Last week, I found a company using two images of mine online without permission. You can see one of them below. It’s from my Dovecotes of Tinos post.

On the dovecote path of Tinos

On the dovecote path of Tinos

As all my images include a copyright declaration at the bottom right-hand corner, my moral rights to be identified as the creator of the work were not infringed. However, they still used the images for commercial purposes without my permission.

As you can see, my images are stamped as © John Malathronas, which makes it easier to prove my ownership. I strongly suggest you do that as well.

I contacted the company  (via Twitter and email) and asked for £60 as a token licence fee for use up to-date. I did not want to make a big deal out of it; it was more a penalty than anything else.

Their first reaction was to take the images down and apologise, but I insisted on a payment.

Indeed, they paid me via Paypal where I have a merchant account and in return, I sent them an invoice to balance their books.

The whole business took only two days.

The company was based in Australia, so I used this Letter of Demand as a template quoting the relevant Australian law.  The letter can also serve as a template for other countries, as long as you find which law needs to be quoted.

I also reminded them that Google operates under US law which now has the new “cease and desist” order for online copyright protection under the DMCA legislation.

Remember that even if anyone is operating outside the US, Google will still blacklist them, and this is enough of a threat to make them comply.

As for finding infractions online there is software to spot online use of one’s images. I used Image Raider. My WordPress site also utilises trackbacks which is another way of checking.

Incidentally, before you act, remember to take a screen dump of the website with the images showing so that you have proof if the webmaster takes them down.