What if Your Pictures Are Getting Stolen?
The online world keeps on changing, search engines and algorithms keep on evolving, Alex keeps updating you about it. Being a photographer in the 21st century requires not only a good eye for frames and being in the right moment at the right time. If you want to have your work recognized, you also need to take care of your website, make sure it is well-optimized to position well in Google. And that’s not all there is to it. What about the protection of your pictures? Have you ever checked if your pictures are not being used without your consent?
Having read Alex’s articles you should have a clear understanding of what Google is looking for. You most likely have your pictures already perfectly optimized and described with keywords. Your website also has an up to date architecture. If your pictures grab attention and make people stop for a minute, your dwell time is increasing, and, in consequence, your page ranks better. Thanks to Alex’s tips you most likely have your page optimised also for mobile.
Have you ever thought that having such a well-optimized website with proper architecture and providing Google with exactly what it needs might also a much higher risk of having your pictures…stolen?
Your photographs are your superpower – protect them
The more visits on your website, the higher the chance of having your pictures used by someone without your consent. Living in the digital era, images are the most wanted type of content. Have you noticed how many of them you ’consume‘ every single day just scrolling your Facebook or Instagram? Our clients found their pictures on websites, in brochures, and on social media fan pages they have never heard about before and did not agree on publication. When they receive links from us with the unlawful usages of their photos, they cannot believe their eyes. What about your portfolio? Have you ever had it examined?
Image theft – it seems not to exist until you see it
We are living in the digital era. There is so much going on online and pandemic only increased it. Running a business and taking care of its online presence and visibility requires a lot of time and effort. When constant creation of content becomes overwhelming, the usage of images that do not belong to the publishers becomes common practice. Most photographers do not believe it until they see their picture being stolen.
If it was not for a thunderstorm, an aspiring travel photographer would have probably never found out that a million euro was stolen from him. On a stormy day, Nico Trinkhaus captured a bolt of lightning striking the television tower in Berlin. The photo went viral on 500px and a press agency contacted him. The picture was published in several newspapers and on the web but the agency didn’t inform him where they sold it. He decided to find out on his own. After 2 days of research, he found 150(!) commercial usages of his pictures. And he didn’t get paid for a single one. Soon he realized that he is surely not the one and the only photographer whose photos are getting stolen and the problem of image theft is a truly pressing issue. He had to find a way to tackle it. This is how the idea for PhotoClaim was born.
Soon after this discovery, when Nico’s attempts to claim his rights on his own turned ineffective, he decided to set up secure cooperation with a lawyer. Unsuccessful efforts to get back the money from his copyrights were another important lesson learned. It was a clear sign that a bigger and stronger community was needed. PhotoClaim quickly filled the niche.
When you find your picture stolen… on a stock market
In case the discovery of a picture being used by a hotel, restaurant or travel agency for their promotion was not that much of a shock, we have another story for you. Have you ever searched for a picture on a stock photo market? How would you feel if you discovered your image being sold there without your consent? Puzzled? Nico Trinkhaus found his pictures from Athens on a stock market. The picture was evaluated for $10 worth with a note: royalties free, commercial, and editorial use. The creator credited underneath was surely not Nico Trinkhaus. Who knows how much money have they made on a picture they had no rights to? We already started the process of regaining the money that Nico deserves for this case.
“As photographers, we’re familiar with the problems in the industry, with the decreasing revenue shares from agencies and the increasing amount of hobby photographers that give their work away for free.
Everyone is talking about it, but the real problem is hardly understood: Companies stopped buying photos.
There is a big flaw in the system – at least in Europe. If you prove a company had stolen your photo, all you would get is (sometimes double) your usual licensing fee. As an economist, I’m aware that it’s a logical decision for companies to simply steal photos instead of buying them since they get away with it most of the time.
I decided to do something about it and started protecting my copyrights. I’ve built an international network of attorneys in order to protect my photographic career and I’m glad that I can now offer you help as well.
Let’s put an end to image theft!”
Nico Trinkhaus, the founder of PhotoClaim
Have your pictures protected – focus on shooting
This brings us closer to what we do every single day. Our team consists of photographers, lawyers, copyright specialists, and photography enthusiasts. We understand your needs as a photographer. Every single day we take action to make sure the scale of image theft is diminishing while the number of happy photographers is growing. We monitor the Internet in search of new copyright infringements, keep a close eye on your portfolio, and make sure we do not miss a single picture being stolen from you.
To answer the questions before they arise: when a picture is published without your consent but with your name mentioned, it still classifies as copyright infringement. No matter what arguments the opponents might be using, you should not let them convince you. The law is on your side. You may not have much experience in negotiations. That is why we are here for you. We try to avoid lawsuits. There are other ways of receiving what you deserve. Experienced in getting back the money from the copyrights for our community of photographers, we would love to welcome you on board.
Now you probably start wondering whether your photographs are being stolen or have the potential. Here is a couple of questions that could help you find the answer.
- Do you have your pictures published online?
- Do you run a blog?
- Do you have a Flickr account?
- Do you capture landmarks, scenic views, natural wonders?
- Do you use meta titles and meta descriptions for your pictures?
- Do you take situational photographs that show activities and emotions?
- Do you shoot with long exposure?
- Do your pictures have intense, saturated colors?
- Do you take pictures of food popular in restaurants?
If you nodded more times than you shook your head from side to side, your pictures are already being highly recognized by many, or it just a matter of time until your photos get greater recognition.
Numbers do not lie – image theft statistics
Image theft is not something you read about on the front page of a newspaper. Finding data and reliable information online can be tricky and not easy to dig out. That is why today we would like to share our perspective with you.
Over the past 6 years, we opened nearly 6 000 000 cases of infringements for our client photographers and managed to regain almost 6 000 000 euros from infringements. We detected image theft in 55 countries all around the world. Our community is constantly growing. Currently, we work with nearly 250 photographers. It does not matter where you are located. A strong will to fight with image theft is enough to start chasing infringers and begin the process of getting back the money that you deserve from your copyrights.
Ultimately, we want to wake up in a world where are more people who buy rather than steal, and where photographers can feel safe because their rights are protected. Stop image theft, get paid!
That is how Daria Trinkhaus, cofounder of the company, formulated the mission when setting it up. We knew most dreams do not come true overnight. Over the years we observed many practices that needed improvement. We realized that there were a lot of photographers who were not able to claim their rights just on their own. The attempts to negotiate with the infringers individually were not bringing results. We knew there was work to do and decided to take up the challenge to spread copyright awareness.
We aim to educate. We provide our photographers with resources that help them boost their careers while being on a track with the news from the copyright industry and having their rights protected. Our Knowledge Base is here for you. Read more about the European and international copyright law, reverse image search, cases of stolen photos, and how to register and protect your rights.
Take care of your professional career
Taking a perfect picture is not just about the decisive moment and pressing the shutter button at the right time. There are thousands of hours of learning and practice behind it. There are also big sums of money spent on equipment and travel. As a photographer, you should have time for developing your work and passion while we, at PhotoClaim, could take care of your work and make sure your photos are not being used without your consent. When you take pictures, our team monitors the Internet and keeps track of your pictures, fighting for your rights. Do not let image thieves take advantage of your work with just a couple of clicks, sign up with us, and get the income and recognition that you deserve.
Would like to get to know the details of how we work? We put it into 4 steps and described here. Should you have more questions, check our Frequently Asked Questions section. In case there is still something you would like to know, feel free to message us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to welcoming you on board among our other happy photographers.