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This post marks the first ever editorial on my blog. I have good reason for it as this has not been a good day.

Earlier today, I was introduced to a bookmarklet that allows you to search the internet for your own images to see if they are being used somewhere without your permission. What I have uncovered has been no less than shocking and disheartening.
 
 

Now, I expected to find the occasional repost of an image on someone’s blog or site but was in no way prepared to discover the blatant and outright theft of my images! Do copyrights mean nothing?? I’ve merely scratched the surface and have already found the following offenses:

  • Three individuals have stolen my images for use as their avatars.
  • Dozens of individuals have reposted my images on their blogs/websites and have decidedly CROPPED OUT my copyright stamp. No credit, no link back.
  • Dozens of individuals have reposted my images on their blogs or websites with the copyright stamp BUT, without my permission and without the decency of including a link back to the original posting of the image. (Ironically, one site even had their own copyright statement at the bottom of each web page asking visitors to respect copyright laws when the author herself was stealing and violating other artists’ copyrights! Unbelievable!)
  • Several individuals have posted altered versions of my images, mostly adding text and basically, using the image like a background. No credit, no link back. One individual even claimed the altered image as their own.
  • I found three commercial sites using my images – two to sell products and one as the lead logo image for their site.
  • I found two instances where my images were used in YouTube videos.
  • One site is using one of my images as wallpaper.

 
However, the worst offense so far is an English singer/songwriter who has used one of my images for his EP cover. I was never asked for permission nor have I been compensated for its use. I am still trying to come to grips with this one and am currently corresponding with said artist.

Just because an image is on the web does not make it free for anyone to use or claim. I own and maintain rights to ALL my images. If you follow this blog and like my work, I thank you for your support. I also ask you to respect my work and to not steal it. It can be easy to forget that there is a working artist behind these photos and when you steal them, it is no different from stealing a product from a store. (Oh, and if you come across one of my images on a blog or site, please contact me with a link so that I can verify if its use is valid or not, k?)

What can we do? Well, what I’ve been doing is contacting any offender asking them to immediately cease and desist. In some cases, I ask why they have stolen my image without my permission and state they should show some respect for artists who are desperately trying to make a living at photography. I’ve already received several apologies and two sites so far have removed my images. I hope this trend continues.

In addition, I am researching ways to prevent future theft. I have found several great resources for protecting images and content (example here) as well as what to do when you do find an image is being used without your permission (here and here). It is good to know there are concrete things we can do to protect ourselves and to fight against this kind of theft.

Spread the word.

Update August 21, 2012:

Still working on getting some images removed; others, well, I may have to let be. You will notice changes to my blog with regards to my images. I’m in the process of adding a watermark to each image as well as disabling the inability to click on an image to view in a separate window. Just precautions I’ve been (reluctantly) forced to put in place in order to discourage future theft. This has been a learning experience for sure and I’ll admit, that I didn’t handle this very well but with time, I’m coming to grips with what I can control and what I cannot. Please bear with me as I find my way through this and (hopefully) return back to the happy-go-lucky, optimistic, “the world is good” person that I once was.

Update August 30, 2012: SPECIAL NOTE re: Pinterest

If you’ve arrived at this page because of a message you’ve received from Pinterest, please know that I feel just awful about having to so abruptly pull off all my images! I never once thought anyone on Pinterest had bad intentions; I simply did not comprehend the widespread damage that would result from having my images pinned. How could any of us know that once on Pinterest, the images could then be downloaded, copied, printed, etc., and used without my knowledge?

Sigh.

Now that I am placing a visible center watermark to all my images here on WP (a slow process but I am getting there), I will certainly allow the watermarked work to be pinned on Pinterest! The images can then be out there without the fear of them being used without my permission. A win-win for everyone. :-)

I have no way of knowing which image you had pinned (there were far too many images and too many pins/repins to keep track of) but if it is one that now has a visible center watermark, you have my permission to pin it again. 

If it isn’t watermarked yet, please let me know and I will contact you as soon as the watermark is added. I so appreciate that you like my work enough to highlight it! I truly had no idea.

