Many of you probably don't know this but I have been a photographer for 30 years and have done occasional professional work. One thing that has always worried me was how I would showcase and market my images on the Internet and, at the same time, make sure people wouldn't just take them and use it as they wish.
Well, recently I ran into a company called PicScout and realized that I really don't need to worry at all. PicScout offers a service that "fingerprints" my images so they can be identified even if they have been photo-shopped and modified. Their service also goes out on the Internet and will find my pictures and let me know where they are being used.
This in itself is great but they do much more than this. People often use Google image search to find pictures to use in their digital marketing and creative work. Say my pictures are being used all over the web, when someone searches with Google image search they may find my pictures but still it is hard for the searcher to figure out who owns the rights. The PicScout "firefox add-on" displays rights information regarding images directly within the Google search results. This makes it easy for anyone who sees one of my pictures to license it. And when it is easy for someone to do this, it is much more likely that they will. If it would be difficult they would either just take it or find another.
I know this because I am guilty. My team and I grabbed some images off the web to use as placeholders in a website we were developing and one of those images made the final cut without us realizing that we hadn't secured rights. All was fine and dandy for about six months and then we got a letter from Getty Images informing us that we were using one of their images without securing rights to it. Hah, I wonder if they were using PicScout technology. We were slapped with at $2000 fee that we easily could have avoided.
Now I can allow my images to be spread throughout the web, giving my work more exposure and linking them all back to a commerce engine so that they could be easily licensed.
I better get to work and spread my images!
Since we are talking photography, just for fun you might watch what Nigel Barker, professional photographer and judge on America's Next Top Model, had to say to me from CES