- How does PicScout ImageTracker work?
- How many images does ImageTracker compare?
- What do I get with ImageTracker?
- How does ImageTracker differ from the other ways to track images?
- How do agencies and photographers use ImageTracker results?
- How much does the ImageTracker service cost?
- Can I try the system first?
- How long does it take before I start seeing reports?
- What's the likelihood that someone is using my images?
- I found a copy of one of my images on a site that you didn't report! Why didn't you find it?
- How many images do I need to sign up for your services?
- What do you do with the tracking results?
- I want to pursue copyright protection but our agency does not have legal staff. What are our options?
- Do you only work with agencies and photographers?
- Can I use ImageTracker to track other things?
- Do you also track logo designs?
- Do you search for text, video or music?
ImageTracker is an end-to-end service which uses PicScout's ImageIRC proprietary image recognition and fingerprinting technology to compare images on the web to the images in its database. When an image usage is found, a screen shot is taken along with other relevant image information. This information is then presented to our clients through a compliance management web application our proprietary tracking system that enables them to compare these usages to their database to determine if images are being used legitimately.
PicScout’s ImageTracker crawls and compares finds more than 600 million online images a month globally, and compares those images against a Rights Managed critical mass database of agency represented images. In a year, PicScout will review audit more than six billion images from the world wide web.
ImageTracker is a complete solution that provides reports, screen shots, image use URLs and other pertinent information so that PicScout clients can pursue copyright infringement legal action if unauthorized image use has been found, or elect to make clients of those who may have inadvertently infringed. ImageTracker locates hundreds of unauthorized uses each day throughout the world. Agencies and licensors can take action upon receiving PicScout usage reports.
There are many ways to track images on the Internet. Some methods embed digital watermarks into the photo image by adding extra data to the image. Images can then be found by searching for the unique signature of the digital watermark. However, these watermarks can be altered or eliminated from the photo as the image is converted from one file type to another.
A more reliable method is image recognition. This method examines raw image data to identify image "fingerprints" – unique patterns that are part of the image itself. This is the technique PicScout uses. Because this method does not rely on embedded watermarks surviving many forms of digital alterations, image recognition can match even highly manipulated or altered images with their original sources. PicScout proprietary image fingerprinting technology allows PicScout to identify images wherever they appear on the Internet, even if the image has been altered, colorized, edited, cropped, rotated or embedded into another image.
The ImageTracker product conducts web searches customized for individual client needs. Specific websites can be surveyed, or the vast web can be searched to identify images. The image recognition algorithm can also be customized for a broader or narrower level of precision, giving search results that are either very inclusive of all possible image uses (would contain some false positives), or which identify only those images that have a very high degree of commonality with the source image (would possibly omit some true positives).
Some clients want to find all uses of their images on the Internet, while others want to direct the ImageTracker search towards specific websites of licensees so they can make sure they are properly invoiced. There are also those who seek to determine where their images are being used to determine if licenses for those uses have been obtained. Depending on the severity of the situation, some clients pursue copyright infringement. Depending on your objectives, you may or may not care if your image is found on a personal Blog or other non-commercial website. We work with you to determine where within the vast web we search and what sort of images to look for.
Our pricing model is based on a number of different metrics. If your goal is to monetize the images found (either by licensing or unauthorized use claims), we charge based on a percentage of the recovered revenues. If your objective is analytics, we charge based on each qualified match.
We do charge a minimum fee.
Our sales representative can offer a comprehensive price quote once we understand your business needs. If you would like to download your images directly (more than 30,000) or would like to talk to one of our partners (less than 30,000 images) please contact us.
We search the Internet on a continuous basis, matching images against our clients' catalogs. Our system is designed to work with bulk image catalogs; therefore we cannot accept single image “test cases”. We can provide you with appropriate references upon request.
The time it takes to enroll image catalogs into the system can vary, depending on the size and nature of how image files are transferred to us.
