What Should You Do When You Find Your Photos Have Been Stolen?

It is one of the most upsetting things that can happen to a photographer, and it is frustratingly common: you discover your images have been stolen and used without permission. What can you do in this situation? What can you do the prevent it in the future? This excellent video essay features a seasoned photographer discussing the issue and offering a lot of helpful advice. 

Coming to you from David Bergman with Adorama TV, this helpful video essay discusses how to prevent your photos from being stolen and what you can do if it does happen. This is something many of us will have to deal with at some point in our careers, often multiple times. What I appreciate about Bergman's approach is first trying to change a negative situation into a positive one. Often, when this happens, it is a product of ignorance, not malice, and if you approach it with the intent to educate and advocate for yourself, you can often convert the situation into a future client relationship. Of course, if that goes poorly, you can turn to other paths, but it is worth trying to establish a business relationship first. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Bergman.

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Fristen Lasten's picture

I had a photo stolen. It's on a sina.com.cn website. All correspondence to the website and parent company goes unanswered. Nine years running.

Steve Harwood's picture

I don't bother with 'non-responsive sites. I just have them shut down. It really is easy. Use "whois" to determine who their internet service provider or web site hosting company is. Then file a DMCA "Take Down" notice (Google it--there are boiler plate documents you can use) with that company. They won't mess around--they'll take down the site until they remove your image or prove legally otherwise.

I've had several sites who stole my photos and then give me a "so come get me! Ha ha!" type of response. They're much more hat-in-hand when their site goes down for a week or so...

Daniel J. Cox's picture

Your suggestion to educate a photo thief is a nice idea but in my 45 years of experience with dozens of stolen pictures it’s simply pie in the sky.

Paul Trantow's picture

I'll save you from having to watch a stupid video. Hire a lawyer. You're welcome.