Copyright theft – What’s a food blogger to do?

Perhaps the only to prevent my images being stolen and used illegally.

Perhaps the only way to prevent my images being stolen and used illegally.

Imagine you are an art lover. Imagine how you would feel if some gang of low-lifers climbed in your bedroom window during the night and made off with some of your most prized artworks. The thieves head off to their houses and hang your work on their walls. They claim it for their own and ask their friends around to admire it. Pretty low behaviour in my estimation. In fact, it’s the pits.

Now imagine you are a food blogger and you spend a good deal of your creative energy lovingly crafting beautiful images of the various stuff, about which you blog.

Then one day, you discover that a bunch of such types has stolen your images and used them for their own commercial advantage. Would you be upset? Would you want to out them? Would you want to get paid for the commercial use of your copyrighted work? I don’t know how you would feel but I am very angry. I want to out them. I want to shame them and I want compensation.

Here are a few cases recently exposed through a Google image search. The image search is simple. Go to Google Images and drag and drop your picture.

Eat 24

These guys claim to represent restaurants in over 1,000 US cities featuring over 25,000 menus. They use my shish kebab image in their blog. God bless the desktop picture.

Not from one of over 25,000 restaurants in the US. Cooked by my fair hand here in Dublin Ireland.

Not from one of over 25,000 restaurants in the US. Cooked by my fair hand here in Dublin Ireland.

Which of their 25,000 restaurants is located in my back garden? I’d show you a picture of my back garden but some dodge-ball low-life would probably steal it and claim it to be their own.

The golfing chef

However, they are not alone in fancying my kebab images and promoting them as their own fare. chef.AymanThis guy (a chef, or so it seems) looks pretty happy to imply that when he is not playing golf (when else would you wear a sweater like that) he is cooking kebabs in my back garden. He seems to be a big deal with 68,000 or so Facebook fans. I wonder what they think about my kebabs? He has the cheek to post a recipe (not mine) for them alongside my image.

Warszawa Texicana

Meanwhile, over in Poland, somebody else is selling my kebabs in their Tex Mex restaurant. The translation is by Bing, so I apologise if the Polish really says; “Here’s some kebabs cooked in Conor’s back garden. His wife gave us permission to use the image. It’s nice, isn’t it?” But, if it’s simply trying to promote their kebabs, in their restaurant, using my image, for their profit, I am unimpressed. TexMexWarszawa

The Virginian

I remember the Virginian as a cowboy series…. When I am not food blogging, I run a communications company. We do a fair bit of online work in digital, including web development.  So, you can imagine how much my blood boiled when I came across one of my images of my copper saucepans being used by a web development company, based in Virginia, to promote themselves and a client of theirs. How cowboy is that.

They wife and I did the work to make them shine. Those are my saucepans!

The Wife and I did the work to make them shine. It was a lot of work. Those are my saucepans!

I disguised the images on either side, to avoid any claim of copyright infringement. I really get boiled by the reference to ‘open source i.e. free’….

I think you will agree that I have a genuine beef with these guys. Speaking of genuine beef…..

It’s Snax Time!

Whatever about these guys, based over there in downtown Karachi, Pakistan, ripping me off, they are also writing a raft of total nonsense about the beef. I cooked it, photographed it and ate a fair deal of it too. My post is here.

Hunters beef.

Hunters beef. Total nonsense. I recommend that if you are in Pakistan, stay away from Snax Time.

The Wild North West

However, you don’t have to go to Pakistan to find my beef being ripped off and promoted as somebody else’s. Up there in the wilds of Donegal, they do a good job of blagging my images too. The original has a very clear © mark on the bottom right (as do all my images). This is no longer obvious in these photos. M-Mc-Gettigan-Sons-Craft-Butchers2

Buffeted by image theft

Gourmet Spettus rips me off to promote their buffet business. They do it in Portuguese. Google Translate suggests this “Looking for a special buffet? Meet the Gourmet Spettus!”

Looking for a special Spettus rip off? Look there too.

What a rip-off. This is my Cha-Shao Roast Beef.

What a rip-off. This is my Cha-Shao Roast Beef.

Top ten theft

I thought I would be delighted to make it to a ‘top ten’ list. However, when my beef made it to this one, I was not impressed. Check out the talk about women and cooking.

