The second most common issue we encounter in online courses is the accidental use of unlicensed commercial ‘stock’ images. The examples below are a good example. The first image, on the left, is of a commercial stock photo, being sold by Adobe Stock online.
The second image, on the right, is supposedly an open access image, on Wikimedia Commons, and licensed under the Creative Commons. Do you notice the similarities between the two? Can you identify the single difference between the two? Do you think a court would deem the second work on Wikimedia as unique from the first? Or is it a derivative work? In all likelihood it is a derivative work of the first and a likely copyright infringement of the owner of the Adobe Stock image. But how do we trace images, figure out where they come from, and whether they ae safe to use? Reverse image search is the answer!
Before we start reverse image searching, let’s first cover an important topic: gaining access to all the images in a PowerPoint slideshow. A great deal of PowerPoint slideshow files contain only a few images. In this case, one can select each image in each slide, right-click them, and select “Save as Picture” to download them one-at-a-time. However, some course slideshows can contain upwards of a hundred slides, and as many or more images. That is when the one-at-a-time process becomes too time-consuming. Fortunately, there is a fairly simple solution.
First, open File Explorer and browse to the folder on your computer which contains the slideshow file. In order for this process to work, the slideshow must be saved in PPTX file format. If you cannot see the file extension in File Explorer, turn on that option. If your file is in the PPT format says, open the file in PowerPoint, select “Save As” and change the file type to PPTX. Once you have your file saved in the PPTX format, then:
This web site is free to use, and automatically searches uploaded images. It has a drag-and-drop functionality, so we recommend having windows explorer and TinEye.com both open side-by-side in Windows. We recommend keeping four instances of TinEye open in four separate tabs in your preferred web browser. Then, drag and drop each image you wish to check into each instances, Ctrl + Tab’ing between each tab in your browser. Eventually we will gain access to a tool that will permit batch searches, but for now this is the best tool at our disposal.
Make sure you select “Sort by oldest” from the drop-down menu after performing your search. This should always be on so the oldest results appear first – giving you a good idea of the image’s source of origination. The results are typically long. There are two special categories within the results to look for.
If the results from TinEye seem to be incomplete, we recommend doing a second search of the same image via ReverseImageSearch.com utilizing Yandex as its database.