

Sorry to read that stuff.

Do you register your images with the USPTO (if you live in the US). Itn terms of compensation you can seek for violation of copyright: it's a totally different ball game if the image has been registered before hand.

Hopefully you won't give up or it will lead to more piracy. But I understand how time consuming this must be.

-- hide signature --

Thierry - posted as regular forum member

 TOF guy's gear list:TOF guy's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR +6 more
Mark E Smith New Member • Posts: 3
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!
2

HI,

As a full time time picture editor, and part time photographer I would suggest having a full water mark over the entire Image, I understand that it looks less appealing, especially on such a great image, but a good image is a good image, picture editors or people that actually want to pay or use your images, can see past it.

The harder part is when it comes to sorting images out for your portfolio site, I would not suggest watermarking these, but is is usually these images that get stolen.

I think that any organization or publication should be invoiced immediately over any use of your Images.

When it comes to individuals or blogs using your images , sending out cease and desist letters/emails is a must, sometimes it might pay to weigh up your options and see if said blog can do you some favors, by driving traffic to your site, drive print sales, or increase you footprint on social media sites.

One other idea is having you images on a reputable stock site, they should protect your images, and also go after any copyright infringements on your behalf.

With Google images, it is a constant battle trying to keep your images under control.I understand the pain it causes, trying to track down and contact infringes can be a full time job.

Tineye is a good resource for keeping track of your Images.

bgbs Veteran Member • Posts: 3,195
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

Matt,

The upside to this fiasco is that the stolen images are also a measure of your success. Nobody would be stealing your work if it was crappy.  Congratulations

Hope you can unravel all the other problems

CFynn Veteran Member • Posts: 5,224
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

mshetzer wrote:

Friends,

Today I woke up with an email stating one of my images won a Gold Medal award for best in print.

Here is the downside:  Someone stole it from my site (http://shetzers.com ), and submitted as their own.

Here's the image

Every week I have to address stolen images.  Just in the last month I have had the following.

  • An internet news agency used an image on the cover of their site and lead article.
  • A major organization purchased a stock image and didn't option for full licensing, however used it for full licensing. (I finally received full compensation but it took lots of additional time)
  • A professional painter reproduced an image for Giclée print sales.
  • A website distribute an image to over 1,0000,000 people via social media.  Took the time to strip the watermark.

I'm getting tired of chasing organizations.  The amount of time this takes and rarely achieves any compensation.  Normally the image is used, distributed for their purpose (normally with financial gain in the form of advertising to their site) and taken down when I peruse them.

I watermark all my images at the bottom.  I really don't want to watermark across the middle of the image as I want people to enjoy the image and I rely on a nice presentation of an image to increase stock sales and promote workshop locations.

Is it financially worthwhile to legally peruse these folks, or are you just paying legal bills?

I'm sure every one is struggling with this same issue, and I'd love to hear what you do.

Thanks all !!!

Matt

Matt

For the cases you mentioned above - I'd talk to a good IP lawyer, but he/she may tell you it is not worth proceeding unless the images were  registered.

As Thierry suggested, you can get pretty hefty damages if the images are registered - but only a minimal amount if they aren't. So in future register all your valuable images with the USPTO and then, next time this happens, get a hard nosed lawyer with expetise in IP and sue the offenders for everything you can. The results should be financially wortwhile in that case.  Once you have done this, be sure to mention that you did  somewhere on your website. That might have a salutory deterent effect on others contemplating the same kind of rip-off.

There is now software  avialable which fairly effectively and automatically removes watermarks - so I don't know how useful they are - but your rights are the same whether the images are watermarked or not.  Google now lets you search for "similar images" - so if anybody uses one of your images on the web it is now much easier to find than it once was.

- Chris

 CFynn's gear list:CFynn's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Nikon D800E Nikon D850 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF Nikkor 105mm f/2D DC +14 more
CFynn Veteran Member • Posts: 5,224
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

bgbs wrote:

Matt,

The upside to this fiasco is that the stolen images are also a measure of your success. Nobody would be stealing your work if it was crappy.  Congratulations

Not really an upside - since widesprad prior use lowers the market value of the images.

