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News & Insight

There is a War Waging: Image Owners Vs. Content Users

By Teagan Alex on September 9th 2014

There is a war waging. It has been an ongoing battle, one we probably all have been a part of: image owners against content users. There now is a solution to the ever growing battle, and you could be a part of it.


Did you know that image owners are having their online content infringed without attribution, permission or payment 85% of the time? That is a lot of images not getting the credit they are due. Content users are liable for up to $30,000 per infringed use according to US copyright law, but are often aren’t found or held accountable.


IMGembed is a company located in Brooklyn New York with a new technology to help control how and where a image owner’s images are being used. But this is also a win for content users as well. Their technology allows the image owner to allow content users to embed their image for free, or at an affordable impression-based rate. Yay! for images getting used right and getting credit.


They first launched their prototype at SXSW, and since then, the grown has been explosive! They’ve seen millions of images and monthly embeds being used through their site. But since there is growth in use, there must be a growth for them as well. Here is where you can help stop the war! They currently have a Kickstarter to help them expand their development and marketing efforts, to help IMGembed reach more users and support more images.

Donations range from $5 to $10,000 and will be open until September 18th. Backers can expect to receive limited edition postcards and art prints curated from the featured works of the IMGembed community of professional photographers. Their product is expected to reach its expansion later this year upon reaching their goal.


To help fund their project or learn more about their Kickstarter, click here. To check out their website or become a user of IMGembed, click here.

via [DesignTaxi]

CREDITS : All images by IMGembed are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify,  or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and IMGembed.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Teagan Alex is an Event and Fine Art Photographer based in Salt Lake City Utah. She believes that all people are inherently beautiful, and loves to capture the details of the world around her.

She received her BFA degree from UVU in photography and since has been published in books and magazines, multiple gallery shows, and won best in show for her work. Visit her website at and connect with her via Facebookor Instagram.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. David Lara

    It reminds me of pinterest (sort of), where the original image points back to the original owner’s site/content page (given it was shared/pinned the proper way). I think this is much needed in this era of web use where everything (sites, pages, articles, posts, etc) rely heavily on imagery as part of the overal content.

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    • Doc Pixel

      * (given it was shared/pinned the proper way) *
      There is no stated “proper way” and it’s a free-for-all-one-click-way that’s winning.

      A very large number of pins are coming from sources outside of the original blog or website, including straight from Google or Bing image search without even needing to go to the site hosting the image. Tumblr, Flickr, imgBox, Stumble… just far too many to name where people can create their own uploaded or saved collections, where the original source is obfuscated… let alone the viral “Top xx” picture sites like Buzz, TheChive, reddit, etc… and then there’s Facebook(!)

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  2. Randy McKown

    OMG .. a great example of people who know absolutely nothing about an industry trying to become leaders within that industry.

    That is the worst stock photo website I have ever seen in my life. Functionality from a buyer perspective is horrid. The marketing gimmick is rather insulting based on that fact that it preys on the masses of photographers who are uneducated in the stock photo industry. Of course, one look at their website and I have no doubt that there’s not one single person on the IMGembed team who has ever earned a living as a full-time stock photographer.

    It’s things like this that make me afraid to imagine what the photography industry will be like in another couple decades. Having your name next to an image doesn’t pay for your gear .. or your home .. car .. studio .. kids college fund.

    Our industry has already been screwed up to the point that an image can be licensed for less than the cost of a can of Pepsi. Do we really need people like this degrading our profession even more?

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  3. Jim Johnson

    I love the idea of an image being used with embedded attribution— it is easier for the poster, and gives assurance to the creator— but I’m just not sure most posters actually understand or care about ethical use. The ones that do, already post ethically either by including attribution or a notice looking for the name of the creator if they can’t find it.

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    • Andrew Van Arb

      I agree with you. The average user is not concerned with copyright or infringement of any sort. This would be a good tool, provided it gets enough exposure and artists choose to use i to upload to.

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    • Doc Pixel

      I agree: good idea for easy ethical use for bloggers. However IMO it’s not necessarily the bloggers that are the problem today, but the internet entities that have built their entire platforms around sharing, social, pinning, and search.

      For example, you can currently use plugins to embed images that you pin on Pinterest to your blog posts or as a side bar widget. Similar plugins are available for Tumblr, Instagram, FB, Twitter, Flickr and even Google Image search. Are those companies now going to be forced to pay up for impressions? How about social buzz and viral networks claiming fair-use reporting?

      I noticed that 10k impressions are free at IMGembed. How many small time bloggers actually get that many clicks on one post?

      Again, the idea is really noble… but at present I don’t see this making a large impact against pictures being used to monetize large Internet companies that are built around “user sharing is free”, while they collect ad impressions alongside all those “liked” images.


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    • Jim Johnson

      So true. Most of the content passed around today is passed around through peer to peer sharing using a social networking platform. Will IMGembed work on FB, Twitter, or Pinterest? By the way I understand it, it won’t.

      What about SEO? Will Google images still show embedded images as frequently.

      I’m curious if anyone has actually studied how images are “stolen” from internet. IE. where do the images originate and through what channels do they travel? It is mainly through Google searches, social media, or from blog posts?

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