How do I find the copyright owner of an image?

We’re glad you asked! Unfortunately, the answer to that question is: it’s complicated!

We wish it were simple and TinEye was capable of automatically finding the copyright owner of an image every single time you did a TinEye image search. Perhaps some day in the future, when the entire corpus of human creation has been indexed and cataloged we will be able to do that, but in the meantime, we will work hard to get you close enough to the answer. So let’s look at how you can potentially use TinEye to find the the author or the copyright owner of an image.

There are 3 ways TinEye’s search results can bring you closer to finding the copyright owner of an image:

  1. Sorting results by Best Match;
  2. Sorting result by Biggest Image;
  3. Filtering the results to Image Collections and Stock Sites.

If this is your first time using TinEye, your search results will be sorted by the “Best Match”.

  1. Sorting by “Best Match” finds the image with the most identical fingerprint to the image used to search.
  2. We’ve found, that sorting search results by the Biggest Image can get you even closer! If the creator of the image puts the image on the web, it is likely that they used a large version, or perhaps are displaying a large version on their site.
  3. One more trick: TinEye identifies certain sources as being of particular interest to our users. At the top of the results page, you can choose to only show results from collections (sets of free images, like Flickr or Wikimedia) or stock photo sites (where you can license an image for use, like Shutterstock).

In the example below, the image is matched with images from the stock photo site Shutterstock and are tagged as being “Stock”. The link takes you to a page where you can learn more about the image, its owner and use permissions.

A link will appear that shows you where you can access rights and permissions from the owner. In this example, the image exists on Shutterstock