What to do when your Photos are Stolen?
If you are a person who posts photos to the web on a regular basis,you might have atleast once came across your photos used by a website or on a Facebook page without any form of permission or acknowledgement.This is violation of Copyright laws and Intellectual property rights.This article is intended to guide you on dealing with such infringements in a proper way,so that you can remove the infringing images on a effective manner.
[Image courtesy of chanpipat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
- The first step is to find who is stealing your images,you can do this for free using Google Reverse Image Search.See this link to see how to do that http://www.masswatermark.com/blog/find-someone-stealing-images-using-google-image-search/
- The second step is to find the contact information of the webmaster or the Owner of the site who is hosting the infringing photograph.You can find this information usually by going to the Contact Us Link or About Us Page.
- Then Write a casual email to the person eg:
I'm the owner of the Photographs you have used on your website- ( Link ).I hope you are aware that these photographs are copyrighted and belongs to me.I assume that you have done this by mistake.I expect an apology and remove the Photos immediately, otherwise i will be forced to go with the Legal DMCA procedures.
John Doe- Website Address
- Wait for like 5 days maximum.Still if you don't get a reply,then you will have to go the Legal way,with the DMCA(Digital Millennium Copyright Act) Copyright notice.First find the Hosting Company that hosts the website for the infriger.You can do this by using the WHOIS tool http://www.whois.net.Just go there and type in the website URL and click Go.Now look for the Abuse Email Address(Like the one Shown below )in the information provided to you.Copy this email address.
Now write a DMCA Email like the one shown in this page http://www.epicorg.com/sample-dmca-take-down-notice.html Send it to the email address you got earlier.Wait for 2 weeks and if you get no response then its time to contact a lawyer.You can find a good information on lawyers specializing on Photography Copyright here http://www.photoattorney.com
It is always recommended to prevent theft,rather than dealing with it after it occurs.Visible Watermark is a effective deterrent against photo theft,it is the best and time tested way to protect your photos from theft.The watermark says that the photo is copyrighted and thus a potential infringer will think twice before copying it.A watermark can also serve as a means of increasing your online popularity by letting people know,who has taken the photograph when it appears on sites like Google Image search.
Mass Watermark is a tool that is designed to watermark,resize and add exif data to 100s of photos in less than a minute.Take a look at this video to see how easy is to use it