Yes, I wrestled with this subject since in the past few weeks I have been receiving requests to use my images in publications. This is not unusual since I do sell a number of them for various commercial and consumer use. Found on the net, they track me down. Coincidentally, the number of images swiped has decreased while the offer to purchase has increased. So what is the problem?
Having the new blog, Nature and Wildlife Pics where I post the better images of nature, I have not yet experienced the rampant thievery of images, but I did add the disclaimer on the sidebar noticing a few on the move.
As readers of the blog, you might not care that images are being stolen, but it can affect how and where you see them in the future. One blogger experiencing photo theft made their blog private, only being viewed by using a password. Needless to say, that is very inconvenient and they lost me as a reader.
Seeing the legal notice on my sidebar, I am respectfully asked for use and what will be the fee by the more honest folks. Depending on the use and where it is to go, the cost varies. The requested images vary greatly from nature, to art, to landscape to gardens images.
But this past two weeks has been different. The number of requests has surged for some reason. One of the people contacting me let me know they found my image while searching, but also found it on three other blogs, with no link to the image posted. It was also found a few other places as well, like Pinterest.
They offered to purchase it from GWGT, but without their insistence to find the artist, they could have easily bought it from the other blogs. Blatantly posting stolen images on other blogs really makes me want to hunt them down and make their lives miserable. No link to GWGT is the problem because they are then taking credit for or profiting from my work.
I previously mentioned using a watermark is not always the best option since it can be easily removed. Many well-known, top-of-their-field photographers do not watermark images and I always followed their lead. They acknowledge they lose images but they also have a team of researchers scouring the net to find which companies and individuals they want to sue for reparation.
It does not matter whether the watermark is above or below the subject, it can be cropped for removal. Across the subject is much more difficult for an amateur to remove without the proper software to do so, but is still easily accomplished for one in the know. Placing it across the subject is distraction at any size.
So how do you feel about seeing good photography watermarked? Would you follow a blog that watermarks every image in a noticeable manner?
I have my metadata embedded in each image with my camera’s serial number and my company name. It is invisible to thieves and viewers, but clearly denotes ownership. Legal copyright is another option.
The shame of all this is that good photography by non professionals is not viewed in the same high regard or esteem as that found on a professional photography website. Blogs will never carry that reverence of perceived professionalism, hence the notion that photos on blogs are free for the taking.
Other images from this photo session were posted on GWGT, Photographing a Hawk in Nature with Prey. I think the hawk makes a strong visual connection to the subject of theft. It also could make a statement on stiff penalties too! 😀