I think the real problem is, the world has become full of people who have no morals, no integrity, no respect for other people's rights, no appreciation for craftsmanship or talent, etc. etc. etc. In other words............the world is rapidly going to "pot"; ( for lack of a better term )
Of all the things that people post on the internet, I can think of nothing that is a bigger target for thieves than photographs. Of course the music industry went through the same thing, but they were much better equipped to deal with the problem.
At the end of the day, I would say that the only way to prevent people from stealing photographs is to avoid posting them on the internet. Regardless of where you exhibit your work, I can assure you that if someone takes a liking to it, they will either copy it or steal it. Huge companies have very "deep pockets"; the thieves are aware of this, so they're slightly less prone to stealing or copying ideas, designs and so on, from people who are apt to spend large sums of cash "going after" them. But even this is by no means a guarantee; a case in point:
My best friend is a large vendor and rents out vendor space to many more vendors every year at a very large festival; for the past three years, the single most successful vendor has been a couple of young "asian" fellows; their "product"?
Ladie's "designer" purses and clothing; all "knock-offs" of Coach, Gucci, and a few more "high end" companies.
these fellows take in so much money in just 10 days it's unbelievable; ( even though my friend increased the rent last year by 50% ) Even more incredible is.........near the end of last year's festival, another "asian"fellow approached my friend and said he wanted to rent that space "next year", and offered DOUBLE what these fellows would be paying, even after yet another increase in rent. ( I'm very anxious to see what happens this year ! )
In contrast to that, here's an example that's quite different;
I have another friend who owns a big campground; he has a restaurant which he only opened on Sat. night; every Sat. night a group of fellows would get together and play "country music"; no one got paid, it was all "just for fun".
after maybe 4 or 5 years, he received a registered letter from the R.I.A.A. ( that may or may not be the exact "title", but it's a very "real" organization which controls the exhibition of all copy righted music. The letter stated.......based on his number of seats in his establishment, he was required BY LAW
to pay a certain amount per year, otherwise they would "take legal action" !
This friend is not the type you can make threats against ! his "position" was..........."screw them" ! But he just happened to have a high -dollar attorney in his family, so he asked him about this; here's what the attorney told him;
Pay them IMMEDIATELY ! You even get to set the amount; otherwise, these people have "been around" for 30 or 40 years now, they have brought hundreds of court cases against people who have refused to pay........and they have NEVER LOST a case yet ! ( My friend decided to "pay up" ! )
It seems that about 95% of all music is "controlled" this way, the only exception being, that which is in the "public domain"..........( real old songs that no one even knows who wrote them anymore )
So as long as you exhibit photography on any internet site, you're very likely to have this problem.
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein