It comes as no surprise that as my library of photos here on WordPress grows, I find stolen copies of my photos all over the Internet. I knew this was happening so last year I decided I wouldn’t post nearly as many of my DSLR-generated images, since those were of higher quality and therefore more likely targets for theft. Now I see that many of the less virtuous iPhone pics are being routinely stolen as well – eBay being the most conspicuous place to encounter them*. Sadly, I’ve found that watermarking the images with a bold, blatant COPYRIGHT in the middle of the image is no longer a deterrent of any kind, so it seems that in the fight to protect my photos from theft on the web, the battle has been lost, once and for all.
The golden rule of publishing online and using photos for any purpose other than the publisher intended is: If you didn’t create the work, then its not yours to take! Period! Please respect the creative content that illustrators, writers and photographer post online. If you take copies to use for your own purposes, its stealing.
*I’ve found eBay sellers to be a particularly toxic breed of creature; 9 times out of 10, when I contact these people to state that they are violating my copyright by taking my photos to sell their wares, they write back to accuse me of being rude – often using foul language, and conclude their message by stating that if I don’t want my photos used by people why do I put them on the internet! (implying that by sharing them online, I am inviting ANYONE to do ANYTHING they please with them) I find it impossible to fight this attitude, which seems pervasive in the eBay culture, although not exclusive to it.