How Industrial-Scale Extraction Will Make CBD Accessible to Everyone Who Needs It

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A Kentucky company is working on a process to convert 25 tons of hemp biomass per day into high-quality oil with uses for all the byproducts.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

People are getting excited about cannabidiol (CBD), and I am thrilled to see demand grow well beyond the core of true believers who have been touting its benefits for years. But the price of high-quality CBD is still too high for many who need it, and that is in large part a function of supply.

So I was intrigued when I heard about the Draconis Extraction Technology (DET) patented commercial-scale ethanol extraction process.

Paul Baskis is the brains behind this technology. A scientist and designer with expertise in carbon transformation and soil science, he brings more than 30 years of process development, wastewater treatment and compound isolation experience to the problem of how to make broad-spectrum, winterized, de-waxed, solvent-free CBD, and make it at a scale that puts it within reach of more consumers.

Related: Pulling the Cork Out of the Processing Bottleneck Slowing the Hemp/CBD Boom

“I design large systems,” Paul told me when I called him at his office in Kentucky, where DET is getting ready to build their first industrial-scale extraction facility. “It’s what I do.” This extractor will handle a minimum of 25 tons of biomass per day, which exceeds by several times the maximum capacity for commercial CO2 extraction.

The vision driving this quest for industrial-scale extraction is all about people who need CBD.

“A lot of ex-military people are dealing with ongoing health problems,” said Tommie Baskis, DET director and CEO. Draconis offers licensees turnkey service that includes security and risk assessment and employs a large number of veterans in those roles.

“I’m thinking of them when I say you have to start with a really good crude that is affordable for the people who have PTSD, pain, neurological issues and so on. You have parents trying to help a sick child, people dealing with addiction; I want everyone to be able to afford CBD and right now very few people can. In order for it to be affordable, you have to extract it on an industrial scale.”

Right now the average price for broad-spectrum CBD is about $350 per 1000 milligrams. We know that people are using it for support with an array of health problems, from PTSD and anxiety to insomnia and chronic pain, but many sufferers simply can’t afford it. Let’s say you’ve found that your most effective dose is 5 mg per pound of body weight per day, and you weigh 180 pounds. That $350 bottle of CBD is going to last you only 11 days.

However, Paul’s tech would push extraction costs down and lower the price by boosting the supply of CBD extract dramatically without sacrificing quality.

Related: Move Aside, CBD: New Data Finds THC Is the Real Medicine in Medical Marijuana

“I worked on the design to create a very clean crude,” he said. “It’s so pure that you can use it in a vape pen without leaving any residue. It has a good taste. From there, if you’re doing CO2 extraction, you can easily purify it into isolates, and you get 10 to 20 times more isolate out that if you started with raw hemp.”

One of the fascinating things about Paul’s design is that instead of removing and disposing of “waste,” it purifies out waxes and oils for sale as products in their own right. The waxes can be used in cosmetics, for example. Even the pulp comes out dry, de-waxed and ready to be used for paper, fabric or bioplastics.

If there is no buyer for the pulp, Paul’s design can work with an optional system add-on that produces fuel to run the extractor and, as a final by-product, a carbon-based fertilizer that keeps fixed carbon in the soil, and enhances microbial growth and soil structure.

Max Le Pera, Vice President of Draconis, places these features in the context of the company’s environmental ethic. “Sustainability and circular economy are becoming increasingly important aspects of global business,” Le Pera noted. “The Draconis extraction technology and re-purposing of biomass residual are in direct alignment with these principles.”

Related: Medterra CBD Signs Pro Golfers as Brand Ambassadors

DET is just one example of the coming green tech explosion sparked by the legalization of hemp in December of 2018. This and other innovations are going to make it possible for more farmers to grow, process and profit off their hemp crops; for employment and population growth to rebound in rural communities, and for more people to gain better health. To find out about new developments in industrial hemp and events near you, follow The Hemp Biz Conference on Facebook. I’ll see you there.

