What Can You Do if People Keep Stealing Your Work?

If you're a content creator in any industry, I can almost guarantee that someone somewhere will steal your work. Unfortunately, it's pretty much inevitable now, especially with the advent of social media. The question is: what can you do if someone steals your work?

First thing I'd recommend is to actually identify if your work has been stolen. There's very little you can do if you're not aware that someone has stolen your work. One super quick and effective way to find out if your work is getting stolen or not is by doing a reverse image search on Google. I tend to a quick search of a few images every few months. Social media is probably the worst platform when it comes to content stealing. Unfortunately, in many cases, there aren't a lot of things you can do aside from performing takedown requests, which is a complete pain. In a recent video by Karl Taylor, he shows some pretty outlandish ways some people have stolen his content and even his likeness. It's incredible how far some will go just to fool people into thinking they're a professional company or creative. 

In all fairness, I've taken inspiration from Taylor too, because in my mind, he's a brilliant photographer. Having said that, there's a pretty distinct line between taking inspiration versus outright stealing content. 

Check out the full video linked above. 

Editorial Note:  Some of the claims Karl has made in his video are unsubstantiated and at times false. Much of the tutorial sales language is used across many photography tutorial companies including Fstoppers and is not unique to Karl Taylor or Fro Knows Photo. It should also be noted that the light beam photoshoot referenced in Karl's video was setup by Sony and not Jared Polin.

Usman Dawood's picture

Usman Dawood is a professional architectural photographer based in the UK.

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Previous comments

Looks like someone is just a bit jealous, about someone's else youtube followers count..

Please give yourself a reality check, do you really think that Jared's 1million subscribers is my concern here, this couldn't be further from the truth, I even find some of Jared's antics mildly entertaining, but to assume that I have any issue with his amount of youtube subscribers is utterly ridiculous and frankly naive. I run a business with a great team of 8 staff, and through hard work and concentrating on the craft I have been fortunate enough in the last 25 years to have been very successful in photography with shoots all over the world. My work, I believe to be of the highest standard and the companies that employ me obviously do so for good reason, for me it's about photography and the art not social media, check it out for yourself www.karltaylor.com if you don't know me and you will find you are gravely mistaken if you think I would want to swap my business position for the vanity of youtube numbers. Unfortunately like many commentators these days it seems they have become severely oblivious to the disparate position of actual professional photographers and the world of social media entertainers wearing a photographers badge. I've been very fortunate to make a wonderful career in photography and in providing the highest quality education (not on youtube) through our platform. The only reason we dabble with Youtube is to raise awareness about our education platform but it is not really a big driver of traffic compared to our other activities. Jared operates in a totally different world to mine and I to his. I made a video here that we felt (as did most people) was comical, entertaining and informative and in it we took the opportunity to bring something to light about Jared that had concerned us for several years regarding what we believe was plaugerism/inspiration/coincidence or call it what you will, and that it has happened on more than one occasion. The Sony PR event we were unaware of at the time of making this video and I’ve spoken to Jared about that so we pinned a comment at the top of the video comments. However for the rest of what I had to say I stand by it and we’ve got a bag of other stuff that would make it even more apparent but as I’ve now made my point hopefully it will have hit home so I’m done. This social media crap is not where I want to be, as I said this was primarily produced (and taken and enjoyed by most) as a piece of comedy. Those that state this is slanderous to Jared can say what they like, I know what I know but it wasn't really a major concern to us anymore so we went with the comedy/ambiguous element to the video to make our point instead. If Jared wants to continue to convince himself he's squeaky clean on this then let him take legal action against us.

Somehow, I have that image in my mind of Fro and Karl racing 200mph with their business plans and you, the follower, spinning those legs full speed, only your bike has no chain.

For anyone interested in my position on this please see my reply to Alejandro Ilukewitsch.

No, not really. Not after you being a paid puppet on that Hasselblad vs DSLR sham video. Everything that comes out of your mouth should be scrutinized. You ain't so squeaky clean yourself.

Completely OT but I agree on the Hassy thing...that whole series was so cringe...but all of us have to earn a living.

No one is squeaky clean but here's a fact I'm an ambassador for Hasselblad, I don't get paid for this, you only get a discount on gear. I'd purchased my first Hasselblad's long before I was an ambassador as they are the best tools for my job. If they weren't I wouldn't use one. Most people got their knickers in a twist because they're so fanboyed up with their own brand that they can't get past something that turns out better images quality but is unfortunately often out of their price range. There's a reason many pro's choose to shoot medium format and it's certainly not because they like wasting 6 times the price on a camera. If you think that we intentionally piss money away to look good then it's maybe your level of knowledge that should be scrutinised.

