I may not be the Most Interesting Man In The World but apparently I am the Most Famous Installer In The U K.
Most people realize that even though most websites on the internet are “free” for you to look at it does not mean that the pictures and content that are published are “free” for you to use for your own purposes.
Unfortunately some people never got that memo. So here is what happened.
Someone in one of the discussion forums I read mentioned a Firefox browser extension called “Who Stole My Pictures” that lets you do an image search on Google and a couple other search engines. Install the plug-in and all you have to do is right-click on the picture and search for that image. Google Chrome has a similar feature already built in.
I installed the extension and started going through the website portfolio and the pictures I had posted on Facebook and other social media sites. There were two or three pictures of some roller shades we had installed that had gotten snagged and were being used on one or two different websites, but when I searched the picture above (on the right) it came back with over 500 results.
Not only is that a picture that I took, it’s a picture of ME!!!
I started going through the results and as it turns out a company in the UK apparently provides (or has a 3rd party company) provide a website/landing page for each of their locations and every website is identical except for some location specific text.
Oh sure, they cropped out the potted plant and the “watermark” I had at the top of the picture, but clearly it is still my picture.
So what am I going to do?
I’m not sure what I can do. Considering that they are in the UK and I am in the US, I certainly can’t drive over to their main office to complain to the boss.
I could possibly email them a request to take it down, but their websites do not give an email address – just a contact form, but nowhere to “add a message” on that form.
I guess I could mail them an invoice for use of my photograph. Apparently the “going rate” for use of a photograph in a commercial venue is approximately $200.00 per occurrence in the UK. Multiply that by 500 and I may be able to pay off MasterCard once before I die.
Or I can laugh it off and ridicule the less than competent individual who did such a shoddy job with the photoshop of my picture.
Hey… I’m open to suggestions. What would you do?
UPDATE: After contacting the parent company via Twitter, within a week, they had contacted the third party that had created the websites for their affiliates and had my picture removed from all 500+ webpages.
Want to keep up with our latest articles, project success stories, press releases, and news updates? Look for our “Subscribe via Email” form at the top of the page. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
In 2011, he created the "Window Treatment Installers Network" a online forum for window treatment professionals.
In 2013 he began writing for window coverings blog called TraVerse.
And in 2014 he was recruited by the Custom Home Furnishings Academy to teach their Installation 101 Curriculum .