One of the biggest problems that photographers face is image theft. It is all too easy to steal images off websites even if the mouse right-click has been disabled. And finding your images can be a painstaking process, but there is a solution: tineye.com. Tineye is an image search and recognition service that will crawl through over 25 billion images to find instances of your photograph on the web.
Who are they?
Tineye, based in Toronto, delivers image search and recognition services to industry giants, such as Adobe, and individuals alike. You can use their free service to check images individually, but a paid service exists which allows you to check entire collections. It isn't cheap starting at US$200 per month, but your images could be worth so much more to you. There are comprehensive filter options which allow you to narrow search parameters. The interface is user-friendly and returns search results incredibly quickly considering how many images it has to compare to. Another useful feature is the browser extension for all the most popular browsers.
How does it work?
Duplicate and modified images are searched for using an API they have developed called MatchEngine. It is able to identify images that have been altered including resizing, cropping, edits, occlusions and colour changes. Should a search provide results you can click on each link to see how your image is being used. You can then check to see if it has been authorised or not.
Image theft is prevelent. Search engines make it all too easy for unscrupulous users to steal images, who know that the chances of them being found are slim. But thanks to companies like Tineye hopefully the balance will start to shift back in the favour of the photographer.
Running this site I have found that the vast majority of photographers are happy for me to link to their images. In fact, I have only had one person who refused to allow me to link to an image. All other images come from free stock image sites Pixabay or Unsplash, which I also contribute to as a form of payback.