Stolen American Badger imageStolen American Badger image

Some of you might remember that I posted a landscape version of this American Badger image a while back, I have cropped it again to show how sneaky image thieves have gotten. I have had a rash of images used without my permission and that has gotten MUCH worse since Google made some pretty crappy changes to their Image Search in January. People can download your images now from within the Google Image Search and not even come to your site to do it. This nasty stuff Google has done by passes most protections you may have placed on your site. That stinks bad enough but it is getting worse.

I found this neat little bookmarklet though that helps me locate my images that have been infringed (read stolen) by image scrapers (thieves) and it has helped me a lot lately to find out where my images are without my permission. This is the bookmarklet: you just go to that page, grab the link and put it on your Favorites Bar. Then navigate to a page with your images on it, click the bookmarklet and when the black square shows up in the middle of the image you click it and a new page opens in Google Search with the locations your image has been found in the search.

Well, I did that with my American badger image and was surprised at what I found (besides the obvious scumbag thieveries by  w a l l p a p e r  sites) when I saw “Google Play” in the search results. Now since I had not given Google Play or any of these w a l l p a p e r app “developers” permission to use my American Badger image I clicked the link.

My Badger image was stolen and used in three Badger Wallpaper Apps on Google PlayMy Badger image was stolen and used in three Badger Wallpaper Apps on Google Play

And this is what I saw. The center image is my American Badger photo, stolen and used by Android App Developer THIEF : Arata Kuroki and when I scrolled through the apps on the Google Play page using the search term “Badger W a l l p a p e rs” I found two more apps that used the same exact screen shot that this thief showed for “his” app.

I downloaded the free app to my phone (a mistake and I will explain why later) and opened it up. The app had 48 images of Badgers in it that people can save as their phone as  w a l l p a p e r and it had exactly one American badger image in it, mine.  Some of the other Badger images I have seen before on the net and they are likely stolen too. This guy jerk has all kinds of w a l l p a p e r apps on Google Play and I have to wonder if all the images contained in them are stolen.

I was furious. Livid in fact. My copyright watermark was cropped out. No licensing, nor credit. Stolen.

I filed a DMCA Takedown Notification through Google expecting that they would take the apps down immediately. I sent that DMCA Takedown on September 20th and just yesterday saw that all three Badger w a l l p a p e r  apps were gone. Eleven days of people downloading my stolen image after the DMCA was sent.

The thing is that these app developers only post a few screen shots of the images contained in them so every one of these stinking apps could have our images in them and we won’t know unless we download the images and install them on our phones.

I think that Google Play should have to have signed image releases/licenses for every image contained in the apps from the developers and if they don’t they should not allow the apps on Google Play. Ever. And when a developer is found to have infringed on ONE single image they need to ban them for life. Better yet, ban all w a l l p a p e r  apps. People can take their own images and put them as w a l l p a p e r  on their phones.

So the skanky image thieves have found yet another way to use our images without our permission or knowledge.

Oh yeah, this Badger w a l l p a p e r  app was free but there are other w a l l p a p e r  apps that are not and these thieves are making money with our images. The fruits of our labors, the work we create. That sucks.

It is a violation of copyright laws, it is image theft and it is wrong. I am glad those Badger apps are not on Google Play any more but they might be on iTunes and I wouldn’t know because I have an Android phone.

Back to why downloading that stupid app to my phone was a mistake: I deleted the app right after viewing the Badger images contained in it but this scumbag developer thief had put some other stuff in the app and the next day I realized that that nasty app maker had stuck another little present piece of crap in it that wasn’t deleted with the app and that my default home page/search browser had been hijacked and a search window came up that had ads for gambling and stupid games on it.

To get rid of the code that high jacked my browser home page I had to clear my cache and delete my data for Internet Explorer on my phone. That meant having to redo all of my bookmarks and use all of my passwords on sites I have to log onto so they would be stored on my phone.

These developers thieves are scum and Google needs to step up to the plate and make sure the apps have legitimate licenses for the images in the apps or disallow the thieves from ever putting them on Google Play.

Do I sound ticked off? I am. We need a class action law suit to prevent these types of apps.



P.S. The image search bookmarklet works in IE and Safari, I don’t know if it works in any other browsers.