Image Theft On The Internet

Frog on flower
Frog on flower


The above image is one of my images that I really have much affinity for.

I captured this image with my D700 camera and 105mm Micro lens at a local park and I find the colours very appealing.

There is much we can do to avoid or make it harder for the thief to steal your images. We can use watermarks, but I do not like these as in my opinion it defaces the image. I like the images I display to be the highest quality for the viewing public.

What if our images do get stolen, should we be proud that someone likes our images enough to steal them or do we get upset , who likes thieves anyway. I certainly do not.

 Google Is My Friend

There is an easy way now to find out where your images are on the internet. It is a Google facility called Image Search. I find it extremely accurate to identify where your images are. You simply need to go into Google, drag and drop your image into the dialog box.


Once you have dropped the image, then Google will search for all like images on the internet. Surprise, surprise, from the list that shows up by the Google search there are several sites with like images to mine which I have never been involved in.

I can not understand why a professional person or company would just copy images from another site, not only is it theft, but for a company trying to look professional and original, it makes them look like a company that is lacking in respect for other peoples work, does not have any of their own expertise and has no originality. Would you deal with a company with that sort of reputation?

Name and Shame The Thief

I would not like to accuse anyone of stealing my images but the following are several sites where I found very, very similar images, you can be the judge.

Both these sites are Web design businesses and they state on their site that they employ a photographer for original graphic work in their business.

I find it absolutely amazing that their photographer has captured an image identical to mine !!

I have shown some screen captures from the two of these sites below. The two sites seem to be related in some way.

Koost Web Design


Pashley Web Design

I have Emailed these sites to find out what is going on and have also mentioned them on Twitter to bring it to their attention.


I have had an Email from the Web sites concerned and they said that they thought the images were open source images. Perhaps they needed to do a bit more research before posting them.

This company said they would remove the images in five days and they have not done this.

I have sent Koost Web Design, several Emails, advising them of the image theft, also I have sent them another Email with an invoice for usage of the image and they have accused me of spamming. They do not seem to want to talk to me. I wonder why.

 Update – What Can I Do About My Stolen Image?

Well there is something you can do. You can issue a DMCA complaint to the Company who is hosting the Web site where your stolen image resides. The technicalities of a DMCA complaint is outlined in Wikipedia – Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

It should be noted that this is based on US law and applies to Web pages hosted in the United States, I am not sure where you stand if it is hosted in other countries.

In the complaint you will need to specify details of the complaint as follows:

  •  The offending Web domain address.
  • The IP address of the offending Web site.
  • The offending Web page where your image is hosted.
  • Outline specific details of the copyright breach and give a link to your Web site where your image belongs.
  • It is a very good idea to keep copies of your Raw images as well as the .JPG images, as the Raw image is like a film negative and can be proof that you are the original copyright owner and in possession of the original Raw image.
  • You will need to specifically say that you have contacted the web site and they have refused to remove the image.

Send the DMCA complaint to the Web hosting Company.

After you lodge the DMCA complaint what will happen.  In the above case the Web sites with the offending image have been blocked by the Hosting Company, a successful end of story from my perspective.

Thanks to Luke (my son), a web software developer, who helped me resolve this issue.


  1. Awesome. Glad to hear you got the final word on that one, and that the offenders got theirs. It’s a great story for any of us image makers who may find ourselves in this unfortunate position. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I issued a DMCA complaint to the Web Hosting Company and the Site has been blocked. See details in the above Blog Postscript.

  3. Great image, Geoff! It’s obvious that they have stolen your image. You have handled the situation well. The websites no longer resolve for me, so I wonder if you know more about what has happened between then and now?

    They are liable for usage of the image under most copyright laws. I’m not sure of the particulars with them being in the UK, but I’m pretty sure your rights are enforceable there even if you don’t live there.

    Either way, I think it’s great that you’ve addressed the issue professionally, and aren’t just rolling over. And an invoice is the nice way of addressing it. If you see them using the image again, it’s time for attorneys IMHO.

  4. Good article! I see many people on public sites ring fencing their contacts down to a very limited audience quite often these days due to image theft.

    It’s a shame really as some of those guys are very good photographers but it’s a bit of a losing battle and catch 22 situation. If you narrow your audience you’re no longer exposing yourself, but at the same time you’re also increasing your chances of having your images stolen.

    Now though with Google image search hopefully you can claim something back from the thieves!

  5. I agree they look like the same business. I sent them a Tweet on Twitter and referred to this Blog Post. If I do not hear from them I will send them an invoice.

  6. It’s not a nice feeling to see someone using your pictures, without permission.

    These two businesses seem to be one in the same, and definitely give the impression that your picture is their work. How often do they do it I wonder.

    I would at least be in contact with them, for an explanation. Good luck!

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