How to spot images used without license

posted on 12th of august, 2011

Following our new feature for contributors (Report misusage - DMCA notification) we'd like to explain some simple steps in spotting image misuse, or what we officially call copyright infringement.

Ok, if you didn't follow the link above, please stop, click on it, read it carefully and come back here when you're done.

Now that you've read it, let's see how can we spot those images being used without our consent/appropriate license using the Google image search engine.

Open a browser window and go to Dreamstime, then click on one of your images

Open a new window and go to Google Images. Drag your image from Dreamstime and drop it on Google Images. You will immediately get a list of websites where the image is being used

Alternately, you can click on the small camera on Google Images and choose to search an image by its URL.

How to find out what is the correct URL for your Dreamstime image? Click right on the image on Dreamstime, then choose "Copy image URL".

Your URL is copied now and you can paste it on Google Images.

If you find any misusage (your images used with Dreamstime watermark) you can report it here: Report Misusage

For other copyright issues, please contact our support

Happy spotting everybody!

Comments (31)

Posted by K45025 on August 16, 2017
Hi ,
It will be very useful,
but I have the same problem as Ultra67:
I cannot find their email as requested by dreamstime.....
Posted by Ultra67 on February 10, 2016
I found some of my images with watermarks used on different sites.
What to do?
I cannot find their email as requested by dreamstime.....
Posted by Guernica on February 01, 2016
Thank you for the info. I found most several images of mine used with water marks on different sites and some buy it and sell it again on aliexpress com
Posted by Noonie on August 18, 2015
OMG! I just found this!! http://www.wpthm.com/stockphotos/bottle-flowers-hooks-shed
Posted by Geekonthewing on July 18, 2013
In most cases, webmaster@ [the site] should work. There always should be a "webmaster" address (among others such as postmaster@, abuse@, etc.) for the domain to be compliant with RFC 2142. I was around when they wrote the RFCs, and a domain without a webmaster@ address is non-compliant.

That's not to say that all webmasters (especially the younger ones who don't know anything but think they do) are in compliance, nor even know what an RFC is; but they're still supposed to have the webmaster@ address, so it's the presumptive address for matters like this.

You also can do a WHOIS on the domain and find the registrant's email address of record. It might be a "private" registration, but it will still have an address that, in theory, should forward to the registrant.

Posted by TMarchev on February 09, 2013
Why want e-mail address of infringing party? They not have contacts i can't find them!
Posted by Dudau on June 12, 2012
yes, if you have time, it could be useful :)
Posted by Djapart on June 12, 2012
halo, should we check all image 1 by 1 to get miss use of it? :D
Posted by Amilevin on September 12, 2011
"useful" is understatement. Now let's just hope that google will improve their search engine for photos as I noticed it couldn't find them all.
Posted by Capelson on August 30, 2011
Thanks !
Posted by Miele on August 29, 2011
This is very useful!! Thanks
Posted by Satara910 on August 22, 2011
Thanks for the info. Very usefull !!
Posted by Sebalos on August 22, 2011
I found one of my picture used with dreamstime logo on it. I try to fill the form on dreamstime.com but I need the email address of the site but unfortunately I can't find it :( and I can't finish my report ...
Posted by Monika3stepsahead on August 22, 2011
wooow ! amazing! and so simple! thank you! :))))
Posted by Ldeavila on August 21, 2011
This is amaizing. Thank you for sharing.
Posted by Taylorgracephotography on August 19, 2011
haha, Thanks, Viorel! :)
Posted by Dudau on August 19, 2011
@Taylorgracephotography - you will not necessarily find your photos with Google Images, you will find them only if they are used without permission. So, if you don't find them, I guess it's a good thing :)
Posted by Taylorgracephotography on August 18, 2011
Ummmm...... I can't get it to work. :-(
It let's me pick up the image but I get a circle with a line through it when I try to drop it and it wont let me do it. And if I right click to try to do the URL thing it will only show me similar photos and say none were found to match... Do I need to update my browser or what?
Posted by Dkmarushy on August 17, 2011
Hey, so I did this and I found another site selling these images, its: stockphotos.mx

Does anyone know if this is just an offshoot mexican version of Dreamstime, since they've got Dreamstime adverts all of the site as well. Do we still get the fee if they are downloaded from that site?

I do see that this site seems to re-direct straight to Dreamstime, but it was shocking to see my exclusive images on a different site completely. On the other hand, since it just directs more people to Dreamstime I suppose that's not a bad thing.
Posted by Rosipro on August 17, 2011
Great tool and such a detailed instruction, thanks!
Posted by Pindiyath100 on August 16, 2011
Thanks so very much, V!! Really appreciate it.
Posted by Py2000 on August 15, 2011
I'm still in the middle of searching my images but I've found both... used in right way and misuses, so it's an interesting exercise.
Posted by Kartouchken on August 15, 2011
I will try to find some of my images. But I hope to find them first of all to be used in the right way
Posted by Py2000 on August 13, 2011
Found one of my images with watermark on facebook. I cannot find the contact info for the person/party/company that owns the page. Does anybody know the email address for facebook? I do not want to use facebook's report form as it requires my mailing address and phone number and says that they would pass the info to the person who's misusing my image....
Posted by Py2000 on August 13, 2011
Thanks! This is really useful. Google image is now so powerful and I've just followed the instructions on this blog and started to find more and more misuses for my own images.
Posted by Rosseels on August 13, 2011
To all the photographers who love contributing pics of lizards , look at


and with a little bit of (bad) luck you wil find one of your images used with watermark.
Posted by Jinlide on August 13, 2011
Thank you very much for the information! I tried some of my image and found a few. I also found an exclusive image was offering for download on a foreign health related site ?! , without link to dreamstime or any photo credit.
Posted by Rosedarc on August 13, 2011
Thanks for posting the update on the blog and thanks DT for the new infringement reporting tool. I hope this will help solving some of the current issues!
Posted by Debspoons on August 13, 2011
Thanks for the information..and the links too!
Posted by Micspix on August 12, 2011
Thank you So much for this information. Very useful indeed,


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Comments (31)

This article has been read 8403 times. 23 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Redbaron.

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