I hate seeing this happen to you Nick, such a great person helping the US hobby out. You should work a business deal out of it. Like a $$ per month for use or a flat fee. I like the $$ per month get some reoccurring revenue for you
In my opinion, Rather have credit and a backlink to speedie's website. They are his pictures, his terms and conditions - and you can easily make more money from all the backlinks coming in from all the sites "using" his images. This also would increase his organic traffic from search results because all the "little guys" that have a link back to him are telling search engines "hey Mr. Search Engine, this guy is good - that's why i'm linking back to him
". I mean in actuality they are already saying this with your photos - that's why they stole them, because you did awesome work.
What about the images you cant find on google?
Alot of people know about robots.txt and how to remove images from being indexed. Yes, you lose out on SERPs with images but then again you dont have really have to worry about nasty speedie sending you letters because it's very hard for him to hunt you down when those images aren't indexed. How could this be solved for you speedie?
once again, it brings me back to QR-codes - if just one person (that's all it takes) scans that code and directs to your website, I'm personally able to track it back to the source and find out from where - this starts back the legal action where you can send a letter for credits and a link promoting your business. What about the 1% that will crop it out and keep it from being indexed?
*shrugs* you're never going to stop the war of crime - but you minimized it the best you could and worked on opportunities when they arise (finding a thief and turning him into an asset)
This reminds me - speedie, I would personally remove all those links you posted up on the competitors here. Your actually giving them free advertising unless you change the anchor text to something like "thievery" or "a site that steals pictures".
What if they just take off the credits and link after the coast is clear?
if you have some software that I use - you will know exactly when they pull your backlink off and can take legal actions against it. Nothing else would scare these guys more by sending another letter a day later saying "re-add the credits and link or cease and desist the usage of my photography"
I'm the type of guy that would use these two-bit websites to keep you on top like the Don and these little punks are peddling in your turf. Right now, your just side-by-side with them and getting no kudos. And ontop of that, getting them to take your photos down is just counterproductive like stepping on one cockroach, two more will appear.