Stolen Images – Internet Plague of Plagiarism.

When you publish any good photos I guess that’s what happens. Someone will appreciate the art and steal it. It happened to me soooo many times now.
My opinion: Stolen images – Internet plague of plagiarism.

Internet Plague of Plagiarism

I mean come on, you could have at least asked!

The Internet seems still to be the wild wild west of the intellectual property. Here I share the pain of a creator.

Ready for a long-overdue rant? 😤🤣 I am not an angry person so don’t expect explicit language. There is useful information I hope here as well – no worries.

Today I want to talk about plagiarism the pest of the internet. In times of Fake news, it becomes more and more difficult to see who is the origin of good work. Everyone just steals from one another. In this special case about my work taken without even asking me and using it to their liking.
There are a few nuances to the way people steel images. When used for promoting their business or insinuating it as their work it is especially painful. I am not being reimbursed for my work. Traveling to the place. Carry my equipment and be lucky with the weather. so many things that get you a cool image or maybe not. Here I will not even touch on the topic of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. There is no honesty and legal understanding and reward for the actual creators in the space.
I find it so awkward knowing that in some cases I would even allow them to use my images because I would support the project and my work would fit.

Not saying nonprofits should steel images – they should ask as well. But it does not hurt so much. Yet what’s often missing is my name. All this work that went into. At least the recognition would help. Maybe someone honest and descent would like to purchase some of my work. It would be the right thing to ask me and state the artist. So much I can ask. Don’t you think?

Even a small blogger, videographer, or artist, also knows exactly what it means when their work is stolen.


How do you find your images being stolen?
I use 3 different services and ways to do that.

1. Copytrack

is a wonderful service. It can not find and trace everyone but it’s pretty good.
You can upload a lot of images for me it’s 500 images. So you may be surprised by what images are being used by others. So I created a couple of folders to keep track of what I am searching for.

Copytrack Gunnar Heilmann
Stolen Images - Internet Plague of Plagiarism.

You can hand in a claim and then copy track takes a share if the claim is successful. The beauty here is without any investment up front. It finds some images but not all. If you find out some you can also do it manually.

2. Plaghunter.com

For free you can upload like 10 images. So you have to choose. After that, you will need a subscription fee that is not worth the deal when you are a normal person or a hobby photographer like me. A lot of images are stolen on Facebook or Youtube etc. Most claims can never be settled in a settlement license for you. So the success rate is limited and you would need a lot of images that are being stolen and successfully claimed licenses.

Plaghunter Gunnar Heilmann
Tong Shop what?

Since I can’t upload more images I change some images and tracked these. Then I got tired of it. If you can follow up it becomes useless. I wish Plaghunter would work more like Copytrack and have the ease of use. Still worth checking out.

One image I had was more than 900 times stolen. WTF!


3. Google image search.

What else can you do against Stolen Images – The Internet plague of Plagiarism. Well, that is super easy with Google. Just click on the little camera icon on the right of the search bar and upload your image. It does not show as many results as it used to do but still ok to have a quick look. Iam sure Iam not using it good enough. Bam here is the sources who use that image. Being a lawyer and hobby photographer could be a super nice lucrative combo.
Here you find that image on my page on Light Painting Architecture.

Google Image Search


Want to see some more interesting examples that I found?

Alberta Camera Club

Lets start with an easy one.
Using my work to sell one’s workshop better? Here is an example of someone offering a workshop. Looks like they can not provide their own work examples to attract attendees. Hey, ask me and potentially invite me!

I would probably have donated my work to help people play and practice Light Painting in Alberta.
I don’t even know how the workshop went. 10$ is a fair deal. Is it?

Alberta Camera Club Stealing Images

Of all people they should know what intellectual property means and how images have to be licensed and should also teach it. Foremost lead with example.

I also don’t know Lance Burnes, he seems to be the host of this lecture. He never reached out to me ever. Contact me comone appoligize! Super simple!


Mr. Location Scout

Someone who actually apologized afterward was Mr. Location Scout
Of course, he knew it was a shit move!



Selling my art

The worst is making money straight of stolen art.

“warehouse’ Scam

The stuff that makes you angry is when someone is actually selling your work and I am not part of the deal. That sucks. Not only for me but also for the people who think they are supporting me. Even worse when they are being potentially fully scammed.

