After the disappointing news regarding copyright rules recently, I thought I'd check to see if any of my images were being misused, too. I found one of my images apparently growing legs and wondering off to some other locations.

I took this photo years ago ~ I think late 2007 - early 2008 timeframe. I have to check to be exact.

Now, without permission, it's been used as a website header for a Russian company; part of a image set for a Chinese software company; and re-hosted at other sites, some with that sites name watermarked on my photo. Regarding the Chinese copyright violators, that company's website that sells that software (and my photo) is hosted by IBM's cloud service . I'm from the US.

Obviously, I would need an international law firm to handle the international part of this. However, I don't know much beyond that. Does anyone have experience handling international copyright violations of their images? What did you do? Are there any lessons-learned that you can share? Also, what liability does a hosting company have for a company using their computers selling stolen copyright photographs? Because IBM (a US company) is hosting the company that is selling pirated image, would they be obligated to a cease-and-desist letter from my lawyer (should I get one)? Does anyone have experience like mine and how did they handle it?

I realize this is more than one question, but I'd be open to any advice and I fully understand most of you are not lawyers, so I recognize you are not providing legal advice.

![NYC Sunset near WTC] [x] <- Disabled by RM - see comment

Image may be viewed here

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've taken the unusual step of disabling your own image BECAUSE by posting it here I understand (possibly incorrectly) that your are giving people the legal right to do exactly what you are concerned about people doing. I understand that All images posted onto this site by people who have the rights to do so assigns CC-by-SA rights to them. ie "Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format. Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as copiers follow the license terms \$\endgroup\$ Aug 23, 2014 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ ... I I've got that wrong, my apologies, and you can of course restore the image. [Replace the x by 1 in the above link.] Even leaving the image on Imgur MAY have the sane effect but I'll leave that to you to sort out. This site has your image on it, AND they state that they got it from The NYC department of records \$\endgroup\$ Aug 23, 2014 at 13:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ In the US, a host is required to act on a DMCA takedown notice. A C&D will not do; they are covered under "safe harbour" provisions and are not deemed to be party to the infringement unless and until they refuse to act on a takedown notice. But that's only a partial answer to part of the question; the rest gets really complicated. See the Copyright Zone for a lot more info. \$\endgroup\$
    – user28116
    Aug 23, 2014 at 14:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RussellMcMahon - thanks for the air cover. Interestingly, using a news reader program on my iPad to engage stackexchange, I've never had to read a license agreement to sign up. I suppose I missed something. \$\endgroup\$
    – B Shaw
    Aug 23, 2014 at 16:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user28116 - Thanks for the link. I'll look into it. \$\endgroup\$
    – B Shaw
    Aug 23, 2014 at 16:29

2 Answers 2


Did you register your image with the US copyright office? If not, there isn't much you can do legally...look at Ed Greenberg's site


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    \$\begingroup\$ Is registering with the US Copyright office going to make any difference with Chinese and Russian companies? In either case, the OP still owns the copyright. \$\endgroup\$
    – Robin
    Sep 8, 2014 at 21:09

Did you know that digital photos contain hidden information - metadata tags - about the image, camera, photographer and location? These tags are created by digital cameras and photo editing software. There are many different tags, for example Exif, GPS, IPTC & XMP, just to name a few.If you are dam sure that your Copyright has been used or find any kind of Violation with the interest to a Third Party,at First you need search for your Original File,as you had written that the Picture was taken in 2007-2008,it had been Long years,and in case if still have that Original file. Write a Letter to the Concern Party with a Proof,and if you wish you can demand a Monitory Benefits from them or else you can file a suit. Before Doing that i Request you to Get in touch with your Local attorney,Each country has a Foreign Embassy in that country.you can also get in touch with them all you need to have is Proof and Some Evidence,Secondly if the image was Uploaded on Social sites as Complimentary,then i feel that it wont help you much.Although mostly a useful compliment to the picture, there are many reasons why you would want to remove these tags before publishing an image. First of all they can be a threat to your privacy by revealing private and sensitive information. The tags also take up valuble space, increasing disk usage and download times.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Once the image gets altered, any kind of meta-data is very likely lost. \$\endgroup\$
    – o0'.
    Aug 3, 2015 at 20:25

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