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For photographers making a living from licensed copies of our work, it is frustrating to see that images can be downloaded from social sharing sites or used without permission or compensation. To make matters worse, it uses someone’s portrait and personal photo to create a mistaken identity. I have been the victim of image theft many times. I recently discovered one of my commercially available images on more than a dozen websites and have also been published on the cover … although the license of that photo has never been sold.

Stealing images has always been a concern. But the rapid rise of technology has made stealing ideas as easy as copying and pasting. To prove my point, I just stole the Getty Images website while writing this article. (You don’t have to call the police … I stole my work.) Getty has copy-protection measures, and when you hover your mouse pointer over an image, a larger version with a large watermark appears over the image. I prefer the unwatermarked version of the picture, so I just press a button. “Print screen” on my computer and paste the screenshot into my graphics program (heck … the word processor works too). I cut it to the area I want and maybe 60 seconds total. .. voila! The free content will probably take a little less time if I use my iPhone.

For the younger generation growing up on Facebook and Twitter, google image reverse search is not a crime in their heads or doing malicious intent … it’s just part of everyday life to keep sharing and sharing content. The only way to avoid sharing our work with death is not to post it online. But that’s not a realistic option in today’s society where web-enabled and phone-free. Let’s say the worst scenario: You’ve posted some of your valuable photos on the Internet, and some anonymous people intend to grab a copy and use it without your permission. What can you do?

Know your rights

In the United States, you are the copyright holder of your photo from the moment you press the shutter button. This is good news because federal copyright laws protect our work from stealing images as soon as we create them. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when “hiring” is provided, and the photographer pays the photographer a royalty for the image. There should be no legal gray area in that regard as the photographer, and the client will have a formal agreement.

The bad news is that copyright automatically obtained by federal law does not include all bells and whistles, only the right to protect our work and control its use. Besides, the award is not permitted – the right to sue for financial damages. To prosecute copyright infringement and request money for a judgment, the image must also be registered with the Library of Congress. There is a small fee, and documents must be sent along with copies of copyrighted images … well worth the investment.

It’s important to note that copyright law also imposes certain restrictions on copyright holders. There is a fair use law that allows unauthorized use and reproduction of our images for the benefit of the general public. Fair use is generally under the category of news reporting, education, and other non-commercial use. For example, college teachers can legally pull images from websites for use in-class presentations. The same image, copied from a website and published in textbooks for sale at a university bookstore, is now the subject of copyright infringement.

One common misconception that I often encounter, especially with the models I work with, is that the photo also grants that person copyright. Being in the picture does not give any copyright unless you have an official contract stated otherwise. However, you still have the legal right to defamation if an image is intentionally used to slander you or damage your reputation.
Social media

Don’t expect Facebook or Twitter to take action on your behalf if someone has stolen your photos and posted them there. Their terms of service (A long message that we all agree when creating our account) contain words designed to protect their business from liability resulting from copyright or intellectual property infringement. I would like to take it a step further and recommend that significant social media support image theft and copyright infringement under the guise of sharing and re-sharing. Anything that gets users to post more, like, and comment on means millions of more visits to their pages and millions of dollars in revenue from all the brighter ads they host. There

Social media sites that work on your behalf are in the event of identity theft. It is estimated that there are approximately 80 million fake user profiles on Facebook alone, most of which are used by marketing companies or “bot” software to spam ads for us or increase our fan base. Still, some are trying to deceive to pretend people are That they are not In the modeling industry, it is unfortunate that a model’s image was stolen, creating a fake online profile. The reasons may be different: fishing using a fan to take personal pictures of the models may be different. Or the infamous trying to slander others I have also seen shooting my models stolen and used on erotic escort sites. I imagine some clients would be surprised if the girl next door wasn’t the pretty model they chose online. Moreover, fake profiles collect factual model contact information such as phone numbers, addresses, passwords, etc.

The same is true for legal issues. If you have any concerns, seek professional legal advice. Have a lawyer who specializes in copyright issues or identifies theft. If you come across a fake online profile with your name and identity, please contact your hosting site or service immediately. Most websites, such as Facebook, have a help system page where users can report fake profiles or identify theft.

Protect your pictures

It is almost impossible to truly protect your photos when they are posted online. Using only more miniature versions of a low-resolution image can be a hindrance. But only for those who want to steal high-quality photos. Several years ago, website coders developed “scripts” to prevent viewers from right-clicking and pasting the site’s images. But that’s as easy to use as the low-tech techniques as the screen-printing methods I mentioned earlier. A digital rights management and image tracking application was created to allow copyright holders to track how and where their images are used online. But again, these methods are pretty easy to overcome.

So far, the cheapest and best option to prevent theft still has a big watermark on the picture. Yes, the semi-transparent logo on the image makes our work look a little ugly. But it appears to be a turning point for many potential copiers. And it acts like a big red flag to let website visitors know someone is using an image without their permission. It’s not a misunderstanding. In my work, many aspiring models don’t seem interested if they post their pictures with the word “Proof Copy” on them, and sometimes watermarks in Photoshop can easily be removed. I had a picture of me stolen, the watermark was removed, and then I used the altered photo on a printed flyer to promote one of Chicago’s most prominent annual parades. This story has been edited personally, and I will not disclose any names.

Find your images online

It used to be impossible to track how and where our photos have been misused. But nowadays, new technologies have made it easy to find online images with just the right-click or copy and paste. It’s called “reverse lookup.” Located on the website When a user uploads an image to Tineye or provides a web link to the picture for reference, the service checks the database and spits out the matches for free, but smooth technology.

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