Google Makes It Easier To Steal

Posted on 2/4/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (4)

Serban Enache, CEO of Dreamstime has explained in a blog post how Google’s new image search techniques make it more likely that unauthorized use of your images will increase. Every image producer should read this story.   

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Copyright © 2013 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Charles Cecil Posted Feb 4, 2013
    Jim: It's good to be focusing light on this, but I have to say it cuts both ways. Two weeks ago a company found one of my images through a Google search. They clicked on the "Website for this image" link, found my contact info, and called me. Result: $125 for licensing the use of the image. True, I had to pay 9% to my website hosts, and about 3% to PayPal for handling the transaction, but if the company had found my image on Alamy or any of the other three agencies holding my stock I would have gotten 50% of the sale at best, and the agency, not I, would have determined the selling price. So I definitely benefitted from Google showing my image. Are others using them without paying? I don't know, and I don't have time to spend searching. But if more and more buyers find my images through Google I may very well come out ahead. So for now I'm keeping an open mind on this issue. Chuck

  • Serban Enache Posted Feb 5, 2013
    @Charles Cecil: note that there is a strong difference between Google's organic search (web directory) and the Google Images search. There is no denial that Google has significant value for all businesses and that it should also be treated as a business.
    Also, two weeks ago Google Images featured a different layout . Right now, a high res version of your image could pop-up on screen, without the customer having to visit the website (your own or any of your clients').
    Jim, thank you for the article.

  • Karen Ducey Posted Feb 6, 2013
    Thanks for posting this story Jim. Have there ever been any lawsuits against Google for infringement? Isn't stripping copyright information against the law?

  • Laura Dwight Posted Feb 9, 2013
    I tried this search on some very specific newborn reflexes that are in my archive. For the tonic neck reflex a few of my images showed up but many, many images were displayed that were either erroneously key worded or had nothing to do with the search. For a few of the reflexes none of my images showed up, but again many incorrect images did. I did a save as for one of my images and it opened with no metadata but my copyright was in the copyright field and there was some minimal contact info under origin and ITPC under file information. In trying two others I had varying results. In one case all of the metadata was intact in a very small thumbnail, and in the case of an agency image, even less information was available but the copyright field survived. I will post on the google blog as suggested.

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