Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Lately, over the last few months, and really, over the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about image theft, and copyright infringement.  There is little that can be done about it, its just a fact of eLife they say..  It is if you let it.  There are several ways to combat image theft, be it in photoshop, or in the court room.

So you've been ripped.. Now What?

Firstly, let me say that image ripping is wrong, but we all rip music, so there is also the debate about that..  Is it wrong?  Some argue the fact that people are collecting your work, using sites like flikr to collect their favorite images into one place.. Is that wrong?  YES.  deviantART offers free accounts with a favorite option.. Which i have seen many an account with only favorites.

That leads us to blogs.  One of my images was used on an emo blog based in Russia, i couldn't understand anything, but after having it translated, my name (or a link) was not mentioned anywhere..  Now, i would be personally fine with someone posting an image on a blog, under the circumstances that;

a) they credit and link back to me
b) don't use it in a derogatory way, or manipulate the final image.
   

Blogs and other online thefts aside, there is also the very real possibility that your work will be used in a commercial way, making your thief some money.  Two of our very own members have been affected in very real ways.  

Lara's story

larafairie Was startled to find out some time ago that an American porn company had been using an image of her, a self portrait (taken when she was underaged no less) on the cover of a PORN DVD!

I asked Lara about her ordeal, but didn't go into specifics due to litigation in progress.

The image in question, a fantastic self portrait: No Easy Way Out by larafairie

The following is taken from an online news source:

"Lara Jade Coton, who we interviewed here, has filed a lawsuit against TVX Films and its president Bob Burge. The suit filed in Tampa, Fl., accuses Burge and TVX Films of copyright infringement, civil conspiracy, misappropriation of her image, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit also names a number of online retailers in claims for copyright infringement.ljade.jpg

Lara Jade, an 18-year-old photography student from England, had posted a photo of herself on deviantART. The image later turned up on the cover of a pornographic DVD called "Body Magic." Lara Jade was 14 at the time she took the self-portrait.

When contacted, Bob Burge told Lara Jade that he had obtained the image from an adult freeshare website… but couldn't remember which one. He also agreed to change the cover, claiming that it would probably increase sales.

"We're asking a jury to award damages, including punitive damages, for the outrageous conduct of Burge and TVX," Lara Jade's lawyer Richard A. Harrison said. "We're also asking the court to stop these pornographers from using the picture and to impound any copies of the movie or other materials on which Lara Jade's picture appears.""


I wish Lara all the best in a suit i cant picture her losing.

Bruno's Story

Another member, well known and loved deviant arstis Bruno Mercier, also known as Pixydream.

I asked Bruno about his dealings with Image theft, and he was more than happy to answer my questions, seeing as his lawsuit had already been settled.

The image in question: The Last Tree by Pixydream

S: Who stole it your image, and what did they do with it?

B: I frequently check Google and in November I found a french Web Site, a Publishing House, which sold a book with my picture as a cover. So I took the precaution to take some screenshots of the book and of the order page then I downloaded their catalog in pdf.

S: How did you deal with them?

B: First, I wrote a small mail to the publisher to ask him if he bought the pic via one of my libraries/agencies. His answer is simple, he found the pic on the internet (at dA) and as it wasn't protected, he thought he had the right to download and use it for his needs. He added, he had the intention to send me a word but he forgot. So, I explained that I was the author and that he had to ask me the permission before using my pic for commercial purposes. I said I was sorry but that it was not possible to pursue the commercial exploitation of my picture without any payment. I was a professional and my pictures are my only way to earn my living.

S: What kind of responses did you receive?

B: The first answer was quite polite. The man said he loved my work and especially that pic. But when I began to speak about money, he started to insult me. He said I wanted to exploit the situation to make my business. Then he posted my name, e-mail address to his forum in order that members started to spam me. They did... even the author, an incredible 70 years old woman who wrote a surrealistic e-mail to me when she said that it was a true honor for me to be on the cover of his novel. Incredible!! So I took one or two days to decide what I wanted to do. And then I took the decision to require a lawyer to complain. So I warned the publisher that I would lodge a complaint against her publishing house, against himself and against the author of the book. I have shown that I had all the evidence of commercial exploitation and abuse of my picture. However I added that I was, ready to negotiate a flat rate for the commercial exploitation of my photograph.

S: How long did it take to get resolved?

It took about one month but finally one day I received an e-mail from their accountant saying that they wanted to negotiate a price. This negotiation was a bit hard but at last we [finally agreed] on a correct price.

