Theft and Misuse
When I'm not out taking photographs chasing down copyright infringement monopolizes my time. On any given day I can find several new examples, sometimes dozens. The photos were either downloaded from my Flickr account that's been dead since 2007 or screen captured from my website. From those they get passed around the internet at an astounding rate. I've had people claim my photos as their own, used for magazine and album covers, placed on advertisements and retail websites, at the time of writing this they have illegally appeared on dozens of products for sale on Amazon. At the advice of a lawyer I began registering/copyrighting hundreds of my best photos. What this does is give you further protection by taking lawsuits to the Federal level (suing for $150,000 instead of $10,000). There are several big problems that can arise such as infringement from overseas and hiring a bad lawyer which are both things I've dealt with. The government process is lengthy to say the least. To register a single or batch of photos is $55 and the online application can be confusing sometimes. Depending on the subject of photos you're trying to register it can take 6 months to a year to receive your copyright certificate. While you can still be protected just under the DMCA this added protection can protect you from corporations with the exception of Amazon who can apparently do whatever they please. Over the last year and a half I've had hundreds of photos removed, reached small settlements with two businesses that were the same amount as if they licenced the photo to begin with but in the end this hasn't even made a small dent in the growing number out there. The photo below shows my photograph "Philadelphia 471" that was taken in 2012. This photo only shows about one third of internet postings for this one photo.