The Copyscape for Images?

Ever wished there was one? It is well known that if you use someone’s images without proper credit then you would get sued for millions. But let us say that you did nothing like that; you are fully innocent; all you did was to hire a "cheap" web designer to design an ebook cover for your latest ebook. The designer turns out to be an unscrupulous one: rather than buying stock photos, he simply copies and pastes one of the images he finds online through Google Image Search into the ebook cover. All goes well for you until you get sued by the copyright owner of the original image.

Think I am being preposterous? Read some of these ‘horror’ stories: (does not mean all Indian designers are like that though; it is mainly the ‘cheap’ designers who should be avoided)

So you think it is only the ‘little guys’ being sued by the ‘bigshots’? Nope, here it is the other way round:

I bet if someone used your image without your permission you would do the same, and probably I would too!

In this world of ours you are ‘guilty until proven innocent’ and the ‘I didn’t know’ excuse won’t help you either! Besides where money is involved, and people get a case where they can get richer by millions by suing someone, why would they let the opportunity pass by? People would sue you even when the offense might not be that big. I mean if you read the last paragraph of this article, I could not understand for the life of mine why would Google news be sued for merely publishing the headline of a Belgian newspaper, especially when they linked to the original publisher (they always do it IMO); here, getting rich by suing a big guy seems to be the only plausible motive to me! :P

Personally I have a ‘news’ site like that too; I always link to the original source but if someone contacts me to delete the content I would definitely do that. So far, there has been just one lady who had almost asked me to delete a link to one of her articles but she allowed me to keep it after I convinced her that it was benefiting her as much! :D

But anyway…

I have been lucky enough in this; have not had to deal with such designers but the fact remains they DO exist (I did read a couple of horror stories in the Warrior Forum long time ago where even some "guru" fell for that trap). But anyway I always wished there was one ‘copyscape™’-like tool for images.  I think I finally found one.

Today I spotted this guy’s article. I was dumfounded for a minute: could this really be possible? Since for me ‘seeing is believing’ I decided to test things out for myself. I went to , clicked on the camera icon, then selected the ‘upload an image‘ option. At first I uploaded well-known images and Google™ was able to identify them properly. Next, I renamed some ‘not so well-known’ images I had on my hard drive and then uploaded them to the Google Image Search tool. Fortunately, Google was able to identify them too! In each case, Google showed a list of websites where the image is being used!

As you can see, this is a good tool to catch image thieves: you just search for any of your copyrighted images, find the people who are using it on their websites without your permission, and then do one of the following things:

a) Tell the webhost straightaway and get them shut down the offender. That would not help your bottom line much, so let me give you another idea!

b) Sue the offender for $——– (well you fill-in-the-blanks) and get rich quick! :P (kidding)

Anyway, I hope you find this tool interesting. I least expected to see such a tool but I am glad there is one now. Of course the best thing to do is to hire an honest web designer to do your graphics design job; even if you pay a few extra bucks in the process, it is worth it!

UPDATE: Today I got to know of another similar tool called, thanks to Paul Myers’s newsletter. I think it is always nice to have alternatives. You never know when Google Images suddenly vanishes from the face of the web, leaving you in the dark! :D

If you liked this article, please feel free to post a nice comment, retweet it, like it on Facebook and link to it from your website, thanks. :D


  1. rob

    wrote a long post in regards to this but its getting selected as spam!

    1. Arindam


      If you don’t mind me sending the comment I can take a look at it to see why it was ‘spammed’.

  2. Lane Lester

    Thanks for this tip! I tried it with a book cover of a book I wrote and was glad not to find any other instances. I also tried it with an image I bought from a stock photo place and was a bit surprised to not turn up any other uses of it.

  3. rob

    if i have time to rewrite it today i will, I had a horrendous experience with getty and a £600 bill for an image I had bought from getty owned site istock.

    1. Arindam

      U r welcome Rob :) I would add it to your original comment :D Looks like Getty is one company to avoid for sure (much like Ebay and Paypal, but I digress, lol). I make all my stock photo purchases from bigstockphoto . One of my earlier designers used dreamstine too.

  4. Will

    Well that’s pretty cool; thanks for the cool trick, A.

    Actually, what do you use as a nickname? Arin? Or are you all formal with Arindam like that? :)

    1. Arindam

      >>Arin? Or are you all formal with Arindam like that?

      I am fine with either! I do use “Arin” in a lot of places including my webhosting company because (no offense meant) I have found that people often tend to misspell my name if I use the full name! :D