It's been a while since I've discussed the mess that is the internet and permission for using one's photographs. In the past year lawsuits have been filed, cease and desist letters sent, DMCA forms filed, and hundreds of emails. During this same period of time I registered copyrights for over half my portfolio. This process takes a tremendous amount of time and my talking about has discouraged other photographers from posting their portfolio photos online and I can't blame them. Others feel that searching for their photos would ruin them mentally, again I don't blame them. Over the last year alone I've had my photos removed hundreds of times and it looks like I've stopped Amazon from selling third party items with my photography on them. But that's where the progress has stopped.
I have a few photos that I watch more closely because they known to be used without my permission more than the others, but every once in awhile I'll find an unsuspecting photo being used for website design, product design, or illegally printed. Take the photo below ( Philadelphia 471) which has been the biggest source of illegal and not permissioned use. I've sent a couple hundred notices to people on social media claiming they took the photo or using it for advertisement. Interior designers, realtors, communication companies seem to be the biggest offenders. They either claim ignorance or the fact that they've seen it all over the internet so it must be alright to use without permission. There is no stopping the spread of a photo once it's been uploaded to the internet. I've spent thousands of hours trying to stop or even just trying to slow it's progress with no such luck.
This photo represents only about one sixth of the current locations on the internet where it's been shared or used even though I've had hundreds removed. Using the Russian search engine Yandex reveals even more with a disturbing amount being used for commercial purposes.