’I found it on Google, so I can use it for free‘ – this reasoning comes back like a boomerang when chasing image theft. Sometimes, it might be due to ignorance, but it happens deliberately as well. The lack of copyright knowledge not only does not serve as an excuse for infringement of image copyrights but is also often overexploited when someone is caught red-handed stealing photos online. How photo thieves try to get away with it? Let’s have a look at some of the common practices how photos get stolen. 

How Photo Thieves Try to Get Away


Adding contrast, saturation and your name under the photo will not do
Nowadays, the photo-editing process brings endless possibilities and image thieves try to use it to get away with the infringements. Originally in colour, now black and white. At first, place with low saturation, now crazy vibrant. After a couple of adjustments, the picture may not look like the original. But no matter to what extent the photo is changed, without owning the copyrights, it is considered as image theft.

How Photo Thieves Try to Get Away

©Tero Vesalainen


Ignorance of the law is no excuse
A great number of infringements is being conducted due to a lack of knowledge. But that is no excuse. Years of experience brought us with a variety of cases and attitudes. Some, who commit the infringement unconsciously, being caught red-handed, immediately want to make up for their mistakes and pay the compensation. They learn from their mistake.

Unfortunately, there is also a big group of infringers who try to use their lack of copyright knowledge to get away from responsibility. Such an argumentation is not valid for us. We do our best to make sure photographers receive due compensation.

Quite often image thieves refer to Creative Commons license as the justification for the usage of the pictures, not going into its details. When double-checked, some requirements are usually not met.

Creative Commons license abuse

Let’s shed some light on the Creative Commons license which happens to be misinterpreted. The general rule says that ’Creative Commons licenses give everyone from individual creators to large institutions a standardized way to grant the public permission to use their creative work under copyright law.’ To be sure that the license allows the intended usage of the picture it is crucial to understand its requirements.

How Photo Thieves Try to Get Away

©Sarycheva Olesia

Don’t warn the infringers

As soon as you spot the infringement, do not start with asking the infringer if they obtained the license. Once asked or warned, they can immediately delete the picture – leaving you with no evidence of the deed. In case of a stolen photo online, it is crucial to secure the evidence. Just follow the steps. First, take a screenshot of the URL and the image source with the date visible. Secondly, take a screenshot of the imprint. If you discover your photos being used without your knowledge, you can ask to have them removed or apply for compensation. If needed, copyright infringement cases can be also taken to court.

You can try enforcing your rights on your own, though it might be a long and bumpy road. Having years of experience, we developed a successful strategy on how to get back the money that you deserve from your copyrights and you can benefit from it. All you have to do is… keep reading this article.

Executing justice on your own is not a piece of cake

A lot of photo thieves get away with it because photographers whose photos got stolen are not able to handle the infringements individually and are not sure where to seek help. Claiming the rights on your own might be quite challenging. Securing the evidence is not always obvious while searching for and engaging the lawyer can be time-consuming and costly. Nico Trinkhaus – the founder of PhotoClaim – also experienced similar difficulties and that is exactly when he decided to set up a company to help other photographers in the industry.

Value your work

Taking a perfect picture is not just about the decisive moment and pressing the shutter button at the right time. There are thousands of hours of learning and practice behind it. There are also big sums of money spent on equipment and travels. As a photographer, you should have time for developing your work and passion while we, at PhotoClaim, could take care of your work and make sure your photos are not being used without your consent.

When you take pictures, our team monitors the Internet and keeps track of your pictures, fighting for your rights. Do not let image thieves take advantage of your work with just a couple of clicks, sign up with us and get the income and recognition that you deserve.

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