Thursday, 12 January 2012 Warning

Just a quick heads up for all you artists, illustrators and photographers. Check out just in case they've got any of your work on there as "Free Stock Photos". I was shamlessly Googling myself earlier, when I should have been cleaning the kitchen, and came across this: 

That's an illustration I did for BBC History Magazine, lifted directly from my agent's Flickr page, along with all the text plus a credit for me and them (lending it a certain amount of credibility; as @whoatemycrayons commented on Twitter, "they look like they are an agent of yours!"). And next to it? A big old button saying "Download".

After a quick name search on their site I've discovered three more of my illustrations and a lot of other work by illustrators Handsome Frank have on their Flickr. Both myself and HF have contacted them through their website asking that they immediately remove the images, which are obviously NOT available for free download and are still very much in copyright. I'm currently awaiting a response, but I know of at least one other person, photographer Henk-Jan Wesselink who's also discovered listing his work for free download, so anyone else with imagery on the interwebs (especially Flickr, which seems ripe for the picking) might want to check the site for your work too.

And if you've used I suggest you delete anything you've downloaded from their site, because they could be putting you at risk of copyright infringement without you realising.

UPDATE: 13.01.2012
All the images from Handsome Frank now appear to have been removed, though that's probably just because HF deleted their Flickr account. I've had no response from Foter. Wordpress are advertising as a plug-in for their sites saying, "This plugin lets you seach (sic), manage and add Creative Commons photos to your blog posts in a very simple way". They're able to do it because Flickr has an option to set the copyright of images to different licencing attributes. But, unless you change your settings, anything you upload to Flickr is generally understood to be under copyright to you, and is not allowed to be used. If you want to check, have a look at the text directly under your Flickr images. If there's a copyright symbol then you're fully covered and anyone using your pics is being very naughty. If there are other symbols then people are allowed to use your work for free. Click on the symbols to edit the attributes.


  1. I saw this last night from my phone and decided to check it out this morning. is down for maintenance... mmm I wonder why?

    Thank you for publicising this.

  2. are plain thieves. Contacted them 5 times and their owner, no answer. They are publishing and making available my pictures, without notifying me, without following my contract rules and instructions, and without holding any of the waivers for the pictures I hold.

    1. If you haven't already done so, I think you should contact a solicitor/lawyer for some advice. Foter and Wordpress obviously have no interest in responding to your request and are clearly breaching your copyright.