Who owns copyright of the pictures you post to OPS and facebook?

Information for Oldham PS Members

Pictures used on the OPS web site


You retain copyright of all pictures that you/we post to the web site. This is regardless of whether or not you have watermarked your images with a copyright statement. On the galleries page, I do put a statement that the pictures remain copyright of the photographer.

It is recommended that you embed your copyright symbol in the EXIF data on all of your pictures. This can be done in camera, or from your software editing programme, e.g. Photoshop/Lightroom. The easiest way for me is to automatically have my copyright as part of the data that is applied to every photograph as I import it from my memory card to Lightroom.

However, be aware that EXIF data can be stripped off or edited by unscrupulous persons. It is always possible to steal a picture from a web site, even when “right click/save as” is disabled. If it is displayed on your computer, it is in RAM and can be extracted.

You may wish to choose which of your photographs you are prepared to share on the web and this is why we will not post your images without permission – this was not always the case in the past, where we did publish some competition images as a matter of course, but it is firmly the case now.

What size do we post at?

We will post your images at 600 pixels on the longest side on web galleries. We ask you to supply them to me at that size.

Yes, it is possible for someone who steals your image to upsize and re-use it. However, from that size it is difficult to make a useable image big enough for entry to PDI competitions at 1400×1050, especially if you have saved at less than top quality – so, maybe consider a medium quality jpg for web use.

If you prefer your images posted at smaller size, just let me have the smaller version – say 450 pixels on the long side, for example…and watermarked if you wish.

How else will we post your images?

We use a plug-in to display some pictures at small size in the side bars of the web site.  These are extracted from the work that has been given to me for the galleries. Some of the header images have been taken from competition entries – if anyone objects to any header images that are already there, please let me know.

Sometimes I post pictures to our OPS facebook page – I tend to post my own, as I don’t have carte blanche permission to post other people’s images to facebook – it is just easier that way.

How long do pictures stay on the web site?

As long as you want! When you ask to have pictures removed, I will remove them. Sometimes pictures are removed when the web site is updated. If you leave the club, your pictures will be removed from galleries, but may remain in archived articles (unless you request otherwise).

Who owns copyright of the pictures that you post to facebook?

Quite, simply – you do. In the UK, copyright remains with the photographer unless you sign it away to somebody else.

However, it isn’t quite as simple as that. In uploading your pictures to social media, you grant a license for that organisation to use and display that content however they like. That license expires when you delete the picture from the web site. However, if the picture has been shared elsewhere, it can still be used.

How can you find out if your image is used elsewhere on the web?

  1. Right click on the image on the web page. Select “Search Google for this image” (Chrome browser).
  2. Or, you can use a little bookmarklet… called “?¿ src-img” (Works on most browsers)

“?¿ src-img” is a bookmarklet that interfaces with Google™ Image Search to help you find other instances of the same image.

How do I use ?¿ src-img?

Go to ?¿ src-img and drag the bookmarklet to your bookmark toolbar.

Then click it when you are on a page with images you want to find elsewhere on the web. It will put up a symbol over the pictures…click on the symbol to search.

Both of the above processes require that Google has already found and cataloged the image, so images that have recently been re-posted may not yet show up.

My own experience

I have had an image stolen and re-used to advertise a product. I contacted the webmaster and the image was speedily removed.

I have had two tutorial videos stolen and used on an eastern European web site and re-posted on YouTube. In that case I had to fill in forms for YouTube and they investigated and removed the stolen versions. But it may not be as easy as that with other organisations!

I do not know if any of my competition images have been stolen!

A major worry these days is the theft of images from CDs. Many salons produce a CD of accepted images after the competition and, where they are at large size, they can be used again. There have been many cases of such plagiarism across the world and image theft is a significant problem even in the UK. There was even the case of a photographer abroad who won great acclaim and many top awards internationally with wholly stolen images.

We all have to decide if we are so precious about our pictures that we don’t want to share them at all. That, I think, would be a shame.

Taking action when your image is stolen from a web page

The following advice from Digital Camera World

1. Contact the webmaster of the web site that is displaying your image.

2. Contact the web hosting company of the website concerned.

3. Contact the advertisers and let them know the web site they are advertising on is displaying stolen material.

4. Take legal action (expensive)

Christine Widdall 2015

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