Ironically, I was about to write a blog post, A New World of Orphan Works. I had wanted a picture of spilled coffee in an ad for OregonLaws.org: I had found this one online, perfect for my project, but without any attribution. Contacting the web page author didn’t help.
Enter Tin Eye, a “reverse image search”. Upload an image, and it instantly finds many places on the web where it appears.
It may turn into a really useful tool for several purposes. Here, it found unauthorized re-uses of a product logo belonging to Panic Software, a local Portland software shop:
Here, a more typical search result showing where one’s work ends up:
Finally, Tin Eye can be used to track down the origin of an “orphan work”. In my case, I discovered that I already had the rights to use the image (stock photo in a collection I own).