And, just as a FYI, I have a Pinterest board of my own and will be adding my watermarked images there as well. Something I have been meaning to do but glad I hadn’t quite gotten to it yet because I would have been pinning my un-watermarked images and oh, boy(!), the mess I would have placed myself in! This has indeed been a learning experience for everyone, myself included.

Thank you for reading and for your understanding and patience!

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74 Comments

  1. I’m truly sorry..I have lack knowledge about linking the picture to yours..
    I thought by leaving your name on the picture is enough..
    I already remove it..
    Sorry..sis..
    Thanks for reminds me about copyright ..really appreciate it..

    • Thank you, Nad. I appreciate the apology and your removing my image.

      I am glad to educate folks! Spread the word!

  2. Copy and paste option should be removed else people won’t stop promoting somebody’s else info with their own name.

    • When I think about how angry I am over this, I tend to agree. But then, I am not yet willing to believe that the entire world is terrible. So far, many folks have apologized and removed the violated images. I’d like to use this as a teaching tool so that artists, like myself, can get their work promoted on other sites and not simply stolen. Spread the word and link to this post! :-)

  3. Disturbing as can be. Does one need to search each image or is there a way to do a batch search?

    • Indeed, Lynn. Indeed. :-(

      I know of no batch search using this tool…I have read there are other tools out there. Perhaps one of them does batch search. If you use the bookmarklet on your Redbubble site on pages where you have thumbnails, the double questionmarks will appear on each image once you click the widget. Then you can click on each image’s question marks to do the search. Timeconsuming but well worth finding out who is stealing what! Spread the word, Lynn!

  4. I tried it on my single images in redbubble and it said it couldn’t search because the image was too small. Is that because they use clear gifs to prevent image stealing? I wish wordpress did that too.

    • Others have reported that as well when using the widget. Go to your portfolio page (where all the thumbnails are) or into a collection and try it there.

  5. Lynn and milkayway–you can try a simple “google” search with your name and the word “images” and see what that serves up to try to find your work posted elsewhere.

    • While I appreciate the suggestion 47WB, the widget is working really well for me since many offenses only have the image and NOT my name associated with it. I prefer to search on specific images.

  6. Tracy, this is just so sad. It is so disheartening to realize we live in culture in which people view everything as if it were theirs for the taking. Piracy isn’t new, but it sure seems a lot more universal now. With the internet there is an anonymity that people are very willing to take advantage of.

    How does this bookmarklet work? I seem to be technically challenged by this one and can’t get it to work.

    • Yes, it is sad, Ted. I have been successful in getting many of the images removed by notifying the hosting sites. They have responded quickly. Just today, I found a gross violation where an image of mine was taken, copyright removed and the image altered and posted. It was one of my Disney images! I guess they think they will never get caught. I hope I can get that one removed as I am having difficulty finding who owns the site. But I will persist!

      Are you using Internet Explorer? If so, here’s what you do:

      To add a bookmarklet
      Right-click the bookmarklet on the webpage, and then click Add to favorites.

      To use a bookmarklet, open a page where your images are.
      Click the Favorites button, and then click the bookmarklet on the list. A set of question marks will appear over every image on your page. Click the question marks and google will search the web for instances of where that image is used.

      • Thanks, Tracy. I’ve got it added and will see what turns up. Thanks for bringing this up (and I’m sorry it was you). :(

      • Excellent, Ted! Glad you got it working! :-)

        I appreciate your kind comments. Theft is out there…I’m sure you will discover some of your stuff being used as well. Good luck.

  7. Sad, but no surprise. Hope you get some action from the artist!! Keep me updated.

    • Sigh. I agree. No surprise at all.

      I will keep everyone updated and do hope the singer/songwriter does right by me!

      Thanks for the support, Rick. Spread the word! :-)

  8. Tracy, I am so sorry – and shocked – over what people can bring themselves to. But when I think more about it: I’m not surprised. Stupid, lazy, immoral and criminal people unfortunately show too many times every day around the world, what they are capable of doing.
    Maybe I’m almost more surprised that so many seemingly apologize and try to make it up again.
    And now I (like many others!) have to think about, whether I dare try to use this bookmarklet………………

    • Thank you, Truels. I completely understand what you are saying and went thru the same angst when I first heard about the bookmarklet in a Redbubble journal post. I thought, “Hmmm…how bad can it be?”

