Have you used this Google Chrome feature? Search Google For This Image First I'd like to say that my least favorite part of being a professional photographer is copyright enforcement. There is little doubt it is the most frustrating thing I've ever dealt with. I'd rather eat barbed wire. Second, I don't use my real name on Photo.net because I learned a while back that anonymity has some value. Some of you know who I am and I'll ask that you not reveal my identity, my studio name, trade names or websites. If I were using my real name here this posting would certainly alert hundreds of individuals, corporations, web design firms and other entities as to what may be coming their way soon. This would likely ruin what some may see as my devious plan to get paid for what has been taken from me. So here is the whole truth: Over the my twenty one years in business, photo theft has been a recurring problem. My first website began in 1996 so my photos have been out there a long time. Infringers have included my newspaper (a large, well known newspaper), then the City from whom I leased gallery space, a book publisher. Aunt of my then best friend. A real estate developer that owns numerous large hotels and timeshares. The list goes on and on. A couple of evenings ago, while using Google Chrome on my iPad, I held my finger over a photo on one of my "right click protected" websites. A pop up gave me the option to Search Google For This Image. The results rocked my world, the search returned over 50 hits on the first photo I searched. Each subsequent felt like a punch in the face. After about two non stop hours of utter dismay, I spent the rest of the night and into the morning laying in bed in near shock. Hundreds, if not thousands of copyright violations. Some come right off my websites, where the embedded watermarks should keep thieves at bay. Some taken from sites where I've uploaded promotional photos. Others appear to be art photos I have sold and have my signature and a copyright notice with my contact info across the entire bottom edge of the image. Business hasn't been wonderful this past year and I could try to blame it on all the usual adverse business conditions, advances in digital cameras, iPhones, whatever. Bottom line is all the thieves, and I do regard it as stealing, also hurt business. Why buy the cow when the milk is free? I have always believed that if something is worth the risk of stealing, then it is worth paying for. I have read a lot of opinions on watermarking, size of the watermarks, how they detract from the visual experience. There is no longer room from debate on the subject because if you put your best work on the Internet, so some is going to steal it. Even with the watermark, but with one in place it is impossible for a thief to say it was an honest mistake. That is the number one excuse I hear when I make the dreaded phone call or send the first invoice offering to settle for a reasonable fee. Here is just one mis-use I will be dealing with this week: A limited edition photo, stolen from my website, used to promote donations at one of the top Universities in the USA. The list of $1,000.00 and over donors is what really upsets me the most. Perhaps they'll use a portion to pay for the photo that promoted the donations. I am not laughing, are you? So I challenge each of you to do a google search for some of your most popular, best selling, images that have been on the web the longest. Reply here, let me know what you find, your opinion, and what do we do about it. Is this the new revenue stream for photographers, or just another frustration?