Clarifying my infringement enforcement policies is overdue. I’ve been dealing in recent years with a great many commercial entities using my photos, without my knowledge, to sell all manner of pest-control services and products. The problem is bad and getting worse. More surprisingly, I am now getting pushback from a few infringers irate at being questioned, something that has never happened previously.
Five years ago, on the rare occasion when I’d find a pest control company selling their service with illicit ant photos, the owner would be unfailingly courteous and apologetic, immediately removing the image and/or offering to pay for it. Most of my infringers remain polite and reasonable. But internet social norms are changing, especially in the era of social media and extreme SEO practices, and in the past few weeks I’ve had not one but several pest control operators claim that all internet images including mine are public domain, refuse to remove images, repost images after DMCA takedowns, question my ownership rights over my own photographs (even after I’d provided 100% crops, U.S. copyright registration certificates, and links to blog posts where I even explain how I took the photographs), and accuse me of being a predatory copyright troll out to hurt small businesses.
I needed a written policy to point to in my increasingly frequent conflicts with unrepentant infringers. I can’t pretend this will stop thieves from thieving, but having another tool in my corner can’t hurt.