      Yes, it has been shocking and frustrating and time-consuming but it has been a wake-up call for me and if I can educate/warn other artists as well as educate the public that taking copyrighted images is stealing, then perhaps soem good can come from it.

      I have been successful in getting many images removed. The two YouTube videos have bee pulled (hosting sites have been great) and have received many apologies from offenders. I will have to create new watermarks for my images to make them unusable to the general public and will be diligent in checking the internet for image theft on a regular basis.

      I appreciate your comment and support! Spread the word. :-)

      • Just a small addition: After just 15 minutes fishing – I have already several fish on the hook :-( …………………#!?*%¤¤@xXQ0ŧ§^++£$$|>X.+$…………………….

      • Damn. I feel your pain, Truels!

  9. That’s terrible news, Tracy. I’m not surprised, your photography is outstanding. I’ve had the same happen to me. Just last week I found someone using one of my photos on facebook. They’ve deleted it now. A month or so back I caught a professional commercial photographer using my Toronto City Hall background in one of his photos. He’s shopped a person into the foreground. You could see where he edited out my watermark. He ended up paying me after I threatened to ruin his name all over the internet.

    Sorry to hear your news. Very discouraging.

    • Thanks, Dave, I appreciate the accolades. :-)

      WOW, you are quite the bulldog! Something I am learning I need more of. Too have a pro photog steal your work and USE it as their own is really low. I still would have ruined his name…if he’s done it once, chances are, he’s done it before and will do it again. That stinks. Sorry that has happened to you but glad to hear you got some justice from it. I hope to get some with the artist/songwriter.

  10. Well crap! So sorry to hear!! I too have a similar story… I was perusing one of my shooting magazines and lo and behold, there in a major two page spread ad was one of my images! I contacted the folks who placed the ad and we worked things out… long story short, I had given the shooter in question an image I had of him for his “personal” use… and he, like many others, figured that there was no difference between personal use and added value for a corporation….

    • Thanks, Derrick.

      Sad that you did a “good deed” (innocently handing over an image) and then, find out, YOUR property is being used without your permission. Your story makes me realize that I really have no idea how widespread the theft could be. Who knows if anyone has copied an image of mine and is using it in print? How fortunate that you were able coem across the image and get some justice/compensation. If you have any advice for me, pass it along. I appreciate your support! :-)

      • In that instance, going straight to the source of the ad took care of business. He was quite apologetic and knew fully well the consequences of using someone’s copyrighted information. The other folks down the food chain just didn’t know; but talking to the head of their ad department had it worked out in one phone call. If you can track down the company that put out the album, get as high up the food chain as you can. Tell them your sister or brother is an attorney and will work for you pro bono if they start to get obstinate. ;)

      • Thanks for th advice! From what I can gather, it is simply one artist who put out his own EP. No big corporation behind him.

      • Interesting BUT you have to use that symbol along with the text. Also, they don’t make that image easily downloadable. I am currently working on a different watermark for my images and will be adding it to all of them on my site. Thanks for trying to help, Derrick! :-)

  11. I know!! I have someone with a “grabber” hitting my site!! I don’t know for sure, but I was told that if My Website gets it own “IP Address” that it can prevent this problem….The only thing is that it costs more to get Your Own IP address for Your site!!

    • Interesting information, Bob. Image theft does appear to be widespread but I read that many sites are cracking down. I wish WordPress had more protection (like Redbubble does) since all my images are clearly stolen from this blog.

  12. I’ve been back and forth with myself on this issue, Tracy. When WordPress put that reblog button in, I had fits for a while because ALL images are picked up on a reblog, and even with the link back, I just didn’t like it especially when it was done on blogs that had no original content and appeared to exist purely for spamming purposes. And there’s Pinterest (where I found a ton of my images, but at least they were all linked back to my blog).