They even ripped off my headline.

They even ripped off my headline. All women know it’s a rip off.

Don’t come the raw prawn with me!

Coming closer to home, I noticed that a local prawn festival had stolen one of my images to use on their avatar. Now if a prawn festival can’t get a picture of a prawn, it can’t be much of a prawn festival. It is made even worse as it is run by Fingal Tourism Ltd., no small organisation. I tweeted them about it. They ignored my tweet and continue to use my image.

Yes, those are my prawns, sitting on my countertop with part of the plastic bag they came home in lurking in the background.

Yes, those are my prawns, sitting on my countertop with part of the plastic bag they came home in lurking in the background.

I am depressed to say that the above is only a sample of the blatant theft of my images by low-lifers. The excuses could be;

  1. “I didn’t know it was yours.”
  2. “I thought everything on the internet was free.”
  3. “I didn’t think you’d mind.”

Just for clarity;

  1. The images have my copyright mark on. The blog carries a copyright notice too.
  2. Refer to number 1. Also, the invoices for image use are in the post.
  3. I do mind. I mind a lot.
Written by
Latest comments
  • B*****ds!

  • You’re dead right, you should mind. Invoice every single one of them. That is theft, plain and simple. The Irish ones make it worse because they are slightly more blatant. Best of luck with hunting them down and having them removed. If you don’t get an adequate response from the FB users then report the photograph as theft. Likewise if the abusers don’t remove your content from their websites then it’s time to contact their ISP.

    • Thanks for that Caítríona. If I get the time, I will give them all a hard time. The commercial users will get an invoice one way or the other.

  • Crikey you are popular in the image theft world!! So cheeky isn’t it? I had one stolen by an Australian cupcake seller – what does it say about a business if they have to steal other peoples images instead of using their own? Hope you get the images removed.

    • A whole new social circle that I didn’t know I had. Thieving feckers! They are paying the price now (in my head anyway).

  • Well said for calling them out, Conor. You do know you can file a DMCA take down notice, right? Scumbags!

    • Thanks for the advice Stacy (and very well put).

    • One can indeed (and should) fire off DMCA takedown notices. That doesn’t mean that invoices can’t be sent as well though.

      • Thanks Paul,
        Some shockers amongst them. Others just a bit thoughtless.

  • Oh that would make my blood boil. Have you approached them all to take them down? Also, how do you copyright your images? I have no idea how to this, but should probably start.

    • I asked most of them to remove them. They ignored me. Then I did a bit more searching and got mad. If you take the picture, it’s yours. There are all sorts of restrictions around works of art (wow, my food as a work of art) and some iconic buildings. None of that applies to the kebabs I cooked in the back garden though.

  • Invoice them mate!!!! Thanks for your article and the name & shame, hope they see this and fee ashamed!


    • Thanks Willie, I have made sure they see it. However, we might be expecting too much to predict shame.

  • What is this world coming to??!! I’m so sorry to hear that people don’t have any consideration, manners, or respect any more. Just terrible that they are stealing your beautiful work without any shame or remorse. I’m just speechless at how many people think that it’s okay.

    • There sure seems to be no shame involved. Not only stealing but then selling it on as their own. That’s the bit that gets me.

      • Yes, understandably and rightfully so. There is a very ugly reality out there. I do hope there is some justice at the end of all of this. No matter what happens, I’d like to think that what goes around comes around. So these people will get their due one way or another.

        • They will if I have anything to do with it!

  • Oh my Conor- welcome to the world of professional photographers!!!

    I agree with Stacy and Catriona. Send them all an invoice and a DMCA notice. They are ignorant or arrogant and need to be educated by those who understand what ‘social’ means in social media. Good luck 🙂

    • Thanks Christina, good advice. Either that or call around and burn their houses down!

  • There’s nothing you can do. If you post it and somebody likes it they will steal it. Even Hollywood has been unable to stop people stealing intellectual property (movies).
    You can ignore it, watermark your images more prominently with your name or you can just use small images.
    At least one generation has grown up thinking that everything on the web is free and that’s before taking into account the fact that there are lots of countries out there which are far less rich than our own.
    …and yes it has happened to me too.
    One last thing – has anyone out there not seen a pirate video or downloaded an MP3? Because that’s the same as pinching a photo from a blog.

    • Hi MD, Excellent points, well made. But, just because every is at it, doesn’t make it right.

      • It’s not right, but you can’t stop it. You’ll also get nowhere with litigation – it will cost a lot and you’ll get little or nothing back. So you either accept it or make it harder to use your images, with watermarks in the middle or smaller images.

  • A small crumb, but try to take some flattery from it. If they weren’t great images, they wouldn’t get stolen. It’s a compliment really, but unfortunately from thieving, low life. Sue their nuts off if you can – good luck.

    • Hi Adam, my sister told me of an artist who wa happy when somebody stole one of her paintings from an exhibition. She felt she had arrived!

  • Okay so I am equally pissed off but for completely different reasons. I just tried out your google images trick with five photos on my site and not one, not a single solitary one, appears anywhere else. This is just adding to my irritation that no one rates my bloody pictures! Mind you I’ve got about 2,000 to go so I’ll get back to you if I find any anywhere else.

    • I love it. You bring a smile to my face and put it back in context. Good luck in the search!

      • I just did the same thing with a few of mine. HIGHLY disappointed!
        I did find one of my recipes copied verbatim a while back. I called the thief out on FB and she went nuts. She didn’t get the concept of recipe copyright. She took it down when I threatened to report her to FB.

        • Hi June,
          I have had a couple of UK restaurants rip my images off recently. They behave very badly when I call them out on Twitter and FB over their behaviour. I do give a chance for them to be nice. Then I turn ugly.

  • Thank you for your name and shame article. I wish you luck on your hunt to get paid/ get them removed. Please keep us posted on how it goes. On the plus side they are fab photos, the ultimate compliment perhaps?

    • Thanks Nicki, perhaps I should just look on it as my contribution to the world of food photography. I would feel better if even one of them had asked.

  • A******s! And I just found out a Chinese takeaway in Leeds has used one of my photos – and that was just quick one off random search. Cheers for the heads up Connor.

    • The highest praise possible, a Chinese in Leeds. Keep up the good work Phil. Don’t let the bas***ds grind you down!

      • Precisely my thoughts – wasn’t even have been a trendy London one. Double whammy 🙂

  • And it is unfortunate it happens all the time. I see it daily on Facebook the same recipe posted by two three different bloggers declaring it theirs. What makes matters worse is that not only they declare the recipe theirs one day, the next day they credit someone else for the recipe and picture and neither belongs to the actual blogger, recipe and picture takers.
    Chef Dennis on Google + helps shut down such sites if you want some extra help.
    I agree with you something should be done to stop this. Maybe the so called blogger/chefs should provide all the food and cook for free for the less fortunate or for our (yours, mine and every nations) service men and women in very remote parts of the words and treat them to the delights that they so call their recipe.
    Sorry Conor just upset and needed to vent my opinion.
    Your supportive friend,

    • Hi Giangi, I like your idea. Perhaps of they could be sent to some very cold place and let them suffer for their bad manners in the way I suffer for my art. (If the Wife reads that note, she will straighten me out pretty quick.). Still, not very nice.
      Thanks for your support,

  • I only know of one instance when my images were stolen (my pictures are crap, so I really don’t worry about them being stolen.).

    It was for an ebay item–they were selling a Dinner is Served 1972 card set, and, instead of taking their own photos, they used mine. Not only did they lift the photos, but they took all of the “about” text from my website as well for their item description.

    Since they took the time to copy and paste my work–you’d think that they’d notice that I was looking for a complete set and just contact me directly! I ended up buying the item because it had the elusive cards after 118 all the way up to 202.

    • That is so funny. Since I started following your blog, I find myself now looking for cookery books in the dusty corners of second hand book shops. This is a change from the detective fiction I have been hooked on for the past 30 years or so. I just love that story.

      • Old cookbooks are the best! I hope you find a good one and make some completely bizarre dishes for your blog.

        • You’re on. As soon as I do, I’ll be in touch.

  • This is a major drag. I never knew about the Google image search function. In 30 minutes I’ve found 10 thefts of 4 different images. I haven’t included a watermark or copyright notice on my photos because I thought it was pretentious. That’s about to change. Ken

    • I thought for a moment that you were calling me pretentious! A discrete copyright may stop some of them but not all, as this post proves. I look forward to seeing yours.

      • Not at all – I meant that as someone who only has a toe in the water of professional photography I didn’t want to shout from the rooftops that my own photos were so great OBVIOUSLY everyone would want to steal them. Also, for obvious reasons, I think that photos w/out watermarks, copyright, etc. look cleaner. A well-respected photographer friend replied to me, when I made the same comment, “I WANT it to be ugly, to discourage people from stealing the photo.” Unfortunately that also undermines the esthetics of the blog. Oh, well. Ken

        • Yes Ken, I completely understand the conflict. I really did not think anybody would be bothered with my Sunday evening amateur stuff. Fun as I find it.

  • Well you are one popular fellow! What I do is go to the site and say – hey nice photo at least give me a credit and a link for God’s sake.
    But I don’t think it’s worth you raising your blood pressure and stress level as it is just the way of this cyber world and we are all playing this bizarre game.
    best to you Conner… wendy

    • I think those are wise words Wendy. Still, I enjoyed the outing.

  • Go get them Conor. Sounds like they’ve unleashed the beast with-in!!

    • Hopefully I have reddened a few ears. Better by posting than by battering them, which is what would do if I could lay my hands on them!

  • I’d take it as a bit of a compliment too Conor, what can I say your shots are good. Good enough in fact that other people want to use them. Maybe you should be a food photographer??
    Aaargh, what am I saying?

    • Hi Steve, At least I only do this stuff for fun. I don’t envy ye professionals the grief that must be associated with this lark.
      Hope you are well and thanks for following,

  • WTF! I guess the upside is that you have such great photos that people want them for their own 🙂

    Any way you can actually litigate this?

    • As they say in the movies; “I know where they live.” Physical litigation might be the way to go.

  • Absolutely beyond the pale … I’ve come across my pictures published elsewhere without credit but not in a context where the dish was being passed off as cooked by the poster in question. Actual legal action would likely me more expense and difficulty that it would be worth but I am sure you could get creative in being a total nuisance to the thieves somewhow 🙂

    • I already have. I can be a right pain when I want to be. My wife assures me of this.

      • My wife sounds suspiciously like yours.

  • I feel your pain. As a journalist I’ve had my copy ripped off before now and it’s infuriating.
    My husband works in publishing and points out that – as you probably know already – you own the copyright on all of your pictures whether there’s a copyright symbol etched on the photo or not.
    Unfortunately it’s so costly to sue someone, for the obvious reasons, but also because you have to prove how much revenue you’ve lost by them using your pic and that’s difficult when you’re a blogger.
    The only real recourse is to do as you have already done and send them rude emails etc. and perhaps an invoice. Otherwise to name and shame.

    • Hi Linda, name and shame is Defcon 1. Wait for Defcon 4 and 5.

  • I agree, Makes my blood boil…. The latest excuse I heard was ‘ a friend sent me it so I though they had photo’d it…. Keep naming and shaming might slow them down ….

    • You bet Grainne. Fun to do too (in a perverse way).

  • Oh the cheek. Even more so when they just keep your watermark in. I mean, they don’t think anyone else will notice? When I have a chance I will have to see if any of mine have been stolen. Lazy gits.

    • Gits is a great word. Appropriate to these chaps too.

  • People are freakin’ nuts! I’m mad for you!

  • Mad Dog is right. There’s little to be done about it. Just take it as a compliment. Or so I said on a facebook group page that I am a member of … and was roundly criticized. The funniest thing to me is the number of times I see this crappy old photo of mine of a sprig of rosemary on a table—4 or 5 pages on the google image search. Once, I got a got notice that somebody was following my blog. I went to check theirs out, and there was the crappy photo!

    • Hi Michelle, I might just blag that rosemary shot myself. It seems everybody is doing it!

  • Oh man, Conor, does this piss me off! This happened to me with a photo of my cats feet ending up on a website that had not only “cut” my photo, but it was a real pain to have this taken down.

    Please see my post on what it took me to get this resolved. The link is:

    Most of the information in this post came from WordPress. But this includes links on how you can actually get the website taken down. Now mind you, if the bootleg shows up on Google, it takes a couple of cycles for them to remove this from their images or web links.

    I discovered after having my photos bootlegged by the offending website that any content when published on the internet is covered by the “Digital Millenium Copyright Act,” and unless the folks have the information on your photos, which prove you do own the rights, you can go after them! I actually told the web hosting site to ask them the cat’s name, and could they see other photos of my Toby’s feet to prove that they were owned by this cat!

    There are two other posts on this topic from the folks I follow. See:

    We as bloggers need to band together somehow to prevent folks from using our images and our content as if it were their own.

    I just think to myself that we possess such talent, such ingenuity, such creativity, such personality, which the folks that bootleg clearly do not have. They are lazy sacks of whatever, who want the glory and they do not want to do what we do. They want it easy. Kind of reminds me of some of the supervisors I worked for in Corporate America! The only talent that they have is to steal other folks work. It does not take much intelligence to do this. The sad thing is that they look into the mirror every morning each and feel good about themselves! They are of the wanna-be personality type who doesn’t have what it takes. No, I am not saying that I feel sorry for them. They need to be taken down, and they need to pay for the consequences of their actions. Go after them with a vengeance!

    Enough ranting for one evening! My best to you, and I hope that my reply helps you, and that of the others too! – B

    • Brilliant reply Barb! I have to say, I rarely feel that I exude talent, ingenuity, creativity or personality in the blog. That cheers me up. So does your reference to that great old Clint Eastwood quote which, for some reason, breaks me up every time I hear him refer to a guy as a “sack of s**t”. I intend continuing the fight, even if it is like tying to hold the tide back with a teaspoon.

      • Go for it and take down those lazy sacks!

  • I simply cannot believe that litigation and subsequent reimbursement is impossible in straight out provable cases such as you have presented. Since when has pretend ‘ignorance’ been a reason for straight out theft! Surely legal minds could give some answers? [Meanwhile: luvverly ‘proof’ as to how good your work indeed is 😉 !]

    • Lunchtime alone brought some thoughts: For one, quite a few of my blogfriends have a ‘warning’ in bold lettering somewhere obvious on their blog. If one is innocent, one sails right past that. All the cases you presented are ‘grand theft intellectual’, but it can happen to novices innocently. I still blush about my stupidity some 3-4 years ago. Had quite a lively Facebook page: amongst ‘close friends’ a very talented Sydney PR guy/superb photographer. When he realized I did know and honestly appreciated, he kept on leaving early morning photos [walking the dog] on my Wall. When he asked one morning how had I liked, Dumbo me replied brightly; ‘Oh, beautiful: copied and shall enlarge and fra0me’!! THAT one took a few days to sort out!

      • I avoided any of the ‘perhaps they didn’t know’ cases. Believe me, there were a few. The Google image search is truly brilliant. One should not go there if one is in a bad mood.

    • Thanks Eha, I suppose I can take some comfort in that.

  • That sux, Conor, and you’ve a right to be angry. I’ve not done an image check but, then again, I’m not nearly as accomplished a photographer as you. Still, I may check to see if some near-sighted fool stole one of mine. 🙂

    • Too kind John and far too modest. Hopefully, these guys are near-sighted fools too and they won’t see me coming.

  • What low-lifes! What scumbags! What thieves! I commend you for taking a stand against these jerks. I love that you’ve commented on their Facebook pages and point-blank stated that they are yours. I’m sorry that is happening. But, as someone else pointed out, you take such lovely photos, and many (many) idiots out there don’t understand what it means to steal someone’s intellectual property and pass it off as their own. I’m seething right along with you. So, good for you for giving them the what’s-what, sir. And yes, send those invoices and notices!

    • Excellent Tommy. I know now that you are right behind me when I go through the door.

      • Right! I’ll be your muscle! (PS: We might need some other guys to help too.)

        • It looks like that is not a problem! Great reaction to this post.

  • That is just awful! I randomly discovered some low life in the middle of America somewhere copied my seswaa recipe. Big deal right? Seswaa is a traditional recipe from Botswana and I doubt the low life has ever left her state. I wrote to the major food website where she published it with no attribution of where she stole it from. I statedd how she may have left out a few words but copied all the non traditional ingredients I included within the traditional recipe. They did not admit fault but they deleted my non traditional additions. Pigs! Your photographs are beautiful and you should get paid for them.

