August 4, 2011
Are People Using Your Images Without Your Permission?
Are people using your images without your permission? It’s quite possible, I’ve found mine in books, on blogs, in news articles and even being used commercially on business websites. It was usually quite by chance that I’d find this out, perhaps because a friend would see my image and tell me about it. With the advent of Google Alerts I could find a few more, but this searches for key words and so it was pretty ineffective for unattributed uses of images. What’s really needed is a search engine for images and just today I learned that Google has given us such a tool!
But before I talk about how to search for images, you should first decide if you care if others use your images without permission. For example, many people reproduce my images on their blog without my permission, but they do give me full credit and provide my web address. This serves to introduce new people to my work and I really appreciate it. But I’ve also had an online news organization use my images in several of their stories, without permission or attribution, and I was not okay with that! It’s good to think about what unauthorized uses, if any, you’re okay with.
I’m pretty tolerant when it comes to unauthorized use if I’m given credit and my web address is provided. I’m not okay with unauthorized use if I don’t receive credit or my images are used in a commercial way. However others feel differently and do not want their images used in any way without permission. They insist that if you don’t protect the use of your images, you actually lose your image rights over time. If you’re concerned about this, please do some research or seek some legal council.
Once you’ve decided where you stand on this issue, the next step is to find out who might be using your images. Here’s how you do it:
1. Go to Google.com and click on “images” at the top left of the page.
2. On the right hand side of the search box there is a camera icon, click on this to search by providing an “image” instead of a “search phrase.”
3. Select “Upload an Image” to supply the photo you want to search for and then hit the search button. You’ll then be given search results showing you where on the Internet that image has appeared. Very cool!
It’s fascinating to explore these links and see where you images have appeared. Today in just 10 minutes I discovered that I had won 2nd place in a Russian photo competition (that I hadn’t even entered) and found an auto parts company using my “Old Car Interior” image without permission or attribution!
Google has provided a great tool that is perfect for photographers and artists. But as important as knowing where your images are, is knowing what your policy will be for unauthorized use.
My thanks to Harold Ross for teaching me about this new tool via his blog; http://haroldrossfineart.wordpress.com/
P.S. My next blog will be a follow up on the Facebook issue. I’ll tell you what I’ve learned from all of the comments you’ve provided, and I’ve learned a lot!