Selling my art without consent

This stuff really makes me angry and I wish I was a hacker to fight this injustice not only against me. So many artists being f..ed


Take my art and make it look sh.t

Why are you guys doing this to my images? Taking is one thing then f..ing it up makes it even worse. It hurts my eyes!

Stealing and uglifying it.

Man there almost sooo bad it becomes funny! What should I do sue all of these people? No way.

Stealing and using my art in advertising?

That’s almost like selling my art just cutting the middle man. I found a few results on that end. Way too many for my taste.

Stolen Art for shop images

Just taking my Light Painting images and use them to sell items in a shop for Lighting tools. I did not consent but dont even know who to contact and how.

Stolen for Advertising

It does make sense to a “Lighting Company”. Runchang Lighting from China care about my intellectual property as much as 😤
Lets take it as a compliment.


The innocent blogger?

There are so many honest bloggers. Especially here on Hive Blog Blockchain. I witnessed the great attitude towards plagiarism. It is been called out immediately and results in downvotes. But then you find some that simply don’t care.
What are the current bots working on that?

Blogger stealing images
Stolen Image Gunnar Heilmann

Bloggers move around and more or less live on the internet. They should know the etiquette and how to behave with intellectual property. Well, some are just really not aware or super stupid and or ignorant. NOT COOL guys!

Try to reach out maybe you can use my images. I am actually relatively easy to find. I found you guys!



There is a set of pages that steal my images and offer them as wallpapers. I can only assume the motivation. What people do for traffic top place advertising, I guess.

Wallpaper stolen images without artist consent

🙏 At least it has my name there 😎

Profile pictures

That’s almost cool and funny. Not sure what my neighbor thinks (he is the one in the Light Painting)
Here someone loves the face of my neighbor and what I did to it with my light tools so he used it as his Profile Picture.
Also NOT COOL man! You should absolutely ask Daniel to use his face as yours.

Sealing for profil picture

No lawyer follows up on these little things. But these make the plague a plague. It becomes an inherited habit of all out there just to use an image because there are no consequences for the theft.
Here is a Music Lover using an image of Lana that I took a few years back. Well seems he likes it. But did not even bother to ask, yet he called the track even Lana.

Sound Cloud Stolen Images


Not all Images on the Internet are Stolen Images.

It’s sad but then it’s kind of cool. Well for the most part it’s not avoidable if you create compelling art. Often I try to take it as a compliment and a with humor. Once a shot of Kosmai (some war monument) ended up on a school’s website in Kongo. Not even stating my name nor did I find a reason why the image would be on their page at all – no story nothing. So I Write them to put at least my name there. The next days I saw in Google analytics that I had a single visitor on my page coming from a Kongo IP address (that must have been the school) and my picture was already taken down. They did not write me back or anything. No Nigerian relatives would send me 100,000,000,00$ as a fee.  Awkward enough I was sad. It was kind of cool for my art to be seen in far Africa.

Ok where is the good story? My work has been purchased by Nikon learning pages and also by Lonely planet to just name two. But I also donated my work to projects I like. The Band Kilombo approached me and ask me if they can use one of my images for their album. YES so much yes that was so cool. I love collaborating and seeing my work getting out there.

Please just ask me if you are interested in my work and we will find a deal that suits both of us very likely.

Gunnar Heilmann Light Painting


Stolen Images – The Internet Plague of Plagiarism.

It does not have to be like this. One of my images is sold on a regular basis on Getty Images. That’s even worse for 10 cents a copy. If all would use these services I may have enough to make up for the cost of creating that image.


What do I do to prevent Stolen Images or Plagiarism?

There is only so much you can do. I tried watermarks but that was not very satisfying because it just looks sh.t. As discussed on the Hive Blog some companies would even take out the watermarks with Photoshop on a regular base, so that provides you with little to no protection. If someone wants your image they will take it.

What I am left with is using my images in a reduced maximum resolution of horizontal 2000-pixel size. Everything published on Instagram becomes a thumbnail as well. But of course, it does not matter to the lazy blogger, yet bigger companies can not use your images for print advertising. Silver Lining at the end.

I hope you liked the input and had at least one or two smiles while reading it.



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