By Jonathan Appleby
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 TravelAddicts.net, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.