S: Why its worth fighting?

B: It is a matter of principle. Any commercial exploitation merit pay. If you do [let is happen] once, [then you might let it happen more] and this is not possible, above all if you are a professional. You deserve [your fair share] and [by not claiming it] you do a disservice to the entire profession. Any work merits pay.

S: Thank you Bruno, anything else you think is necessary for the story?

B: Yes, check regularly Google, but don't be too hard with the little rippers, they're just kids and they don't steal your work to earn money, but in the case of commercial using, fight!.. ;)

Bruno fought, and he won.  This is likely going to be the case if your image is being used for commercial gain.  It may seem like a lot of work, but its worth it!

Fighting online theft

DO NOT email anyone with your REAL email address, create a new one and use that.  What happens is they will put it on forums and post it so people harass you. (thank you cweeks for pointing out that tidbit to me)

A friend and another fellow deviant nikosalpha has been dealing with image theft on his incredible portraits, and while specifics are available, i do know that Penthouse (Greece) has been using his work.  I left a comment on his most recent journal advising him about embedded image protection.  

There is a simple way to protect your image without a big visible (and ugly) watermark..  

METADATA...

Metadata is essentially information embedded into your media that stays there.

Through Photoshop (most versions CS, CS2, CS3 for sure) all you have to do is go:

FILE > FILE INFO, and it will bring up all your embedded info.  Simply embed a copyright warning in the correct box (if in doubt, use the HELP function on your software)

For instance, i might use "©Scott_Alexander_2008"

Now my image is protected with an invisible, digital watermark..  but lets not stop there..  Lets have the internet tell us any time someone posts my image with my invisible copyright!

God bless google!  Google alerts, one of the best kept secrets on the interwebs.

From here, i can enter into my Search terms: ©Scott_Alexander_2008, tell google to notify me once weekly (more if you are a big shot) and have them sent directly to your email!

Just like that, you are informed of every infraction that takes advantage of your work!

Fighting REAL LIFE theft

If you are lucky enough to run in with the real life thief, If they are making money off of your creation, you should fight back.  Put away the golf club or 2x4, and Call a lawyer.  

• If in an online shop: Screenshots!  Take as many as you can, and ask your lawyer what else would be needed.

• If in a gallery/shop: Take pictures of your item on sale.  If in doubt, call a lawyer or consultant and discuss your options before doing anything.  I would suggest a picture as soon as you notice, tell the clerk you are taking it so your significant other, or parent can buy it for your birthday, they wont ask questions..

DO NOT sit on it and let them get away with it.  Chances are they have done it before, and will do it again..  It is your duty to not only protect your work, but that of your fellow artist.

The BEST way to deal with this kind of theft sadly, is the inclusion of a big ugly watermark..  

Other dA resources and articles on ripping

How to report theft on flikr - by equivoque

How to report theft on photobucket -by Gild-a-lily

Copyright on the net 101 - by cosfrog

Art Theft awareness and prevention -by sofine127

Protect your work! - by Netbug009

Embedded Copyrights XMP - by cypher-neo

How I Dealt With An Art Thief - by dragonWinter

How to deal with ripped art - by Killjoy

To watermark, or not to watermark - by Elandria


Finding out who you are dealing with.. WHOIS.NET

What to do...

An abundance of online watermarking tutorials!

Some of the many tutorials shared by our friends and fellow deviants!

Effective Watermarking Tut by timmy64 Watermarking Tutorial by Tao2Eden:thumb40714940::thumb77672224: Basic watermark tut by Tepara

If there is ANYTHING not covered in this news article, or any of the others, note me directly about it, i will research it and add it to the news.  If you have a story you would like to tell about real life ripping, note me as well.

I hope that this wall of text helps somebody, thank you for reading this far, and if you just skimmed it, please fav it  for more exposure!

Thanks!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmrwitchblade:
MrWitchblade Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2009
Nicely done, one of my sitesa also has the "RIGHT-CLICK" disabled, along with coding in the page to stop I.E. users from using the image save function.

I also encript the html/php/c++ coding so it hides the location of the images on the site.