    I’m retrying the sharing attitude right now, with a Creative Commons license. So much “sharing” goes on via the internet that I find it impossible to keep up. All that said, there’s a huge difference between someone sharing an image with appropriate attributes and links, and someone stealing an image by removing the copyright, altering it, and failing to link it back to the owner. I hope you get it all worked out.

    • Interesting. I didn’t realize that is how the Reblog button works. I will need to research if it can be disabled.

      I can’t afford to have a “sharing attitude”. My images are MINE and my copyright statement clearly states that I maintain all my rights when it comes to both content and images. The outright theft by users is disheartening.

      I am hoping to get it all worked out as well. Thanks for your support and spread the word!

  13. I don’t get it! When I first started blogging, I even had the owners of creative commons work see if I had given them credit correctly before I used an image. That is unfortunate and I think a lot of people are interested in what you learn.

    • Well, you were obviously raised correctly, Tammy. ;-)

      I am not sure if it is laziness, lack of education or just simply, if they can get away with it, why not? Many have been using the images for quite some time. My bad for not being smart enough to check sooner. I have a lot of work ahead of me since I will need to add a watermark to each image on WP and re-upload. Thanks for commenting and spread the word!

  14. Thank you for sharing this… the bookmarklet is an excellent resource, much better than TinEye. It’s good of you to take the educational point of view, although I completely understand your anger and frustration. There will always be some people who just don’t care.

    • You’re welcome. :-)

      This has been quite the eucational experience for me, and I’ve come across good folks and bad folks. I want to believe in the goodness of the world and this experience is certainly testing my convictions. I hope to come out the other side more prepared and still wanting to be a photographer.

      Thank you for your comment, Barbara! I’m glad you are liking the bookmarklet and hope that you do not find any of your images stolen. Spread the word!

  15. Out of morbid curiosity I gave this a try here and there, too, M.P… so far I’ve only come across two of mine that were ‘borrowed’ – one for an avatar and one being used on a commercial site… (‘black’ pepper sauce, anyone? – looks worse in even lower resolution, b.t.w.).
    One of the reasons I haven’t even bothered with watermarks is I’m pessimistic enough to speculate people will rip stuff off no matter what (and depending on particular level of laziness either crop / clone / cover them up anyway). I’m hoping posting small images helps somewhat (and while we both know ways around that I’m hoping lazy / uncreative people wouldn’t take the time to figure out and/or explore those options).
    Despite my previous pessimism I was very, very sorry to hear about this, M.P… especially re: the musician… do you know if s/he did the cover or if someone else took your image without their knowledge? One artist blatantly ripping of another seems particularly heinous… :(

    • It’s really like watching a train wreck, isn’t it? On the one hand, you don’t want to watch (or in this case, check if your work is being stolen) but on the other, the not knowing eats away at you. It is a no-win situation for sure.

      As for the singer/songwriter, the story as I understand it is this: it was a friend at a design company that did the actual stealing of my image. I’ve received a lengthy apologetic email from him trying to explain. Doesn’t really help. Right now, I ralize that I will have to come to terms with this fact: that unless I want to pursue legal action (not an easy thing to do in one’s own country nevermind going after someone in another) I am pretty much screwed here. What’s done is done and I’ve got nothing to show for it. This is the most defeated I’ve ever felt. And yes, having it be another artist taking my work makes the blow even harder.

      I am now pondering the decision of adding a watermark to every image I have out there or simply, closing down my sites (WP and Redbubble) permanently. Trying not to do anything hasty since, as they say, time heals all wounds.

      I appreciate your condolences, Sig. You are very kind. It’s up to all of us to educate the public and hope, the image theft stops. Spread the word.

      • That might discourage a few unscrupulous people… or at least clue in others who see stolen work… it just seems like it’s so easy to make a watermark go away (unless it become so large it completely blankets an image… and even then…)… I don’t know…
        What I DO know is I certainly hope you NEVER take down your site(s) because of lazy, thoughtless people. There will always be D.B.’s out there… that’s just sad. But NOT NEARLY as sad as if these types discourage genuinely talented people like you from sharing work (or worse yet from even creating it in the first place)…
        that moves to tragic, S.E.
        I know how terribly upset and discouraged you must be… but I sincerely hope you don’t let something that happen… we would all regret it deeply.

