Protecting your images online is an ongoing challenge for photographers and creatives. Whilst we believe that monitoring your content online is the key part of your photo protection process we would like to outline a comprehensive range of options available in order to enable the creation of a complete image protection strategy.
The options below fall into two broad categories that will protect your content. Proactive Steps (such as image search) and then Management steps (such as sending DCMA notices).
- Documentation: The first thing that is recommended when there is a potential case where your content has been used without your permission is to document what has been found. Some items to cover off here can be: website page URL, Image URL, A screenshot of the webpage, WHOIS information from the host and any other information you can gather.
- Conversations: When you find instances of your photos being used that you have not have authorised, A simple but effective step can be to make contact with the person/company in question. This could be something that you do yourself or you can use an infringement partner to manage this on your behalf. Gathering an understanding of the particular situation will often help in resolving the issue.
- DCMA Takedown: DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It is a U.S. copyright law. It covers the rights and obligations of the owners of copyrighted material. Even though DCMA is a US law most countries worldwide have a takedown process that is similar in structure. The takedown process involves contacting the hosting company that is serving the website that has infringing content. All major hosting companies have processes in place to manage this. This is something that you can do yourself or have an infringement partner take action on your behalf.
- Legal Actions: Engaging legal representation is an option available when your content has been infringed upon. There are a number of steps involved in the end to end workflow (and it can be quite a lenghty process). It is recommended to find a legal representative in the country that the infringement has taken place. Each country has specific laws of varying effectiveness pertaining to copyright. A major factor in the US (Canada, Germany, UK etc) regarding infringements is whether your images have been registered with the USCO (US Copyright Office). Without this cases are still worth pursuing however the potential recovery amount will be reduced.
If you have additional options that can help in the protection and management of your images please contact us. and we will update this guide. It goes without saying that none of the information above should be considered legal advice.