great matters


Ads That Use Stolen Imagery

// February 4, 2011 // Advertising // 3 Comments

While perusing the fine pages of adrants last week, I came across an interesting post on picture thievery. Apparently, this flickr pic of an attractive woman found its way onto the banner ad below promoting medical bills and coding degrees.

An isolated incident this is not. A quick googling produced the story of an aspiring model suing Apple and an app developer for using racy pics without her permission. Then there’s the mother who discovered a Chinese company was using a photo of her toddler to hawk baby clothes. And another mom who was surprised to find a Christmas card pic of her family plastered over a storefront in Prague.

What is up with this blatant pilfering? Can those on the far end of the decent human continuum really be so low as to burgle without fear of consequence? Do they assumeĀ  they can lift images from personal blogs or facebook pages and think no one will notice? My google results sadly answer that.

As the number of photos uploaded to facebook continues to rise, it seems like the unscrupulous few have more material to pick and steal from. Aside from always uploading low-res or watermarked files, does anyone know of any other ways to stop all the hijacking?


    author bio

    Creative/Concept. A writer by trade and a concept hunter at heart, Rich tracks down big ideas for sport and profit. When he takes off his thinking cap, Rich follows mixed martial arts and gets his boogie on at underground house music parties.


    1. This is a major issue for fine artists and illustrators who have their work stolen and copied from the internet.

      An artist friend found her work had been stolen and reproduced (very poorly) as posters in another country. They made buckets of money off her art and she got zip. She could not pursue any legal actions because at the time copyrite laws had not caught up with the digital world.

      I have been reluctant to show my fine art on line because of this issue of plagiarism. Unfortunately the only way I can keep from having images stolen is to not post them on the internet.

    2. Holy crap that’s so creepy yet a teeny tiny bit hilarious at the same time…..Man has advertising changed!!

    3. Looks like this story played out on the pages of groupon. A photographer offering a discount photo package didn’t have her own pictures in her portfolio. The nerve of some thieves. Sheesh.