Fighting Copyright Infringement

09/13/2014

I’m fighting an ongoing battle against copyright infringement. It’s sometimes a tricky subject – which battles to pick – and sometimes the choice is completely obvious. I host a lot of photos on my Flickr account. I try to only post my best and most unique photos, and I’ve discovered people out there exploiting my work.

My “better half” asked “Why don’t you just put a watermark on your photos?” In the photo world, that’s always a dilemma. A clear, unobstructed photo looks, well, clear and unobstructed. It’s most aesthetic. It just looks good and, if anyone wanted to license a photo, I wouldn’t have to look through my 100+ GB archive of photos from my domestic and international trips. I could just grab the full res. image I uploaded to the server and provide it to the licensee.

In an attempt to protect myself, and my property, I’ve added to every Flickr post: “Please don’t use this image on websites, blogs, or other media without my explicit permission. © All rights reserved.” It’s starting to seem that’s insufficient. People must think they can host photos of their public structures (and that it doesn’t void my rights) or photos as a not-for-profit use on a blog. They’re wrong.

The worst and most blatant infringement I’ve seen so far was a company offering one of my images for sale on a coffee mug. That’s insane and to think there are no consequences…. wow.

Here’s the tally so far (and don’t worry, I’m not going to link to weird sites that might blow up the internet):

$20 Bills
my post: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53135611@N08/5992643526/
not my post: https://twitter.com/BuzzFeed/status/421021189826674688

Santa Barbara Mission
my post: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53135611@N08/6031391488/
not my post: https://plus.google.com/113662442292147469372/photos/photo/5727270185275512002?pid=5727270185275512002&oid=113662442292147469372

Old Lemon-Monroe High School – Monroe, Ohio
my post: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53135611@N08/7039953453/
not my post: (removed after sending a “cease and desist” notice) http://kamgraphics.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Lemon-Monroe-2012.jpg

Old Lemon-Monroe High School – Monroe, Ohio (again)
my post: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53135611@N08/7039953453/
not my post: http://www.monroelocalschools.com/popup-news.cfm?id=414

In-N-Out Burger sign
my post: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53135611@N08/6115300870/
not my post: http://www.socalcarmeetsforum.com/viewimage.forum?u=https%3A%2F%2Fc1.staticflickr.com%2F7%2F6089%2F6115300870_eb8246246d_z.jpg

This is a fair warning to the infringers of the world: Do your research. It’s gonna get easier, not tougher, to track down stolen content. I’m protecting myself, and the hammer of justice soon will be coming down with more force and more frequently.

If you think it’s okay to use photos in an unauthorized fashion, read this:

“The $8,000 Mistake That All Bloggers Should Beware”
http://www.contentfac.com/copyright-infringement-penalties-are-scary/

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One Response to “Fighting Copyright Infringement”

  1. Gemma said

    Awesome article.

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