Copyright and COPYCATS
Jamie Spinello's Copycat Discovery! This wasn't supposed to happen!

Looking For Copycats of Your Work

As mentioned in previous posts.....the copycat problem is every where and it can happen to anyone.  So how can any of us find out if someone is copying our work?  Well, in our techno media enriched world . . .  there is an app for that.

In story after story there has been tool that has helped discover copycats - Google's Reverse Image Search. 

There are four ways to use Reverse Image Search. I practiced with all four for several hours in preparation for this post and tomorrow's revelation....and found a multitude of discoveries. 

The four ways to use Reverse Image Search are:

  • Drag the image into the search box:
  • Upload an image;
  • Paste image URL into the box;
  • Right Click the image to use a Firefox or Chrome App

THE BIG SURPRISE IS: CHANGING THE METHOD for the Reverse Image Search CHANGES THE RESULTS!  In fact, the results may vary widely! 

BermanConv2ZazzleFor my own test, I decided to use this image of my teacups.

My reason for selecting this group is that they were used on the cover of the book The Fine Art of the Tin Can, but my name would not be associated with any images of the book. I thought this would be a great test.

Furthermore, I have two images of the same group (one with a graduated background and one on a white background). Would the background impact the Reverse Image Results?


Start your Reverse Image Search by CLICKING on the camera icon in the Google Image Search Box.

A SEARCH BY IMAGE box opens up.


Dragging an image into the box or uploading an image produced the same results if you used the same exact image. When I changed between a PNG and a JPG, I got different results.

Uploading a PNG image produced the following Reverse Image Results.  


Uploading a JPG image produced another set of Reverse Image Search Results!

Uploading a URL for an image from my website shows a different set of images.
The results included the book, one of my bracelets, another group of my teacups, a few other unrelated images of my work, and 100 more images that have nothing to do with me or my work. It seemed to show images with similar colors and unrelated content.



The final test uses an APP for Firefox. This APP is available for both Chrome and Firefox. This option is a lot faster to use, but produced the smallest number of results.

After downloading the Firefox APP for Reverse Image Search, right click on any image.  As an example, I am using these cups as a test for how the effectiveness of reverse image search.


Right click on the image.... do you see how the Reverse Image Search is now an option? With the Firebox APP, I only got three Reverse Image Search Results (the fewest number of images) for any method.

However, this method did include an image "borrowed" by a person with a Google+ profile without attribution, name of the artist, or link to my website.


I visited the page..... which turned out to be a Google + profile. What irritates me is that people borrow the image without an attribution or link back to my website. 


I am not going to worry about this now, however this has been a stunning or even shocking revelation from Reverse Image Search.

My observations of Google Reverse Image Search.

  • The size of the image affects search results.
  • Type of image (GIF, PNG, JPG ) affects search results.
  • Method used for Reverse Image Search produces different results.
  • Uploading an image or dragging an image into the search box produced nearly identical results.
  • The Firefox APP produces the smallest selection of images.

Every variable of image type and size changes the Reverse Image Search Results.
Reverse Image Search is still in a development phase. The results are inconsistent, but it seems to be improving, and it is another tool for protecting your art or craft from copycats.

Are you concerned about preventing copycats? Read the post "Copycat, copyright or coincidence - simple steps for prevention for suggestions to protect your work. Use the Google Reverse Image Search frequently to be proactive doing a few tests for the most effective results.

Stay tuned to tomorrow's post about another example of copycats and what we can learn.


Copyright and COPYCATS