Online Image Theft – What Steps Should You Take?

After putting in a countless number of hours into practice for a number years to professionalize your photography skills you see that someone else is taking credit for your work without your permission.

Don’t you think it’s one of the worst things that could happen to a photographer?

I feel so and I guess you do too!

But you know what, it happens quite often. More times than you can even think of!

So, how the hell do you tackle with this if it happens with you?

To discover the answer to this query, keep reading on!


How To Handle Online Image Theft?


Online image theft is quite common. Some people do it intentionally whereas others are just unknown to this fact. Most of the times it’s the second case but many websites do steal images online for their own benefit.

Technically, the owner of the picture own its copyrights and without his/her permission it is not available for use by someone else unless otherwise stated.

Fortunately, there are some actionable steps that you can take to punish the guilty for his crime.

  • Before accusing someone of stealing your work you should firstly make sure that your claims are correct. Otherwise, it will only be bad on your end and the other party will now be on the upper side. Even a slight difference in an image makes it a completely unique one. Therefore, you should first thoroughly┬áverify that the image is yours. The best way to do this is to download the picture and then compare it with the original one on as many aspects as possible.


  • Once you have made sure that the other party has stolen your website aka used it on their site without your permission then your next action should be to contact them directly. At first, you should always stay calm and ask them politely to take down your work or come down to a solution mutually. You never know if the other party has put on your work by mistake or intentionally, therefore, it’s best to handle this step with as much politeness as possible.


  • If the guilty still does not take the image down then your best shot would be to send them a DMCA notice. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act and this act states that any owner of a content has a right to take down his/her content that is being used somewhere else by a third party without a license or a permission from the original owner. This standard is recognized and accepted all over the internet and above all, it’s a legal notice. You can even send the DMCA notice directly to the OSP (Online Service Provider) to take down the image.


  • In the worst case scenario i.e after applying all the methods stated above nothing works then moving towards a legal action is the absolute thing to do. By doing this you will be dragging the issue to the doors of a court and you can even claim a compensation for illegal use of the image as well as any other expenses and losses that you might have incurred due to this issue. In order to do this make sure that your work has been legally registered beforehand.


  • Nothing has ever escaped the law and your issue will definitely get resolved in the court if nothing else works. The last step you should follow is making sure that this problem does not arise in the future. I bet you won’t like to go through the same thing again and again. There are a few measures that you can take to prevent online image theft. The best preventive measure is to add a watermark to your image. The watermark can be your name, a symbol or your brand name. Watermark can be easily added to images using simple photo editing software.


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