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AP 0862: People Are Using My Images Without Giving Me Credit. What Can I Do?

AP 0862: People Are Using My Images Without Giving Me Credit. What Can I Do?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 862 Episode Transcript

Pat: Hey. What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 862 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.

We have great question today from Christine but before we get to her question, I do want to thank today’s sponsor, which is FreshBooks. One of my favorite companies because they help me and millions of other small businesses keep track of our finances and they do that in a number of different ways, from keeping track of our income, of course, from our expenses in which they do automatically, and they can also help you with your invoicing. If you do any billing of any kind to anybody, you should be using something like FreshBooks because you can do it automatically.

Actually, in less than 30 seconds, you can create a very professional looking invoice that you can send out. Plus, you can keep track of not only who pays you and who hasn’t paid you, but also who has yet to even open those invoices you send them. It’s super handy. I’ve used it many times and I recommend you do too. You can actually check it out for free for 30 days. If you’d like to give it a shot, go to and make sure you enter “AskPat” in the “how did you hear about us?” section.

All right. Now, here is today’s question from Christine.

Christine: Hi, Pat. It’s Christine here from Berlin. I have a home improvement and DIY blog over at My blog is still fairly small but lately, I’ve had a lot of problems with my images being used on other websites without any credit being given. It’s a mixture of sites. Some of them are blogs and some are commercial companies. I’m happy to share content and I love that other people like what I’m doing enough to want to share it too. It’s a lot work creating and editing photos. I know that it’s only a few images here and there that are being used but it makes me sad that someone else is publishing and essentially profiting from my work without giving credit.

In the past, I’ve emailed a few sites asking them to credit my images, but now that it’s happening a lot more frequently, I almost can’t keep up and the responses I get, if any, aren’t exactly pleasant or understanding. Is too much to ask that I’d like my images to be credited or is this just something I’m going to have to put up with? Thanks for all of the amazing work you do and all of the advice you share. Looking forward to your response.

Pat: Hey, Christine. Thank you so much for your question. First of all, I’m just very sorry this is happening to you because it’s not right and it’s not something that you should just kind of let go and just expect that you have to deal with. But it’s true that when you get online and you start posting stuff and it starts to get popular, people are going to try to take advantage of that and people will take images without using credit or linking back. People will take your entire blog post and make them their own. I’ve had people take my exact email copy and put them in their own email or autoresponders to a point where I’ve gotten people who’ve gotten theirs first and then mine second who have been calling me a copycat and then I immediately show them that, well, I’ve had this email for years and then they’re kind of put in their place and they realize that the person that initially had been emailing or following their email list, they’re the ones that had copied.

It’s just sad, right? It’s just sad. It almost is at the point where it just makes me laugh because I’m like, “I can’t believe that people will go out there and do this,” but it’s something that happens and you shouldn’t just kind of let it. Christine, I think reaching out to people is the first thing that you should definitely do and I’m glad that you’re sort of doing that already. I would definitely have a boilerplate or sort of template email ready for you to do that and when they do come in, it’ll make your life a little bit easier. I always start with that because sometimes people just don’t know. Another thing I would do is for your current images and I know images are especially for photographers. It’s just a pain to deal with when it comes to this kind of stuff. Watermarking them is a thing that you could do very easily, so adding your own little logo or website at the bottom corner. If people do take it, they’re giving you credit anyway and so you’ll potentially get some traffic that way which is fine.

I mean, typically, nothing is being taken away from you as a result of this. There are instances where that can happen, a competitor takes something and then uses it and puts it in their own product. It’s just not good where people are taking away from you. They’re not doing that, but they are a pain and it’s just not right.

What I do now is I have an attorney in my corner and I would recommend getting hooked up with one that you could talk to, who can set you up with the right things to say in terms of “Okay. Well, if you don’t do this, I will have to speak to my lawyer about this” and I have had to use that card several times and it usually works because people just don’t want to get into that sort of legal battle and when they know that they did something wrong, when you threaten that, then they’re likely to remove that image and do what they’re supposed to do.

Usually, you’ll get apologies, “Oh, I didn’t know. I’m sorry. I love your image so much and I just wanted to show. . .” They knew what they’re doing. You have to kind of be a little bit forceful. That’s what I would do. I would find an attorney somewhere where you could just talk to and say, “Hey, I love to have you as a resource to help me through a lot of these issues that I’m having. I’d like to tell people that I will get in contact with you if they continue to sort of use my images and use my intellectual property without their permission.” Most of the time, just that alone is going to help you with a lot of this stuff. Then also, having stuff on your website that shares these are images that are yours, that people aren’t allowed to take them. Those sort of things oftentimes in the footer or in the disclaimer.

Yeah, people usually don’t even read those but just that they’re there is really going to be helpful too and an attorney could help you through how to properly set that up too. I mean, reaching out is the thing to do and sometimes, there’s just. . . the last thing I want you to do is to worry so much this that this affects your work. Yes, it’s important to make things right but at the same time, you can get so upset about these things that it actually affects work and the people that actually do need you. Just be wary about how much time and effort you’re spending into this. I would just block out a period of time every single month perhaps just to dedicate yourself to doing this and being in that mindset of reaching out to people and also responding in that sort of stuff.

That’s how I would approach it, Christine. Again, I’m sorry that this is going on but I’m glad that you know that this isn’t right. Sometimes, great things can come out of this, so maybe it was an accident and somebody did it and then you get a link back to your website which is always helpful too. There are always some positive that can come out of this too, but again, I’m sorry this is happening. Credit should always be given where credit is due, especially when it comes to IP like text and images and audio and things like that. Christine, I hope this works out. Thank you so much for the question. I appreciate you and I want to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show as well, just head onto over and you can ask right there on our page.

Thanks so much. I appreciate you. Also, big thanks to FreshBooks. Again, you can check them out for free for 30 days by going to and make sure you enter “AskPat” in the “how did you hear about us?” section. Then finally, here’s a quote to finish up the day by James Russell Lowell. He says, “In creating, the only hard thing is to begin. A grass blade’s no easier to make than an oak.” True that. Take care and I’ll see you the next episode of AskPat. Bye.

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