Travel Photographers Enlist Copytrack to Fight Image Theft

By Jonathan Appleby 2018

Lance and Laura Longwell made it their life mission to travel. Despite both working 9 to 5s they found time to explore the world and in doing so set up, an amazing site full of their adventures and stunning images from all corners of the globe.

However, they soon had issues with image theft as their images were being used without permission. The Travel Addicts turned to Copytrack, the online compensation recovery portal, for help.

Travel Addicts Lance and Laura Longwell
Lance and Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts (

Now the couple incorporate the Copytrack service into their day-to-day business lives.  In less than a year’s time Copytrack has settled over 50 copyright disputes for the on-the-go duo!

But that’s just the beginning, the travellers are still in the process of resolving more claims with Copytrack. Here’s what Laura had to say to Copytrack about their life, their work, and their experience with Copytrack.

Tell us a bit about the website.

Travel Addicts was born in January 2008. Initially, it was like a lot of early blogs and was essentially a journal in which we updated friends and family on our travels.

Somewhere along the way, we realized thousands of people were reading it. Since then, our focus has been on showing working professionals how to maximize their vacation time. While Europeans are used to long holidays, most North Americans get about 10-15 days of vacation per year, so it’s important to make the most of it. Now we have readers from all over the world who take advantage of the destination information and travel advice we offer.

Photo of a blue dome in Santorini, Greece by Lance Longwell and Laura Longwell for their blog Travel Addicts (

A few years ago, I decided to turn our hobby into a business. The decision was actually prompted by our photography. We were contacted by a major European capital city that wanted to use one of my photos as the focus of their tourism campaign. We ended up licensing the photo, and it changed the way we thought our website and our photography.

What place is a favorite from all the places you’ve visited?

This is the most common question we get, and it’s one that we really struggle with because we love every place we go for different reasons. We have a favorite city (Rome) that we both agree on. However, we split on our favorite travel experience.

I would say the South of France, while Lance’s favourite was our trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Yet, there are some countries that we visit over and over again because there is so much to see and do: Mexico, Germany, Ireland, and Slovakia.

Photo of Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland by Lance and Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts.

What tips would you give to anyone getting into travel photography?

Think beyond the obvious. There are 10 million photos taken of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero every single day. We all know that shot. There are other photos waiting to be captured. Seek out the unusual and the untold. Try to tell a story.

In our photography, we seek a balance. We need shots that both create a sense of place as well as images that tell a story. For the story, we are always thinking about the caption.

Photo of canal cruise in Bruges, Belgium by Laura Longwell of the Travel Addicts blog (

What would be the caption on this shot?

Practice, practice, practice. Nobody becomes an incredible photographer overnight. It involves lots of practice and experimentation. Get your camera out of auto focus and try to experiment.

When did you first notice your images being used without your permission?

It was probably about a year and a half ago that several things happened within a few weeks of each other. First, we noticed that a handful of our photos were being offered up by Google as featured images in search results. Second, a good friend of ours had one of her images taken by a business and turned into billboards. Third, we stumbled on a tour company that was using one of our photos to promote their tours in Africa. Those three things drove our decision to look for a solution that could protect our work.

How did you hear about Copytrack?

We heard about Copytrack from a fellow travel photographer. We didn’t sign up right away and spent a few weeks researching the company and their process for intellectual property protection. Ultimately, I decided that this was the right solution for me.

How do you find using Copytrack?

I appreciate the updates from the Copytrack team on the status of outstanding claims. I’ve been very pleased with the success rate to date of my legal claims and the speed of payment for recovered funds. The portal is quite straightforward and easy to use. And I particularly like the image overlay tool.

And what have the results been like?

I have been very pleased with the results. Copytrack has provided me with sophisticated software to monitor the Internet for illegal image piracy as well as a defined process for legally enforcing our copyrights. Working with Copytrack has become an important step in my business activities.

Learn more about Lance and Laura and their work at Travel Addicts, as well as on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

About Copytrack

Copytrack was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt and currently employs around 25 people from legal, IT, customer service and finance. The service helps photographers, publishers, image agencies and e-commerce providers detect and resolve illegal use of their images on the Internet. Copytrack assists with the image search, and the legal process to help ensure photographers receive money whenever their images are used online.

Copytrack is fully responsible for an out-of-court solution in over 140 countries as well as a legal solution in the areas relevant to copyright law. If the image has been successfully licensed, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The pure search function is free of charge.

Law College Workshop Explains Legal Strategies for Professional Artists in the Digital Age

SuccessStrategiesforProfessionalArtistThe Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in Highland Heights, Kentucky is presenting a workshop on legal and business tactics for visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, video-game creators, and other creatives who are striving to earn a living from their passions.

Entitled “Success Strategies for the Professional Artists in the Digital Age,” the workshop will take place from 4:30 to 8:30 pm on Wednesday, November 6 in the NKU Griffin Hall Rieveschl Digitorium. A live webcast will be offered to those who can’t attend in person.

