Blogs and your images

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Ian Grant, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Recently I had a request to buy a print from someone in the EU, I'm not pushing print sales at present due to logisticsm I was told it had been seen on a Blog. (Not sure that's 100% as I can't find that image on the blog but others from the same series have been used). The sale is now pending my printing :D

    Initial my thoughts were image theft & hot-linking but actually the Canadian site gives full credits and links, so it is fair use, it's also a highly reputable site.

    I've since discovered the site has used at least 5 or 6 of my images over the past 2 years, they are copied and usually resized & renamed so it's harder to be certain.

    In the past I've found my images hot-linked widely and used in Blogs and other sites, I have a good system for Analysing my sites hits stats, which is quite revealing.

    It's important to keep an eye on your sites logs. We can't get stats on APUG of how many visit our own sites from say the Portfolio section here, but the figure is far higher than I'd have guessed, hot linking shows up too, and Referring Sites and there pages are particularly important, they affect your own sites ranking with Google etc.

    I'm not totally sre how you police your own images and their use on other internet sites, I've had a policy stated on my sites for at least 5 years that I'll grant free non commercial use on request, and have threatened legal action on about 3 occasions, the last about 5 years ago, which has always resolved the issues.

    Unfortunately we need to be aware our images can & will be used by others and keep a watchful eye.

    Ian
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I can certainly empathize with you. Up until about a year ago, I was in the habit of positing many of my photos and writings on the WWW. I did this purely to share with friends and family. I explicitly stated that I would grant non commercial use but asked for the courtesy of a request from the user....and although I found my images linked in (mainly travel) blogs Never did I receive even one request!

    I am not a photographer...well, not in the sense that you are. I do not do photography for money (if I did, I would probably starve!). I am just a nerd with a bunch of cameras and a love of...the process and sharing the results. I make a living doing software. Still, I was annoyed. Usually, I would simply ask the blogger to give photo credit. One travel company had used one of my photos of sunrise on the River Liffey on their home page steadfastly ignored my several requests to cease and desist...until I threatened legal action. I was flattered that they used my photo but, they didn't ask, and I figured that they should not be allowed to steal it (nor to use it for free).

    I agree, it takes vigilance.
     
  3. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    I wonder if a programmer could make up something that would watermark an image if the request was from outside your website (hot linked), but not if it was from within your website. How is that for an idea?

    I don't get too worried about images that get used unless someone is trying to make money from it, but given the type of images that I have online I doubt that it would happen. I think too many people are worried about it and it hurts them. I don't think too many images are stolen at this point, especially when there are so many places like Flickr where people give images away.
     
  4. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I don't really worry about it but....

    1) it is rude to not even bother to ask when I've stated up front that "all ya gotta do is ask".

    2) Although, I do not have to sell photos to feed my family and pay rent, other people do. It would be not be very sporting of me to give away my photos and potentially, deprive a photographer from making a sale.
     
  5. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    It's sort of doable, but to do it right would require control of the web server, not just of your own files.

    There's an easy way to do it based on checking the referrer---instead of having a link to the image file, you have a link to a little script, which returns the watermarked file if the referrer is offsite and the "clean" one otherwise. This will work as long as (1) there *is* a referrer (the client is not required to provide one, and many ad-blocking plugins and so on prevent it from doing so or provide a fictitious value---thus a hit could falsely appear to "come" from onsite), and (2) the viewer doesn't figure out the URL of the real image file (a knowledgeable viewer can essentially always do this, though you could make it pretty difficult).

    To do it perfectly, you would have to intercept the request at the server. I think this isn't too hard to do if the server is your own, but your ISP won't let you do it with their server, as a general rule.

    -NT
     
  6. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Providing a watermarked (or clean) image based on referrer is very easy to do, it requires about 3 lines of PHP. Clean version will not be obtainable through the web server by direct request.... but it's pointless. If someone wants to steal your image, they'll look at it within your webpage (or do a screengrab), save the file and host it themselves. Referrer-checking only solves bandwidth-theft, i.e. where an image hosted on your machine is embedded in someone else's page. That's a minor side-effect compared to the whole passing-off problem (theft of your IP, not your bandwidth).
     
  7. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Currently this thread is about copyright and theft of images, and is within the scope of APUG. Most photographers have websites, even the analog ones, and this is a pertinent issue concerning the marketing, presentation, and sale of analog images by traditional photographers, so unless it turns the wrong way, it's fine.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thread moved to "Presentation and Marketing," where such things as web presentation of analogue photography are usually discussed.
     
  9. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    Don't worry about such. No one wants mine. :smile:
     
  10. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Personally, I think the topic is purely digital and off-topic for APUG. Just my opinion. But if the moderators are going to allow it, my question is this: should photographers imprint all their photographs with some kind of watermark with a copyright statement before uploading to Flickr, the APUG gallery and other websites? If so, how is that done? Can it be done in iPhoto or Photoshop Elements?
     
