Copyright Theft  or How to check online for illegal use of your images

Copyright Theft … With the introduction of the reverse search function by Google and several other platforms, it is now possible for photographers and other creative specialists to check who (organisations / websites and individuals) are using their photographs / works of art online without permission.  In other words, who is stealing the work?

The UK, EU and International law is quite strict on the use of photographs for commercial use.  You buy it (the photograph outright) or buy a license to use the photographs in a particular way.  You DON’T go onto Google and find any image that you think will suit and use that.

This is the same for use on websites as it is in brochures as it is in PowerPoint presentations.  If you use an image commercially you must have the permission from the copyright owner to use it…

“Any image that does not belong to you, is not yours. An image does not need to have any visible watermarks to be copyrighted. The original photographer / designer always owns the rights to that image and using it without his or her express permission is a breach of their copyright and can land you in trouble.”

“It has been a long-established belief that by cropping, flipping or digitally editing the original image, you can remove the watermark and make the image usable and untraceable. You may be surprised to find this is false!”

“If I give credit to the photographer whose image I was using then I’m ok to use it” – nope; your are not.

“If I keep the logo on the photograph then I’m ok to use it” – nope you are not.

“If I keep the logo AND give credit then I’m ok to use it” – guess what…nope, you are not.

As an indication, I would be looking at a charge of £400 per web sized image per week as compensation if use any of my photographs illegally.  That can add up to a lot of money.

Copyright Theft

Lots of companies are around that will sell what is known as Stock Photography – just do a Google search.

However, you are better off commissioning a professional photographer to take a series of photographs for your business that you will have the total and global rights to. It’s cheaper and you get exactly what you want.

If you want to take that risk go ahead.  Personally, I’d rather pay £500 and commission some work that risks £5000+ of compensation charge plus the very bad publicity that will result.  (Photographers tend to be experts in social media use to spread the word).

It’s mainly over in the US at the moment that is suing over the illegal use of photographs and images; however, it’s only a matter of time before a UK photographer takes the same action when a polite “please stop using my photograph without permission” letter is ignored.

Let me show you…

St Pierre Chepstow Wedding Photography

Google Image Finder

Have a go at using Google Image Finder yourself…

Step 1 – drag the image above of the wedding couple to your desktop. It’s one of my mostly widely copied and ‘stolen’ images.

Step 2 – Click here to open up Google Image Finder  (opens in new window)

Step 3 – Drag the wedding couple photograph onto the search bar of Google.

You should see something like this:

Wedding Album Mock Ups

It really is that easy to find out where my photographs are online… …and I do this for about 1 hour per month on about 30 of my ‘Signature Images‘ picked randomly.

Do your research…

If you find an image on the web you want to use go ahead.  Just do your research using the Google Image Finder.  Ask permission for use of the photograph.  Very often photographers will give it without asking for payment.  Occasionally we will ask for something in return (SEO for example) and very occasionally we may ask for some kind of financial compensation.

Financial Compensation…

Photographers run many different business models.  Wedding photography is my prime market not commercial / corporate photography so my rate card is based on that.  You get the photographer, the editing and use of the photographs for 12 months globally.

With other photographers whose main income is via commercial photography  you pay extra for editing, use of lighting equipment, special effects required, images on DVD, full size, web size, local, national or global use, print or web use etc.

And finally…

If you are interested in using my services my rate card can be found by clicking here or use the contact form below to get more information on getting your OWN bespoke set of photography.

A few bits of information for Editors…

Please think carefully before using images.  Check the ownership.  As you can see above it is really easy to find out who owns images now.

Some guidelines on commissioning –

What does it cost to use images legally?

Well that is a piece of string really.  An image is only worth what some one is willing top pay for it; yes.  (However if you don’t pay for it that image is worth a lot more to the photographer when you get caught!).  Each photographer will negotiate his or her own value.  The following is a rough guide only…

RATES: Advertorial and newspapers
Online use of photos category: 1 month online
600×800 pixelsGBP175.00
400×600 pixelsGBP130.00
300×400 pixelsGBP90.00
RATES: Advertorial and newspapers
Online use of photos category: 3 months online
600×800 pixelsGBP340.00
400×600 pixelsGBP225.00
300×400 pixelsGBP150.00
RATES: Advertorial and newspapers
Online use of photos category: 6 months online
600×800 pixelsGBP525.00
400×600 pixelsGBP325.00
300×400 pixelsGBP230.00
RATES: Advertorial and newspapers
Online use of photos category: a year online
600×800 pixelsGBP625.00
400×600 pixelsGBP425.00
300×400 pixelsGBP325.00
RATES: Commercial and business
Online use of photos category: 1 month online
600×800 pixelsGBP225.00
400×600 pixelsGBP165.00
300×400 pixelsGBP110.00
RATES: Commercial and business
Online use of photos category: 3 months online
600×800 pixelsGBP450.00
400×600 pixelsGBP300.00
300×400 pixelsGBP200.00
RATES: Commercial and business
Online use of photos category: 6 months online
600×800 pixelsGBP675.00
400×600 pixelsGBP425.00
300×400 pixelsGBP300.00
RATES: Commercial and business
Online use of photos category: a year online
600×800 pixelsGBP850.00
400×600 pixelsGBP556.00
300×400 pixelsGBP400.00

More information can be found here – HTTP:// guide/index.php?language=en&country=UK§ion=Photography&subsect=Online+use+of+photos

I’ve taken the above list directly from this website –

Obviously volume discounts and your own negotiating skills may come into play when getting to the right price!

Even the BIG boys fall foul…

A few years ago Getty Images, one of the world’s largest stock photography sites, used an image without paying for it.