The Biggest Excuses For Image Theft Are...

From the naive to the outrageous, here are the most common excuses for online image theft.

| General Photography

The Biggest Excuses For Image Theft Are...: Excuses


It seems imagination knows no bounds when it comes to the excuses people give for stealing someone else's photograph.

Excuses range from blaming Google to saying no profit was generated so it's ok... and everything in between. In fact, COPYTRACK, a portal for image research and image rights, receive so many lame excuses, they thought they'd share a few with the world along with frequent mistakes people make about image theft.


1. Attempted Scapegoats

Among the top excuses that COPYTRACK has to deal with is blaming others for the infringement: “The images were uploaded by our trainee”, “The image seems to have been uploaded by a user”, “Our website loads images automatically.” or “My website was hacked.”


2. “Google Offers Everything For Free”

Another famous claim is that Google provides images for free with people saying: “We do not buy any images. We exclusively use free images from Google”, “We thought Google offers all images for free” and “Why does this image cost anything? I found it online.”

Image users should act on the assumption that images found by search engines, such as Google, are always protected by copyright. Images or graphics may only be used and published with the agreement of the copyright holder, who usually defines the costs of use. “It is very rare that online images may be used for free, and without properly attributing the source,” says Marcus Schmitt, COPYTRACK CEO.


Google on laptop


3. Blunt Behaviour

No further comments are needed for the following excuses:

  • "It’s not copyright. We must have taken the same photo, at the exact same time."
  • "I did not use this image."
  • “I did not generate any profits with this image. Why should I pay for it?"
  • "The photographer could have addressed me first."
  • "You have to tell me first how much the image costs if you want me to pay for it."

4. Lack of Copyright Knowledge

The following comments confirm that people definitely need to be better educated about copyright law:

  • "But we named the copyright holder. What else do they want?"
  • "We edited the image and it looks completely different"
  • "The image is online for about 10 years. Why should I pay now?"

It doesn’t matter how much an image is edited, you always need the consent of the copyright holder. Also, the longer an image is used, the higher the license of an image will be.


The Biggest Excuses For Image Theft Are...: Image editing

5. Common Blooper

A thought that goes through some people's heads is that "once won't hurt" when it actually does and saying "I don’t usually do this" won't wash either. 

6. Ungrateful Offenders

The following comment illustrates the complete lack of respect towards the work, and talent of photographers: “I can get similar images for free or less money! Why should I pay the license fee?”

7. Copycat Complainers

COPYTRACK hears the classic line: "It’s not just me, others have stolen this image as well" far too many times and every time they tell the infringer the same thing: "To be one of many does not justify image theft, rather the contrary."


For more information on COPYTRACK and the work they do, visit the COPYTRACK website. For tips on keeping your images safe online, have a read of this: Keep Your Images Safe Online.

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