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News & Insight

YouTuber Thinks Photographers Are ‘Malicious’ | Gets Sued For Photo Theft

By Holly Roa on October 21st 2017

It’s an unfortunately common misconception among people who don’t work in any kind of photographic industry that one can simply take any image found on Google’s image search and use it for any purpose, free of charge. The public is, in general, woefully ignorant of copyright laws and how they favor an image’s creator. Even worse, there are online “mentors” spreading bad information.

Take YouTuber and e-commerce “educator” Dan Dasilva for an example of the kind of appalling ignorance out there. He was sued for stealing images via Google image search for use in sales, and teaching others to do the same, then made a 13-minute video complaining about being sued for stealing and calling photographers who dare to protect their work “malicious.” To those of us with even a rudimentary understanding of image copyright law, his “understanding” is ludicrous. Unfortunately, it’s also prevalent. 

One time for the people in the back, nice and loud: you cannot use copyrighted images you find on google image searches without permission. You cannot just find images online and use them for your own purposes without any permission from or compensation to their creator and expect no repercussions. If you do so, you may find yourself the recipient of an invoice for the image used, a take-down notice, or even a lawsuit.

If an image creator wants to allow their work to be used for free, that’s their decision to make. It is not the decision of ‘Joe Google-user’ who needs a product shot for their e-commerce website.

[Rewind:] ImageRights Allows You To Easily Register Copyright For Your Images From Lightroom


There are steps you can take to protect your photography online. It is helpful, but not required, to register your work with the Copyright Office, for photographers in the United States, anyway. Barring certain situations, like work-for-hire, the person who clicks the shutter owns the photo automatically, but registering your copyright can help if you do need to take action.

You can use reverse images searches like Google’s own or TinEye to find where your work may be used without permission. You can upload an image or give a URL to the photo online and the search engine will scour the web for images that match.

If you find your work being used inappropriately, it’s up to you whether you let it slide or take action, and what kind of action that may be. For very small infringers or infringers who aren’t using an image commercially, you may not care to do anything at all. If, however, you find someone using your work to make money, you stand to be compensated for the use of your work or at least have the offending image removed.

For a walkthrough of potential courses of action, ASMP, ever a wealth of information for professional photographers, offers this page of insights.

If you’re in the mood to be irritated, watch Dan’s video below:



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Seattle based photographer with a side of videography, specializing in work involving animals, but basically a Jill of all trades.
Instagram: @HJRphotos

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Peter Freeman

    But surely the moral right of any believer of Socialism understands that there is no such thing as private property? With every ‘intellectual’ in the world professing the immorality of capitalism and private property why is there SURPRISE when people start to act as if what they have been thought at ‘university’ is true?   

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  2. Frank Calesso

    I wonder if this fellow realizes that his videos have a copyright, just like the photographs we take.  So, would he be perfectly fine with me using one of his videos for my financial gain?

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  3. Shawn Papas

    only a moron will think they can use google images for advertising purposes im a photographer and i go on site where the images are free if i want to use one and havent this guy heard of purchasing a image its not rocket science . and if i see someone using my image i will sue my name and image data is all on my images plus i keep all my originals .

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  4. Vlad B

    I actually watched the video and noticed the following: 1. the guy admits he did a mistake by using that photo; 2. he advises his followers to use CC images because they’re free (which is fair); and 3. he says that SOME photographers are malicious, not all of them. So, if I’m a photographer and I put my photos online, then I hunt people who mistakenly use them and demand $150,000 from them without politely asking them first to take the images down, then am I malicious or not? I guess the answer is YES. So, I think that overall the guy is fair and that this article misinterprets the things he says.

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    • Marc Jr

      Well Mr. Fake account guy – you are obviously the guy in question or one of his followers.  If one runs a legit business then they don’t take illegal shortcuts (not mistakes) they would not be using other people’s intellectual properties.  Any legit businessman would know how intellectual properties and copywritten material works….its absolutely NOT a mistake.   I’m sure he knows all about how youtube will strike his video for using a Taylor Swift song in it.  Its the same with photos.   The equivalent would be if someone was selling DVDs of multiple  douchebag youtuber’s videos.   I’m pretty sure this guy would sue someone selling a DVD set including his and other douche bags videos (which are their intellectual properties).  Fair use is something all youtubers are VERY familiar with.  He knew exactly what he was doing. 

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    • Eric Mazzone

      Yes, the guy advises his followers to use CC images because they are free, BUT he doesn’t recognize that SOME CC images are CC + attribution, or CC – NON COMMERCIAL, so go ahead an use that CC NON COMMERCIAL image for a commercial project, then whine that your rear end got sued.  Or use that CC+attribution image without giving the proper attribution and get your butt sued.  Because THAT is going to happen.  

      IF you are using an image for COMMERCIAL use and YOU are getting paid, then you’re dog gone going to be paying through the nose for using the image without permission, it’s not malicious to expect to be paid for MY work when YOU are getting paid for MY work, to expect any different fully demonstrates that you have zero concept of reality.  It’s a F U pay me thing.

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  5. Russ McCord

    Someone should let Under Armor he is being a dick with their stuff on.   Hove him digital blur out the logos on his videos.  and he disabled the comments for that  video.   

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  6. Richard Olender

    Can you believe the attitude of this guy?  He uses someone elses work and then plays the victim…..Unreal

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