Photographers! Your Photos will get Stolen even if it's Low Resolution


This should be a warming to photographers who think that adding meta tags to get your photo found in Google search is going to get you plenty of business.

A photographer by the name of Zach was mildly surprised when his photo turned up in a mall. The story appear on Petapixel and goes like this.

Zach listed his photo with a photo credit at three online locations, but the last one used on his blog wasn't credited with a copyright notice. The first two were Flicker and Facebook and the last being his own blog.

How it got stolen was relatively simple. Remember how SEO pundits tell you to name your photo so that it gets discovered in a google photo search...well that is a bad fucking idea apparently. 

This is how Zach found out when he did a name search of his photo. Guess what, it came up in the top ten results and that is probably how it got stolen. 

Once a thief does a search, gets a low resolution file and extrapolates it to a bigger resolution size, there is no hope in hell he can't do a blow up poster of any kind. 

Well meaning photographers who post to places like 500px think that their photos are safe? In your fucking dreams!

All it takes is a screens shot and your picture is worth, well about next to nothing. 

And if you chased down the offenders, in this case...for Zach who lives in a country where copyright protection is guaranteed by law, who also demanded compensation was met with stiff resistance. 

The compensation was not agreed upon and guess what. Lawyers in the US had to say this to Zach.

"The photo stolen was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and without that, it would be hard to collect damages aside from usage fees."

So photographers, please don't think you have a piece of IP if you haven't registered it yet with the US copyright office and yes, registration isn't free of course. You pay for it and hopefully secure a windfall once some big corporation abuses your copyright and you sue the pants off them, that is...provided you had the money to pay a lawyer to sue.

I have come across job postings for Photo Editors with online sites which says...part of the job of the Photo Editor is to 'remove' watermarks so any talent with Photoshop will be deemed a talent. Needless to say, when you remove watermarks, it means you're openly stealing from a Google search. 

With this sort of image theft going on wholesale, it is little wonder that any photographer is seen as nothing more than a Photoshop Hack. 

Copyright when it comes to image is nothing more than the right to copy. That's all. So when you display your photo somewhere on the Internet, be prepared to have that taken by others. There is no putting the toothpaste back into the tube once its been squeezed out.