Picture Stolen Watermark Register Copyright

Picture Stolen Watermark Register Copyright

Who • What • Where • When • Why • How

My photographs have been stolen!

Who stole my photograph?

What do I do?

Many “borrow” / steal photographs on the Internet simply picture stolen, with or without watermark, copyright or not!

Call it: Picture is stolen, stolen pictures, the photograph was stolen, stolen photographs, picture grabbed, picture theft… there are many forms of how to describe a photograph infringement!
Imaging, the Internet covers the planet like a spider web! Without any photo in an article, the article is “naked.” Imagine a newspaper or magazine without photographs!

Everybody wants to see photographs accompanying an article, it looks more beautiful and a photo says more than 1000 words.

Photographs accompanying an article or are set up on a website sell a newspaper or magazine much better and make the site much more attractive! The demand for photographs is high! These days no one wants to pay or just does not have a budget for that!

Did you know, the Internet, you are right now using it, you can cross borders without showing any passport. Or getting the ‘bags’ checked by the customs each time you cross the “invisible country border”! Undoubtedly, right now, a photograph is pulled out in a website sitting in Australia, flipping in just 1-3 seconds into a website sitting in Europe, or from the US to Russia, Switzerland to Vietnam….etc.!!  I wish I as well could travel that fast too! Beam me up, Mr. Scotty!

Many Professional Photographers Have To Fight For Their Stolen Photographs

I am one of them in the sardine swarm in the big ocean, called the Internet!

Fed up with it  >  Picture Stolen > Watermarked > Registered Copyright to all my photographs > What else can I do?


Picture of screen of one of my most stolen photo in Google search for images.

That is a screenshot of my photograph when I did a Google search for it. I found it everywhere.

Who ‘borrowed’ / stole my photograph (s)?

First, how to find your all of you nature and wildlife photographs. Open Firefox or Google Chrome, right-click on the photograph you posted, click on Search Google for this photograph! Be prepared before you do, grab a coffee or tea, that might take a bit longer or not, to follow up all found photographs! You also can have a Digital watermark, but that cost money. These days Google does it easier for us, IMHO. Hover with the mouse over an icon, it shows you the website address. Click on the photograph. It shows large and on the right-hand side, you can open the site. Make sure also to click on top the little photograph icon on SHOW ALL SIZES, if possible. Not always possible!

I did check on my photographs, was thrown out of my chair what I have discovered. Many coffees have been drunk since. I took some time to follow up on the sum of the most stolen photographs. I have even a runner up “borrowed/stolen” photograph. That runner up I am now after for a few weeks to get it taken out here and there and sending out retroactive license to money-making websites. Progress looks very good.

Money making websites and blogs

Why do I let a blog owner, a “normal” person, ”borrow” NOT photograph for their blog? This, I will do only when the blog owner does not have credits nor source links accompanying my copyrighted photograph! This is up to you, how you want to handle that!

But to have the credits written and the source link does NOT excuse the infringement!

If credits and source link is given to my photograph / my name in a blog, I usually do nothing. A well as it does not pop up as an advertisement, in a newspaper or magazine. When I find photographs with no credit given in a blog, I send them first an email. Kindly asking for credit & link, which works 60%. Others come up with all sorts of excuses. Whatever excuse it is, it will still be an infringement!

The runner up of excuses:  “I did not know!”

There are also lovely blog owners, I like them a lot. They sent me an email and ask me for permission to use a photograph in their blog, accompanied by their blog URL. The blog owners have given credit and source links in their blog to my name and website! Thank you very much.

What I should not forget, there are some cases, when a blog DOES make money! See below for more info on that.

Tourists climb the highest dune #45 at sunrise in a line. Behind the dune, you see the blue sky. (copyright Anette Mossbacher)

Travel Photographs

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Credits went to someone else name

Then I had/have those “holy cow wow” cases. Some of my photographs, found on a blog, credits of my photographs went to someone else name. The blog owner’s name or to a well-known photographer name! This kind of infringements I take the fastest, most straightforward steps. Send an email, no answer within 3 days – I file a DMCA – Digital Millennium Copyright Act right away. Send an e-mail to the website host (look it up in Whois), and that is indeed settled pretty fast. I have all those mails now sitting in drafts, that makes life easier! Keep in mind, those drafts are written very politely! Info on this, you find below.

Undoubtedly, in the Whois, com site, you can find all info needed. Remember, the spider web! Google does a pretty good job of helping you to find the right Whois website. Now you end up in, say a country you cannot read the website content. Google Chrome has an inbuilt translator, use this one or any on the Internet. That helps a lot.

Edit 27 Nov 2013

Since I have found a few photographs of mine with another watermark added, the websites watermark or whatever name! It was hard to find a contact e-mail address or phone number or anything in whois for me. I sent my Copyright Claim to the addresses given in whois and got answers back like we are not the Registrar, but they have been listed as such! Since the websites have been open and I saw the G+, FB or another social icon I did something different. I went into the source of the website and grabbed from there the websites G+ or FB or any other social “web address”. I went into such social sites, like G+ and found under about the e-mail address I needed for copyright infringement. It even goes faster. Not all have those social icons, but many do!

How to find the source of a website?

  • Safari: Develop – Show page Source
  • Chrome: View – Developer – View Source
  • Firefox: Tools – Web Developer – Page Source

Sometimes you find the social web addresses on top or below in a source page. You need to look for them on the page from top till toe. Check under About in the social media web address, there you might find an e-mail address. This has worked for me as well in a few cases! When you did this 2-3x, you get to know very fast what to look for.

Where did I find all this info?

How can I get my stolen photograph taken out of a website? I was digging quite long the web for all sorts of help and info.

  • What on earth can I do to with my photographs, which got stolen?
  • How can I proceed?
  • How can I get them out of websites not paying for a license, but that website makes money?

Many “how’s” were popping up during all search. Till a website suddenly was shown on my screen. Oh, I was thankful for that. That website has all info on its site, and I am delighted to share this link. Nearly all you need to know you find there, on one website, but just found out, this website does not exist anymore.

An elusive African Leopard stalks down a large tree trunk in this wildlife photograph. (copyright Anette Mossbacher)

Wild Animal Photography

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Beautiful Baobab tree between waterfalls, fine art landscape photograph. Anette Mossbacher

Photos Of Landscapes

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What To Do When You Found Your Stolen Photograph

You found your photograph • Picture was stolen, with watermark • registered copyright.

  • First, take a picture of the screen showing as well the URL to the website and your photograph.
  • I also print the whole site as a PDF, I do that with all website using photographs of mine unauthorized!
  • You need proof! Sometimes those sites are very fast with taking out your photograph when they receive an email from you!
  • The two points above done, then I send an e-mail/fax/snail mail letter, most of the time all 3 (if I find all info for that). Usually asking kindly to pay me the retroactive license fee from the date, they have published it.

Retroactive license fee, Michael Russell, a G+ user, has been so friendly telling me all this. Mike Spinak has also has written a blog about this. Worth checking out as well.
A retroactive license was written by a lawyer for me! It has been advised in a few websites to go that step! Careful how you write it! Don’t be insulting or angry in your writing that can backfire badly!

Did you get curious about this retroactive license?  For sure, I was inquisitive!

Just Google: “Do I have to pay for a retroactive license? Interesting it is!”

Watermark or not

  • Watermark, shall I put one in my photograph or not?
  • Register the copyright of my photographs?  (upload a zip folder, packed with photographs cost you around 35.-$)

IMHO (in my holy opinion), yes, in both cases. It is up to you how you handle this!

A watermark, does it prevent stealing? It certainly makes it a bit trickier to remove a watermark in some cases in others not! We all know the procedure!

When you push the shutter button on the camera, the photograph is protected by copyright, yours. I also set in the camera menu the copyright and all I can to my name! Do not assume that everybody on earth does know all that! Again, not knowing is no excuse!

Watermark Your Photographs • Does This Help?

Haven’t those Stock Photos Agencies, watermarks in their small photographs on their websites? Yes, most of them do! Crossing through the whole photograph or in other forms. They do know why!

There are so many discussions out there with pros and cons. In the end, it is up to you how you proceed. My thought is, to prevent pictures to be stolen add watermarks and copyrights. That shows people that this photograph belongs to you, including the copyright.

Register Copyright

Some info on registering your copyright for your photographs and a link to information for a retroactive license.

Yes, I DID register all my photographs for copyright. Info of the how-to, you can find on that website. //copyright.gov (around 35.-$US a folder packed with photographs) check the how-to in PictureDefense in the tutorial video.

Link to copyright tutorial by the American Society of Media Photographers: https://improvephotography.com/11517/legal-issues/ 

Keep in mind, there are quite a few websites in which you can register the copyright of your photographs! Please do check them very carefully, do your homework, some might close in 2-5 years, and then what? Start all over?

A tiger eye close up photograph of the predator's pupil and profile of its face. (copyright Anette Mossbacher)

Bengal Tiger Images

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A snow monkey bathing. He is taking a relaxing bath in a hot thermal pool. (copyright Anette Mossbacher)

Japanese Wildlife Photos

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Professional Photographers Have Different Opinions

Professional photographers have different opinions on their stolen photographs. As said, how everybody handles this problem with stolen pictures is their own business. For me, it always depends on the case!

The time I spend on one stolen photograph for me is about 3-5min. I have set up a workflow, have templates written to make life easier in this case. Keep Bookmarks of Google DMCA forms, the Whois sites I use,…etc. A fax number or address is not often given in a website or can be found on Whois, well then only an email goes out. If nothing is given, DMCA. Again it depends on the case for me! You need to decide how you want to proceed with your photographs.

Picture Stolen Watermark and Register Copyright

So far, I have found photographs of mine around the globe, in sites, people think: Wait a minute, you should know for sure that this is an infringement of copyright! Like government sites, even a lawyer, Newspapers,…etc. Do I have proof? Of course, I do, I did my homework. I find my photograph, open the website. First, I take a screenshot, then save all in PDF. Copy the link of the website where the photograph sits and start my process. As said, it always depends on the case, where the photo is located, and what it is used for. I am not a Charity for Newspapers or anyone else out there. All these sites HAVE their budget to buy photographs for editorial, advertisement,…etc.

I think like Mike Spinak says in his blog. If we all go after our photographs that it might make a difference in the big ocean of the Internet.

You may want to start surfing in my wildlife and landscape photographs portfolio.

Of course, I am selling my photographs as prints and sell stock photos. This is a must for me because I need to pay my camera gear, my trips, my electricity, software…etc. Like everybody else!

If may be interested in my review about the PhotoShelter Beam. I personally do not use the Beam for serval reasons you can read in the review. Also by now, I have a brand new website launched in April 2020.

A wildlife photograph in color shows a massive African elephant tusk covered in the dust (copyright Anette Mossbacher)

Elephant Images

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A massive walrus is swimming in the Arctic sea. It comes up close to the zodiac to investigate us. (copyright Anette Mossbacher)

Arctic Wildlife Photos

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