Hope you can unravel all the other problems

 CFynn's gear list:CFynn's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Nikon D800E Nikon D850 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF Nikkor 105mm f/2D DC +14 more
johnnymcclung
johnnymcclung Senior Member • Posts: 2,644
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

It's so common today and too easy for people to steal. Even locking your images won't work since people do screen grabs. Watermarks are good, but a good photoshop job makes that irrelevant. My only suggestion would be to post smaller images. I noticed your images can be as large as 1600 pixels wide. It's a tough call though and you're right, you don't want to kill the experience of enjoying your photography.

-- hide signature --

'Procrastinate now, don't put it off.'
http://www.mcclungdesign.com

 johnnymcclung's gear list:johnnymcclung's gear list
Canon EOS 5DS R Canon EOS R Canon EOS R5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Canon EF 85mm F1.2L II USM +8 more
lock Veteran Member • Posts: 6,202
I stopped displaying anything wider than 800 pixels

Or in portrait, longer than 800 pixels. I used a secure part of my website to show people the full picture after i received sufficient information about their identity. If it could not be verified he/she simply did not get in.

I stopped going through this once I stopped selling anything on a commercial basis. I'm happy I don't have to deal with it any longer.

Lock

AZBlue
AZBlue Senior Member • Posts: 2,919
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

At 1,600 pixels wide, these images can easily be stolen and remain usable for the internet or to print up to 5" wide at 300 dpi. I would reduce the size of the images and hopefully curb theft. If someone wants a higher resolution "comp", I would make them fill out a detailed form with contact information for not only the person viewing the image, but that person's manager and whoever runs the department.

We can't fight technological progress, especially with the increased use of retina and other high pixel density displays. You do want your images to look as good as possible, but perhaps they don't need to be 1600 pixels wide for everyone - just those who are serious and willing to provide you with their info.

-- hide signature --

"I've been in more laps than a napkin" - Mae West

 AZBlue's gear list:AZBlue's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS Macro HSM +1 more
mshetzer
OP mshetzer Contributing Member • Posts: 744
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE HERE AT DPreview.

I really appreciate the constructive responses and I obviously need to re-address how I display images.

My goal has always been to show extremely sharp images so clients can see the detail of what they are purchasing and not cover up the images with watermarks.

I ran a google "Search Google with the Image" on the above image, and found many more copies floating around with the watermark remove/cut-away.  A great tool, but looks like more work chasing thieves down !!

Off to Ecuador for some hummingbird photography and back in a week to try to get a handle on all this.

Thanks again !!!

Matt

-- hide signature --

************************************
Matt Shetzer
Checkout my portfolio at:
http://Shetzers.com
"Shetzers Photography" on facebook
Blog at:
http://shetzersphotography.blogspot.com
D4, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 105mm macro, 200-400mm, 500mm
http://www.shetzersphoto.com/photos/1236482083_RMqYR-O.jpg

 mshetzer's gear list:mshetzer's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +5 more
SanMat Senior Member • Posts: 2,861
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

Sorry to hear you're having to go through this.  I'm sure there are others.  IMO until you've found a great way to control the piracy, watermark as much as you need.  It's your stuff (and really high quality stuff too).

Having a few people complain about excessive watermarking seems better than having people stealing your stuff and cheating you out of awards/$$ etc.

My opinion.

Pete

DAVID MANZE Veteran Member • Posts: 6,382
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

Hi,

To me they stole from you one of the best BIF photos I've seen in a long while. I hope you can find a way of better protecting your photos!

-- hide signature --

Dave's clichés

 DAVID MANZE's gear list:DAVID MANZE's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D +17 more
AZBlue
AZBlue Senior Member • Posts: 2,919
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

I don't know much about web development, but can you customize your image browser? For instance, on Amazon or other web sites I can see a small version of the product image, but if I mouse-over (like a loupe) parts of the image, I get a 100% view of that small piece of the image as if I were running a magnifying glass over it. If you can customize how images are viewed on your site to allow for something like that, I think you can have the best of both worlds and without having your images stolen.

-- hide signature --

"I've been in more laps than a napkin" - Mae West

 AZBlue's gear list:AZBlue's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS Macro HSM +1 more
TITCHY Senior Member • Posts: 1,342
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

I agree with others here , the quality of an image shines through a watermark ,put a nice big watermark where it would be almost immpossible to remove , yes it would lower the enjoyment of many of us "passive" veiwers ,but to a buyer I doubt it would matter at all .

congrats on your stunning images , and that your producing work of such quality that others will go to such lengths to steal and use them .

mark sykes  ( http://www.marksykesphotography.co.uk/england )  used to put watermarks that blended in with his work ,but i belive would be devilishely difficult to remove successfully , using his methods you could add several watermarks on the same image that would not be so obvious to veiwers , but deter all but the most determined photoshoppers, look at his car pictures for good examples .

good luck , graham

 TITCHY's gear list:TITCHY's gear list
Nikon Df Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 +64 more
Guidenet
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Possibility
1

I wonder if it would be possible to have a photographic website where the purpose was to shame the perpetrators who steal and use images. For example, you catch them and post them up on the site along with your image and a screenshot of the page it appears. Call it the Wall of Shame. If someone wants their name off the site, they pay a set fee to the owner.