  11. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, that can generally be done in a photo editing program; I've done it with elements. The decision to watermark images, I think, depends. When I do the occasional portrait sitting, I upload a slide show to my website for clients to view. I watermark those images, because, ultimately, I want them to buy prints... not download them, and generate their own prints. As for my personal fine art work, I don't tend to water mark those. The scans out there are pretty low res, and though I'd rather not have people generate lousy prints from them... I don't mind (though I wish people would ask, first) if someone uses one of my pictures with a link to my site on, say, their blog. As long as they give a credit or link, I'm not troubled by it. Others might feel differently. And I might if I had to make a living at selling prints... my whole "marketing" of the images might take on a different tone.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Chazzy none of the images in question in my case was digital, they are all B&W Fibre based prints, but we have to used an electronic format to show images on this or other websites including our own.

    Remember that even an image in a book has to be digitised for litho-printing, this isn't about the hows & whys of the Digital process but rather the misuse of images. Personally I've found 3 images of mine used by a record company for CD covers/inserts etc and these were taken from actual prints, without permission.

    Ian.
     
  13. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Subscriber

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    The first thing a photographer should do is register all his/her images with the copyright office. It's cheap and easy to do. You can send a whole CD or DVD of the images in and pay once for them all. Once the images are registered with the copyright office you can take legal action for payment of the images used, and win. Without the copyright registration BEFORE the theft you wont win nor will any attorney take your case. Of course a settlement may be reached without the need of a court. Many photographers are using TinEye ( http://www.tineye.com/ ) for finding images that have been stolen. It's a reverse image look up engine. Very slick, and allows you to find images even if they have been altered and reused. Water marks are okay but a skilled PS user can take them out as easily as you put them in.

    Please don't assume my first answer is to sue some poor blogger that likes your images and just wanted to use them for a background or something. But if there is real commerce being done with the use of your images, and someone is profiting because of it, then you should do all you can to protect your copyright and not let businesses think they can get away with stealing.

    D.
     
  14. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Copyright may work that way in the US but not elsewhere. In the case of the Blog site using my images, it's written by an Arts Journalist, many images are used, photographs, paintings etc alongside poetry & Prose. It's been the subject of a NYT article, so is above board, beneficial, fair use.

    Ian
     
  15. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Fair use is one thing, and in many cases is beneficial to the photographer, someone blogs about your site and what a great photographer you are and uses an image of yours to illustrate the article, etc. It would still be nice if they asked of course. The big problem is detecting when your image has been snarfed for some purpose. Somewhere out there I recall a search engine where you can put in an image instead of a word, and it can query its database for instances of the image on the web. It's a brilliant idea, but unfortunatly despite having already indexed a huge amount of images, it has a lot more indexing to do before it is really useful IIRC.
     
  16. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    I believe you're thinking of TinEye.
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Well I've just tried that site with the particular image that prompted this thread and nothing, so I tried 2 other images that I know are used on the Blog site & posted there 2-3 weeks ago and are also elsewhere including here on APUG in the Gallery, again nothing.

    So it's a pretty worthless search site.

    Ian
     
  18. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Yeah, it will only match something it's seen before.
     
  19. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    IMO, given the nature of the internet and it's culture, the moment you post something online it is fair game...for anything or anyone. I'm not saying it's right, or legal, or anything, but anytime I post an image online, I assume that. If I'm not willing to, I don't post it. Law and ethics aside, that's the the way it works in practice. There's no point fighting it or wasting time over it. You'll just seem out of touch I think.

    But, upside, the power of the web to get your work out there far far outweighs any pitfalls of someone using your work unfairly.

    Might as well embrace it how you can and let the rest roll off. Can't beat em join em sorta deal.

    Personally, I think it's all pretty cool seeing ones work go viral, so to speak.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    chazzy
    it is easy to watermark your images
    what you do is when the image is in elements
    you click on the type key and type whatever it is
    you want to watermark it with ... then go to the opacity slider
    and reduce the % until it is where you want it to be ..
    you can't do it with iphoto ...

    ===========================================

    digital watermarking/ embedding can be done
    through places like digimarc (https://www.digimarc.com/ )
    it is invisible to the viewer, but you can track where the images
    end up ... like a tracking device ...
     
  21. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I do too, but I have the leisure of not needing to make a living at photography. I'd feel a little different if images that were supposed to be putting food on my family were being appropriated without compensation.

    Of course, as you observe, it *does* happen, and it's only sensible to take appropriate measures---and what "appropriate" means varies from situation to situation.

    -NT