With the explosion of web sites to share your photos, everything from Flickr and Facebook to self hosted portfolios, it become easier for someone to “acquire” your images for their own use. Of course if you really want to stop people stealing your images, then don’t upload them anywhere on the web, but for many photographers, they want to showcase their work and so its necessary to post at least a selection of images. One option to help deter non-approved use is watermarks. Smaller ones unfortunately can be quickly cropped off or removed. Larger ones distract and can ruin your photos. You can even create hidden watermarks. Its all a balancing act. But what happens when you discover that your images have been used without your authorisation?
PictureDefense.com is a new free site that takes you through what you need to do to get one of your images removed from a web site when you haven’t authorised its use. It seems to be primarily US focused but should still provide useful information from those outside America.
The site is very simple to use. Once you find one of your photos being used (Google Image Search is an easy way to find these sites, if you only have a small number of photos) you just select the category for where it is being used and the site takes you through the steps, in increasing order of severity, to get the offending image taken down. It also covers making sure you’ve got proof of use.
It doesn’t cover every possible use but is a good start. The site has only recently launched so hopefully it will expand over the coming months to provide a useful resource. Of course protection and clear copyright are the first steps, but if you do find unauthorised use of your photos PictureDefense.com is a good place to check out what to do next.