    • Low lifes everywhere! Thanks for your kind words.

  • That is just awful! I randomly discovered some low life in the middle of America somewhere copied my seswaa recipe. Big deal right? Seswaa is a traditional recipe from Botswana and I doubt the low life has ever left her state. I wrote to the major food website where she published it with no attribution of where she stole it from. I statedd how she may have left out a few words but copied all the non traditional ingredients I included within the traditional recipe. They did not admit fault but they deleted my non traditional additions. Pigs! Your photographs are beautiful and you should get paid for them.

    • Thank you. I feel your pain too. Lowlifes often behave in a very poor way not only when they do the stealing but when they are caught too.

  • Had this happen to me as well. I think I googled my blog and found a photo of mine was used in a fairly big newspaper’s food section for their recipe of the day. I called the editor to complain and they were actually great. They apologized, wrote a correction in the paper that the image came from my blog and then gave me a guest writer opportunity and featured my blog with a recipe in their food section the following week. I guess I’m the odd one where this turned out in my benefit. I was very angry at first. Now I have to do another search to see if anything new has happened. Your pics are beautiful! Give ’em hell!

    • Thanks for sharing a good news story here. Hopefully, one of the dodgeballs here will do the right thing. Hopefully…

  • No morals and not raised properly. I’d like to meet them in a dark alley………

  • Conor, check your Facebook messages. I just sent you a DMCA takedown letter with instructions that I personally use. Some web hosting facilities cannot block a particular post/photo and you can have the entire blog shut down. 😀 Facebook keeps track of people who violate the DMCA and will block users’ ability to post photos and links if they receive too many takedown letters on a particular FB member. I find i amazingly humorous that many of the people who have stolen my work proclaim to be christians; yet when you point out they are stealing your work they either ignore you or give you some inane response to the effect of tough luck. This are the ones I really enjoy shutting down their websites, especially when it is a commercial endeavor. 😀

    • Great stuff Richard, one of them fits that bill. My respect for organised religion has been eroded to practically zero over the years. So if they try and hide in a church, I’ll find them.

  • WOW. I can’t believe how many of these people have stolen from you – and how BLATANT they are!! I am going to have to start putting watermarks on my images as well after seeing this. I bet if some of these posters had the decency to email you and ask for permission to display your picture (with appropriate recognition where it’s due) you would’ve been more than happy to oblige. This is absolutely ridiculous. Shame on them!

    • Thanks Echo, I agree with your last sentence.

    • Sad to say I have learned a very unpleasant lesson and now only upload small files and watermark everything and sometimes discreetly add my initials. It is because I had my initials embedded into a photo that I was able to get a settlement with one company. The photographer who sold my image to the company didn’t see it, and when confronted couldn’t explain why my initials were on the photograph.

  • What a shame Conor! I agree in one way with the others who have said it is a compliment to your excellent photography work but it certainly isn’t right. I do hope that you can actually do something about getting compensated by those claiming the work to be their’s or having them remove it from their sights.

    • Thanks Karen, so nice of you and so typical of you too to look on the bright side.

  • Sorry you had to go through that… and thanks for the tip on checking out identity photo theft. I had no idea!

  • Conor — this is outrageous but alas, I am not surprised at all — your photos have always been beautiful and truly bring each recipe and posting to life. How hard is it to ask for permission or to simply reference the source? So frustrating!!!! BTW, thanks for that tip on how to search photos — I learned something new. Hang in there! Next posting, use some blurry photos and tell us that it was intentional — we’ll all understand! 🙂

    • Ha ha! Great idea Danny. I might start taking the pictures with Instagram on my phone! Nobody will be bothered with them then.

      • Knowing your great skills, I bet even your Instagram photos would be “theft” worthy! How about line drawings? 🙂

  • Please have mercy on the fu*ktard thieves 🙂 They are humans not angels, for God’s sakes ! How can they resist such real-gorgeous-provocative food pictures of yours !

    (I know how much it hurts when your hard-earned pictures get stolen. I go through this ordeal very often…in a small scale though)

    Love you. Hope humanity and respect for each other prevail. May all the thieves rot in hell/jail !