Even screen shotting, means they only get a very low-res copy. But it's better than no protection.
Reply
:iconkaro89:
karo89 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2009
very good article! useful and full of advices.
Reply
:iconomnipotent:
omnipotent Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
I've tried the metadata thing and it's not working for me...Am I doing anything wrong? I have CS2
Reply
:icondean-irvine:
Dean-Irvine Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2008  Professional Photographer
maybe i'm being stupid but if i use metadata on my images, is it possible for the person who steals the image to change it, if so whats the point of it
Reply
:iconm3ment0m0ri:
M3ment0M0ri Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i ve found tons of artwork stolen from here on fotolog. I ve reported those accounts and nothing. Seems that Fotolog adms gives a s*** about this
Reply
:iconsandeyes13:
sandeyes13 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2008  Student General Artist
Your smart, I tryed to do what you suggested with the metadata, but I use adobe elements 4.0, so my thing is confusing and I can't make heads or tails of how to fill it in properly... I took a screenshot of it (([link])) In the copyright status box it has two choices, bing copyrighted and not copyrighted, I tried to find a help section in the help part of my program, but it doesn't mention anything about this feature, as well I cannot copy anything into it, so I can't copy the copyright symbol into any of the sections... I was also wondering though, since my mum brought it up, once you embed this stuff into it, is it safe to use my real name, or will people be able to see it? Or can't people just save it then change the embed info to their own info?

Please help me, because am hopelessly computer illiterate!

Thanks for your time though.:)
Reply
:iconxcreativex:
xCREATIVEx Featured By Owner May 17, 2008
Hi, I really like this article. :)
But I was wondering... are there any cases where people can ACTUALLY remove the watermarks? I hear stuff, and it scares the crap out of me...
Reply
:iconluisarafidi:
LuisaRafidi Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2008
Awesome news. But let me ask you something; I have Photoshop 7.0, so there isn't that easy way of "FILE > FILE INFO". What do I do?
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2008  Professional Photographer
You should be able to do it though windows, bring up the help screen and type in file info
Reply
:iconluisarafidi:
LuisaRafidi Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2008
I can't find where I need to type in file info.
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2008  Professional Photographer
hmm.. Search google for metadata program
Reply
:iconluisarafidi:
LuisaRafidi Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2008
Ok, I will.
Reply
:iconfaustsnake:
FaustSnake Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2008
How about making the images seen by the use of a flash player?
If it's done this way it's impossible to copy the images since the right click options only open the properties of the flash image viewer.

Hope that helps ^^
Reply
:iconsprogg:
Sprogg Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
Very, very interesting.

There isn't a way to alter the metadata of files already uploaded to dA, is there? :(
Reply
:iconsoundofvision:
SoundOfVision Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2008
Well, you could just change the file. Put altered one instead of old one. That can be done, without re-uploading or deleting old deviation.
Reply
:iconsprogg:
Sprogg Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2008
Just a pain doing it for 160 individually.

Ah well. =/
Reply
:iconobscuredtwilight:
ObscuredTwilight Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
Could it not be possible for DA to simply disable some of the right click options such as "copy image, save image"or then just completely disable the right click all together?

I've seen some websites where they won't let you save any pictures :3

The only other way of thieving art if the right click has been removed is by making a print screen but I doubt many thieves will go to the paining process of cropping the image etc just for one picture.

Anyway, I've stated my opinion, I hope it's alright of me, if not I apologize.
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008  Professional Photographer
Of course it is alright!

Thanks for the comment :)
Reply
:iconfrazzled-niya:
Frazzled-Niya Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I keep on forgetting to put in that file info data *_*....*sighs*
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008  Professional Photographer
Depending on what photoshop version you are using (CS CS2 CS3)

You can make an action that will do it every time. You can make the action save and close your work too :D
Reply
:iconfrazzled-niya:
Frazzled-Niya Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh!!! You can make that an action too XD awesome! Thank you!!!
Reply
:iconkikitue:
kikitue Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008  Student General Artist
What happened to that nifty little CSS that disables right click? Why don't dA do that?

kikitue xx
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008  Professional Photographer
I believe it is in the works, I will ask.
Reply
:iconeyeseewell:
eyeseewell Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2008
Fuck yeah, this article is good. Especially that metadata blurb, I'm gonna start doing that from now on. Thanks :)
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008  Professional Photographer
anytime!
Reply
:icondesmo100:
desmo100 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2008
Excellent article and advice. Thanks for posting!
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2008  Professional Photographer
So welcome :)
Reply
:iconcrowelsh:
CroWelsh Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008   General Artist
Over the past few months I've been re-evaluating my whole approach to uploading my work to the public domain (internet) & the implications of my not copyrighting my work .. then I came across your article here ...

Great little resource on a topic of great importance.