      • I hear what you are sayin’, Sig, and I am weighing all my options.

        You can see what I am doing here: http://milkayphoto.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/sweet-endings/

        May not be pretty, but it gets the job done.

        Once again, I truly appreciate your comments and support. Like my hubby says, “if you close things up, they win”. Lots to think about.

      • I’d rather see you crank up the opacity to 100% and change your font color to magenta in that than quit, M.P.

      • :-D You made me smile, Sig!

  16. I am guilty! I copy images on my blog, but NEVER the ones w/ copy rights. I didn’t know we couln’t do that…I feel TERRIBLE. Can one copy a photo that has no copy right on it? Xxx I feel as if I should be put in jail!!! <3

    • It can be very confusing, as I am learning. You are smart to avoid those images with visual copyright marks. Unfortunately, I have come across instances where someone has taken an image and cropped it such to remove my copyright mark (which, up until now, was only found in the lower corner – either right or left – I’m in the processing of adding an unmistakeable watermark in the center of each image) then repost the image. When this happens, if another person finds the uncopyrighted image, they will have no idea they are violating copyrights.

      I can tell you are a good person who has no intent of stealing anything from anyone. I actually don’t worry about folks like you because, I have found a few of my images taken by unwittingly users, they are most apologetic and will remove the image immediately upon my request.

      My advice would be this: if you find an image on the web that you want to post, do a little research (if possible). If it comes up with and without a copyright mark, I’d be leary. If it has a copyright, you can look at the copyright owner’s website to see if they allow sharing. Most likely all they will want is credit and a link back. Others may not want their images used at all. I know my copyright statement says that my images cannot be used without my permission. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t grant permission to use, it just means I want the opportunity to make the choice.

      Thank you for your comment! It is opening up a dialog that perhaps will lead to someone developing a solution to this very serious issue.

  17. This is really so unfair, but unfortunately happen far to often.
    I am actually afraid to use the bookmarklet!
    But I probably will.
    Thank you for this important post.

    • Sigh. Unfair, indeed. I am keeping track of all the infractions and will be posting a follow-up with all the details. Very time-consuming process. Every day I get “little victories” as images are being taken down. Many I simply won’t be able to. I am planning on posting links to any US pages that I am unable to take down so others can see who are the thieves out there.

      I so appreciate your comment. My wish is that you don’t find any stolen images. Good luck. :-)

  18. Hi Tracy. Thank you for writing this interesting article, it is really a subject that ought to be exposed much more, – in our case especially as help from wordpress, but in a wider perspective as information about rights and good behaviour at the internet. One gets surprised about how people who make webpages focusing on love and healing – use pictures stolen from others to illustrate the importance of their words. In my case, until now, I have found two such distracting contradictions, and I have to laugh, in between being frustrated about how difficult it is to find a way to contact people. My search has just begun, I still haven´t read all your links to the end, but I am looking foreward to do it and to learn how to deal with this problem. I feel that you have started a discussion which will lead to changes,- you are determined on this, right?

    • Hello Birgitte! You’re welcome! :-)

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I too have come across sites like you describe…motivational ones or even, religious ones (I guess ‘thou shall not steal’ isn’t in their bibles) who have taken my images for their own use. Really surprising and makes me shake my head.

      Yes, this task has been eye-opening and frustrating but also, a little vindicating when I do get an image removed. I hope the discussion continues and that WP takes notice. We all have to help each other out, right? I will do my best to get changes made but I am actually not sure how to go about doing that. Perhaps as others read and comment, together, we can come up with a solution. Until then, we simply need to spread the word and protect our work as best we can. Hugs. :-)

  19. It truly is amazing what people think is FREE on the Internet. I give permission for people to use my blog photos IF they follow the guidelines.

    This reminds me of the people who poo-poo copyright marks on photos posted online. Some of them are big photographers who have an army of people behind them to protect their commercial photography rights. Then there are the people who gladly and publicly GIVE their photos away. Sure, how nice of them. Sure screws people trying to make a living at it like you. I am not a full time photographer but realize the damage such actions can cause others.

