While Pashadelic did not reply to my inquiry about why they were using my 500px images without authorization, I am happy to report that they did delete the “profile” I did not sign up for. I only found this out by manually looking for it and getting a 404 error. It would have been nice had they replied to let me know they had removed the images. Heck, it would have been even better had they not scraped my images from 500px to begin with.
This is no commentary on the value or usefulness of their website, which I have not used. It may very well be a valuable tool to some photographers, but I am disappointed at the way they chose to build their user base.
This type of image scraping (and occasionally, outright image theft) is very serious business on the internet. My good friend Jeremy Long still has several images being used by other websites without credit or attribution. It is important to regularly search the internet on your name and user names to see who is using your work.
Lenstag has a new service that will crowdsource image theft via a Chrome browser extension. In the future, that may be effective. Unfortunately, a more robust service like Digimarc is more expensive than most people can afford. Reverse image searches can also be effective, but seeing your work passed around on sites like Tumblr don’t leave much you can do.
It is important to make this part of your normal creative workflow without being too obsessive about it. Pashadelic’s initial actions frustrated me, but they did do the right thing in the end.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.