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Tara Bradford Photography

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« Fundamental | Main | Banksy's community art and Sincura Group's stealth sales »

18 July 2013



What really ticks me off is that I contact yahoo or bing or google and tell them a spam site has hotlinked an image of mine or using it on their site and they want me to send a dmca notice to the webmaster? I wrote back to bing asking them if they really expected me to contact a porn site and file a dmca notice with them? so frustrating.


Thank you for the IP address info Tara. Just read your postscript ... It's the knowledge that it will be an emotional experience that stops me from doing further image searches. I think I would rather not know, but now I put two watermarks on each photo - I found some of my images with the watermark cropped off, so now I do a faint one in the middle of the image as well.


What a well researched and insightful post. After reading it more than once, I have been thinking about it for a few days. I don't have any conclusion except the only way to prevent it is not to be on the internet at all. The music industry was the first to suffer financially and all forms of art have followed suit.

My own work has been used and copied. This includes dolls, art work, blog posts, Facebook photos, and research I have done on a certain doll maker and her family. (I have been on the Internet since 1997.) For some of us it is too late. If we stopped publishing our work as of this moment, there are years and years of it already on the net for eternity. Sharing is wonderful...stealing is not. To get publicity, one must share. To share is to leave one vulnerable. What a conundrum.

After speaking with several people in various age brackets ranging from 30-something to age 73, not one person thought it problematic. One of them is an artist who sells on the internet. Not sure what to think about that.

Everything is changing rapidly in society from journalism to television to the arts, etc. Monetizing at other people's expense seems socially acceptable. Just look at the world economy and how money is made. We are in a strange place in time.

Tara Bradford

Benjamin, thank you! I've added a postscript explaining how to discover where your images are being used.

Benjamin Porter

First of all, many thanks to you, Tara, for all your hard work and sharing this problem with us. Great job!

Secondly, for those of us photographers who are not so tech savvy, how do we look for or find our images online that have been stolen. How did you go about doing that?

Thank you for letting us know.


Tara Bradford

Jeanie, thanks so much! You're welcome to share the article; the more people that consider and discuss these issues, the better chance of having a more equitable internet.

Tara Bradford

Thanks for sharing your own struggle with copyright infringers, C Schnackel! You're right about how search engine modifications encourage this behaviour. Sometimes when I'm looking up a subject online, the search engine provides three pages of Pinterest "pins" before getting to the point. It is annoying and infuriating and I'm convinced the current system of scraping art, photography and editorial content from websites will be forced to change - either by public outcry or class action lawsuits. It astonishes me how many people never even consider that they don't have the right to use other people's work (found online) without permission. They wouldn't think of behaving in such a dreadful manner in an office or a gallery, yet they consider anything they find on the Internet as "free candy."

Tara Bradford

Corrine, it's an exasperating process keeping up with all the copyright infringers, isn't it? The Internet code of conduct has to change or there'll be little left but corporate-sponsored posts, spam and porn sites! Lately, I've noticed a few (formerly) popular blogs being almost completely taken over with sponsored posts (which loses readers).

Tara Bradford

Thank you, Natalie! I appreciate the support.

Tara Bradford

Jan, wish I'd thought of that! :) Re: the thieves - I often wonder the same thing...culture of entitlement??!!

Tara Bradford

Thanks, Janice! I know you have been going through copyright issues with your work as well. It is practically a full-time job keeping track of all these usurpers!

To find a company's IP address, simply go to and type the name of the website or company. You'll then see the IP address and additional information about the company and there should be an email address provided for reporting abuse. But this isn't always the case - particularly as many companies hide behind proxy companies or proxy servers. Sometimes further investigation is required to track down the person directly responsible for administering the site and its content.


Hi Tara, Thank you for such a thorough account of what's been going on. You have been doing sterling work tracking all your images down and even getting one of these sites suspended. I can't understand why there is no one body with authority to take action against blatant offenders, and furthermore, why information on what action to take is not more openly available. I would have no idea how to find a person by searching the IP address.

Tara Bradford

K Baxter Packwood, thanks for your comment. In Europe where I live, Wayback Machine could be interpreted to violate copyright laws. In the EU, only the content creator can decide where his or her work is published or duplicated. Upon request, the Wayback Machine archive would be obliged to remove author-deleted posts from its system. It probably would be too much work for these spam/scraper/phishing sites to retrieve posts from Wayback Machine. After all, there are thousands and thousands of other images they can steal, all too easily. (alas!)

k baxter packwood

Eventhough you delted those posts they can still be found through the wayback machine.


I came here via Leslie Hawes recommendation. I have been having the same problems and the companies, designers and musicians that have used my work always come up with the same excuses (I won't repeat since I know you have heard them all too). I am lately seeing a new crop of porn sites using swiped images, and there are quite a few spammers using our images on pinterest, so pinners who share and click are helping spammers too grrrrrr.
You have shared a really extensive list wow, thank you.


Bravo, Tara. This is an incredibly -- INCREDIBLY -- thorough and sadly fascinating post. I can't believe the depth of the areas and topics where you have been raided. And the wealth of material you have shared.

Do you mind if I share this link on my FB page? (I'll wait to hear from you on that!) I think a lot of folks might be interested in it. If not, I have a couple of pro-photographer friends with whom I'll share this.


I feel for you, Tara. Such a strange world we live in now. Regardless, I hope your craft will always bring you the joy of creation, and hopefully the rest of this planet will catch up and honor that.

Jan Piller

Wow - the bridal site photo thief on Pinterest deserved a much better response...... I would have told her I would be happy to provide the proof of copywrite along with the giant copywrite infringement lawsuit she would be served with shortly. Which morally challenged people raised these thieves? And why are there so many of them?

C Schnackel

I've been there and sympathize! I'm an artist and continually have to send takedowns to many of the culprits on your list and then some. I've replaced all my online images with versions that have a big name/copyright across them now.

The last straw was when the search engines became like Pinterest. It was clear that, ironically, the search engines were taking my traffic. Of infringed images that were credited at all, they were credited to Google, Pinterest, etc! People were finding the images there and not even going to my site, because the new model encourages that behavior. Bing's pinit button that bypasses our no-pin codes is especially enabling of infringement.

I also don't want to be found anymore, except by those who've been given my name or URL and are there to look and perhaps buy. I do not need the junk traffic that is just infringers, and sadly that's what social media, sharing, etc, is all about...high traffic numbers, even if an illusion, that they can peddle to advertisers and investors. Along with our personal data.

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