The program includes panel discussions on three important topics:

  • Legal and Business Strategies for Local Film Production
  • Exhibiting, Licensing, Publishing, and Promoting
  • Crowdfunding and Project Financing: Getting the Professional Paid

“Success Strategies for the Professional Artist in the Digital Age” can help lawyers and their creative artist clients understand how easy online access to media, and changing business practices for media distribution can lead to digital exploitation of the artist’s work. Some of the business and legal practices to be discussed by the expert attorneys on the panels include:

  • Crowdsourcing for resources and distribution
  • Crowdfunding through gifts and pre-sales
  • Crowdfunding through capital investment and financing
  • Strategies for legal investor financing of creative projects beyond Kickstarter
  • Rights acquisition agreements
  • Music licensing for film and video games
  • Fair use and transformative works
  • Mash-ups, composites and derivative works
  • Do-it-yourself distribution through social media
  • Gallery and venue agreements, including online galleries
  • Insurance coverage
  • Stock photography agencies
  • Understanding licenses from iTunes, Amazon and others
  • Trends to watch

“In an age dominated by social media and digital distribution, creative artists are required to navigate self-promotion, online contracting, sophisticated financing, and a host of challenges that pull the artist away from the creative process and into the fast-paced world of digital commerce.”“explains Jon Garon, a professor at the NKU Chase College of Law and founding director of the NKU Chase Law + Informatics Institute.

Terry Hart, director of legal policy at the Copyright Alliance, notes that as more people become content creators, there is growing awareness that “there is real value to maintaining some control over what is shared” via social media.

“Success Strategies for the Professional Artists in the Digital Age” is sponsored by the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Cyberspace Law Committee, Copyright Alliance, the ArtWorks’ SpringBoard, and Frost Brown Todd LLC.

The webcast is hosted by the NKU Chase Law + Informatics Institute, which provides interdisciplinary research, coursework, and community outreach on issues involving media and information systems and emerging technologies across all areas of law. The Institute explores the legal and societal consequences resulting from the creation, acquisition, aggregation, security, manipulation, and exploitation of data.


Success Strategies for the Professional Artist in the Digital Age

NKU Chase Law + Informatics Institute

New Copyright Guide Explains Photographer’s Rights

PHOTOGRAPHERS. For a clear explanation of how U.S. copyright law applies to photographers, download “The Photographer’s Guide to Copyright.”  The free, 37-page educational guide was produced jointly by PhotoShelter and The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). The guide lists the six exclusive rights associated with copyright and how to:

  • Safeguard your photos and avoid infringement.
  • Register your work through the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • Take action if you discover that your copyrighted work has been infringed.

PhotoShelterCopyrightGuideThrough interviews with photographers and ASMP experts, the guide addresses topics such as major trends in copyright today, how to incorporate copyright registration into a daily workflow, and the risks of joining social networks.

The book points out that “Understanding the ins and outs of copyright is an asset to your business. As the world of professional photography continues to move online and photographers delve into motion or multimedia projects, it will become increasingly important to understand what rights your creations are granted and what options you have in defending those rights.”

In one of the featured profiles, architecture and interior design photographer Liz Ordoñez explains what it takes to bring an infringement case to court and the best way to avoid it. Because our lives are pretty much ruled by online markets, Ordoñez says at some point your work is going to be used without your permission. She recommends having a strategy in place before it ever happens: “Filing a case should be the absolute last thing you should do.”

“The Photographer’s Guide to Copyright” also demystifies what counts as “fair use” and discusses copyright for video and motion pictures.

“ASMP is a leader in copyright education, and we have continually stressed the importance of persistent attribution and registries,” explained ASMP Executive Director Eugene Mopsik. “We are pleased that our work with PhotoShelter has produced this important resource which is available to the entire imaging community.” In addition to the guide, ASMP’s website offers a wide range of downloadable information and videos on the subject of copyright, licensing, releases and more.

“Professional photographers rely on a strong online presence to grow their business and attract new clients, which is why it’s vital to proactively register and protect images from infringement,” said PhotoShelter CEO Andrew Fingerman. “We’re excited to partner with ASMP to provide a robust resource that will help photographers break down U.S. copyright law and understand their creative rights.”

The Photographer’s Guide to Copyright is the latest in PhotoShelter’s ongoing series of free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals. PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes 25+ educational guides including topics such as social media, email marketing, and starting a photography business.

PhotoShelter is a worldwide leader in photography portfolio websites and sales and marketing tools for photographers. More than 77,000 photographers use PhotoShelter’s websites, social and SEO tools to show their work and attract new clients. Many also use PhotoShelter’s e-commerce tools to sell their photography easily and securely.

ASMP is a premier trade association for imaging professionals.  A well-known leader on current issues, ASMP regularly represents the imaging industry on legislative matters nationally and internationally and provides its members with state-of-the-art information and education.


The Photographer’s Guide to Copyright

PhotoShelter Business Guides