    I hope you will be not deterred by a few (ok, a lot) of bad apples and can figure out ways continue to share you wonderful talent with us and protect yourself, too. Thank you for the links. I will be exploring them.

    • I was wondering how (or if) you were going to weigh in on this issue, Scott. I do so appreciate your comments!

      I have been met with reactions as you state, akin to “why not go with a Creative Commons License?” or “why does this upset you so much? It’s what you should expect when you post photos online.”

      BUT, I have been also met with loads of support and those who truly understand. I admit I’ve been a bit naive thinking no one would steal the images as long as it had the copyright mark. Boy, was I wrong there. And with regards to the “Creative Commons License”, it only serves to muddy the pot since their “search engine” doesn’t distinguish between those images that are indeed, free to use and those that are not. It is really no different than any other image search out there so if the public doing the searches is uneducated, it is one big confusing mess.

      I am working and figuring things out day by day and hoping this experience becomes one of those tragedy to victory type stories where without it, I wouldn’t have met {fill in blank} or been exposed to {fill in blank} or my blog wouldn’t have been visited by {fill in blank} or I wouldn’t have known about {fill in blank} that ultimately leads me to something bigger and better.

      Hmmm, I guess there is still a flicker of hope in my heart, Scott. That’s a start, right? ;-)

      I promise to post all my findings. I am currently compiling the data (how many images, types of infractions, image removal process, outcomes of complaints, etc). and hope to have something to report back soon. Spread the word. (I hope you don’t find your images stolen but I am guessing that won’t be the case. :-( )

  20. This is really sad and I’m sorry to hear this, Tracy :( I personally never had these troubles (thanks for reminder, I haven’t checked the use of my images for a long time) but I fully understand your anger and frustration. I wish you all the strength you need to get over this. I like the saying – “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and this is a tough lesson after which you’ll be tougher person.

    • Your comments (and condolences) are much appreciated, Tomas. No one likes to have things stolen from them and my images are near and dear to me so, as you could imagine, it was a tough blow.

      I thank you for your wishes and I am confident I’ll survive this, dust myself off and trudge on forward. I agree with that saying. In fact, the Kelly Clarkson song “Stronger” is part of my workout playlist so I hear this very line almost every day. Who knew it would have special meaning these days?

      My wish is that your images have been respected!

  21. How terrible!!
    Thank you for sharing helpful information, but very upsetting to have images stolen. I’m going to try the bookmarklet tool.

    • I appreciate the condolences, fergiemoto! Thanks! :-)

      Yes, terrible and upsetting, indeed. I hope you do not discover stolen images and/or take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Spread the word.

  22. very interesting post. i will check out the tools you suggest. hope you feel better soon ;-)

    • Thank you, Linda! I do, too. :-)

      Time will tell. I’ve come back from worse. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? ;-)

  23. I hope you come back soon too, M.P.
    ‘return back to the happy-go-lucky, optimistic, “the world is good” person that I once was’
    Ha! If you are into that sort of thing, I guess. I’m still a *bleep*!
    I find it very helpful. :)

    • Thanks, Sig.

      I’m afraid I’m not doing very well. I thought I was but just today, realized the HORROR that is Pinterest. I have fallen back down the well and can’t even see the light from down there. Ironically, I had to close my studio last June due to lack of business. If I had a dime for every image theft, I’d be a successful photographer with a working studio. My fault, I suppose. Too trusting. This is a harsh lesson.

        • BD
        • Posted August 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm
        • Permalink

        I am interested in seeing the discussion on Pinterest…… to me, “pinning” an image means “I want to remember this, it is wonderful”. I would think this might be viewed as positive and I don’t quite understand how it would be seen as theft of an image, I will follow the discussion with interest!

      • This would be an excellent discussion to have on Pinterest.

        I’m actually a fan of Pinterest but only just yesterday, realized the damage it can cause working photographers. Pinterest is great for showcasing products; but when the “product” is the actual image itself, and that image gets pinned and repinned, (sometimes without proper credit back to the artist which is even worse), that image can then be copied, downloaded and then used without the photographer ever knowing or granting permission.

