Copyright Infringement and Image Use : Blogging vs. Re-purposing

In the last couple of days, we came across a few people that we discovered to be using my images illegally. With the advent and sophistication of Google’s new image search function, it is becoming a bit easier to track where people are making reference to your work, or, in some cases, infringing, reusing and re-purposing your images for financial gain.

Below are examples that we found just this week, along with actual screen shots of the infringements.

The first case we found this week was a talented student interested in CGI illustration who had taken my image “Untitled #5” and used it as a background in one of his illustrations. While I was flattered that he liked the image enough to re-purpose it, and even though he gave me credit with a link back to my site, I had to explain to him that such a use was not permitted. He was very understanding and immediately took the image down. I’m sure that his use of my image was an innocent one.

Untitled-#5-Light-painting-photograph-Night-Charlotte-Woods“Untitled #5”

“Untitled #5” used as re-purposed background

In the second instance, one chap, who has a website on Fine Art America, a website designed for artists who are selling prints and cards, decided that he could take my image “Still Life #2“, and try to pass it off as his own “Digital Oil Painting”, complete with his signature in the bottom corner!  Apparently, back in May he felt that by running the image through a filter in Photoshop it would pass as his own work. Uhmmm, no! We contacted FAA to inform them that he had infringed upon my copyrighted image and that they would need to delete it, which they did immediately.

Light-painted-photograph-Still-life-of-oranges-and-limes“Still Life #2”

“Still Life #2” infringement by “artist” on web site.

In another instance, which we are currently investigating, someone decided it was ok to use my image “Roses” as a book cover without my consent.


“Roses” infringed as a book cover.

I have no problem with bloggers and fans of my work writing about and blogging about my work with attribution and direct links back to my website or blog. However, when it comes to illegally re-purposing and / or using my images for your own profit, watch out… we will find you using Google’s very powerful image search function.

~ by Harold Ross on August 2, 2011.

6 Responses to “Copyright Infringement and Image Use : Blogging vs. Re-purposing”

  1. Sorry to hear Herold, I’ve actually never looked for my photos being used by other people but I really don’t know how. I hope this doesn’t continue to happen to you because people probably don’t realize the time, money and energy that goes into making these photographs.

    • Thanks Josh, it’s never fun to find your work being used in an unauthorized way. To use Google Image Search, go to and in the menu bar at the top of the page, click on “Images”. When the new window loads, click the camera in the search bar, which will allow you to upload one of your images. The search should reveal any sites that display or use your image. Good luck!

  2. Wow!!! this is horrible to hear… I hope you get everything straightened out. I will have to look for mine. How did you know what images to search for?

    • Mary, Roman picked out some of my images that had received a lot of attention, and lo and behold, out of only 25 or so, he found these three! That’s a scary percentage… I have to say that the guy doing the CGI was very understanding, and I’m certain that he meant to do nothing wrong. The other two, however, were trying to profit from my work! I think that these days, many people feel that the internet is like an apple tree, to be picked from…

  3. Sorry to hear that Harold, I worry that the scaler sites may make it easier for people to steal screen shots because of the larger sizes of the images.
    On the other hand I’m glad you caught the people trying to profit off of your work.

  4. When confronted with a situation such as your “Roses” I would suggest simply send the publisher a bill for, say, $10,000.00 and tell them that is the usual fee for the use of your image on a book cover. Remind them the next letter will be from your lawyer.

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