Google's reverse image search: A designer's new best friend in finding and fighting unauthorized usage

After the recent issue of "appropriating" logo design elements of professionals from around world and offering the images for sale, I was curious what other designs of mine I might find out there on the Internet. In the past I have made use of TinEye Reverse Image Search, with limited results. On Twitter, Google+, Facebook and elsewhere, I started reading bits of information about the Google reverse image search engine - and I thought I'd give it a try.

I was amazed at the results. Where TinEye might have found up to ten online displays of one of my logo designs; Google's search would find 100 to 350 examples of one of the identities being displayed on blogs, in design galleries and elsewhere. In a relatively short period of time, I found over 50 examples of rip-offs or unauthorized usage of a number of my designs. The logos appeared on sites throughout the U.S. and in China, Scotland, Ecuador, Uruguay, Russia, Chile, Ireland, Korea, Brasil, Hungary, Romania, Mexico, Italy, Indonesia, Spain and elsewhere. Several logos were being used as Facebook page or profile photos; one being used in such a manner by about a dozen Facebook members.

The Google Image Search feature offers several options for initiating a search. Dragging and dropping a graphic, uploading a number of file types, and copying and pasting an image URL are variations on searching. It is also possible to download extensions for Chrome or Firefox allowing the user to right-click on a web image to search Google.

I've noticed that searching with different digital file types results in a slight variation in findings. Eliminating any text from a logo design provides additional examples of plagiarism or unauthorized use of images. Some results of the image search are simply odd. Uploading one of my logo designs displays no examples of that particular graphic, although many exist online. Instead, hundreds of examples of a homeland security logo are presented as a similar image.

Still, the Google reverse image search tool offers any creative professional a great opportunity to police the legitimate and unauthorized use of graphic imagery.

Related Articles:

Google's reverse image search: Indies Restaurant

Find Logo Thieves with Google's Image Search, by Terri Stone, [10.11]

© 2011 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

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