By Diane Berkenfeld
When Ted VanCleave, a fine-art photographer and illustrator found some of his images on websites that were not authorized to use them, he did something about it. VanCleave co-founded ImageRights International with Joe Naylor, a specialist in designing, developing and marketing communications and internet-based services.
ImageRights was designed to help both photographers and illustrators discover the illegal use of their intellectual property on the web. The company created web crawlers that roam the world wide web, indexing millions of images each month, and comparing those images to customers’ images using powerful image recognition technology.
If the ImageRights system detects that a customer’s image is indeed found, the customer will then receive a report that includes a picture of the original image, its use online and the URL and ownership information for the website where the photo/illustration was found. The system can even find illegal uses of images where they are cropped or altered.
ImageRights offers three fee-based package levels: Basic with a monthly fee of $9.95, Standard for $19.95 per month, and Pro for $39.95 a month. Users of the three packages can upload up to 250 images, 1,000 images and 10,000 images respectively. Earlier this summer, ImageRights announced a free service, which will let users upload up to 10,000 images at no cost.
Later this month, ImageRights will be launching an optional Recovery Program. For photographers and artists who are part of the paid program, and opt-in to the Recovery Program, they will receive 65% of recovered fees while ImageRights will take 35% of the recovered fees. For photographers who utilize the free service, and opt-in to the Recovery Program, there will be a 50/50 split of recovered fees. Photographers don’t have to use the company’s Recovery Program. At any time, they can pursue compensation on their own.
“The only difference between the paid and unpaid service is the recovery split between the customer and ImageRights. Customers are not required to use our recovery services, but we believe that once they do, they will find our recovery process to be much more efficient and cost-effective than doing it on their own. We can usually recoup image piracy fees without going through the court system and, although legal fees are always included in judgments, few photographers have the money to front those costs, nor do they have the time to deal with the paperwork involved,” explains VanCleave, co-founder and executive VP.
“We know there is a demand in the photo industry for a service that helps identify image theft and recoup image use fees as a result, and we are providing an easy, affordable and effective solution to those who choose to use it,” VanCleave adds.
The company notes that customers of all sizes have signed up, from individual photographers and illustrators, to larger studios and stock agencies.
For information about ImageRights, go to www.imagerights.com.