After each extensive web search, our internal quality assurance makes sure the company details are collected from the websites where images were found, in addition to capturing the screen shot(s) to ensure that your legal team receives all the information they need in order to pursue infringement cases. Additional services are also offered on an individual basis to meet the needs of each of our clients.
PicScout has an extensive and robust case management system that facilitates reporting legitimate and non-legitimate uses as well as the ability to provide the information and results to your legal team or through one of the PicScout legal partner members.
Over time, the number of reports increases as our web searches become more "intelligent" about the nature of the sites that have your content. As patterns emerge, our tracking improves. PicScout continuously expands its focused web searches based upon relevant territories (or intelligence).
The likelihood of finding your images on other websites is highly dependent on two factors. First, most people find images using major search engines, so the higher your site is ranked, the better the chances your photos are being used by others. By contrast, if your images are only on low-traffic websites, chances are slim that people will have found your site and used your images. A second factor is the age of the photos. Unless you are offering pictures of newsworthy people or events, it often takes considerable time before images are "found" and used by others. So one shouldn’t expect ImageTracker to find images that were recently shot or only recently uploaded to the Internet.
Another way images are picked up is through social networks, such as photo sharing sites. We've increasingly found these to be sources where people access new content for both licensed and unlicensed (unauthorized) uses.
Note that if your images are on social networking sites without your permission, this may not be an unauthorized use. Normally one can't file a financial claim against a social networking site, but you can file a take-down notice to request the website removes your photos.
First, we search those sites that our heuristic technology has determined to be the most relevant and likely sites for your business objectives. Second, our technology traverses the net over a period of time; it's entirely possible we will not find all sites that have your images immediately. We welcome all reports on new discoveries so we can assess the relevancy of those sites for future inclusion.
We have found the cost-benefit tradeoff to be around 30,000 images, which is currently our minimum requirement to use our ImageTracker service for individual photographers and agencies (NOTE: there is no image catalogue size requirement for photographers and agencies for our ImageExchange service if you utilize one of our platform partners like PhotoShelter, Flickr, ImageSpan). We do work with partners who can include your images in their services that would enable your images to be serviced by the ImageTracker product. To learn more about our partners – please contact us .
Another important consideration is the business objective. Customers that monetize their content through licensing, that track unauthorized uses, or engage in market-focused analytics, will be most likely to find our ImageTracker product cost-effective. Stock photo agencies and higher-end commercial photographers tend to be typical candidates for our services.
If you plan on making a case for unauthorized use, you will need to know the entire license history of the image in question. Photos that have been distributed as "royalty-free" (RF) can be passed around without any paper trail, making it nearly impossible to determine if any given website obtained the image legitimately. By contrast, "rights-managed" (RM) images have a documented licensing history that is obtainable. Even if there is a known sales history, one has to consider the time and resources necessary to retrieve this sales history. For example, many stock photographers send their images to multiple microstock agencies. Unless meticulous sales records have been retained by all your agency representatives, you may not know whether any given usage was unauthorized.
- I want to pursue copyright protection but our agency does not have legal staff. What are our options?
Many of our clients find it very helpful to use the legal partners available through our legal network to pursue copyright infringement settlements and cases. These legal partners can handle all aspects of the claims once you determine the non-legitimate use of the image. Some clients find this the easiest and fastest way to get started. You can always decide to bring the activity in-house at any time.
Legal partners are currently available in North America, Germany, France and Spain. If you are a lawyer who would like to be considered for the Legal Partner program, please contact us.
We work with anyone who has a large body of image-based content (photos, line-art, cartoons, or even 3D models rendered as 2D graphics). And, we can do more than just track image use on the web.
ImageTracker can also be used for a variety of other purposes. For example, it can be used: to find redundant entries in an image catalog or to track syndicated editorial cartoon use on all newspaper websites. The PicScout Image Qualification Center is also a service of the ImageIRC that leverages ImageTracker to provide corporate sites and custom platforms with validation services for current databases of images to determine image ownership, copyright responsibility, and to manage liability.
It is not our core competency. However, we can customize searches. To learn more about this option, please contact us directly.