    • Thanks Nusrat, I love your black and white approach to the issue!
      Best as ever,

  • Suggest you put some Java right click disable code onto your pages with images. Most people aren’t even going to know where to start to get around that, won’t spend the time and will just move on.

    • Excellent idea. I will have to get one of our technical geniuses to help me with the code, if I can do it in the 2011 theme. I appreciate the thought.

      • If your blog is on instead of, there’s a plug-in called WP Copy Protect. Not sure how well it works, but it’s free to use.

        • Thanks for that. I will check it out.

  • I´ve encountered this a lot of times, and reported sites on fb and google a lot of times too. And asked to remove pics and they did it, sometimes. Excuse n.2 is the universal answer.
    I don´t know exactly what, but I remember reading there was a way of blocking the images.

    • Thanks Paula,
      I am looking into it. We have to be able to beat these types.

  • Have any of the thieves replied to your comments at all? I’m intrigued to know!

    • The web design company said (when I posted directly on their Facebook wall, (having ignored my direct message to their website);
      “Just a demo site – no worries, they’ll be removed for the live site!”
      I replied: “You have my copyrighted image live on your web design site Avelex Web Design. That is copyright theft. I left a message on your site. You ignored it. That is rude. The demo site for Virginia Tinning is public in search. Do I bill you or Virginia Tinning directly?”

      I await a response….

      • yea, right! I got the same excuse when a major designer used my image as a nightclub promo. They must all hang out in the same sleazy excuse club and swap notes.

        • I suspect that they really haven’t a clue what they are doing. They claimed the site was not public despite my posting an image of the site on their FB wall.

  • Is there anyway we can track down and gut these people? Oh, did I mean guard..

    • Nice approach. Perhaps we could do a version of RED (Retired – Extremely Dangerous) called BED (Bloggers – Extremely Dangerous)

  • JUst check out my blog,this is a huge problem.the excuses you got are boldfaced lies. It is illegal to remove watermarks and then infringe copyright and can result in huge fines whether your work is registered or not. Image search states images may be subject to copyright. I feel your pain, my work has been ripped off for record labels etc grrrr.

  • I have been dealing with this on a large scale too, and with companies that have lawyers and know better. The excuses are bold faced lies. I feel your pain 🙁 Unless your work is registered it is hard to get a lawyer to help, however if companies have removed your watermarks there is a large fine (I believe in that case it may not be necessary to have the images registered) as it shows intent to infringe.
    I have some quick handy links on my sidebar of dmca notices for fb, tumblr, pinterest, and others if you need to file take down notices.

    • err, on my jafabrit.blogspot dot com blog.

    • I was just over on your blog and I am horrified at the extent of the blaggery. What is the digital world coming to?

  • one of my friends, who is an amazing photographer (, just posted this on facebook and made me think of you “When people copy something all it does is establish who the leader is. So if someone is copying you let that be validation that you’re kicking butt and continue to do that.” But I understand it is still frustrating…those shameless jerks!!!
    have a great weekend 😉

    • You are too kind. I suspect that your friend has the right attitude. Her photography is pretty amazing. Thanks for that. I appreciate it.

  • Conor, I don’t know if there will ever be an end to this. A lot of Indian bloggers deal with this kind of crap on a daily basis and I thought it probably only happened more there than here. It’s a shame. I don’t even try find out who is using my images(if any at all), because I know i’d be so mad.

    • My father in law says “Don’t get mad, get even.” Difficult when one is looking at one’s own work on some sham’s website.

  • Morning Conor, I know you wrote tgis a while ago but I only saw a link to it this morning…. My goodness, I have to stop being so naive!

  • Oh, Conor, I just came across this post on your sidebar – I love that you keep your sense of humor through the trying aspects of life! I do have to tell you that my Empanadas and Pozole are featured on restaurant menus across the world, from Mexico to Texas to Poland, and I’m not much of a food photographer! I’m more in the category of let’s take 50 pictures and hope there’s two or three that don’t want to make one puke, lol! And if I’m lucky, maybe one that will make you want to actually EAT my food!

    I didn’t know whether to be flattered or appalled when I came across a company in Latin America that makes bulk frozen Empanadas using my photo on their boxes.

  • kinda old post to reply to. but you do know you can get money back and stop them for most of these incidents.

Join the conversation, you know you want to....

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: