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  1. #1
    mooo...wooh hoooh! schrackman's Avatar
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    How does one check the net for stolen images?

    I have often read where someone's images were posted on a site without permission. I am wondering how some of you go about to look around for your images that have been hijacked?

    By the way, this forum was overdue! Thanks a bunch!

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  2. #2
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Depends on how it's stolen.

    If it gets reposted on another server, then you can watermark the image beforehand, and pay through the behind to get the company to tell you if their bots run into it.

    Or, if they are linking to your site, then you can just check for activity in your server's logs.

    Otherwise, you're out of luck.

    It's not really worth the effort, besides being insulted there is not much you can do about it if you do find stolen images. You can ask to have them removed, but not much more.
    -Seb

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  3. #3
    Ghost
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Vigilante justice

  4. #4
    drg
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    la recherche de trolls drg's Avatar
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    There are a few companies that for a fee will continuously look at server traffic to see if a digital signature passes through and then track them. Digimarc is one and I believe there's one called Idioma still in business.

    As Sebastian so eloquently noted, its going to cost you.

    The big problem right now are the Central European server farms that are hosting stock agencies that lift images all over the place and resell them. Some are so crass they don't even bother to remove copyrights or logos and try and resell the photos.

    The only meaningful recourse is if the image gets used or re-sold by a reputable company in a country where the laws are enforced and it is financially viable to pursue the offenders. Otherwise an email saying that it is yours! and posting notes all over the web to tell others about the disreputable operation is about the limit. Just be careful of your notes being nasty or slanderous.

    There are anecdotal stories floating about entities baiting targets to get individuals to flame them in a slanderous fashion and then suing them! Steal my image, sell it out from under me, discredit my attempts for valid payment, and then sue me for speaking up. As I said, its anecdotal.

    If its a new organization or service, it make take them awhile to correct the situation. And it probably won't be to your satisfaction, but they'll do something to C.T.A.

    Hopefully you will never run into a serious breach like this personally.
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  5. #5
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    For me it's fairly simple to find most images that are not authorised. I sell stock photos and have my own websites. What I find is in most cases people take from the websites. I can see who visited those sites, then do a websearch on the big 10 search engines. Then I visit all the hits I get and see if the photos turn up there.

    When I do get a hit I email an invoice to the offender, I give them 10 days to respond either with a check for the amount of the invoice (normally $250 or $500 depending on event or type of photo), or they pull the photo. If no response is recieved by the due date I notify the webhost and order the site pulled. I also print the page the photo is on. If needed I also take the website owner to small claims court.

    FYI, the amount is PER PHOTO, not per page.
    I have never lost one of these cases, and webhosts are very quick in most cases to act as they can be held liable for allowing copyrighted material to be shown on their equipment.
    JS

  6. #6
    Junior Member FourSeasons's Avatar
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    JS - thank you for posting this!

  7. #7
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Quote Originally Posted by FourSeasons
    JS - thank you for posting this!

    Another thing you can do is to do a name search. Say you have a photo named j0406001.jpg and do a websearch with the whole name and without the .jpg
    Most thieves aren't smart enough to change the name

    Hope these two posts helped,

    JS
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  8. #8
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Watch out for MySpace.com and other sites that are similar.
    Make sure you have hot linking off on your web site.

    Those people on myspace.com are vicious thieves of photos, and when you confront them about it... Well, lets just say I've never even heard of some of the names I've been called...

    My web log shows me who is accessing what, so I was able to figure out the hotlink issue.

  9. #9
    shake it like a polaroid picture berrywise's Avatar
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    If you don't want your work stolen, don't put it on the internet. I personally would be more concerned about a business or someone trying to use my work for profit vs. someone who linked to a picture for their myspace page.

    I think it also goes without saying that you should never put work up on the web that is big enough to be printed from a quality standpoint. Resize and save for web only and you won't have to worry about your photo being published offline.

  10. #10
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Quote Originally Posted by berrywise
    If you don't want your work stolen, don't put it on the internet. I personally would be more concerned about a business or someone trying to use my work for profit vs. someone who linked to a picture for their myspace page.

    I think it also goes without saying that you should never put work up on the web that is big enough to be printed from a quality standpoint. Resize and save for web only and you won't have to worry about your photo being published offline.
    Good point. There really is no way to keep someone from using your images in a way you don't want them to. I turned off hot linking, but there is really no way to stop them from taking the image and hosting it on their own server.

    All my pictures are small now.

    As far as the MySpace people, I was really more concerned that they ask. When I confronted them if they just would have said, "sorry, we did not ask, I'll take it down" I would have told them not to worry about it, just put a link on your page as to where you got the image. But they these people feel that if they can access it on the web, then they can do anything they want. But as we all know with the latest MP3 lawsuits, that that is not the case.

  11. #11
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Quote Originally Posted by photoweborama
    Watch out for MySpace.com and other sites that are similar.
    Make sure you have hot linking off on your web site.

    Those people on myspace.com are vicious thieves of photos, and when you confront them about it... Well, lets just say I've never even heard of some of the names I've been called...

    My web log shows me who is accessing what, so I was able to figure out the hotlink issue.
    It's actually easy to take care of it. If it is someone who is not authorized by me to use a photo, whether they download it or hotlink it I will find it. When I do I send them a bill, if they pay fine, if not I contact the company hosting the website and advise them these people stole a copyrighted photo. I have always had luck with this, even with myspace.com and similar sites. I even had one person use a photo for an ebay add recently, they are now barred from selling anything on ebay.

    JS
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  12. #12
    Member terryger's Avatar
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Quote Originally Posted by JSPhoto
    For me it's fairly simple to find most images that are not authorised. I sell stock photos and have my own websites. What I find is in most cases people take from the websites. I can see who visited those sites, then do a websearch on the big 10 search engines. Then I visit all the hits I get and see if the photos turn up there.

    When I do get a hit I email an invoice to the offender, I give them 10 days to respond either with a check for the amount of the invoice (normally $250 or $500 depending on event or type of photo), or they pull the photo. If no response is recieved by the due date I notify the webhost and order the site pulled. I also print the page the photo is on. If needed I also take the website owner to small claims court.

    FYI, the amount is PER PHOTO, not per page.
    I have never lost one of these cases, and webhosts are very quick in most cases to act as they can be held liable for allowing copyrighted material to be shown on their equipment.
    JS
    just out of curiosity, doesn't this take up all of your time??

    i am paralegal and have extensive experience with small claims. although i have no doubt you could win the case through default if you could actually find an entity to serve, you would never collect a penny as small claims is not a collection agency and since all SCC are state they have no jurisdiction in another state let alone another country.

    you could try collecting it yoruself or go trhough a collections company but that would take just as much time and a lot more money and you don't have any extra of either right now.

    not only that but if the entity is not a single party the service has to include the full name of the corporation, business, or conglomerate and all officers or it gets tossed.

    i am with those that say there is not much you can do. other than watermarking a copy which will stop most,why bother?

    make your money on your image and move on. it is not a rembrandt and will not gain value as time goes on. the ones that do will be in museums and galleries and theft will involve a hard copy not a internet print.

    its okay to be upset but that is how life works and it is too short to be tilting at windmills trying to control internet content.

    as for slander, spend a little time researching legal reviews and case law.

    this is snopes classic. even if a company spent thousands taking you to court and sueing you, what would they get? your camera equipment and your $579 savings account?

    i don't mean to hurt anybodies feelings but you really don't matter much to any company with more than 2 employees.

    the key in the photo busines is to have the newest photos available and sell them before anybody else does. :thumbsup:

    this will keep ya busy all the time!

  13. #13
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    If you notice that someone is hotlinking a photo... what I have done in the past is kind of rude.. but hey they're stealing my BW and my image damnit.. so what I did was rename the image and location on the page I am displaying on... and then post a new image under the same name/link as the image they are stealing .. replacing it with a rather unsavoury image of some sort... something from rotten.com that made me feel like vomiting usually does the trick.
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  14. #14
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    Depends on how it's stolen.

    If it gets reposted on another server, then you can watermark the image beforehand, and pay through the behind to get the company to tell you if their bots run into it.

