One of the biggest problems for independent photographers and companies owning the copyright of images has been the illegal and unauthorized use of their pictures. Not just in editorial use but commercially also.
Copyright infringement has always been with us (buy me a beer and I'll amaze you with the tale of a famous Newfoundland dog photo) but, needless to say, online media has not helped matters. Consider it the visual equivalent of music downloads but seldom for “personal use.”
Photographers will often spend a slow day doing Google searches looking for their work, especially if it is unique subjects. But it is still a word based search that is hit or miss so when a company comes along with a technique to match pixel patterns of images floating in cyberspace this is big news.
This is pretty advanced technology but the short story is that it maps the pixels of a selected image and then searches the Internet for image files with similar pixel patterns …even if they have been altered in Photoshop!
How cool is that?
So, if you are an online publisher or blogger who has a habit of lifting pictures from the Internet without permission or license you could begin to see some extra email traffic from photographers with invoices …or lawyers.
AP is already using this technology but with it now available to every freelance photographer and photo agency there is bound to be a little revenue recovery happening.