Sneaky Photo Stealers

So the other day my friend Paula over at Eat, Watch, Run (and yes, I am calling her my friend because we are now Facebook friends purely because we read each other’s blogs and feel like we know each other), posted a link on Facebook of a post from another blog about photo stealing.

Here is the link to her post, but I will summarize for you. Basically the blogger was sued for using a photo that was not hers on her blog, even though she credited the photo and linked to the original source.

The internet really seems like a free-for-all these days, and I am totally guilty of using photos that are not mine on my blog. I truly thought that as long as you credited the source (or the official photographer if that was the case), it was fine, and you are all good. I am not sure why I thought this, but I think only because everybody else was doing it.

So be warned. That is not the case. If you are using another photographer’s photo and you do not actually have their permission, you can be sued. Even if you link to and credit the original source. So, lesson learned from me, I will now be careful.

But I was intrigued by this. And there is a little trick on Google images where you can check photos by the source of the URL to see if they have been put on another website.

So just out of curiosity, I pasted the link from a couple of my own images that I thought might be popular.

Those two. I drew them. And they took me a while.

Most of the stuff I draw is really relevant to the story I am telling and would not be worth stealing, in my opinion. But those two photos in particular I thought might work with several other articles.

When I went into Google images, I discovered I was not wrong. I found them both used on a bunch of other blogs and websites (seriously, the treadmill one was on at least 10), with no credit to me.

Obviously I am not looking for any sort of financial compensation. I don’t even know how I would sue anyone, and I feel like that would just be a lot of drama. But it did bother me.

It bothered me because, out of all the blogs and websites that are using my images, only one even mentioned me. Blisstree. They did credit me (which I appreciated), however, they did not actually link to me.

But no one else even mentioned that they got those drawings from somewhere else. For other sites to just take them, not credit me, and pass it off as their own drawing, or even some random drawing that they found on the internet…that is annoying.

It’s not clipart. That took time for me to draw. I drew it to make what I was writing about more funny, and share it with you guys.

And of all the sites to take my drawing and post it as theirs with no credit, I am going to say the worst offender was Yahoo. That is a legit website. I can forgive naive bloggers, because I am one, but Yahoo? I think they should know the rules. I was really surprised when I saw that (and fine, a little bit flattered too).

I’m not popular like Hyperbole and a Half. People wouldn’t just see my drawings and recognize them as mine, and ideally I’d like them to actually read the story. This picture stealing hurts my livelihood (and my feelings). I would appreciate at least a link.

So how to counteract this? I could put a watermark on every drawing I do so that people would know I created it, but that would not only be annoying for me, I feel like it would take away from the drawing.

It clearly states on the bottom of my blog that if you copy my stuff I will unleash my hunger monster on you…

Which I think is a pretty scary threat, but apparently not.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, except to warn you bloggers that a) if you use an official photographer’s photo without permission you could get sued, and b) your own pictures may be on other websites without crediting you as the source. So you may want to check that out.

And if you steal my pictures without linking to me I WILL unleash my hunger monster on you. No empty threats here. You better look out, Yahoo.

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19 responses to “Sneaky Photo Stealers

  1. I think I might be interested in your hunger monster being unleashed on me.

  2. Wow. I think I’ve definitely seen your drawings on other sites, which is probably what prompted me to find your blog in the first place.

    This is crazy stuff, but my husband is an amateur photographer and I know he would be p*ssed if someone posted one of his photos without his express permission. A good warning for everyone.

    This was also the reason that many sites/blogs were going nuts over a pair of bills in U.S. Congress a couple months ago (SOPA & PIPA) that essentially would have shut down the entire internet for that express reason — the amount of regurgitation that happens on the web is almost essential to its functioning. How everyone gets around this, I’m really not sure.

    • well then, if that’s how you found me it’s not so bad!
      Yeah, I am totally against SOPA/PIPA and I love that the internet is so open for sharing. But I do think it’s really important to credit work that is not yours!

  3. We totes ARE friends. Oh, and Melissa over at Melissa Runs…she’s my Facebook-Blog friend too. But I get to meet her in person for the first time in 2 weeks. That leaves you. You must be next!

  4. That is really crappy…I would be furious too!

  5. Booooo…that is so shady of Yahoo to do that!!!! I would even just email the other bloggers asking them politely to credit you for your work that you put your effort into!! Is there anything you can do about Yahoo though? That really isn’t fair to you, and sorry to hear about your friend getting sued.

    Thanks for writing this post!! It really makes you think before you post!

    • I’m sure I could contact Yahoo and they’d probably take it down. I dunno. I think I will email the other bloggers, but the most annoying thing is that it’s something I feel like I have to check on all the time. Ohh well.

  6. Yikes! That’s kinda scary actually… O.O

    Thanks for sharing with us…dang it… this is terrible…and it’s ever more awful that people would dare to use YOUR drawings without crediting you properly! 🙁 I’m so sorry, girlie…

    I think from now on, I shall watermark my images on my blog. At least that way people will know where it’s from. :S

  7. That is cray-cray!! Scary stuff.
    I would be super annoyed if I were you with people stealing my drawings. I guess the only thing is your stuff is good and people want to use it! It just sucks that they don’t credit it. But everyone thinks they own anything on the Internet. See you today!!
    Excited.

  8. Wow, sorry that happened to you! I don’t think I have any awesome enough pictures but it would be interesting to look. I say go get Yahoo. Shame on them!

  9. Ugh, that sucks – I’m sorry people are using your drawings without crediting you. I actually read the article on BlissTree, recognized your drawing and was immediately kind of shocked that they didn’t even link to you. Nice that they credited you but…still. I feel like that is common sense, although having just read Paula’s post I’m probably going to go back through my blog and take down all photos that are not mine, even though I credited and linked to all of them.

    • It is scary stuff. Usually I think if you credit and link you’re okay, because I think most people just want exposure. I sure do, but I guess you never know!
      That’s crazy that you saw the drawing on Blisstree and actually recognized it! That makes me happy 🙂

  10. blogginglily

    Great post! The post your friend referenced has really been making the blog circuit lately, and for good reason, but your post dumbed it down enough for even me to take an interest. I didn’t even realize that option existed in Google images, although I’ve used it in a sort of backdoor way to find higher resolution images of thumbnails.

    So I went back to a post where I actually did “artwork” and searched. Nobody had used it. Part of me is ironically pissed about this. . . however, and even MORE ironic part of me realized that IN. THAT. POST. . . I’d found an amusing little cartoon about toilet paper rolls, and what your method of hanging them says about you, and I totally fucking used it without permission or credit.

    The image had the website name on it, and I guess at the time I sorta thought, . . . “meh. . . it’s on there”, but your post prompted me to seek out the source, and link to it from MY post.

    One saving grace, was the image I used was one that had the following pasted underneath it: “Our comics are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Basically, you may share, copy, reprint, or publish these comics as long as you provide the source. Email us if you’re still unsure.”

    So I’m going to start looking for that in the future.

    Anyway. . . good stuff.

    • I am sure I’m guilty of using images I didn’t have permission to use, so I should probably go through and check that as well. I LOVE that the internet is so open for sharing, because otherwise it wouldn’t be as good. It’s great that most people only ask for a link.

  11. You know, I have heard of bloggers being sued for using race photos that they screen captured.