Online Piracy of Intellectual Property

As the popularity of this photography blog has increased, unfortunately so too has the frequency of online piracy of intellectual property that has been directly impacting our work. This causes a dilemma in terms of how to deal with the theft of our images and videos.

We certainly appreciate each and every one of our readers who take the time to visit this website and thus contribute to its growing success. The dilemma is how to try to discourage online piracy of our intellectual property while still providing readers with an enjoyable viewing experience.

One option is to dramatically increase the size of our Copyright notice on each photograph, and to position multiple watermarks across critical areas of each image. This would be similar to the very conspicuous multiple watermarks that are used by stock image re-sellers. We feel that taking this approach would significantly reduce your individual viewing experiences.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 8 mm, efov 21.6 mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO-400

Another approach is to make the images on this website somewhat smaller than has been the case in the past. This helps to reduce the practical use of the image if it is stolen from our website by online pirates. This is the approach that we will be using for this article and all future postings. We will be using the same image size that some other popular photography websites use.

We apologize for having to take this action. We hope that all of you will understand the importance of this change in terms of trying to protect our intellectual property from online piracy.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7 mm, efov 18 mm, f/5.6, 1/30, ISO-160

Our YouTube channel has a wide variety of videos currently available to viewers. We have not yet finalized our plans for our video intellectual property, but we will be making changes in the near future. We will be advising readers early in the New Year of any changes that will be made to the video portion of our work.

If any readers regularly post their images on social media or photography sharing websites it may be prudent for you to do an internet search of your name. This may uncover situations where your photographs have also been pirated.

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. If you like our website please let your friends and associates know about our work. Linking to this site or to specific articles is allowed with proper acknowledgement. Reproducing articles, or any of the images contained in them, on another website is a Copyright infringement.

Nikon D800 + Tamron 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 @ 600 mm, f/8, + 1/3 EV, 1/400, ISO-800

My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to support my work you can purchase an eBook, or make a modest $10 donation through PayPal, both are most appreciated. You can use the Donate button below. Larger donations can be made to through PayPal.


As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store.

Article and all images are Copyright 2018 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Posting comments on offending websites and calling out individuals who steal intellectual property is always appreciated!

12 thoughts on “Online Piracy of Intellectual Property”

  1. Hi Tom,

    I’ve been through this route many times and in all honesty, am at a loss at how to really address it. Tried smaller sizes than usual but it didn’t deter a local travel publication to use my images without my authorization. Tried watermarks (big ones, too) but “enterprising” online publications use the images as is with the watermarks intact. With “crowdsourcing” the operative word and usual excuse nowadays, image theft has become more rampant than ever. In the end, I wouldn’t let it get in the way of my photography (even though diminishing income derived from practicing it as a livelihood has reached a point when I sort of, semi-retired from it). The technology that has made all these photographic advances possible has also made thieving/stealing possible.

    Belated happy Hanukkah!

    1. Hi Oggie,

      I agree that this a very frustrating situation with no apparent solution in terms of eradicating image piracy. Some associates have had at least some success using smaller sized images, so I decided to go this route.

      At the end of the day it boils down to our clients… and our readers. They are the only people who can make decisions to support our work from a financial standpoint. I put my faith in my readers when I set up my blog by making it advertising free from day one. In 2019 I will be making some changes to my business approach to try to further differentiate the work I do, and to confirm my faith in my readers.


  2. Sorry to hear you’ve been forced to these measures, Tom … but your response is completely understood.

  3. Tom, I am so sorry to hear about this issue. I too have had many of my logo designs sold and used and/or resold. I have even had one person contact me and demand that I remover her designs from my site or she would contact her lawyer – the designs were my designs she stole and was trying to resell. What nerve!

    I don’t know if there is any way to stop the stealing. 🙁

    By the way, the larger size you posted here is good. But did you do extra sharping to them or something? The first one seems kinda strange to me – grainy or gritty.

    1. Hi Joni,

      I suppose the unethical people will always find a way to cheat and steal. All we can do is our best to make it difficult for them.

      Thanks for your observation on the first image. I reviewed it and there was actually nothing wrong with it. The corners did look pretty strange though. It was caused by an unusual combination of plants… some leaves that had been eaten by bugs with another plant growing over top that was mainly very thin whip-like tentacles. The combination looked odd and did have an over sharpened look. I switched the image out and put a new one in.


  4. Sorry that you have to take these actions … the web has certainly provided a pathway to IP piracy by those with such a bent. As if that’s not enough, a well-known PS filter company has recently released an absolutely great image “enlarger”. It does an amazing job of up-sizing images, including thumbnails, which is great if the product is used for legal purposes. But the company, in its promotional videos, actually encourages its use to up-size images downloaded or grabbed from social media (specifically Facebook) for enlargement printing or other use … which effectively encourages the type piracy you are trying to protect yourself against. IP theft is reaching epidemic levels where nothing is safe or sacred. Good luck in your endeavours.

    1. Hi Marty,

      This is a tough battle for any of us that post our work online. All any of us can do is mark our work as Copyrighted and trust that many people will respect it. Luckily the world still has many ethical people living on it! This website survives because of the eBook purchases and donations made by readers to support my work. As long as that support continues… this site will be sustained.


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