Wednesday, May 2, 2012
You copy it, you bought it
If you discover your work has been copied — perhaps someone has used an image on their website or blog — you feel violated. But the fact is: you have made a sale. Since US and European laws deem your work to be copyrighted the moment it sees the light of day, the person who has used the image has bought a “use license.” They just haven’t paid for it — yet. Your job is to collect the payment. Having a notice about licensing your images on your site makes it a bit easier but if you but you can still decide upon a fair price and begin your attempts to get paid.
The person or organization who has used your work is a fan — they think it’s great, which is why they picked it. If you don’t want to pursue payment, keep this in mind and think about what you can do to help your fan promote your work. At the minimum, your name and a link to your site.
TinEye is a (free) reverse image search. It also exists as a plug-in for Firefox, Chrome and IE. It finds exact matches even if they have been cropped, edited or re-sized. It won’t necessarily find your images: they have to be its database, which is constantly expanding, but it’s a start. Of course a Google search for your name or the title of your work might prove some leads, too.