Thanks for putting this together, it has been extremely helpful .. :hug: :)
Reply
:iconelreniagreenleaf:
ElreniaGreenleaf Featured By Owner May 21, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Ditto! Fantastic report! :D

I don't have any of my photographs up on DA, (well, a couple but not many) but I have several thousand on Flickr and I'm terrified that someone will steal them and use them for thier own benefit. :(
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional Photographer
You're so welcome :)
Reply
:iconmalifa:
Malifa Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2008
nice news, I always wondered what people did when art theft became a serisous problem
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional Photographer
Some people just never get answers, sometimes they do tho, and usually protecting yourself from all angles like this make you extra probable to successfully defend your work :)
Reply
:iconmalifa:
Malifa Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008
oh ok, well thanks a lot for saying, but I never thought art theft could be taken as far as being used a a book cover without permission ^^;
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional Photographer
It can go even further! :faint:
Reply
:iconsakurayne:
sakurayne Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008
On meta data (I skimmed over that section) couldn't you just take a screenie of the image you want to steal?
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional Photographer
You could, but it would be limited to the size posted, and at 72dpi

really, thats no good for printing, and sub par for posting
Reply
:iconsakurayne:
sakurayne Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008
True :)

Yay for fighting art theives! >o<
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional Photographer
:w00t:
Reply
:iconaoifasd:
aoifasd Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
i have a tinny question:

what about fan works sold at convention?
are they conisdered art thief? by your definition and exemple, they should be.
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional Photographer
Fan works are one aspect of art i keep myself blissfully ignorant about. Reaslistically yes, they cant be sold.. however, if the studio companies dont make it a point to go to conventions to check, i wonder if they mind?

Because with anime for instance, the more fanart, the better the series fares honestly
Reply
:iconjem0000000:
Jem0000000 Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008
A couple things you may have overlooked:

For those of us who can't afford Photoshop, you can access Windows metadata by right-clicking on a file, choosing " Properties", and clicking on the " Summary" tab. Make sure you *do not* have the file open while doing this. My guess is it would help with the issues with editing with other programs, too, but I can't afford any of them either so someone else will have to test that. I know it works on .jpg's from both my digital camera and the scanner.

There is a way for website designers/builders/editors to prevent people from right clicking and saving a pic. No, you do not have to block all right clicking. Is this something DA can't use because of multiple-browser compatibility issues? Is anyone looking into a way to make it work accross browsers? If I could find my textbook (we moved recently, and many non-essentials are still packed) I'd give you the specifics, but I think the code we were using in class was IE-based. I know there are browser-detect scripts out there, so if you can find a way to block saving an image individually for each browser, you could probably get it blocked site-wide on images that aren't supposed to allow download. Then at least we'd only be competing with screenshots, browser caches, and programs designed for the purpose.

To my knowledge nothing of mine has been stolen yet, but there are pics that I will never put up because of the copyright security issues. I would love to see more prevention techniques in widespread use.
Reply
:iconjem0000000:
Jem0000000 Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008
Sorry for the second post - I realized I completely overlooked thanking you for the metadata tip - it's never occured to me to use it for copyright protection.

Thanks! :)
Reply
:iconrobert-pj:
Robert-PJ Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008  Professional Photographer
Thank you for this :hug:
Reply
:iconexeptionallyaverage:
exeptionallyaverage Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008
thank you so much this was really informative and may just save my neck in the future :) :) :)
Reply
:icontheeducatedfool:
TheEducatedFool Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008
wow. really nice.
Reply
:iconandreazur:
AndreAzur Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2008
Very good editorial. But fighiting for your work in a first world country is posible. On some countries they would just laugh at you. Which doesn't means that anyone has to be discouraged from fighting.
Reply
:iconstraightfromcamera:
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional Photographer
Exactly, sometimes its hard, but maybe one day soon there will be a worldwide copyright company that can help artists keep copyright on their own work
Reply
:iconlittleblackduck:
littleblackduck Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2008
This is great info. Thanks.
Reply
:iconmiiyatsu:
MiiYatsu Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2008
Thanks! This helps a whole bunches :hug:
Reply
:iconkelseytroberg:
KelseyTroberg Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2008  Professional Photographer
[link]


ART RIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was doing a search and came across this site. A picture of mine is there along with :iconlp-dream:. She's already been noted. Everything there is ??????? ???ed instead of words. Any help in figuring out any kind of contact info would be appreciated.
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:iconstraightfromcamera: More from straightfromcamera


Featured in Collections

Tutorials by spirit-fire-stock

News by PolarisAstrum


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
March 14, 2008
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
1,931 (2 today)
Favourites
454 (who?)
Comments
262
×