Image theft: fighting back

First of all, I'd like to say that I miss you all and the wonderful comaraderie and information sharing that goes on here! I do stop by here occasionally to see what you guys are up to. Sadly, I have not done any KAP since 2016, as I am now dependent on newer technologies for my aerial photography practice....

Starting back in 2007 (as far as I can tell) we had a number of discussions related to the unauthorized use of our images by various third parties. We discussed how to find these uses, and also how to go about registering our images with the US Copyright Office in order to have the best chance of fighting these infringements.

Starting in late 2011, I have registered all the images I have posted online on a quarterly basis, which provides full coverage of my copyrighted images with respect to legal remedies.

In 2015 I decided to try to do something about the ongoing, rampant thefts. I contacted, a company that I had found while searching for tutorials to teach me how to register copyrights online. I had excellent immediate results, reaching 4 legal settlements during that first year. Since that time I have had many more successful settlements. no longer works on these cases, but one of their staff attorneys, the same person who has worked on all my cases, later started her own business and picked up where the old business left off.

This past week, a new settlement resulted in a sort of milestone. I wrote a letter to my attorney mentioning this milestone and thanking her for all her efforts on my behalf. She has just written a blog post on her website featuring my situation, without mentioning my name.

Should you have any interest, you can find the blog post here:

Many of you know that the side income I have derived over the years from my aerial photography pursuits has played a significant part in my overall finances. The infringement settlements have become part of this overall financial picture. I realize there may be a variety of opinions on this, and I welcome any comments or discussion as a result of this post.


  • Wow - that's some milestone Michael!

    Looking at your recent FLICKR photos which look terrific), since you are not using KAP do I take it that you are lofting your Ricoh GR with a drone? Your DJI Phantom?
  • You know you can't share this excellent news and not be tempted to dust down the kites for the next KAPi.....

    I know your claims had been coming in at a consistent rate but that is a serious number for just 4 years worth of legal action. Hats off to you for taking a strong stance and getting legal with those pesky corporate types.

    Will you celebrate the milestone with an aerial photographic upgrade?!
  • Might be a new born but may I ask for Michael L's flickr name ? :) :) Thanks in advance
  • Dave, I built a custom tilt/roll gimbal for a Phantom 2 to hold the Ricoh GR. It allows me to tilt from horizon to straight down and holds the camera remarkably level to horizon. The gimbal's servo settings can be adjusted in DJI's software. There is a convenient tilt wheel on the corner of the RC controller. I use the Ricoh's internal intervalometer to trigger the camera.

    Kev, I would love to come to KAPiFano, still not sure that the timing will work. I did recently fly my Levitation Delta for the first time in many, many moons. It felt good, so I might attach my KAP rig to it before long.

    I still haven't bought a new drone. I will soon be going out to shoot with a friend who recently purchased a Mavic 2 Pro. Maybe seeing it in action will motivate me. My friend complained about the geofencing software stifling her ability to get the drone in the air. That, combined with the downgrade in sensor size from the Ricoh's APS-C sensor to the Mavic's 1" sensor, still gives me pause.

  • Michael - back in 2014 I built the same thing for my Phantom Vision 2 - in my case a gimbal for an Ixus. But since 2015 my Phantom has not flown - the rules in the UK prevent me using a drone to take the sort of urban photos I prefer unless I spend the £2000+ to get a CAA licence. Not worth it for me when those rules do not apply to kite-lofted cameras.

    I'm planning on getting to Fano - would love to see you again.

  • Thanks a lot Dave, Yes this way I can recognize him. I guess we both fellow each other :)
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