Tracking unauthorised usage is now free with imagerights

Imagerights, a service that allows photographers to find unlicensed images online has decided to offer its services free of charge. Ahead of the official releases I talked to co-founder of Imagerights Ted vanCleave about the reasons behind this change of strategy. If you want to find out more general information about the services of Imagerights please check out our video profile we did earlier.

The biggest change is that the discovery service is now free, this used to be a paid service. The company now charges for the recovery of unauthorised usages. The program will launch in the US in July and the free product gives a 50/50 split in the recovery fees. You can also choose to be a paid member and this results in a more favourable spit of 65/35 split in favour of the photographer.

You went from charging for discovery to charging for recovery, how will that work?

We have been researching this for the last year and believe this is an interesting proposition. Discovery is technology based only and we don’t want to be a technology company only, we want to be photography based. We like to think of ourselves as a photographer rights company.

The recovery service will start in the  USA with ROW following 6-12 months after. Germany may be as soon as 2-3 months as a result of good contacts we have there, followed by the UK. It’s all about finding the right legal partner. Every country has their own laws that  have to be followed to the letter while maximising the return.

The first 10.000 images are included in the free service, for more images  there will be additional fees. This is all custom pricing, including secure FTP. Even for the  paid service there will still be a 4-week free trial.

So why did you do this?

We always had this in mind but first wanted to be prepared for large number of images being monitored. The recovery infrastructure also had to be in place in order for the discovery to be free. There is also a natural delay in recovering usages; it only takes 2 minutes to register and upload images but the first report will take 2 weeks and  many suppliers might not find images for weeks or months.

What happens to paying clients?

Anyone that has paid has been contacted. They will have the choice to not pay anymore and get the free service or continue on the paid service with the favourable split. If they opt for the free service there will be a refund on a pro-rated basis for annual members.

What do you expect the split free/paid to be?

Virtually everyone that’s new is expected to sign up for the free option. When collections start  to grow revenues will grow too and suppliers  will want a higher split and more will opt for the paid service.

What other important things can you highlight?

Imagerights is the only business that is built from the ground up as a photographer and designer service. It allows anyone in the world to find their image usages online.  On top of that US usages can be tracked even if the photographer is not based in the US

 PRESS RELEASE

ImageRights International offers free service to help professional photographers identify digital image theft

Powerful visual search technology detects photo copyright violations, stock photo piracy

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ─ June 29, 2010 ─ ImageRights International, Inc., a company that helps professional photographers and illustrators discover the illegal use of their intellectual property on the Web, is offering a free version of its online image recognition and recovery service to further expand efforts against image piracy.

With this new offering, the company’s advanced visual search and crawler technology will continuously scan websites and blogs to protect up to 10,000 images for professional photographers and illustrators. The crawler indexes millions of new images every month and uses powerful image recognition technology to compare customers’ photos and illustrations against images found on the Web. It then detects where the customers’ images have been used, even if the stolen photos have been altered, cropped, rotated or color adjusted. The customer receives a full report, including a picture of the original image, its use online, and the URL and ownership information for the website where it was found.

“As an advocate for photographers and illustrators, our goal is to help artistic professionals monitor how their work is being used on the Internet, and to partner with them to recoup lost profits when it’s being used illegally,” said Maria Kessler, senior vice president of business development at ImageRights and former president of the Picture Archive Council of America(PACA). “Image piracy is rampant online and by making these services more accessible, we’re enabling creatives to have more control over how their images are used, while sending a clear message that we are patrolling for unauthorized uses.”

Customers who take advantage of ImageRights’ free service may also participate in the company’s new, optional Recovery Program, which will launch next month to help photographers and illustrators obtain compensation for the unauthorized use of their images.

ImageRights will continue to offer its Basic, Standard and Pro packagesfor a monthly fee of $9.95, $19.95 and $39.95, respectively. Customers who select a paid program and opt into the Recovery Program will share 35 percent of their recovered fees with ImageRights; those who select the free service will share 50 percent of their compensation. Users are welcome to opt out of the ImageRights’ Recovery Program to pursue compensation on their own or with the help of their own attorney.

For information about ImageRights or to create your free account and start uploading your images now, go to www.imagerights.com.

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses

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