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03/05/2010 11:21:39 AM · #1
Like a lot of photographers, I recently had a couple of images unscrupulously ripped off and put on other people's sites with no credit. It seems pretty common to think the net is just an photo free-for-all. >:-|

Anyway, it happens I'm a software engineer, and I decided to do something about it, so I'm developing a service to help photographers find their photos on the net that have been ripped off.

I'm an old school DPC user (669th user!), so I thought where better to ask for the photo community's thoughts. If you would indulge me, I would appreciate thoughts on the following:

1. Are you concerned about people stealing your photos on the net?
- Very Concerned - Slightly Concerned - Not concerned

2. Do you take any steps to help prevent your photos being stolen?
- Watermarks - Upload small photos - Restrict access - Nothing - Other ______

3. Would you pay for a service that could find stolen photos?
- Yes - Maybe - No

4. Any other thoughts?

Again, I appreciate your thoughts. Naturally should the service get up and running, I will offer significant discounts to respondents. Let's say $10 off a $20 yearly subscription.
03/05/2010 11:26:17 AM · #2
Have you ever heard of TinEye ?

It does the same thing for free.
03/05/2010 11:26:50 AM · #3
an option could be a success-based model. The costs would be higher (like 50-100 USD), but you would not pay if there is nothing.

03/05/2010 11:35:53 AM · #4
Originally posted by jeger:

Have you ever heard of TinEye ?

I have, but testing one of my stolen images didn't come back with anything. They've got about 1.5 billion images in their index, which believe it or not, is actually quite a small number (!).
03/05/2010 12:19:22 PM · #5
Originally posted by PaulMdx:

Originally posted by jeger:

Have you ever heard of TinEye ?

I have, but testing one of my stolen images didn't come back with anything. They've got about 1.5 billion images in their index, which believe it or not, is actually quite a small number (!).


and how would it be that you would be able to search more? Not being snotty, just really don't know all that stuff.
03/05/2010 12:45:03 PM · #6
- 1 Not Concerned.

I don't believe it to be the problem that many people like the blow it up to the extent that it gets blown up to. 99.99% of these cases aren't cases of people losing anything but the fact that their photo isn't in just one place. It isn't monetarily damaging to them, it doesn't damage their rights to copyright, it doesn't damage their reputation as a professional (especially when they aren't one), etc. etc. etc. In the extremely few cases where it has been seen to become a real professional/personal/financial issue, most of the time those are addressed. In the end, it's almost always just a bunch of ego crying foul over a lack of doing anything to protect their own images in the first place.

- 2. Outside of DPC, I mainly limit to just uploading small images. I don't do much more, because truth be told, if a few images of mine end up on someone's gallery site, or popping around facebook here and there, it's not much skin off my back. The photography I put online for the world to see is photography I don't mind the world seeing, even if it's not 100% contained to my own areas.

- 3. No.

- 4. I consider programs/websites/services of this nature to be basically useless. It's just a place for people with insecurities to go witch-hunting, on the odd 1 in 10,000 chance that something of yours is being used in a way that you can actually benefit from, or that is personally damaging to yourself. It's akin to people throwing up all kinds of photography on a public wall, with a photocopier right beside it that anyone can use, and then running around the streets everyday to yell foul anytime they see a photo they'd put up on a wall, on another wall. Insane. More thought needs to go into software and devices and solutions BEFORE THE PHOTO EVER SEES THE INTERNET, rather than spending all our time applying caulk to the massive holes in a crumbling wall.
03/05/2010 12:47:29 PM · #7
Originally posted by sabphoto:

and how would it be that you would be able to search more? Not being snotty, just really don't know all that stuff.

I plan to index more images. :-)

To give you an idea of what 1.5 billion images means, Flickr hosts 4 billion on its own.

It's a big task, don't get me wrong, which is why I want to know it's a goer before I invest more time!
03/05/2010 01:06:40 PM · #8
Originally posted by PaulMdx:

Like a lot of photographers, I recently had a couple of images unscrupulously ripped off and put on other people's sites with no credit. It seems pretty common to think the net is just an photo free-for-all. >:-|

Anyway, it happens I'm a software engineer, and I decided to do something about it, so I'm developing a service to help photographers find their photos on the net that have been ripped off.

I'm an old school DPC user (669th user!), so I thought where better to ask for the photo community's thoughts. If you would indulge me, I would appreciate thoughts on the following:

1. Are you concerned about people stealing your photos on the net?
- Very Concerned - Slightly Concerned - Not concerned

2. Do you take any steps to help prevent your photos being stolen?
- Watermarks - Upload small photos - Restrict access - Nothing - Other ______

3. Would you pay for a service that could find stolen photos?
- Yes - Maybe - No

4. Any other thoughts?

Again, I appreciate your thoughts. Naturally should the service get up and running, I will offer significant discounts to respondents. Let's say $10 off a $20 yearly subscription.