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MTV’s New ‘Daria’ Spinoff Was Announced—and More Could Be on the Way

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Last summer, MTV hinted that they were interested in more stories from the Daria universe, and now we know what’s finally coming: A spin-off about Jodie Landon, Daria’s best friend, who will be voiced by “Black-ish’s” Tracee Ellis Ross. “Jodie” will take place years after high school and will follow the title character’s career at a start-up.
READ MORE…

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ThinkGeek.com to close, replaced as a section of GameStop

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Sad news for anyone who loves geeky goods and top-notch April Fools’ jokes: ThinkGeek.com, the 20-year-old online retailer known for selling more geek-centric gadgets and peripherals than you could fit in a TARDIS, is going away.

According to an FAQ sitting at the top of its site, ThinkGeek isn’t “shutting down,” it just won’t continue on as the site we’ve come to know, instead living on as a shadow of its former self as a section in GameStop (which acquired ThinkGeek in 2015 for a reported $140 million.)

Says the FAQ:

On July 2nd, 2019, ThinkGeek.com will be moving in with our parent company GameStop. After this move, you will be able to shop a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com via a ThinkGeek section at GameStop

The word “curated” is pretty key, there, because there’s just no way a couple of shelves in GameStop will be able to cover the array of fandoms that ThinkGeek.com covered. From Marvel, to Star Wars, to Potter, to Tolkien, it covered a whole lot of (fan)bases in one swoop.

ThinkGeek.com is — or, I guess, was — one of those shops that was fun to explore; anytime I found myself there, I’d inevitably lose track of time clicking around from category to category, often throwing down a credit card for some Star Wars shirt or Aperture Science pint glass I probably didn’t need. Hopefully that sense of “Oooh, look at that! And that! And that!” will live on in whatever section springs up on GameStop’s site.

The company also says that the 40 standalone ThinkGeek retail stores dotting the U.S. will stay open.

This news comes after a few back-to-back 75%-off sales of all clearance goods, and now it looks like they’ve marked things down 50% site-wide to clear the warehouses.

Perhaps most of all, we’ll miss ThinkGeek’s April Fools’ day gags. On a day in which many companies find themselves trying a bit too hard to make us laugh, ThinkGeek just always seemed to get it right. They’d sprinkle their site with fake product listings for people to stumble upon. Things like…

The Fortnite R/C Battle Bus:

Or the Admiral Ackbar Singing Bass:

Or the absolutely brilliant Tauntaun sleeping bag (a gag that proved so popular that they ended up making and selling them for a while):

Alas.

ThinkGeek says it’ll still take return requests for orders made before June 13th, and that any ThinkGeek gift cards you’ve got sitting around will be honored at GameStop’s online and real-world locations.

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A brief history of cheating at video games

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For as long as we’ve played games, there have been players willing to break the rules in order to win. Whether it’s rolling weighted dice, counting cards, or hip checking pinball machines, you can bet your bottom dollar that if there’s a game of chance, someone’s working to work the odds in their favor.

It’s no different in the modern era of online and console gaming — some of the most iconic cheats in videogame history were put there by the person making the game itself. The Konami Code (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start) is perhaps the most well known cheat code in gaming history. It was added to 1985’s Gradius for the NES by the game’s developer, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who found the game to be too difficult during its debugging phase.

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"A lot of the time they were put in for testing," Ste Pickford, one of the developers for Solar Jetman, Plok and Equinox, told Red Bull in 2014. "We tended to have fairly simple user interfaces in games back in the 8-bit days – no pages of menu screens where we could add a cheat list – so a cheat code on the front end was often used as an easy way for testers to get to different parts of the game quickly, or try out different features. Some were left in release versions by accident."

Enabling developers to effectively jump to any point in the game also saved countless hours of work during testing and debugging, hence the Sonic the Hedgehog level select cheat (hold A, press up, down, left, right, and once the chime sounds, hit start). And as Pickford mentioned, feature select cheats like Mortal Kombat’s ABACABB code served as the game’s blood and gore toggle.

These codes often held personal meaning for their developers as well. ABACABB is actually a nod to Genesis, the Phil Collins-fronted British rock band that shares the same name as the Sega system.

