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.

Visual Arts Groups Propose Copyright Small Claims System

Copyright SymbolSeven visual arts associations have submitted a proposal to Congress that outlines key components of potential copyright small claims legislation. Establishing a small claims process would enable visual artists to seek relief for relatively modest copyright infringement claims.

It would also help maintain respect for copyright laws and protect the livelihoods of creators who earn significant income from licensing their images. When infringers use a creator’s images without authorization, the creator’s revenues can suffer.

The proposal (which can be viewed here in a summary white paper) is a collaboration between American Photographic Artists (APA), American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) and Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Together, these associations represent the interests of hundreds of thousands of photographers, photojournalists, videographers, illustrators, graphic designers, artists, and their licensing representatives.

The proposal advocates for the creation of a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office. The basic framework for small claims legislation is in large part consistent with the legislative recommendations set out in the “Copyright Small Claims” report released in late 2013 by the U.S. Copyright Office.

The proposal asserts that the cost and burden of pursuing copyright infringement lawsuits in federal district courts is prohibitive. According to the white paper, the cost of bringing an infringement case is far beyond the reach of most visual artists and the time and energy invested in a single case can be overwhelming to creators whose sole source of income is their ability to market their work.

All too often, visual artists are left with no effective way to vindicate their rights. The visual arts associations believe a small claims process within the Copyright Office would provide a fair, cost-effective and streamlined venue in which creators could seek relief for relatively modest copyright infringement claims. The system could also combat public perceptions that creative works posted online are free for the taking and the copyright laws are more effective in protecting the interests of big content providers than those of individuals or small businesses.

“The harsh reality is that the vast majority of creators in America are currently excluded from copyright protection,” said David Trust, CEO of Professional Photographers of America. He believes a small claims process would level the playing field for small creators.

For more information, please contact Professional Photographers of America at 800-786-6277 or copyrightdefense(at)ppa(dot)com.

E-Book Excerpt Helps New Writers and Publishers Understand Plagiarism

The popularity of blogging, e-book publishing, and content marketing has attracted many aspiring authors and untrained freelance writers who may not be fully aware of what constitutes plagiarism.  If you are new to publishing, this lack of knowledge could be damaging.

BeginningWritersAnswerBookFor example, one recent plagiarism case involved self-published “author” Jordin Williams who had hired a ghostwriter through the online freelance marketplace Without Williams’ knowledge, the ghostwriting freelancer plagiarized works from romance writers Tammara Webber and Jamie McGuire.

In the “Beginning Writer’s Answer Book” published by Writer’s Digest, editor Jane Friedman outlines four forms of plagiarism:

  • Inserting parts of someone else’s work into your own without citing the source
  • Submitting work done by someone else with your name on it
  • Paraphrasing someone else’s words and trying to pass them off as your own
  • Taking an article that you have sold the rights to and reusing all or parts of it in a new work

Information that can help you better understand the rules of quoting and when you need to seek permission from a book publisher is included in an e-book excerpt from the Answer Book entitled “What Are the Rights of Others?.” The excerpt can be downloaded for $5.99.

For $15.99 you can download the complete Beginning Writer’s Answer Book. The 452-page guide includes 29 chapters on topics such as formatting and submitting your work, selling nonfiction work, writing and selling articles, starting a freelance career, providing photographs and art with your writing, and using a pen name.

The guide also covers copyright basics and publishing jargon. The chapters at the end of the book answer questions about specialized fields such as: writing poetry, children’s books, scripts, and songs; writing for newspapers; and self-publishing.

In the Writer’s Digest Shop, you can find hundreds of books and webinars, including a list of free articles on topics such as how to publish a book (traditional publishing vs. self-publishing) and how to write a query letter.


Beginning Writer’s Answer Book, edited by Jane Friedman

E-Book Excerpt: What Are the Rights of Others?

About Writer’s Digest: Free Advice—Articles about Writing

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



Copyright Enforcement Group Offers Anti-Piracy Protection

The Copyright Enforcement Group (CEG) offers end-to-end solutions that can help content owners minimize copyright and trademark infringements and realize revenues that would have been lost to digital piracy. Their protection and monetization services cover all types of content, including audio, video, images, logs, trademarks, and text across peer-to-peer protocols (P2P), user-generated content sites, and websites.

The CEG WWW Collect™ service utilizes crawlers, scanning tools, and the latest recognition technologies to track a variety of websites for image copyright infringements. When an infringement is tracked and authenticated, the website owner automatically receives a “pre-settlement” offer along with a request to remove the infringing image or other content. If the infringer doesn’t pay the settlement or ignores the notice, the legal team at CEG takes over until a collection is realized. Good-faith efforts can be made to convert the infringing website into a legitimate customer by offering them the option to license your content.

In order to subscribe to CEG’s WWW Collect Service, you must have secured a copyright for every piece of content you want to protect. The CEG offers an in-house copyright service for content owners who haven’t yet registered their copyrights. Content owners simply provide key details and the Copyright Enforcement Groups will do the rest.

CEG will be promoting their services at the Visa pour l’Image International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France from August 28 to September 4. Photojournalists are particularly concerned about protecting their images from piracy, because capturing some of the best images often requires significant expenses, hardships, and sacrifices.


Copyright Enforcement Group LLC