I was checking my web stats last night, when I found a site using one of my images (shown here) without my permission. Amazing what you can learn from your stats! It wasn't a big multi-national or anything, but a blog. The person took a stock image off my portfolio site. It had my copyright symbol clearly on the top of the image. It wasn't even cropped off. There was no credit, no link back to my site (in fact it was linked to Nike's site), nor was I asked if they could "use" it. Needless to say I was a bit taken aback at first, and then I became angry. This is what I wrote to the blog:
I noticed that you poached a triathlon photograph from my commercial web site and posted it on your blog. This is in violation of International copyright law. The photo that you stole, even has the copyright symbol still on it, which is not necessary under law, just a friendly reminder in case people don't know.I get sick of people not respecting copyright and just thinking that everything on the internet is free for the taking if you can. There are enough $1 images around that there should be no need for anyone to steal any photographs anymore.
I am a commercial photographer. I make my living shooting and selling images. I give many free hours of my time and photographic expertise to amateur sports associations and athletes, however since you didn't ask my permission, nor gave me a link or credit back to my own website and/or stock photography library, I must bill you for the usage of this photo.
This photo can be purchased with a Royalty Free license at web resolution for only $20. Please do so from the link here. As a courtesy to me I would also like the Nike link removed from my photo and instead paste this link in its place.
Just because you can access and "right" click "just a picture from the web" as you call it, does not mean that you can or should do this. Just like it's illegal to download copyrighted music, it is also illegal to download photos without consent and in most cases payment to the artist. Triathlon costs a lot of money to participate in. The cost of traveling to races, wet suits, running shoes and especially bikes keeps many people out of the sport. Surely you can afford $20 to support someone who cares deeply about supporting athletes, especially women in sports.
Sure, I could build a flash website to prevent this type of thing, but they aren't as SEO friendly as HTML sites. I would lose my high ranking in Google, plus, the updates would be slower to do and I'd probably have to hire an expert to make changes. I just want people to "get it" and stop poaching photos of people's sites. Do you steal food off the shelves in the grocery store - just because you have access to it?
If this person would have asked me for the photo instead of stealing it, I would probably have given it to them in exchange for a link to my PhotoShelter Archive. As it stands now, I'm just ticked off! Possession, as they say is 9/10 of the law. They stole it. I found it. Now they must pay!