A cheat code can also be useful for your resume. "We did a nice one in Ken Griffey presents Major League Baseball on the SNES," Pickford continued. "We had a code to cut straight from the title screen to the end-of-game credits sequence, which was not only a nice sequence but also a nice way for all of us on the dev team to be able to instantly prove we worked on the game, back when getting credit was quite rare. The code was, I think, ‘BADBUBBA’. This came from ‘Bubba’ being the childhood nickname of the producer and designer of the game."

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But developers weren’t the only ones rummaging around in a game’s operating code. As far back as the Commodore 64 era, players themselves used POKES to access the contents of a game’s specific memory cell before loading the program. The Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC all allowed POKES. Doing so allowed players to edit various values and, if done properly, boost their stats, impart damage immunity or otherwise modify how the game played. For example, using "POKE 755, 4" on an Atari 8-bit system instructs the graphics card to invert all on-screen text. Of course, finding the right memory cell was a hit-or-miss endeavor. Just as often as you’d find a POKE that boosts your characters powers, you’d find one that imparts the same stat boost to your enemies.

By the time that Nintendo had taken over the gaming scene with the NES, these early DIY mods had evolved into a cottage industry with players sharing their various exploits through offline hobbyist clubs and informal interpersonal networks — think the internet, but in analog and not a total dumpster fire.

Cheating in 8-bit subsequently became a proper commercial enterprise with the release of Codemasters’ Game Genie cartridge, Datel’s Action Replay, and Mad Catz GameShark. Game Genie, for example had iterations for the Sega Genesis, NES, Super NES — even handheld systems like the Game Boy and Game Gear. Once systems moved on to disc-based media, we saw the rise of the GameShark and Code Breaker devices.

adsfEssentially, these cheating systems were POKEs for dummies. They operated the same way as manual POKEs — accessing the program memory and adjusting values prior to the game’s booting — just, behind a GUI that non-nerds could easily navigate. These devices were immediate hits and helped lead to a golden age of cheating.

By the mid ’90s, cheating at video games had become downright trendy. Nintendo Power launched to great fanfare in 1988. The publication was packed with tips and tricks for the day’s most popular games in addition to industry news. The Nintendo Power Line, which launched alongside the magazine and ran until the internet killed it in 2010, offered direct phone help to confused gamers from professional advisors.

Tips and Tricks, which first went on sale in 1995, was even more focused on the finer points of cheating. It published everything from lists of popular codes to reviews on the latest POKE cartridges in addition to its gamer "lifestyle" coverage. Heck, there was even a TV show dedicated to cheating at video games. Cheat! launched on the G4 network back in 2002 and ran for an impressive 174 episodes through 2009. While none of those publications are still active, their popularity did have a lasting effect on the industry as they gave way to today’s plethora of online (and print) strategy guides, walkthrough and tip sites.

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Throughout this celebration of subversion, PC game makers in the 1990s continued to load their products with effort-saving development codes as a part of the development process. Take 1996’s Quake, for example. Tapping the ~ button while playing brought up the developer console into which one could input any number of game-altering codes. Everything from status effects and level selects to noclip, fly and god mode could be accessed and key-mapped for instant deployment.

That practice, unsurprisingly, remains in place today. Devs still need to quickly access various portions of and situations within the game during testing, and enterprising players continue to look for shortcuts to victory. Doom (2016) for PC allows for an equally wide variety of cheat codes to be entered through the command line. After hitting Ctrl+Alt+~ to open the dev console, players can toggle god mode, receive fully upgraded gear and weapons, or reveal any unexplored areas of the mission map. The same is true for Fallout 4 on PC. Just hit that tilde (~) button and go to town.

As consoles and PCs made the transition to online gaming rather than relying on split screens and LAN parties, the cheats invariably followed. And that’s where the trouble started. Cheating at a one or two-player game isn’t a big deal — unless you happen to overtake your older brother’s high score or something to that effect. Worst comes to worst and you’ll get called out by the game itself as Super Mario 64 cheats quickly learned.

