Do you know who uses your images on the web? And do you know where the images are used on the web? Have you ever searched for your images on the web?
For me the answers are NO, NO and YES: I do regular searches on the internet to look for my images. Until now I used TinEye to search. Via TinEye I previously found two images that were used without my permission. Lucky me, TinEye only found two images.
But TinEye has two disadvantages imho:
- The largest disadvantage TinEye has is the size of the image database. Even though it runs in the billions of images, it is not quite big enough.
- The second is the user interface. You can only enter one image or URL at a time. Going through a large batch of images takes quite some time. Plus you have to upload each image separately as image or URL.
Using an image I previously published via FlickR, TinEye currently tells me there is one other site using the image. The site is a non-commercial blog and the thumbnail links back to my image on Flickr. So all is in order.
About a year ago Google introduced a competitor to TinEye: Google Search by Image. Do not compare SbI with the usual Google image search: SbI accepts an image or URL to an image as input, similar to TinEye. It also uses the Google’s gargantuous databases. This enables Google to provide links to sites that use your image. Check all the links one by one to see who uses your image. Furthermore, Google SbI provides links to images similar to your, in terms of color and composition.
Using Google SbI I found several sites that TinEye has yet to provide. But it still awkward to enter each URL separately. Luckily, I also found a Firefox add-on called “Copyright infringement finder”. After installation, the add-on is only visible when you right-click an image. The menu now has a new menu item: “Find copyright infringement”. Click the button to start the search using the images’ URL as search input. You still have to parse all search results, I’m still searching for an add-on to do that for me.
The add-on works great. I found several images of mine that were used. And you can also use it the other way around, to find out who created an image. One site that uses an image from me also uses images of other photographers without permission. Via the add-on it was easy to find and inform them of the copyright infringement.
You can read about the FireFox plugin created by Jason Wilder aka IShotYourBand. Or download the plugin directly. Jason provided the plug-in for free, so if you happen to hit the jackpot using this gem, make sure to feed Jasons’ BEER/RENT fund.