Friday, October 22, 2010

Image Theft, Copyright Registration and Growing Your Income

Whether you are communicating about Spam, Fraud, image theft and infringement or some other sort of unwanted Internet contact, this stock photo of numerous hands reaching out of a businessman's computer monitor, can help add impact and attention to your message.
Online theft is rampant...what are you doing to combat it?

Image Theft As An Income Source
I came across an interesting post today by photographer Thomas Hawke in which he views image theft as a potential source of revenue. That ties in with a “success story” circulated in the PicScout newsletter in which one of their clients, a niche stock photo agency, is deriving 50% of their income from tracking down infringers. They take the high road by viewing infringers as a possible long-term clients and attempting to convert infringers into licensors…an interesting approach!

Something You Can Do To Help Stop Infringement
As we all know, image theft has become huge and hurts all of us attempting to support ourselves with our photography. It is disheartening, at least for me, to see all of the appropriated images of mine circulating on the Internet, attributed to others, sometimes offered for sale by others and so on. I hate having to put watermarks on them as well. It is in the interest of all of us, professionals and non-professionals alike, to see progress made in stopping, or at least slowing down, infringement. One simple thing you can do, right now, is to take a minute of your time and send a letter to your congressional representatives to support S. 3804, the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,”. The whole process took me less than two minutes. 

Register Your Images!
After years of neglecting to register my copyrights I am now a convert. It really is pretty easy to register your images online. I think it is important that all of us put out that little bit of extra effort to watermark our images, register the copyrights, be proactive in promoting efforts to control infringement, and to help educate people about copyright matters. In the years to come this is come to become more and more important if we are to continue to reap the rewards of our own creative efforts.


Brett Critchley said...

Words of wisdom :-)

My only worry is as someone with a few months of selling micro stock and 180+ sales ( very small fry I know). If and when I eventually find any of my images out there, how will I know if they have been the ones purchased or stolen? I guess as a noob I would almost be flattered to have images used, where as your works of art are truely worth protecting.



John Lund said...


With RF it is almost impossible to pursue stolen images. I have both RF and it is primarily the RM that can be protected. Flattery is fine...but it doesn't pay the bills!

Hopefully as your stock career matures you will participate in RM as well as micro....

Thanks for commenting!