But when you start cheating in online games, you’re directly impacting — overwhelmingly often in a negative manner — the experiences of everybody else in the instance. Anybody who’s been sniped by a camper who was running an aimbot and wall hacks in CounterStrike: Global Offensive can attest. Even exploiting in-game glitches like the Last Stand Grenade Trick in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or simply unplugging your router before losing a match of Starcraft can make for a miserable experience for the players around you.

In 2018, an Irdeto Global Gaming Survey of 9,436 consumers found that 60 percent of respondents had their gaming experiences negatively impacted on multiple occasions by cheaters. The study, which spoke to players in China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UK and US, also found that 77 percent of respondents are likely to stop playing online multiplayer if they suspect other players were cheating and 48 percent said they’d be less likely to purchase in-game content.

And since the success of an online game requires a large and active user base, their developers can’t go letting a subset of cheaters ruin the fun for the larger community. As such, the gaming industry has long sought to counter the influence of cheating players though the methodologies vary widely between games and platforms. Banning players for cheating has long been a useful cudgel for game developers as have anti-cheating software like PunkBuster.

Developed by Even Balance Inc, PunkBuster is a program designed to detect the use of cheating software in online games. It made its debut in 2000 for Half-Life. The PunkBuster Client runs locally on a player’s system, running real-time memory scans to spot any known cheats, hacks, key bindings or illicit scripts, while the program’s servers request frequent status updates — up to and including screenshots — from all clients connected to them.

If a player is found in violation of the rules, PunkBuster Admins can remove the player from the game for a specific amount of time, up to a permanent GUID ban, which is tied to the game’s license key and requires the player to purchase another copy if they want to play again. PunkBuster is primarily used for FPS and action games. The Battlefield, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, Medal of Honor and CoD franchises, as well as Assassin’s Creed, FarCry 2 and 3 all utilized the service.

Anti-cheat systems also exist on the server side, the most well known being FairFight. AAA studios like EA, Crytek, PopCap, Dice and Ubisoft, as well as a number of indies, utilize the middleware. So rather than reside on the player’s system, constantly scanning for offending 3rd-party code, FairFight examines a player’s actions and tests them "against multiple statistical markers to identify cheating as it occurs. FairFight cross-checks these indicators using objective server-side reporting tools and takes action when both approaches correlate to cheating," the company’s website explains. Once the system spots a likely cheat, admins can impose graduated penalties spanning from simple warnings to outright bans.

Valve’s Anti-Cheat system (VAC) is not nearly as forgiving. That system’s bans are "permanent, non-negotiable, and cannot be removed by Steam Support," according to the Steam Support page.

This fully-automated admin sits on the server side, scanning every player that attempts to connect to one a Steam server protected by the VAC. "If a user connects to a VAC-Secured server from a computer with identifiable cheats installed," the page explains, "the VAC system will ban the user from playing that game on VAC-Secured servers in the future."

If only gaming squad OpTic India took the VAC into account prior to the Extremesland Zowie Asia CS:GO 2018 tournament. In the midst of that $100,000 tourney, the VAC system caught OpTic’s Nikhil "forsaken" Kumawat using an aimbot. As such, the team was unceremoniously booted from the tournament, leading the team to eventually close shop.

For regular cheats, this can be a huge hassle. But for professional gamers, being caught cheating can be disastrous for their career, as competitive Fortnite player, Damion "XXiF" Cook recently discovered. However, Cook wasn’t busted by an AI — he was taken down by his own fans.

During the qualifiers for the $30 million Fortnite World Cup, viewers noted that Cook was scoring ludicrously easy shots and suspected that the pro-gamer had teamed up with friends who fed him kills to win a spot in the tournament proper. This form of cheating, known as "teaming," involves what should be solo players cooperating with one another to influence the outcome of an online game. Unfortunately for Epic Games, there is no way for this sort of behavior to be autonomously monitored as the cheats need only pick up a phone to coordinate their online actions in real life.

