Bay of Kotor, Montenegro (and the case of a wandering image)

This is still one of my favourite photos from several trips to Montenegro – taken on what I remember as an easy, rather carefree day amid what otherwise was often a somewhat grueling schedule among the mountains. It has proved a good image for me, being published several times over the years since I took it in 2006.

montenegro-travel-photography-kotor-rudolf-abraham
The Bay of Kotor (Bokor Kotorska) and the islands of Sveti Djordje and Gospa od Skrplja, from the village of Perast, Montenegro

This one photo has also been copied and reused on websites and blogs without my permission – let alone payment or a credit line – more than any other I have taken. A reverse image search on Tineye shows it appearing on sites in Russia and the Czech Republic, while last night I emailed the owners of 24 websites/blogs across Europe where it has been used, in most cases for over two years (one, as of writing, has already apologized and removed the image, though with no offer of payment for use thus far). The sites range from commercial travel sites to apartment rentals and taxi companies, which in almost all cases featured advertising (and gained revenue from this, in addition to that from the services they advertise), and in some cases claim copyright themselves.

Just for the record, I’m happy to supply an image to a charity or worthy cause without payment sometimes – though not to commercial sites without permission or credit. Doing so is simply not a viable commercial model, for obvious reasons.

Still, it’s a lovely spot, just a short minibus ride alongside the Bay of Kotor from the UNESCO-listed town of the same name, and overlooking the two tiny islands of Sveti Djordje (St George) and Gospa od Skrplja (Our Lady of the Rocks). The latter is actually an artificial island; and if it looks vaguely familiar (not that you can probably tell in this shot – and quite aside from the large number of times it features in images used to promote this wonderful little country on the Adriatic), that’s perhaps because it’s said to have provided inspiration for the 19th century Swiss painter Böcklin’s well-known work, The Isle of the Dead.

Copyright Action (http://copyrightaction.com) is a very useful website for anyone who finds their photographs have been used without permission/payment/credit.

And for those interested, this image was taken on a Nikon FM2n with an old manual focus Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 lens, on Fuji Velvia film (my ultimate travelling ‘kit’ until switching to digital in 2005-6). And it involved scrambling up a rather steep bank amongst several large prickly pear bushes…. ;~)

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Comments

  1. Great photo, Rudolf. Sorry to hear that it’s been appropriated by other websites. I think you can tell it’s made using Fuji Velvia. Like you, I switched to digital in 2006. Certainly, it’s easier, cheaper and more convenient but somehow the colours are never quite as good.

  2. It’s a great picture – I can understand why people stole it. I have had some quite ordinary pictures used elsewhere and have generally been flattered but your picture should receive revenues!

  3. Hi Laurence and Andrew
    Thanks both of you for stopping by and taking the time to comment, much appreciated.
    In these particular cases, getting payment will be difficult, unfortunately (all outside the EU). Only one reply so far though, so might be time to track down some ISPs….
    Ah, Velvia… the very word brings a twinge of nostalgia! Travelling through Iran/Central Asia in the late 90s, it was always the single most precious and carefully guarded thing in my pack. But, size/weight of an FM2n body aside, I do find it harder and harder to imagine life before DSLRs (or more specifically, Nikon D700/D300)…..

  4. Rudolf, there is a way to report those images in the EU (if the blogs are hosted in the EU), but outside of that, you’re sort of stuck. Its one of the most amazing images ever taken (heck, we live here), hence why its been duplicated and replicated so many times. Either way, its a great shot!

  5. Good picture. I regret that the theft of photographs are now very popular. My photos are also constantly steal, and not just photos, but descriptions of travel. But the only thing I got – that my work has been removed from sites where they are used illegally. Unfortunately, sometimes nothing can be done. For example at one site in Georgia in my photos, even removed my copyright, and all the letters to administrators went unanswered 😦
    Good luck with your fight with the thieves!

  6. And here’s another website using the same image….
    http://www.travelodestination.com/visiting-enchanting-montenegro/

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