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Stolen images warning & the power of the net

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  • Stolen images warning & the power of the net

    Hi everyone
    Recently I came across a site selling cameras and offering a range of related services including photo restoration. On their photo restoration page they had 12 before and after images....but one of the images looked familiar, so familiar that I realised it was the work of another photo restoration artist! I checked that persons site and sure enough there was the image. So I was curious, and did some more hunting. I found that all 12 images were taken from other sites. 3 of the images were from other artists, one from Wikipedia, one from a YouTube before and after and another from a photographers help site. So I emailed the 3 artists as I didn't know whether they were working on contract for this business or not.....

    Two of the three got back to me within hours thanking me as they did not realise their images had been stolen. Interestingly the next morning the images on the site had gone (which is why I am not naming the site) but I notice they are still claiming they will undertake photo restoration.....I will be monitoring the site regularly to see if they try and use anyone else's images illegally.....

    The sad part of this story is that this business misrepresented what they could do - by stealing someone else's images they were implying they were capable to doing that level of work. The good news is the power of the internet and that by letting the owners of the images know they were able to get that business to remove the images....they have good grounds for legal action too...

    Its a small world. I hope in future if anyone finds my images on a site not belonging to me they will do the same.

  • #2
    Re: Stolen images warning & the power of the net

    I have seen similar. Some sites appear to be "chains" and use the same images, some flat out steal images off of other artists websites.

    One way to keep someone from stealing your images is to use a detailed watermark across detailed areas (if someone has the skills to successfully remove a detailed watermark in Photoshop, they have the skills to do their own work) and another is to save the image for web. Save for web images are lower res so when it is downloaded and someone does something to it, it won't look good.

    JoReam - you are awesome for contacting the artists!

    If anyone else has tips on how to keep images from being stolen, we'd like to hear them.

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    • #3
      Re: Stolen images warning & the power of the net

      No way to keep them from being stolen if they're posted online. The closest you can get is to lock down your site to prevent downloads. Even then, they can screen-scrape.

      The best way right now is to watermark your images in a way that makes it hard to retouch without messing up the key parts of the image.

      This is ESPECIALLY important on mass public sites like Facebook, which assigns your image a random string of characters and numbers as its Facebook file name when you upload it. I've also read somewhere that it deletes your metadata but I haven't checked that yet. Plus Facebook provides no shielding against downloading from posts I've read there.

      That makes watermarking crucial on Facebook.

      Other popular sites are just as bad. I'd recommending testing any site to which you want to upload and see if your image is easily downloadable and if the site deletes your copyright metadata.

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