Bloggers A-Z

Is Someone Stealing Your Blog Images?

copyright2014Blogging isn’t easy, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat staring at the computer for hours and got nothing done or the times I’ve re-positioned items countless times to get the perfect photograph. Blogging takes time and effort but unfortunately there are people out there who don’t want to put the effort in and who will happily use your images and blog content.

When I started researching for this post I used Google Image Search to see if any of my photos were being used without my permission and unfortunately I found a couple that were being used. When I checked the website linked to my photos I couldn’t find the images so thankfully they had already been removed but it really annoyed me that someone had taken them in the first place.

If you’re worried about your photos being used elsewhere there are simple ways you can check to see if they are being used without your permission.

I have put together a simple guide below which will show you how to searching for stolen images and what to do if you find any. There are a few different  websites that let you check to see if your photos are being used elsewhere, the one I use is Google Image Checker. Here’s how to use the website.

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  1. Go to Google Image Search and click the small camera icon on the search bar.
  2. You can either upload your image to the search function, enter the image url or drag and drop the image into the search area, click search and any results will be brought up.
  3. If you find any of your images are being used on other websites write down the website details. Keep a note of the website address and contact details so you can get in touch with them and ask them to credit you or remove the image.
  4. Searching your images can be time consuming if you are searching your whole site so you might prefer to do it over a couple of days.

If you didn’t find any of your images then that’s great news, however if you were unfortunate enough to find your images being used without your permission it’s time to consider your options. You can decide to do nothing, you can tell the person infringing your copyright that the photograph is copyrighted but you are happy for them to keep using the image providing they link back to the original source or you can ask them to remove your image from their website.

Here is a draft e-mail you can use, you will have to alter it to suit your purpose.

Hello,

It has come to my attention that you are using an image that I own without my permission. This is a breach of copyright laws and I ask that you remove the image from your website with immediate effect/credit me for the photo and link back to the original source which you can find here (enter url). The copyrighted image can be found here: (insert link).

If the image is not removed/credited within 7 days I will be forced to report the copyright infringement to Google and your website host.

Yours sincerely,
(Insert name)

I would give the website owner 7 days to respond, if you don’t hear anything in the time frame or they have not credited or removed the image it’s time to report them to Google and the website hosting company.

Reporting the copyright infringement to Google won’t get it removed however Google should remove the site from their listing. To report a site head over to the removing content from Google tool where you can select what type of website you want to report and take the steps to report the infringement. If you choose to report a website through the Google tool a copy of each legal notice may be sent to Chilling Effects project for publication and annotation, personal details will be removed.

You can also report the infringement directly to the website host. Firstly you will have to find out who hosts the website, if the website is hosted by blogger or WordPress then you should complain to WordPress or Blogger. If the website is self hosted you will need to find out who is hosting the website, you can do this using the Nominet WHOIS tool. Enter the url of the website that has stolen your content and the website will look for the hosting company details. When you have found out who the hosting company is you can then send them a DMCA/Take Down notice, make sure you send a detailed e-mail with links to the original and stolen work along with dates and times.

Hopefully sending an e-mail to the website owner will be enough to have the content removed. Some people might not realise it’s against the law to copy content, others will be aware of this but just don’t care. You might not be successful in having your content removed but it is important to fight for what is yours.

I will be putting together a guide on how you can best protect your blog content in the coming days.

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