Finding Your Images “Out There”

A lot of stock photo contributors are interested in finding their work “out there” being used.  For quite a while now, it’s been easy to use a website called TinEye to try and find a certain image being used on the internet.  In fact, back a while, I wrote about how buyers could use TinEye to brainstorm in their work process.  TinEye is kind of like a google search, but for images.  Well, yesterday, Google revealed their new product which is actually a Google search, but for images.  And it’s easy to use (and addicting).

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You can find the landing page for Google Image Search here.  In some browsers, you are just able to drag and drop an image into that search bar to start the process.  Clicking on the icon on the right of the bar allows you to paste an url, or upload an image, just like tineye.  If you’re like me, though, you like context menu commands, so you can add a Google image search option to your right click in Firefox by downloading the extension here.  Then, just right click an image, select the option, and off you go!

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Google then returns a page with all kinds of fun stuff, like places it has found the image, sponsored links related to the image, even “similar” images – similar in color tone, or pattern or something (not necessarily subject).

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Also, near the top, you can click to see a page full of every version of the image it has found out there.  You can choose what size of the image you want to see:

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While Google Image Search is great fun, we now have two problems arising.

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Buyer Issue

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Well, actually contributors are finding quite a few misuses by buyers out there.

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Item one – buyers, you are not allowed to post an unaltered stock image (from iStockphoto) online that is larger in pixel count than a 1200×800 pixels.  We find there are many lazy web designers out there who will host a large image online, and then use html to make it smaller on the web page that displays it.   Not only does this make for larger download times for the viewer, you are allowing access to the unaltered image to people who would use it without a license.  They are profiting from your purchase and helping to drive costs up!  In reality, there is really no need to post an unaltered stock photo larger than 600×400, anywhere.

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Two, you’re not allowed to use watermarked iStockphoto thumbnails in your blog.  Just because you’re “not making any money from it” does not make it free to use.  I could hotwire your car and drive it to Florida for spring break, which would be ok, since I’m not making any money off of it, right? 😉 Our content is our intellectual property, which must be properly licensed and paid for, for it to be used.

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Also, contributors are finding all kinds of dangerous (to your computer) sites in foreign countries, presumably hosting some sort of free image grab.  Not only will you be using images illegally if you acquire them from these places, but you will likely get something that you’ll have to format your hard drive to get rid.  Not a pretty picture.

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Contributor Issue

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Contributors, don’t forget that you have been licensing your images with a very broad Royalty Free license scheme, which we are now seeing the results of.  This means that a news outlet could license your image once for a story, and then syndicate it to a hundred outlets, who then publish it, and this is just dandy under the license.  Or a buyer can license the image and use it for any number of websites that they produce, repeatedly and perpetually.  This makes it very hard to determine what is a legitimate usage and what is not.  If you find something you feel is in violation, you can contact (Compliance Enforcement) with the details, although they have been backlogged as of late, and this innovation will likely not help.

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I may troll Google for a while and post up a few “In Actions” tomorrow, so stop back.  Thanks!

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