Cheats aren’t always used to give players an unfair advantage over the computer or their peers. In recent years, the industry has taken strides to make gaming more inclusive and enjoyable for an increasingly diverse and vocal playerbase. As such, developers often include "cheats" as Easter Eggs that can help make the game more accessible (and more fun) to casual players. The "assistant mode" found in both Super Mario Odyssey and Celeste helps take the edge off of otherwise challenging gameplay by reducing or eliminating death penalties and boosting health stats. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers a similar feature by giving the player the option of having the computer steer or accelerate for them. When utilized properly, such a feature can make racing against younger or less dextrous drivers a more equitable affair.

Of course, developers have also seen the value of cheat codes as a revenue stream. Rather than simply giving away various bonuses or boosts via secret commands, publishers have discovered that people will happily pay for them as DLC or in-game microtransactions. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, for example, offers players a means of boosting their XP generation rate by 50 percent — not through a convoluted series of inputs, just a $10 charge on your credit card.

Whether you exploit them or not, cheats are an intractable facet of modern gaming. They help developers test and debug their programs faster, with less effort, while providing a leg up for players otherwise overwhelmed by a game’s difficulty.

Now, obviously, when doinks like XXiF and forsaken do it, that’s bad — but their bad is bad in the same way that counting cards in poker or the Patriots slightly deflating footballs is bad. There’s cheating for harmless fun and there’s cheating for profit and you don’t do the latter. However, when used sparingly, judiciously, cheats can be leveraged to make gaming more accommodating and enjoyable for everyone.

Images: Nintendo (Gradius); supermaletperson / YouTube (Commodore 64 POKES); Steam Community (Quake console)

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This remarkable Greenland photo highlights extreme Arctic melting

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The melting Arctic is on dramatic display.

At mid-June, Arctic sea ice is now at a record low for this time of year, and melted ice is especially notable both in and around Greenland — home to the second largest ice sheet on the planet. Steffen Olsen, a climate researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute, snapped a photo on Thursday of Greenland sea ice that had melted into a large lake of aqua water, pooled atop the icy surface.

Olsen, along with local hunters, had to sled across the flooded ice to retrieve vulnerable weather and ocean monitoring equipment. Their sled dogs splashed through the icy water.

The adventurous sledding took place in the middle of an inlet called Inglefield Bredning, located in northwestern Greenland. Sea ice beneath the pooled water is still some 4 feet (1.2 meters) thick, though Olsen tweeted that his team is dependent upon indigenous knowledge of the dodgy terrain to safely navigate. 

Temperatures have spiked in Greenland this week, resulting in melting not just of sea ice, but of ice across the surface of nearly half the giant island. Greenland has had big melting episodes before, but this one certainly fall into the category of extreme.

On Thursday alone, Greenland lost 2 billion metric tons of ice.

Though warming spells come and go each year, overall, the big picture across the melting landmass is clear: The Arctic is the fastest warming region of the world, an increase in background warming makes warm spells all the more extreme, and ice-clad Greenland is metaphorically in hot water.

“We see now that it’s melting faster than at any point in at least the last three and a half centuries, and likely the last seven or eight millennia,” Luke Trusel, a geologist at Rowan University told Mashable in December. 

The Arctic, of which Greenland is a major part, is now changing at rates some Arctic scientists struggle to explain.

 ”I’m losing the ability to communicate the magnitude [of change],” Jeremy Mathis, a longtime Arctic researcher and a current board director at the National Academies of Sciences told Mashable earlier this week. “I’m running out of adjectives to describe the scope of change we’re seeing.”  

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What to Do When Your Images Get Stolen

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The post What to Do When Your Images Get Stolen appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

If any of your images live online in any shape or form, it is inevitable that they will get stolen.

With the Internet, copyright infringement has become rampant and is a worldwide phenomenon.

Some individuals don’t understand copyright and think that because an image appears online that it’s theirs for the taking.

However, there are a lot of companies that steal images and use them for commercial purposes – to sell their own products!

How do you know if your image has been stolen?