It could be set up like a bulletin board or forum like this with restrictions. Hook it to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook so they get some flack. Email a copy to the CEO of the thieving company and/or the person who did it.

I don't know the legal implications and there'd have to be some way to verify accuracy, but I think that could be overcome. You wouldn't want people using it to attack innocent parties.

What do you think?

-- hide signature --

Cheers, Craig
Follow me on Twitter @craighardingsr : Equipment in Profile

 Guidenet's gear list:Guidenet's gear list
Canon PowerShot G1 X Nikon D300 Nikon D700 Nikon D3S Nikon D800 +31 more
Pixtasi Regular Member • Posts: 110
Re: Possibility

Hey Matt,

Very depressing.  I hope you're registering copyrights on all your images so at least it is financially viable to sue.

Stu

primeshooter
primeshooter Veteran Member • Posts: 6,174
Re: OT- I'm sick of it !!!

CFynn wrote:

mshetzer wrote:

Friends,

Today I woke up with an email stating one of my images won a Gold Medal award for best in print.

Here is the downside:  Someone stole it from my site (http://shetzers.com ), and submitted as their own.

Here's the image

Every week I have to address stolen images.  Just in the last month I have had the following.

  • An internet news agency used an image on the cover of their site and lead article.
  • A major organization purchased a stock image and didn't option for full licensing, however used it for full licensing. (I finally received full compensation but it took lots of additional time)
  • A professional painter reproduced an image for Giclée print sales.
  • A website distribute an image to over 1,0000,000 people via social media.  Took the time to strip the watermark.

I'm getting tired of chasing organizations.  The amount of time this takes and rarely achieves any compensation.  Normally the image is used, distributed for their purpose (normally with financial gain in the form of advertising to their site) and taken down when I peruse them.

I watermark all my images at the bottom.  I really don't want to watermark across the middle of the image as I want people to enjoy the image and I rely on a nice presentation of an image to increase stock sales and promote workshop locations.

Is it financially worthwhile to legally peruse these folks, or are you just paying legal bills?

I'm sure every one is struggling with this same issue, and I'd love to hear what you do.

Thanks all !!!

Matt

Matt

For the cases you mentioned above - I'd talk to a good IP lawyer, but he/she may tell you it is not worth proceeding unless the images were  registered.

As Thierry suggested, you can get pretty hefty damages if the images are registered - but only a minimal amount if they aren't. So in future register all your valuable images with the USPTO and then, next time this happens, get a hard nosed lawyer with expetise in IP and sue the offenders for everything you can. The results should be financially wortwhile in that case.  Once you have done this, be sure to mention that you did  somewhere on your website. That might have a salutory deterent effect on others contemplating the same kind of rip-off.

There is now software  avialable which fairly effectively and automatically removes watermarks - so I don't know how useful they are - but your rights are the same whether the images are watermarked or not.  Google now lets you search for "similar images" - so if anybody uses one of your images on the web it is now much easier to find than it once was.

- Chris

Register with USPTO? Patenting a photograph? Can you explain this a little more. Copyright is copyright surely?

Liviu Namolovan Contributing Member • Posts: 573
Re: The ones shooting primes...

You got what you deserve, mate.

AZBlue
AZBlue Senior Member • Posts: 2,919
Re: The ones shooting primes...
9

Liviu Namolovan wrote:

You got what you deserve, mate.

I'm sorry, how did the OP "deserve" to have his artwork stolen? This is like saying a woman who was raped because she wore skimpy clothes "deserved" it, which couldn't be farther from the truth and is simply a hateful response to someone with a legitimate issue. If you have nothing useful to contribute, don't say anything at all.

-- hide signature --

"I've been in more laps than a napkin" - Mae West

 AZBlue's gear list:AZBlue's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS Macro HSM +1 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads