Tracking your copyright protected images and photographs on the internet is an important and often time consuming task. Once a digital photo is posted to a website or distributed electronically it is possible for the photo to be misappropriated and used by other folks without your permission. (It’s easy to do, it happens all the time, and often the offenders don’t even know that they have done any wrong.)
Keeping tabs on who is using your copyright protected images is important because, it helps you control your photos, preserve your licensing revenue streams and protects the copyright vested in your work.
One simple way to search for uses of your photographs online is by using Google Images. Google Images allows a Google search to be run on an image, instead of a ‘text search term’. It’s easy; you just drag an image into the search field and click ‘Search Images’.
Try it –> http://www.google.com/imghp
For example, I just ran a search on the cover photo of a book and the results that came up were websites using the image or a similar image. Not all the results listed were infringing uses. Some of the results are legitimate. It’s easy to scroll through the Google Image results and identify infringing uses. (The Google Images search works for artwork too.)
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.