The Problem With Image Theft Online
“But I found it on Google,” is no longer a valid excuse for intentional or unintentional image theft. Once thought to be the subject for copyright lawyers, more and more users and content creators are trying to familiarize themselves with the complicated laws of online content.
From a legal perspective, by default all original work is protected by copyright law. This protects all original works of authorship from literary works to artistic pieces, to music. These laws give copyright owners the rights to reproduce the work, publicly display the work, modify the work or base other work on the original, and most importantly, make a profit off the work. When users or business steal images or other work from creators online, they are infringing on the exclusive rights granted to the creators.
When Google mage search is literally just a mouse click away, the business of stolen images has run rampant. Accounting for nearly half of the internet’s stolen content, blogger and social media users are the top culprit for stolen images and content. Following up in second place are the commercial businesses. While businesses steal images at a lower rate than individuals, they are more likely to modify the images as well. Whether in an effort to avoid detection, or modified for advertising purposes, 72% of images taken by business are altered in some way. As a result, for every image used illegally, photographers lost almost $450.
Looking to protect your artwork online without deleting your portfolios entirely? Check out this infographic for more on the business os stolen content and how to prevent yourself and your work from becoming victims of online thievery.