The volume of traffic that Dreamstime has, correlated with the evolution of search engines and their advancement in image recognition have recently increased the volume of misusage reports. Particularly, Google Images' recent upgrades of their engine translated into more notifications of images that are being used incorrectly. Overall, there are probably millions of images used monthly without their authors' consent. Very few are from Dreamstime, but a person that used our watermarked image might've downloaded a few more from elsewhere.
Our existent process became slower than we wanted it to be, therefore we're releasing today a new feature that should improve communication between the contributor, agency and infringing party. It will help the image to be removed sooner or licensed properly.
Starting today a new page (Report misusage) is available from the Management Area. If you come across one of your images being used with a watermark, you can use this page to email a DMCA notification to the owner of the site using it. As legally required, you can report only your own images. If you find other images, we suggest you leave a comment to their respective authors. You will need to know the sites owner's email. Sometimes, that is hard to find and this can be a drawback. We encourage members to share their experience in finding them. If the infringing site is not providing you an email address, you can use their online form. In this case, you cannot use our letter, you will have to draft your own.
Once the form is filled, our admin will review it and if accurate, will approve it. An email (LINK) will be sent to the infringing party, asking them to remove the image immediately or to purchase the appropriate license. If refused, you will receive an email with the reason.
A few important things:
- There is significant diversity between reports. In some cases the images are used properly, in other cases the license is incorrect. Most often this form should be used to report images used with watermarks. This is the most frequent case.
- We don't want this to be transformed into a witch-hunt. If the system will be abused, we reserve the right to remove access or to simply close this feature. We had cases where honest customers had their site closed because of an inaccurate report.
- Anytime you have a doubt whether the image is used correctly or not, please do contact support. If the image is watermarked, no need to contact us. Use the form, that's what is for!
- Educate yourself: know what your images can be used for. If you sell images as Royalty Free you should know they can be used for a book cover. Don't get angry when you find them used this way, be proud!
- Be reasonable and patient: in many cases, the images are used by persons who don't know what a stock photo is. It's unfortunate, but many people still use a search engine to download images, thinking they are free to use them. Our aim is to convert these into buyers. If they can't or don't want to, our goal is to have the image removed. Don't expect us to harass clients, we will not do it.
There are many facets in action. We will try to solve all of them in the best interest of the community. With this feature we try to protect the copyright and the hard work of our contributors, while bringing more customers into stock photography. This can be a vertical market that will improve your sales. Use it with this purpose but in a professional manner.
Please share your experience but for obvious reasons, try to avoid naming companies or including URLs here.
We'll be looking into your feedback and will also monitor the results. This is a beta-testing feature so please be patient while we try to improve it.
Last week i found ( using google images) one of my watermarked picture used by a real estate website from New Zealand... I contact the site admins (very polite) requesting to buy a proper license or to remove the picture from the site. The next day when i checked the image was removed.
100mm f/2.8 USM, Quad core Workstation PC with 8Gb of RAM and Nvidia ...
Quoted Message: Great feature...Last week i found ( using google images) one of my watermarked picture used by a real estate website from New Zealand... I contact the site admins (very polite) requesting to buy a proper license or to remove the picture from the site. The next day when i checked the image was removed.
As a side note, while you're checking your images (start with the most popular) make sure you take note of the page/article... title where the images are being used. These will often provide you good keywords. You can add them to the keywords of that image. Even if you don't find a misused image, you just got yourself a more relevant keyword.
Achilles, nice advice about adding keywords... but what if later someone reports the image for the keywords found that way and the editors also consider their flagging rightful? can one argue then that the keywords were searched via google's image-search? :)
Great new feature, btw!
photos), Canon PS-A610 (rarely, very good at macro with ada...
Quoted Message: Achilles, nice advice about adding keywords... but what if later someone reports the image for the keywords found that way and the editors also consider their flagging rightful? can one argue then that the keywords were searched via googles image-search? :)Great new feature, btw!
It is advisable to check and ensure these keywords are relevant. You cannot add just any keyword. There is a lot of creativity out there, so who knows? Maybe someone associates your photo with an article totally unrelated to the image topic. This is a suggestion rather than a general rule. Keep an eye on usages, maybe you missed some obvious keywords.
I suspect this may require a significant amount of man hours for DT staff to monitor. Hopefully it will get easier as the masses become educated in the proper use of images and thieves realize they can't hide behind the vastness of the internet.
It wouldn't hurt either for DT to update to a stronger watermark. I've found a number of stolen images being used merely because the watermark was not enough of a deterrent.