China Is The Worst For Stealing Photos, Study Finds

By Holly Brockwell on at

An analysis of image theft on the internet found that China is the worst for nicking other people's images and using them without permission.

License-enforcing site Copytrack analysed a randomly-selected set of its cases, and of the 10,000 chosen, the most infringements occurred in China. Yes, there are more people in China than any other country, but while the second-worst perpetrator was the US, the third was France. Which is, globally speaking, tiny.

The world's second-largest country, India, did not make the top ten - and neither did the UK. This implies that it's not just a case of numbers, but rather attitudes to copyright in different cultures.

Copytrack CEO Marcus Schmitt comments, "From private people, to bloggers to magazines and companies - image theft occurs in a lot of places. Obviously there are some countries where the creative property of others is less respected."

While China misused a whopping 11% of the analysed images, Britain accounted for just 0.75%, putting us at 29th. This may come as a surprise to the many photographers who've been told they should be "grateful for the exposure" of having their work nicked, which seems to happen constantly.

Copytrack says 35% of its cases are settled after just asking for the money, and another 55% after 'enforcement.' The average claim is settled for an impressive 1430 Euro - just over £1200.  We tried to find out what that is in Exposure Dollars, but oddly none of the bureaux seemed to accept them.

Main image: Rawpixel, with permission. Obvs.