Boys...boys. Don't make me get out the garden hose.

The topic is about stealing and how it affects our business etc...no?

Yeah, right, Hasselblad is so great you had to skew the comparisons. And, these are just from what I remember. There's probably more.

1. the DSLR was half the MP and you zoomed in at 300% and Hassy at 200%. How fucking stupid can you be. You even admit that would make the lower MP less sharp, but, you left it in the video anyways. Then, kept commenting how soft the DSLR was.

2. you used a zoom (that's probably 9+ years old) against a prime. How fucking stupid can you be. You know damn well, especially with older lenses, primes are way sharper than zooms. And, you kept commenting on the optical quality of Hassy is superior.

3. you adjusted the White Balance, Tint, and Saturation to favor the Hassy. You comment about tonal difference and how the DSLR looked cold. Well, yeah, look the adjusted settings. DSLR on the left, Hassy on the right. How fucking stupid can you be. If you wanted a fair apples to apples comparison, the only adjustment expected was exposure.

BZ, does the review even matter? Most don't, but hands on testing tells you if that's worth buying or not. I mean does Godox or any of the incredible number of Godox reviewers mention that there are no official repair facilities past warranty or extended warranties? Please go after all these reviewers who don't tell you the full details, they affect many more consumers than the number of medium format buyers ever will.

It does matter. It can speak volumes on the credibility that comes out of ones mouth.

Maybe you are so far up his ass, you can't see. I don't go around hunting down false claims. The only reason I even watched that video was about a year ago, there was an article either here or Petapixel. Or, I just randomly stumbled on it. At any rate, I was genuinely interested in knowing/learning the difference especially since Karl was doing the review. I used to follow him on YT years prior. After watching the videos, I was disappointed in Hasselblad, and more importantly, Karl, to say the least. In my head, "What a fucking sham these two."

Let's take each of your points at a time before we wrap this up
1. If you zoom two images to the same size on screen you are replicating the softness or sharpness of each image if they were blown up to the same size as prints, which is exactly what i said in the video. Which given that people want to know 'how big can I enlarge these images' is then a perfect comparison. The only thing I could have done better on that point is actually printed them out to the same physical size so that you could have grasped it better.
2. So what, that's the zoom they sell, if they choose to sell substandard lenses to their customers then that's pretty shameful. If I remember correctly in the second video I used a prime series G lens which also lost. I don't see any lenses in the Hasselblad line up that I need to worry about when making a purchase which is actually what you want in my line of work.
3. I adjusted the white balance to get the best out of each camera. But in video 2, in the controlled studio environment I neutralised both cameras white point of the same white wall and you could clearly see how 'blue' the nikon was and how much better the skin tones were on the Hasselblad.

And finally in the video I commended the Nikon D850 as probably being the best 35mm camera I've used but do you really honestly believe that the Nikon was going to perform better on image quality? And if you do then why do you get so riled up about the 'tools' the problem with many 'photographers' is they're too focused on the tools and not enough on craft and knowledge. I'm only interested in image quality output and the day I feel there is a tool that does it better then that's the tool I'll be shooting with. So you asked 'how fuc%ing stupid can I be'? Well I'd say on occasions very, especially if I've had a couple of jars but I'm pleased to say it appears never as stupid you.

Just so we're clear, I don't care who won or lost. I was genuinely curious. It was how deceitful you were on the first video that set the tone.

You can keep your jars, I'm sure you'll continue to put them to use.

I can't speak for anyone else; however, I do recall writing a substantial rebuttal to your rubbish (clear lies/sales pitch) about medium format, and then deleting it because you really aren't worth the time.

You're just another asshole, telling lies to sell shit. And defamation isn't cool.

So what you are saying is that there are 35mm cameras that will beat a medium format 100mp camera in terms of output image quality? And to be completely clear I was saying that there wasn't and I've run substantial tests to demonstrate this. We can cover old ground here but the fact remains that I and many other photographers use medium format for that very reason.

Depends on the lens. I can prove that too :-).

What I never understand in these sort of arguments is why anyone actually cares. At the end of the day a photographer can choose to use what he wants to use and that's it. Why the hell would anyone even care, all you see on these forums is a constant backlash against equipment and a complete lack of focus on the actual craft.

Well the reason why it matters is because you have people making claims about the performance of a particular system and those claims remain unchallenged for some
time. Then when someone does actually do side by side comparisons and find it’s a bogus claim then it somehow seems appropriate to move the goal posts and talk about the craft and about how the gear doesn’t matter.

You already know how much of a fan I am of your work. The amount I’ve learned specifically from you is huge and for that I’m deeply thankful. Having said that this isn’t a discussion about the craft or or the art. This is a discussion about the gear and claims about x system being the “best”.

