It can be very frustrating to see a photo you tool on a website and know that the website owner is using the photo without your permission. When this happens, it is important to realize that you are the victim of a crime of intellectual property theft. Despite the website owner’s view on the issue or where they may have obtained it, it is a crime to display your photo on the website.
But what can you do about it? The internet is so vast; you are not sure where to start or even if you have any options. Well, there are several things you can do and they include the following;
- Make Sure It is Yours
The first thing you should do is take the time to make sure that this is really your photo. There are a lot of similar photos out there that it is quite possible to mistake one of them for to yours. Once you are certain that you’re the one who took the image, it is also important to verify that you didn’t sell the photo or post it on a website that allows for creative commons licensing.
- Contact the Website Owner
Once you are certain you still hold all the rights to the image, you may want to contact the website owner before doing anything about it. In the email you send them, be sure to include any information you may have on the image and politely let them know that you want them to remove the image from their website.
Some webmasters will be very cooperative and even express embarrassment at having used the image without your permission, taking it down right away.
- Contact the Web Host
If the website owner is not forthcoming, you may want to contact the web host for that particular website to get the image removed. This usually involves filling out a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) form and the image will be removed quickly.
- Seek Legal Help
If all efforts are unsuccessful, you may want to seek counsel. Litigation is also a good idea when you want to receive payment for the unauthorized use of the images. It will be much easier to go this route if you have registered the photos with the copyright office although you can still sue even if you haven’t registered them.
Considering how expensive litigation can be, it might be more prudent to take certain measures to prevent the theft of images in the first place. Using low resolution images and adding watermarks to your images can help discourage theft, but these options can also lead to a loss of income if you depend on your images for profit.
A far better solution is the form of Clickasnaps watermark-less image protection technology or WIPT for short. Clickasnaps is the only website using this new technology, allowing you to present your high resolution creations to the world without the risk of theft.