1. Really don't care.....to a certain extent, flattered. The one I found once was in a collection of images that wwere so superb I was proud to be included.

I operate on the basic premise that should I have something I do NOT want ripped off, I shouldn't post it on the Web.....or pay to register the copyright and be prepared to defend it legally.

2. Really just don't upload large, printable files.

3. Nope, not in a million years.

4. If there's already a service that does it for free, it stands to reason that it may become along the lines of other free web services, which means that you may have trouble finding a customer base. Even if you do the work as far as searching, there would be a time investment put on the client to decide what he/she wants searched, and/or having to deal with providing links, etc. to the work.

GHood luck, I hope it works out for you, I merely answered with my $0.02 US as a point of reference.
03/05/2010 02:18:56 PM · #9
Originally posted by PaulMdx:

Like a lot of photographers, I recently had a couple of images unscrupulously ripped off and put on other people's sites with no credit. It seems pretty common to think the net is just an photo free-for-all. >:-|

Anyway, it happens I'm a software engineer, and I decided to do something about it, so I'm developing a service to help photographers find their photos on the net that have been ripped off.

I'm an old school DPC user (669th user!), so I thought where better to ask for the photo community's thoughts. If you would indulge me, I would appreciate thoughts on the following:

1. Are you concerned about people stealing your photos on the net?
- Very Concerned - Slightly Concerned - Not concerned

2. Do you take any steps to help prevent your photos being stolen?
- Watermarks - Upload small photos - Restrict access - Nothing - Other ______

3. Would you pay for a service that could find stolen photos?
- Yes - Maybe - No

4. Any other thoughts?

Again, I appreciate your thoughts. Naturally should the service get up and running, I will offer significant discounts to respondents. Let's say $10 off a $20 yearly subscription.


I was a Tineye beta user, and, really, not much has changed since beta. Tons of photos still aren't a part of their cache. When things get bigger, their usefulness will increase dramatically.

1. No, not terribly concerned. Any photos I'm concerned about on the net are low res and I'm not too concerned about that. I don't think true security can be had online, so anything I'm worried about I post as a limited res version.
2. I recently added a watermark to my single image that has blown up on the internet, but otherwise, no. My previous answer explains things.
3. I would pay if I had more of a monetary stake in things. Also, if I felt a particular image was being ripped off, yeah, I think I would pursue it (depending how feasible it was). It wouldn't be for everything, but certain images perhaps.
4. I pretty much agree with ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' K10DGuy (again). If I post it online, you probably can't print it worth a damn and if you can, the photo isn't worth money to me. As of now, it makes way more sense to be web savvy as a photographer, not a photographer and web savvy second. Pursuing lawsuits and all that crap costs lots of money or time, and the average person can't do that. I don't think it's feasible for a business to actually pursue things either. It would be like the RIAA X 1,000,000,000. Prosecute the huge offenders, let everybody else (the majority) go....
03/05/2010 03:09:02 PM · #10
Yes, it's a daily concern of mine. Images are regularly used beyond their licence remit and sometimes used without a licence being purchased, intentionally or not. I use Tineye and Picscout and general keeping an eye online and in the press :)
ETA: I'm talking about HighRes images that have been sold through an agency or website - image theft is not just about low res images being knicked off the web ;)

Message edited by author 2010-03-05 15:13:04.
03/05/2010 03:30:25 PM · #11


Message edited by author 2010-03-05 15:52:00.
03/05/2010 03:48:25 PM · #12
Originally posted by spiritualspatula:



I was a Tineye beta user, and, really, not much has changed since beta. Tons of photos still aren't a part of their cache. When things get bigger, their usefulness will increase dramatically.

1. No, not terribly concerned. Any photos I'm concerned about on the net are low res and I'm not too concerned about that. I don't think true security can be had online, so anything I'm worried about I post as a limited res version.
2. I recently added a watermark to my single image that has blown up on the internet, but otherwise, no. My previous answer explains things.
3. I would pay if I had more of a monetary stake in things. Also, if I felt a particular image was being ripped off, yeah, I think I would pursue it (depending how feasible it was). It wouldn't be for everything, but certain images perhaps.
4. I pretty much agree with ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' K10DGuy (again). If I post it online, you probably can't print it worth a damn and if you can, the photo isn't worth money to me. As of now, it makes way more sense to be web savvy as a photographer, not a photographer and web savvy second. Pursuing lawsuits and all that crap costs lots of money or time, and the average person can't do that. I don't think it's feasible for a business to actually pursue things either. It would be like the RIAA X 1,000,000,000. Prosecute the huge offenders, let everybody else (the majority) go....


