While the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art doesn’t generate any revenue, and all of its contents are available for use without charge, most of the items which were created in recent decades are still subject to copyright, and are distributed subject to certain license terms.
Most of that material is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license or other licenses with similar terms, which require that you must provide attribution to the creator — thanks to specific permission from the illustrators, you can freely use these illustrations to prepare armorial submissions, or design a banner for your encampment, or for other heraldic uses within the context of the Society for Creative Anachronism, but if you’re just going to bundle up the images and post them on another web site, you have to clearly state the source and credit the artists who created them.
Unfortunately, there are a large number of web sites which scrape and aggregate images from across the internet, re-index them (poorly), and then plaster the resulting web pages with banner ads, hoping to make a few cents per click from web searchers who were looking for interesting pictures and wound up on these scammy sites by mistake.
This is too large of a problem for any one person to fix, and there are other things I should be doing with my time, but I feel like I owe the people who contribute their own original art to the collection a good-faith effort to respect the terms under which they shared that material, and so I’ve just spent a couple of hours tilting at this particular windmill.
I have followed the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and filed takedown notices at pngkit.com, pngfuel.com, cleanpng.com, nextpng.com, favpng.com, pngwing.com, and uihere.com, in each case citing five examples of images they were hosting that were copied from heraldicart.org without attribution, and insisting that they remove all such images from their sites. I’ve cc’d the hosting services used by these sites (nearly all deliver content via Cloudflare), in hopes that gives the complaint a bit more weight.
Unfortunately, I’m sure some of these sites have scraped the images from other similar sites rather than directly from my site, and each of them anonymizes the material they ingest, eliminating any source attribution and scrambling the title and metadata, so some of them might not be able to identify all of the material that originated from a specific source even if they wished to.
I have also filed infringement notices with Google regarding those same copied and anonymized images appearing in their search results, although there again the scale of the problem makes this feel insoluble.
Most of the sites claim to respond to DMCA takedown requests within five business days, so we’ll see in the coming week whether this yields any results. In the event that this effort seems to be successful, I suppose I’ll take another stab at doing something similar with more of the dozens of other sites which are scraping and rehosting this material in the same way, despite the “King Canute and the tide” nature of the problem.