Photographers have it very difficult nowadays. Most people think the internet is a free self service area. Individuals and even companies download whatever they like and use it for their own purpose or business.
What can photographers do about it? Some decided to do nothing or they just ignore it while others decided to keep an eye on copyright infringements. The future will tell us what the better decision is.
And here they are, some of the most stolen images, which got reported hundreds of times, sometimes removed and even better produced income in form of compensation payments for copyright infringements.
The Most Stolen in Instagram
Instagram is very popular and thanks to the built-in filters everybody can very easily alter an image. Unfortunately a lot of users do not give credits and/or tag the photographers and therefore copyright infringements are also on the rise. I don’t use Instagram anymore and have one post there only. Below is an example.
The image was made by me in Cologne on August 18, 2018. A few days later the model posted it with proper credits and got many likes. Some users reposted it with credits but some simply used the picture for their own purposes like e.g. selling leggings. Have you noticed the high number of likes (2374, 2865, 7902) on these 3 copyright infringing posts? For Zuck it is normal to make money even with criminal activities (and of course fake news).
I will keep you updated about this and other commercial copyright infringement cases like the ones below.
One more example:
The Most Stolen in Twitter
Another social media network where you see many copyright infringing posts. There are almost never credits given e.g. to my Twitter account.
Tumblr = Copyright Horror
Tumblr is one of the worst sites when it comes to respect for artist and models. The picture below of Francesca Felucci in black leggings in a Marina in Sardinia is just one example. Usually they crop the photos so my signature is not visible anymore.
What can you do as a photographer?
There are several copyright service companies on the market which can help you taking care of your rights.
Let me give you one reference, a company which I have worked with successfully for many years: PhotoClaim , founded by a photographer, Nico Trinkhaus. Visit their website and apply. It’s easy and they charge you just 45% only when a case is won. Otherwise, you don’t owe them anything.
There are also other copyright service providers like e.g. ImageRights, Pixsy and Copytrack. I worked with all of them and can advise you to keep your expectations low. This is also the case for Lapixa, which I’m currently testing.
With Pixsy I’ve had 1283 hits which resulted in 148 claims. 136 got closed for various reasons, 7 are still pending and 2 got paid out.
They have a good front-end and their back-office works rather slowly. They are stronger in USA and use image post-licensing.
Copytrack found 1700 hits which produced 300 cases. 280 got closed, 14 are still pending (up to 6 years!!) and 6 got paid out.
They have a good front-end but their back-office works very slowly, especially for cases in USA. They use image post-licensing. I do not recommend Copytrack.
As these two examples show you, the hits/pay out ratio was very low, 0.16 – 0.35 %. The cases/payout ratio was between 1.3 and 2 %.
ImageRights (not rated)
ImageRights has a subscription-based system only and therefore is not fully comparable to the others. They are strong in USA and produced 7 payouts for me.
Lapixa (not rated yet)
The frontend seems to be well made but the actual case submission is rather complicated. You should go through a checklist before submitting a case which is in contradiction to their advertising where e.g. Calvin Hollywood is saying “just upload your images, wait, receive the money and take a vacation.” In reality, most users won’t even be able to get through the checklist and if you’re experienced it means nothing else than you do most of the very time consuming work.
“Truth does not belong to the one who shouts the loudest” or let this be a confirmation that you simply should never trust advertising.
PhotoClaim has the highest payout ratio because they check and open cases (claims) themselves in contrary to the other services where you submit them yourself. They have a simple front-end but their back-office works quite fast and does much more work. They are stronger in Europe and do not use image post-licensing (which is better for photography).
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