Identity Crisis: Protecting Yourself Out Of Picture Theft


To find a photographer who receives their residence out of licensing copies of the occupation, it’s frustrating to see just how easily photos can be downloaded from websites, shared on social media, or used without consent or compensation. Worse, to have one’s personal likeness and photos fraudulently used to earn a false identity. I have been the victim of image-theft several occasions; many lately I found one of my very own commercially-available images emerging over a dozen websites, in addition to published into a book cover… although not having sold a single permit of this picture.

Picture theft has ever been a problem, but the proliferation of technology has made it fairly straightforward to steal images – as easy as copy and paste. To prove my point: ” I just stole in the Getty Images website whilst composing this report. (No need to call the cops… I pilfered my work.) Getty has copy protection measures in place, and if you set your mouse pointer throughout the image, it pops up a larger version with a substantial watermark over it. I liked the un-watermarked version of this image better, therefore I just hit the “Print Screen” button on my computer, also glued a screen shot directly in my graphics program (hell… a word processor would work too). I cropped to the location which I desired and in maybe 60 seconds complete… voila! Free content. Probably would have taken even less time once I used my iPhone sam perelman.

For a generation raised on Facebook and Twitter, image-theft isn’t a crime within their own heads, or done with malicious intent… that it is simply a standard part of everyday life to talk about and re-share content. The only way to really prevent our occupation from being shared with passing is to not place it online at all. But that isn’t a sensible choice in the contemporary web-enabled, phone-crazy society. So let’s assume a rhetorical situation: you’ve filed your cherished photographs on the net, and a couple of anonymous person out there is maliciously captured a replica and used them with no acceptance. What can you do about it?


In the USA, you are the copyright owner of a photographic image from the moment you press the camera. This is quite good news, because Federal copyright laws protect our purposes from image theft after we create them. There are a variety of exceptions to this rule, such as when a “work for hire” arrangement is in effect and a client is paying the photographer to your copyright to images. There should be no legal gray area in that respect, as the photographer and client would have a formal arrangement stating as much.

The fantastic thing is that the copyright automatically enabled by Federal Law does not include all of the bells and whistles, only the rights to fasten our purposes and control usage. It will not also allow for remuneration – the right to sue for financial damages. To be in a position to have a copyright violator to court and ask money in the settlement, the film must have been registered with the Library of Congress. There is a small commission, and paperwork to be filed alongside copies of this image(s) to be copyrighted… worth the cost.

It’s essential to take note that copyright laws also imposes some constraints on copyright holders. Fair Use laws exist that allow for our images for replicated and use, without consent, as it is for the interest of the masses. Ordinarily, Fair Use falls under the types of data reportage, education, alongside other non applications. By means of example, a college professor can legally grab a picture off an internet site, to use in a classroom presentation. Nevertheless, the specific same image, replicated off the website and published in a textbook that is available for sale at the campus book store is now an problem of copyright violation.

A frequent offender I encounter regularly, especially among the versions I use, is being the subject of a photograph grants that person copyright possession also. In fact, being the person inside a picture stipulates no copyrights in any way, unless you have got a formal contract stating differently. However, you still have legal rights concerning problems like slander, if the photos are used to intentionally misrepresent you or damage your reputation.


Don’t expect Facebook or perhaps Twitter to act on your own behalf if someone is stealing your photos and submitting them. Their Terms of Service agreements (those long-winded texts the majority of us agree to if creating our customer accounts) have verbage in them designed to safeguard their companies from liability due to copyright or Intellectual property infringements. I would go a step further and indicate that big social media actually promotes image theft and copyright violations, in the guise of the two content-sharing and re-sharing. Anything brings clients back for more posting, viewing, liking and subscribing signifies countless more strikes in their pages, and hundreds of dollars in earnings from each one the apparent ads they sponsor there.

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