What I am saying is that you told a number of clear untruths; which indicated you either don't know what you are talking about, or you deliberately lied.

Defamation still isn't cool. Frankly, I'd be litigating for reputational damage.

Where's the lies in saying I find this medium format 100mp Hasselblad to be better than this camera. That's what I found and that's why I use one. Why do you give a flying shit, and bring it down to calling me an asshole? As for the defamation I've explained my position in the comments above.

Dude, the crap was over a year ago, and I well and truly moved on; you simply are not that important.
I just recall I had six substantive issues with whatever crap you were saying.

Defamation is still uncool. And i would still be suing you for reputational damage.

OK Will so now we've got past the asshole thing and that you don't care what camera anyone uses and that 35mm probably won't beat a medium format Hasselblad then what are we left with? That if you were Jared you would be suing me for defamation. As you saw in my reply to 'Alejandro Ilukewitsch' if you read it i've welcomed Jared to do just that if he feels so inclined.

Because you defamed someone. You are an asshole.

Will, those kinds of personal comments are not acceptable here. Stop it.

Which part? The part where I am am saying he made defamatory statements? Or the part where I say he is an asshole because he defamed someone?

I stand by my pejorative.

He should be sued.

You can only be defaming someone if what was said wasn't actually true. I believe it to be fact. As a froknow fan boy you obviously think differently and I'm not going to be able to change your mind on that. But on being called an asshole for the second time then I'lll quote my mate Liam.... 'Off you fuck now'

Oi, shit for brains, I can't stand Jared Polin.

Fuck right off yourself.

Will, so much rage, it would be common sense for a $30k+ system to organize a demo, test the product and review the files before making any decision. That's how we used to buy backs when I used them.

Don’t Publish Anything on any Web Site and your images will not be stolen ..
Not will the idea of the image.

I think Carl should take this version of the video of down and create a new one and leaves Jared Polin out of it. You can't own standard sales language you can replace photography tutorial with anything anything you could use the same language for a juggling tutorial.

He can rant about someone using his photos as their own or using it as a stock photo. Many photographers have this problem. Heck one group did a video about the legal process when they saw their photo on a phone case in an airport (going from memory) This was clickbait.

I had to get multiple refills of popcorn. And now I'm fatter than I was when I started reading the comments. However great to see all the YouTubers I follow and appreciate here. Keep up the good work.

It did get personal....

I am with Fro on the one, Karl is using him to get clicks.
I say those lines on my sleep, it so common.
Now after these false claims about Fro, I believe that most of the photos he showed in. The videos were not stolen, they might have been bought from his Getty account or some other Agencies that sells his work.(just a guess)
I thought Karl was better than that. Living and learning.

If you're worried about people stealing your sh!t, and you're sponsored by Squarespace (who offers royalty free images), you probably should just keep your mouth shut.

This story has to have the best comments section on Fstoppers in a long time, if not ever! Hold I need more popcorn.

I’ve finally made my way through the entire thread of comments...oh boy, what a fiasco.

Read thru the whole thing as well :)

The Patrick Hall responded to my comment....I feel so special! YEAH ME!.

It's a crying shame that apparently no other photographer has ever addressed the issue of theft or copyright violations (while actually addressing what you can do about it), hence why you use a video you know contains false accusations...

I've been enjoying most of the articles here, but this post is not doing anyone any favors.

oh man this comment section is lit!

I guess fro doesn't know photo...


I used to like Karl Taylor. I even used to show his videos to my photography students. Now, my lesson is ruined, i am afraid to tell people "hello" because Karl might told it first....
Shame, and lack of common sense. But, there is no negative advertise, so... Go Karl.

Seeing Jared called “YouTuber” in the thumbnail made me chuckle. This guy’s comparison to Jared’s training videos is the dumbest claim to stealing I’ve ever heard.

But then again, I’ve never had my content stolen. Stay mediocre, fellas. 😂

There is clearly some ego here making him blow things out of proportion:

1) The "beer company" in Brazil is in reality an small shop who sells stuff for amateurs brewers. We all know small business do this kind of crap out of ignorance. The others examples are clearly shady companies who also do this kind of crap out because they know they can get away with that in their countries.

2) That sales pitch... I work in adverting and most of that are common clichés. If a junior copywriter showed me a script with one of those phrases, I would probably ask him to think of something else to say.

3) YouTubers saying the same stuff on their videos happens all the time when you got a lot of people trying to cover the same subject. Some of them are going to make the same kind of video, and sometimes is just a coincidence.

it's just another youtube drama... A lot of those lately.