        I don’t believe the intentions of the pinners were bad…they saw something they liked, and that is fantastic. In one example, I have one image (it might be gone by now) out there that was repinned over 100 times and the further down the line it went, the more my name/description was lost in the shuffle. I have not made a single sale off any image that was pinned. Why would anyone pay me for a image when they can download it for free?

        With the addition of the (very) visible watermark on my images, I hope to alleviate this problem. This way, my images can be promoted/pinned but not “used” in any way. This is/has been a time-consuming and frustrating process and I will need to continue searching for my images posted on the web until it is cleaned up and I feel I have regained control over the use of my work.

        I appreciate your comment, BD. I do not know the solution but know something has to be done.

  24. My sincere apologies for using your image on my blog. I haven’t visited my blog in the past few days and did not see your comment, otherwise I would have removed the photo immediately. I certainly do not want to infringe upon someone’s copyrighted material. Your post was timely for me as well as a reminder to consider before I post. Again, my apologies.

    ~willa~

    • I appreciate and accept your apology, Willa. It is a slipperly slope and I know there are many folks out there who do not have any bad intentions when they post an image of mine. However, they also do not realize the damage they are causing working artists. When one of my images is out on the web with no link back to me, it can then be copied, downloaded and used without my knowledge or permission.

      My goal is to educate so that artist work can be promoted (so we can make a living) without suffering the sting of having images stolen and used. I am not sure of the solution but hopefully, something can be done.

  25. Thank you! I truly had no idea of the pain this would cause. I will blog about this to let my followers know the damage that can be done.

    • You’re welcome! :-)

      Also, thank you for blogging about this. You have given me hope, Willa! I very much appreciate that. :-)

  26. Tracy, I have send you an email, but it was returned. Have you changed your email?

    • Hi Birgitte! Nope, haven’t changed a thing. I sent you an email…perhaps you can simply respond?

      • Tracy, for some reason, it looks like my mails to you are seen as spam, and denied delivery.

      • That is very strange. I haven’t changed anything here. In any event, I clicked on the email that I have for you and added you to my safe senders list. Hopefully, that will clear things up and allow your emails to now come through.

  27. Such a travesty! You are an amazing artist and for someone to claim your work as their own is despicable! Your heavily watermarked images will still be enjoyed my me. I’m just sorry you have to deal with this!

    • Thanks so much, Amy. I so appreciate your kind comments and support. :-)

      This experience has certainly changed my view of the internet and my work on it. Not sure what the future holds.

  28. This is quite a disturbing post, Tracy. I have done a little searching myself with Google Images and found a few examples but nothing like your experience. It is truly sad. I probably should follow your example and watermark all of mine too. Fortunately, my website at PhotoShelter automatically is watermarked through the center of the image and right-click is disabled without a permission.
    I came here realizing that I had not seen a post from you in quite a while and after reading this wonder if you have just stopped out of frustration which would be understandable..

    • Thank you, Steve. I am glad you have not had the same experience. I really have been a fool to allow it to happen. All of us artists need to be smarter since work is being stolen and used on a daily basis. The world simply feels entitled.

      I am not sure what the future holds for me. I had to stop looking for images simply to regain my sanity so therefore, I also stopped blogging. Why post when all it does it give “them” more to steal? As you can see, I still have to figure my way through this.

      I appreciate your kind comments. Let’s hope 2013 is a better year! :-)

      • So you are still concerned even with your watermark?

        A Merry Christmas and a happier and less frustrating 2013 to you, Tracy.

      • Sadly, yes, since I have images out on Redbubble and there are ways around the watermarking that they do. Also, I have since discovered that there are software programs out there that can remove watermarks. Just goes to show you that if someone is determined enough, they will get what they want.

        Yes, let’s hope 2013 brings peace and change, Steve! :-)


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    […] saw this as “spam” and blocked my polite attempts to clean up this issue. Please go here and read the Pinterest update at the bottom of the page for explanation and instructions. Thank […]

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