3D Model of Comedy Central Logo

3D Model of Comedy Central Logo

Apparently, some people love to enhance their website with artwork and illustrations taken from other people without their knowledge or consent.

My work seems to be fairly popular among online thieves.  On the one hand, it’s kind of flattering; one the other hand, I just wish they would give me credit for my efforts or at least ask permission to use the image.  I guess the fault was mine for not adding a watermark to all my images.  I am doing that now, though.  What do you bet some of these images start to come down as I add my watermark?

(update 03-28-2011): I’ve decided to remove the links to the offending sites that have used my images (DOH!), but here is a list of some of my images appreciated by image thieves who failed to either request permission or give attribution:

  • Comedy Central logo I created in Lightwave 3D
  • Portfolio screen cap from an article on my site
  • Fireplace elevation, interior design illustration
  • Digital illustration of fish
  • WebSphere illustration from my IBM days
  • One of my tornado paintings

For the record, I don’t mind fair use of my images, and perhaps the fireplace illustration above could be considered fair use.  Here is more info on Fair Use of imagery:

Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work under a four-factor balancing test.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Read more about Fair Use at Wikipedia.

4 Responses to Stolen Images

  • Oh, Marilyn, I'm sorry to hear about this. How did you find out about these purloined images? I'd love to hear about that.

    I wish you wouldn't add watermarks. This will be in my newsletter on Monday. Unless you're talking about the inconspicuous watermark at the bottom of your illustrations. Those are perfectly good and understandable. I just worry about watermarks across the width of an image. Scratch that. I don't worry about them. I abhor them.

    • Alyson, sorry, I'm just now seeing your comment (must look into why I wasn't notified that you commented!). To answer your question, in viewing my stats on my host, I linked back to some of the incoming links (out of curiosity), only to discover that all of the images below were being linked to on other websites — not just a link, but the whole image was right there on the website, linked from my server (thus, stealing not only the image, but also my bandwidth). I do plan to take care of this fairly soon…

      As far as giant watermarks go, I'm completely in agreement with you on that! I try to keep mine tiny and somewhat transparent, so they don't interfere with the appreciation of the image. However, I've been finding my artwork all over the web for years, so I'd sure like anyone who sees the work to know who made it, and where they can find more. 🙂

  • One idea for you…If the photos are linked to as you say and on your server…change the photo at that link to say "STOLEN Property" and when anyone looks at those webpages you listed above they will see the NEW photos that are now at the links end! That will teach them not to take without asking!

  • If you have access to cPanel for your site, there may be an option to block all hot linking of your images.

    Personally I have to agree with Charlene, I would create a special image for anyone hot linking to your images. Keep the image light hearted and humorou,s as I feel this would be a positive bit of advertising for you, while still sending out a message that you don’t allow hot links.

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