Image Theft, Word Theft: Solutions


Designer Finds Stolen Images and Words

Just yesterday I posted the article Are Other Designers Using Your Design Images? onto the Design Success University LinkedIn page.  Within a day I received a message from Las Vegas interior designer Jane Cunningham thanking me for sharing how to search images.   Using the methods that I described she quickly found a design firm using her images and her copy.

Jane describes the extent of the copying:

Our images – our wording and on the services page – the image as the background is mine (multiplied many times) and then the whole page is my layout from wordpress and copied my words and format and the photo under commercial is mine (it’s a house in Hawaii that I finished last year.) Also, wording on the about us page is mostly mine. In their gallery, they have 8 images that are mine.

Here is the website that contains approximately ten of her images and a lot of her wording:

interior design copy theft


And, here is a screenshot of some of Jane’s images stolen by these designers (with the purple star indicating Jane’s work):

stolen design images


Detecting Word Theft

The situation goes from bad to worse when I look into the theft of Jane’s words.

To investigate word theft all you need to do is to copy a sentence or two from your website and then put them in quotation marks and search for that in Google.

For example, I copy this sentence from the website:

Welcome to our world of fabulous décor and design! Are you ready to make your home beautiful?

and put them into quotation marks like this:

“Welcome to our world of fabulous décor and design! Are you ready to make your home beautiful?”

and the paste this into Google.  Here are the first 8 results:

searching google for your words


Google shows 128 websites using this same wording! 

Try the search here to see actual results.

Luckily for Jane these much-copied sentences don’t appear to be from her website.   It seems that many designers (or website developers) think that copying content is good enough.   It is not.

I will be working pro bono with Jane to help her get the copied images and text removed from the offending website.  However, for the rest of you: document the images that were used without permission with screenshots and then send the offender an email asking them to remove the image or text.  If they don’t comply let me know.  I am happy to help.

The Take-away

An easy way to search to see if anyone else is using your content is to choose a sentence from your website, copy it, paste it into Google search, and add the quotation marks to the begin and end (which indicates you only want to see results for an exact match).

Keep in mind this will only show exact matches or outright duplicates.  If you want to see anything similar to your wording just paste the sentence into Google search without the quotation marks.

Note: I didn’t use full names or url links to the offending websites because I don’t want them to get a Google boost from a link from my website.

Author: Ken Lewis, CEO of Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Interior Designers and other home design professionals. Explore our services here. If you are interested in working with us, contact us.

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Marketing for the Home Improvement Industry

Ken offers unparalleled marketing from a uniquely informed vantage point that arises from advanced SEO and marketing expertise, a deep knowledge of home improvement marketing, the know-how of being a third-generation family business owner, and experience as a consumer of luxury interior design.

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