Is Imagelogr.com Trying to Be the Largest Copyright Infringer of All Time?
My friends ZeeAnna! and Burnt Umber tipped me off today to a new search engine operating out there called Imagelogr. Only it's not like your traditional image search engine. Most image search engines like Google or Bing include a link back to the images that they search from the web.
Not so with Imagelogr.
Imagelogr claims to be scraping the entire "free web" and seems to have hit Flickr especially hard, copying full-sized images of yours and mine to their own servers where they are hosting them without any attribution or links back to the original image in violation of all available licenses on Flickr. If people on Imagelogr want to they can manipulate your images, rotate them, see them at different sizes up to 300% and even download the images with a download button directly from the site.
Want to know if they've stolen some of your flickr Images? Just go here and type in your flickr name in the search box and see if any come back.
I don't know much about the new search engine. There is not much information to identify who is actually behind it. According to their masked domain registation, the site, currently registered with godaddy, was set up there in April of 2010. The site currently boasts to be tracking over 24 *billion* (yes, billion with a B) images. If their numbers are true, this may in fact be the largest image grab in the history of Flickr.
At the site under a "legal" link there is a Terms of Service page that reads "coming soon." Under their contact link they provide you the email address: imagelogr [at] gmail [dot] com. I emailed them to ask what is up with their view of image licensing and will report back if I get an answer back from them.
Under their main page of the site they have a site description that reads as follows: "Imagelogr.com is an image & picture search engine. We try to index pretty much every picture & image currently available on the free internet. With our powerful search engine finding these images should be fairly easy. We also offer a few image manipulation tools to stand out from the competition."
I think it's a bit misleading for them to try and tie their search engine with the "free" internet. It might give people the impression that any images that are on their site can be used for free, which is definitely not the case. People who erroneously assume that they can use the images on this site may end up being liable for copyright infringement if they do.
Interestingly enough, it looks like they are even indexing a bunch of Getty Images photographs, which I guarantee you won't last long. In fact it appears that while the thumbnail images for Getty are still there, if you click through to the larger sized images many are already showing as not available on the site.
Some users at Flickr started complaining about this in a thread in the Flickr Help Forum, but in usual Flickr fashion they censored the thread by locking it down. Wouldn't want it getting out there now that there was a wholesale rip off of flickr images going on. Thanks alot Flickr!
Update: It looks like Imagelogr is rapidly trying to do damage control. Since I wrote this post they have added a disclaimer on images that they may be copyrighted as well as added a source link to images and a link to their site for "image removal" which reads as follows:
"If you are the owner of copyrighted content that is displayed on Imagelogr.com, we will gladly remove those images.
Please email us the exact links of the image pages where your content is being displayed.
Make sure you send us the links to the image page, NOT the search pages.
BAD EXAMPLE: www.imagelogr.com/images.php?q=new+york
Email your removal URL's to imagelogr [at] gmail [dot] com and we will remove them within 48 hours."
I'm not sure why they'd think that giving people a way to have their images removed absolves them from image theft, but we'll see what happens. They seem to be adapting quickly.
Update #2: Imagelogr is now offline, if you go to their url it is replaced with the following message: "Imagelogr.com is currently offline as we are improving the website. Due to copyright issues we are now changing some stuff around to make people happy. Please check back soon."
Update #4: domainlogr has responded with the following explanation:
"What Happened To Imagelogr.com?
If you are wondering why you are being redirected to domainlogr.com instead of landing on imagelogr.com, this page is for you.
We recently launched a little site called imagelogr.com using the Yahoo! BOSS api. It was a little image search engine that was far from finished. The site was just online, didn't have any traffic, and we didn't actually host any images. The whole site was maybe 50kb of php files :)
Because the 'back-to-source' links were still missing, someone started a post on Flickr claiming we stole billions of images. The counter on our frontpage stating (We are now indexing 25.000.000.00 images) was just a number made up by us, and actually didn't mean much. It was a guess number of how many images Yahoo! would have in its database approximately.
When the news started to spread that we posted full size images without a 'back-to-source' link, we quickly took action and added 2 source links on each page and added a copyright notice stating that he image shown might be copyrighted. After the news was posted on Slashdot and countless other blog and news sites, the emails with complains were coming in rapidly.
In the end we just decided to take the website offline.
This whole Imagelogr project was a non-profit website, we did not display a single ad on the site. We simply tried to make a better images search engine than the currently available ones.
For now the website will remain offline, and it is our plan to turn it into a Google Images like website (with frames linking to the original source) over the next couple of days. Until that time, we are forwarding all traffic to this domain."