Photographer is suing Getty for 1 billion dollars for selling work she donated to public domain.

August 16th, 2016

Carol Highsmith / This is America! Foundation

Carol Highsmith / This is America! Foundation

Imagine getting a Copyright violation notice from Getty for using a photograph that you took yourself.

That’s what happened to Carol Highsmith. She got a Takedown Notice plus a $120 fee for using her own photo. She had donated over 18,000 photographs to the library of congress, and unbeknownst to her, Getty added those photos to their database and started selling them as part of their catalogue. She found out about it when Getty noticed one of ‘their’ photos on her site.

It makes you wonder: Do you know how your work is being used online?

Copyright protection is a big issue, andI’ve got a few tools that can help.

The first tool is Google Reverse Image Search. You can upload any of your images, and Google will let you know each time that your image being used online. This tool is great if you ever want to know the original source of an image, or if you ever want to see if anyone’s using your work commercially without your permission.

Another tool is Google alerts. When you create a Google alert, you give Google what’s called a ‘Set Phrase’. From then on, whenever Google finds a new mention of that phrase, they will send you a link letting you know. There’s many powerful ways to use this tool, as a business owner you should at least take the time to set an alert for your brand name and your personal name. Then you’ll get a notice anytime someone talks about you online.

The real tool you need to know about though, is called Image Raider. It’s an affordable tool that puts Google Reverse Images search and Google Alerts together. You can upload any (or all) of your images, and every month it will search for new uses of those images and notify you if it finds any. If someone’s using your work without asking, this gives you a chance to send them a takedown notice, or ask for attribution and a backlink. It’s one of the first things I set up for my clients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *