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How to finding 'stolen' images

So how do we know if any of our online images have been copied by others? Regrettably, we don’t. If anyone copies one of our pictures and prints it out for their own use, we have no way of knowing. If someone copies one of our pictures and emails it to someone else, we have no way of knowing. And if someone copies one of our pictures and reproduces it in a book or on a leaflet, we have no way of knowing. But what we can do is discover where our pictures are being displayed on the internet.

I've been aware of Google Image Search for quite a long time but only recently have I tried to use it to inspect which of my paintings/drawings have been 'stolen'. What I discovered was quite alarming. I uncovered in excess of 215 illegal postings of my art images.

Google Image Search isn’t the same as using Google Search and then selecting images. Google Image Search works by providing it with a picture so that it can then scour the ‘net for other versions of the same image. To access Google Image Search use the address google.com/imghp. The screen will look like the regular Google search page but it works much differently. You can type in url addresses of images if you wish to but I found the most effective method for our purpose is to drag and drop a picture onto the search bar.

The first few results are items that Google thinks we may be interested in followed by a section of similar images. After that is what we’re looking for …. “Pages that include matching images”. If there are no entries in that section then you can assume there are no copies of your picture on the ‘net. If there are entries there then you will need to click on each one in turn to find out who is displaying your work.

I made a list of links to unauthorised copies of my pictures with notes as to what the images were being used for and whether or not I wanted to have them removed. You may not want to have all copies removed, but I’ll cover that on another page along with how to go about the removal process.

I am not an expert either technically or legally. I am offering guidance based on my own experience in the hope that others may find it helpful. The information is being provided in good faith and without recourse.