25 of Rebekka's images that were posted on photo-sharing site Flickr have been stolen and uploaded by a third party on stock images website iStockphoto. The news comes just nine months after the Icelandic photographer had her work stolen from the same site by canvas printing company Only Dreemin', who made thousands of pounds selling her prints both directly and via eBay. In that instance the prints were removed but Rebekka failed to gain any sort of compensation.
This time, Rebekka's prints were protected with a watermark and she also prevented users from downloading high resolution versions but despite the precautionary measures, her images were still used without consent.
17 year old Flickr user Lara Jade also had a similar problem back in June when she found a photographic of herself adorning the cover of a pornographic DVD. Film company TVX had stolen the image from her Flickr portfolio and used it to advertise the film which was tagged Hustler's Highest Rated. When Lara's parents tried to take the matter further they were told by a solicitor it would cost £50,000 just for them to take on the case.
Owners of iStockphoto Getty Images have removed the photos from their site and banned the user who uploaded them. They also contacted Rebekka directly with an apology and promised that a satisfactory agreement would be reached.
What can you do to protect your images?
The only way to prevent this happening to you is to either mark your photo in some way, such as with a watermark in a place that cannot easily be cloned out, or only upload low resolution versions of your images. As these methods have proven ineffectual in this instance, you might also want to embed secret codes into your images as proof that they belong to you should they ever be stolen.
For more information on protecting your images using secret coding, try this Steganography site.