ImageRights: Convert Infringements into Profits

Becoming a photographer is not the “easy route” by any means. The photography business is tough. Whether it be the marketplace competition or stock agencies driving down prices, there is always another hurdle to jump over.  However, there is one thing that seems to remain constant in a field that is constantly in flux: copyright infringement.

At ImageRights, we work with professional photographers of almost every focus: celebrity, portraiture, sports, travel, nature, fine art, and they all grapple with copyright infringement. You can either take it for what it is or you can capitalize on the opportunity. With the right tools and work process, you can convert this constant source of frustration into a new line of business, and a very profitable business at that.

Theft of even a single image can be prolific. Rob Walls, an ImageRights photographer in Tasmania, had a photo of red wine pouring into a wine glass lifted from his site.  He had licensed the photo once for a book cover, but then the market for his entire shoot was decimated by the widespread reproduction of his photo across the internet. Instead of chalking it up as a loss, he contacted ImageRights to see if we could help recover compensation for the many uses of his images that he had found.

Image by Rob Walls

Image by Rob Walls

We immediately went to work on assessing his claims and making our recommendations on which cases to pursue. Within a couple of months, the first cases began settling and he soon found that he had a steady stream of income every month for uses of his red wine photo by wineries, restaurants, hotels, and travel companies around the world.

This is by no means a unique situation. Whether you have a single image that went viral or a large body of work with a substantial licensing history, you have a very real opportunity to subsidize your income and perhaps, as we have seen with some of our photographers, exceed your annual income just by diligently monitoring for the use of your images and submitting your claims for recovery.

Kansas City-based architectural and real estate photographer Eric Bowers wrote,

“Since getting started with ImageRights over a year ago, my own business income from copyright infringement settlement money has become the most consistent and reliable income stream for my freelancing operation. It is not an understatement at all when I say that having this stream of income is a game‐changer because it allows me to weather the inevitable troughs in income from assignment photography and stock license sales while still having enough money on‐hand to meet fixed expenses.”

Image by Eric Bowers

Image by Eric Bowers

You may not have taken the easiest career route, but our ImageRights Recovery service can make managing your photography business just a little bit easier.

Joe Naylor

Joe’s career spans more than twenty years in the design, development, operations, sales, and marketing of communications and internet-based services at eFax.com, j2 Global Communications, and WebMessenger. In 2007, Joe began collaborating with professional photographer Ted VanCleave on solutions to the challenges that commercial photographers, photo agencies and publishers face with respect to online copyright protection; and in 2008 the two founded ImageRights International, Inc. Joe holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, completed the Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School and has served on the Picture Archive Council of America’s International Committee.

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