    Or, if they are linking to your site, then you can just check for activity in your server's logs.

    Otherwise, you're out of luck.

    It's not really worth the effort, besides being insulted there is not much you can do about it if you do find stolen images. You can ask to have them removed, but not much more.
    Actually, there is a WHOLE lot more you can do. Intelelctual Property Theft is a Federal crime..The FBI investigates and prosecutes copyright violations and IPT. Your work is copyrighted the second you produce it, and you are protected from theft by Federal Law under 17 U.S.C. 506(a) and 18 U.S.C. 2319. Read the law at this site.

    I.C. What Intellectual Property Misappropriation Constitutes a Crime?

    Although civil remedies that may provide compensation to wronged intellectual property rights holders are available, criminal sanctions are often warranted to ensure sufficient punishment and deterrence of wrongful activity. Indeed, because violations of intellectual property rights often involve no loss of tangible assets and, for infringement crimes, do not even require any direct contact with the rights holder, the rights holder often does not know it is a victim until a defendant's activities are specifically identified and investigated. Congress has continually expanded and strengthened criminal laws for violations of intellectual property rights specifically to ensure that those violations are not merely a cost of doing business for defendants. Among the most significant provisions are the following:
    The counterfeit trademark crime is set out at 18 U.S.C. 2320;
    Criminal infringement of copyrighted works is set out at 17 U.S.C. 506(a) and 18 U.S.C. 2319;
    The counterfeit labeling provision is set out at 18 U.S.C. 2318;
    Theft of trade secrets prohibited by 18 U.S.C. 1831 and 1832;
    Experience has proven that federal investigators and prosecutors can bring cases under these provisions that result in punishment for the wrongdoer, as well as deterrence for intellectual property crimes.

    http://www.cybercrime.gov/ipmanual/01ipma.htm#I.A.

  15. #15
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    question: bare with me, i'm new at this.....
    how do you know that your image was stollen? does it vanish from the place in the page you put it???

  16. #16
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    how do you know that your image was stollen? does it vanish from the place in the page you put it?
    Good question, it's not that obvious.
    It's usually copied, not removed.
    So while it's often referred to as stealing the image, your original is still there.
    It's taking a copy of your image, without permission, and without payment.
    PAul

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  17. #17
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Quote Originally Posted by terryger
    just out of curiosity, doesn't this take up all of your time??

    It normally takes very little time. 99% of my legal issues have been in state, and under Indiana law I can file in my county or the offenders county if I have to go that route. Filing in my county cuts a lot of the hassel, however it's easier to get them served doing it in their county. The law here also allows for ways to collect if they refuse that includes attaching their bank account or paycheck (or both), even in cases of a business. Small claims here also allows up to $6,000 in damages etc.

    As for always having the "latest" photo to avoide problems, that doesn't work either as they can steal them as quick as you put them up. The only way to stop them is hit em where it hurts the most.....the wallet.

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  18. #18
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Quote Originally Posted by SmartWombat
    Good question, it's not that obvious.
    It's usually copied, not removed.
    So while it's often referred to as stealing the image, your original is still there.
    It's taking a copy of your image, without permission, and without payment.
    you mean like saving for screen saver or something? how do you check ?

  19. #19
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    Saving for screensaver is almost impossible to check,
    For example, you can't check other people's home computers.


    Only when the photos are used again on the web that there is a chance of finding out it's happened. John (JSPhoto) has given examples of how he finds them.

    But it's only possible to look at the web server log files to see who did what on your site if you own the web server, or you control it.
    If the photos are on a public photo sharing service, then you can't find out what happened to your images so easily.
    PAul

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  20. #20
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    I would also point out that 45 meg. 16 bit original reduced to 600 by 400, 8 bit and 50K would seem to me to be of limited value, and even less so, if your post-processing was deliberately less than necessary for quality.

    Your portfolio and your studio is where you have your quality shots, not necessarily on the Internet.

    Ronnoco

  21. #21
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    Re: How does one check the net for stolen images?

    have a look at Queenstown shot on this site you will see my name across one of the photo, hey may not look gre8 but sure as hell stops a problem before it starts.
    Allan

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