I had a picture of a product I make (a musical instrument) on my web site. This picture was taken by myself of a product made by myself and displayed on my web site. I later discovered that my picture was being used in a web site of someone who played such an instrument professionally as part of his advertising without any credit to myself either as the author of the picture or as maker of the instrument pictured. I have not been able to contact him because his web site is in as foreign language and I cannot find an email for him.
I originally discovered that he had lifted my picture when I was doing a check on my SE rankings. I typed into Google search the name of the type of instrument I make and on the 1st page there was a list of 5 pictures of the instrument each picture being linked to the author of the picture - except for me. If you clicked on my picture you were taken to the web site of the person who has lifted it from my web site. Now I find that if you click on the picture you are taken to an advert by yet another company who is advertising a 2nd hand instrument of the type I make. I have contacted that company who say they have simply syndicated it from Google. So it now appears that in addition to having lifted my picture to use in the promotion of his business this person is possibly making money from it.
Whereas I doubt there are great deals of money involved I strongly object in principle to my picture being used in this way without my permission and without even being given credit as the author of the picture or the manufacturer of the instrument pictured.
I simply want to know this: if I did not specifically put the (c) mark on my web site and specifically mention that I own copyright does this give anyone the right to copy my work and use it for their own ends ?
Good news and bad...
Bad first, Just putting a copyright notice on your site will not protect you from thieves. It will deter honest people however.
A decent method for stopping this from happening is to disable "right-clicks" on your webpage. It's not foolproof, and nothing is, but at least it will slow them down. Do a Google search for "disable right click" there are several methods out there.
Now for the good news...
Most hosting providers are deathly afraid of copyright infringement. Do a whois search on the two websites in question, find their hosts and send them a statement of copyright infringement. Explain to them that if the images are not removed or sites taken down, you intend to sue. It's an empty threat, unless you have a crapload of money, but it tends to work.
Personally I would send an email to the people in question first explaining my intent to contact their host.
That's a damned good idea about contacting the hosts, and the right click thing. The problem is as I said I cannot contact the person involved as he does not display any email address - I wonder why....?
I have had some advice from a legal eagle saying that it does not matter a hoot if I have not put the (c) against my work as the fact remains it is my work and ergo I have copyright. I am simply pissed off that this guy has not had the courtesy to either ask me or give me credit to the picture, and now to add insult to injury he's making money from it !
IANAL, but my understanding is that you own the copyright by default to any creation. You don't need to put a notice on your image or website for copyright to be effective.
I wouldn't bother with the disable right click scripts. It will annoy your customers more than it will deter thieves, and can be avoided too easily to be effective.
One of the downsides of putting your information on the internet is that dishonest people will sometimes take advantage. You can try contacting the site owner via their whois information as Philspad suggested, but the fact that the site is in a foreign language means there may be a language barrier. On top of that, foreign hosts are not bound by the same laws and will probably ignore your threats.
Internet marketers have been struggling with this for ages. As galling as it may be, your best bet is to promote your site and content better than the other guy so your images and content show up first. It is virtually impossible to completely protect IP in the wild wild west.