You can do random image searches on your images in Google. This is a cool feature, but rather tedious and incredibly time-consuming. If you have an extensive library of images, this could take more time than you’d want to spend.

A better alternative is sites like Copytrack, Pixray or Pixsy, which are image tracking services that not only find your stolen images but also will file a copyright infringement claim and sue for damages on your behalf.

This is a great way to seek restitution for stolen photos without the hassle of having to do everything yourself. Not to mention, there is no way you could scan millions of images on the Internet, looking for your work. The technology these services offer does it all for you.

Utilizing an image tracking service is something every photographer should consider. It’s a sad reality that so many photographers today are struggling, while thieves are profiting from our hard work.

An image tracking service can save you a ton of legwork. Most of the time, it’s as simple as uploading your photos. If you get notified that some of your photographs are appearing without permission or licensing, you can file a DMCA takedown notice or a legal claim through the service.

The image search function is free – to a point. It depends on how many images you upload. If you file a legal claim, the service will take a commission.

One caveat to using an image tracking site is that if you do stock photography, it can be hard to ascertain where your image has legitimately appeared.

Stock agencies don’t usually disclose to you who licensed your image. Also, many have partnered up with other stock agencies to sell your work, making your images even more difficult to track.

 

How an image tracking service works

According to the image tracking site Copytrack, 3 billion images are shared online every day. 85% of them get stolen.
Licensing images is about more than just tracking down infringements. Once you discover an infringement, you need to make a decision as to what you’ll do about it.

Both Copytrack and Pixsy can handle the legal side in the fight for fair payment for your work.

You simply upload your images while their Reverse Image Search functions in the background. They will notify you of your matches by email.

Once you confirm the stolen images, they take steps to enforce your copyright.

You don’t need to do anything.

What are scraper sites?

One of the worst types of offenders in the realm of stolen images and copyright infringement online are scraper sites.
Scraper sites steal your content for their own sites or blogs. Some will just scrape content, but most use automated software that takes your images and posts content on their own site.

These sites take images from Pinterest, Google, and your own website and host them illegally.

Not only does your website host the images for them but also they take up your bandwidth!

If you write a blog in addition to post photos, you may find your content appearing on these sites.

What are your options if your image gets stolen?

If your image gets stolen, your first option is to do nothing, which is exactly what many photographers do. The hassle can make it seem not worth it sometimes.

However, if the company that has stolen your image is a large one, you can hire a copyright attorney to take them to court, as this type of claim may be worth thousands of dollars to you.

In most cases, the best option is to use a company like Pixsy and either have them file a DMC Takedown Notice, or file a claim on your behalf.

A DMC Takedown Notice is a request to remove content from a website at the request of the owner of the copyright of the content.



How to file a DMC takedown

DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. To get your stolen content removed from a website you need to file a DMCA takedown notice.

To file a DMC takedown, you can either hire a service or do it yourself.

You need to find out who owns the website. You can use a Who Is lookup tool.

The problem is that it can be difficult to find out who the website owner is in order to send them the notice, as a lot of these sites hide this info. For example, they use Cloudflare to hide their real IP address.

Luckily, there are DMC takedown services that can help you with this. DMCA charges $10 USD a month for their protection services and charges $199 USD for a full takedown.

How to register your copyright

As a photographer, you automatically own the copyright as soon as you create the image. This means that you do not necessarily have to file copyright for all your photos.

In most countries, you do not need to file copyright papers to prove you own the content or copyright. Government Registered Copyright is NOT necessary in order to get your content removed, however, suing for damages IS easier if you have registered your copyright.

To register your copyright, search online with keywords such as “register copyright Canada/US/Australia” etc., to find the Intellectual Property Office in your country.

In Conclusion

If you have had your images stolen, it’s up to you to decide if you want to pursue restitution.

Small transgressions may not seem worth the time and energy, however, if someone is making money off your work, you may want to consider seeking compensation. Not only for the money but also the principle.

Have you had any of your images stolen? Share with us in the comments below.

 

What to Do When Your Images Get Stolen

The post What to Do When Your Images Get Stolen appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

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