I recently got invited to use the beta of Pixsy, an online software platform that identifies unlicensed image use on the Internet and fights on behalf of photographers. While I’m generally happy to see my photos featured on blogs and forums – non-commercial use that is – I’m a lot less thrilled to see my photos on commercial or news websites with my watermark edited out and no credit whatsoever. The latter constitutes copyright infringement and theft, pure and simple and is really, really not cool. As much as photography is a hobby to me, I also shoot professionally at times. My gear and years of experience weren’t free and I don’t think it’s fair when someone else is benefitting from my work by illustrating their news articles or tourist guides with my pictures on for-profit sites, especially without asking for my permission and removing my name.
So, what now? Well, Pixsy should be doing most of the legwork for me. If their claims are true, they’ll invoice the offending sites directly, take their cut and give me what’s left. The sites will then have a proper license to use my photos and I’ll have a few extra dollars to spend on gear. Sadly, I’ll also have to add one of those ugly paragraphs below each picture outlining licensing terms and put larger watermarks on the photos.
All my photos on this site, while protected by copyright law, can be re-used for non-commercial, private purposes only. For any other use, please contact me, I’m cool.