I just wanted to show you guys that keep saying that the images here on DPC are lowres and if they are printed they are crap...
I just took ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' spiritualspatula's 800px x 562px (.BMP) image seen here ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1132/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_837162.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1132/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_837162.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' and enlarged it to a 6662px x 4680px image at 600 DPI and printed it out on a sheet of paper. It was as clear as you see it on his profile page.
I've uploaded it so you can see the file and the size. //www.treasureshackonline.com/temp/spiritualspatula.jpg

The longest part of this whole thing was uploading to my server. Anyone could take images from this site and make them into just about anything they wanted... Also ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' DrAchoo had one of his images stolen and turned into a billboard, what does that say about low-res images???

By the way ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' spiritualspatula once you want me to remove the full image just let me know.

Message edited by author 2010-03-05 15:51:49.
03/05/2010 05:45:51 PM · #13
Remember that you can now *easily* watermark your post-challenge and portfolio images ... ;-)
03/05/2010 05:51:31 PM · #14
Originally posted by PaulMdx:


To give you an idea of what 1.5 billion images means, Flickr hosts 4 billion on its own.



Yeah, but only about a handful of them are really any good.. :P

Kidding aside, thats actually an incredible amount of images - Makes me realise that Tineyes database is actually pretty meagre. :(
03/05/2010 06:48:02 PM · #15
1. Are you concerned about people stealing your photos on the net?
Not concerned

2. Do you take any steps to help prevent your photos being stolen?
non damaging copyright marks, uploading up to 1000px

3. Would you pay for a service that could find stolen photos?
No and I wouldn't use it either

4. Any other thoughts?

Nothing that has been said a zillion times in the last 7 years.
03/06/2010 08:18:15 AM · #16
Many thanks for all the replies - both positive and negative. To pick up on a few points...

I think what the 'no' vote is saying is somewhat black and white; either I don't upload my photos and they're completely safe, or I do, in which case I can expect zero control of them.

For me, I'd like to share my work, but I also want to retain some level of control. Look at Creative Commons as a good example - it allows copying, with varying caveats. Even they accept the fact that photographers giving away work want to retain control.

I think Dirt_Diver is spot on with what you can do with small shots. As an example, I used to shoot events for a big (international) event photography company, and with a 10D set to 'small fine' the images were then being printed up to 10x8 at excellent quality.

As is commonly cited when we talk about the megapixel race, it's not the number of pixels it's the quality. That 800x600 shot you just uploaded offers phenomenal pixel quality because you probably resized it from a 10+ MP shot.

Again, thanks for your replies.
03/06/2010 09:30:51 AM · #17
Originally posted by PaulMdx:



As is commonly cited when we talk about the megapixel race, it's not the number of pixels it's the quality. That 800x600 shot you just uploaded offers phenomenal pixel quality because you probably resized it from a 10+ MP shot.



Interested in this statement. The fact that it may have been 10+mp would have no bearing on the upsizing from the small version, would it? Once the shot is resized smaller, and the information compressed, it isn't "remembered" so that it can be expanded. Or am I misunderstanding something.

To answer your questions -- I upload smallish pictures on the net, with small watermarks (that could easily be cropped out, usually, but then the shot is even smaller), and on my commercial site, i have a big ole watermark that is slightly intrusive on the proofs. If a service were offered that could search every image on the net, maybe, still not sure it would be something I would pay a lot for, if any. I wouldn't abstain from the service because it was a "bad" service, just because historically, I've not had anything "stolen," so it just isn't that big an issue to me.
03/06/2010 09:45:23 AM · #18
Originally posted by karmat:

Interested in this statement. The fact that it may have been 10+mp would have no bearing on the upsizing from the small version, would it? Once the shot is resized smaller, and the information compressed, it isn't "remembered" so that it can be expanded. Or am I misunderstanding something.

Yes and no. If you downsize a shot you're absolutely right, the individual pixel values are lost. However in downsizing, you average the pixels, so to an extent you retain some quality.

Let's say you crop an 800x600 rectangle at 100% out of one of your 30D shots. Taking the original shot again, you resize the whole image to 800x600. Which will be higher quality? Obviously the resize, because it's *combined* those pixels into the 800x600.
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