Each month as part of my image licensing administration I spend a fair bit of time meticulously recording all of the reproduction licenses that either myself, or my agents provide to clients. This is followed up by taking a random sample of my images and then by using the likes of Google Image Search as well as other search software I carry out a trawl of the web for unauthorised image use. Pretty much every time I do this I catch someone who is using my images without permission.
Recently I have noticed that it's not just people downloading images to illustrate a blog, or an individual with a personal website doing it. Instead it is often big businesses, many of which have the cheek to add their copyright statements to the websites my unlicensed images have been placed on.
These so called "copyright infringers" to use a more polite term (some photographers simply prefer to call them thieves) come from a broad spectrum of companies and individuals from across the world. Yesterday the businesses I found using my images were an engineering organisation in Thailand, a fumigation company in Costa Rica and an English educational establishment. A national newspaper, a book publisher and a semi-commercial Blog, (all British) were identified in the previous trawl.
This is one from yesterdays trawl
In this example I know for a fact this image has not been licensed to them. The copyright info screen on the right also shows I own the copyright to the spider image. Oh and just for the record it makes little difference if someone removes the metadata, or alters the image. This is because reverse image search engines look for the image and not just the associated metadata. We also hold the digital negative (RAW File) if any further proof is needed.
On a more positive note my invoices and/or take down notices are in the post so it is not all bad news.