Saturday, December 25, 2010

Stolen Pictures!

Let me put forth a situation and see what you think of it…
Let’s say you took a picture of something around your home, you like the picture so you put it up on a photo site like PhotoBucket or Flickr.
While you don’t mind other people taking a look at this picture, it’s still your picture and you don’t want others to steal it from you.

And then one day you’re cruising the internet and see your picture being used on someone’s website.
“Hey,” you think, “that’s my picture, I didn’t give those guys permission to use it!”

That’s the situation we’ve recently run into.

Fayme takes pictures of me building arrows once in awhile and puts them up on her Flickr site where they may be enjoyed by interested parties.

I was doing a Google search recently to try to find a picture of a particular fletching jig when I ran across pictures of my fletching jig table on sites I’d never heard of. Whoever owns or writes for these sites apparently found Fayme’s pictures on Flickr and have stolen them for their own purposes. We’ve written to the administration of the sites and have had varied success in getting the pictures removed: one site did remove it, another site returned our email, apologized for the error, tried to justify it, and then said he’d take it down when he was able to since he’s recovering from cancer. Somehow I feel that excuse is a little lacking. He probably spent more time on the email than he would have just removing the picture. The other four sites have done nothing and have ignored our emails.

Because I think a bad dog should be called a bad dog, here are the sites continuing to use Fayme’s photos without her permission:
Update, December 28: The image was removed after the hosting company was contacted... Hurray!
(Said he'd remove it but hasn't yet)

You may notice that these sites give the appearance of trying to teach but really fall short of that goal, being rife with misspellings, poor sentences, and generally just pretty crappy, as well as chock full of ads.

Since the site administrators have been ignoring our emails, the next step is to notify their hosting companies that the sites are using copyrighted material without permission and are apparently refusing to remove these materials. Maybe that will work. If it doesn’t, I guess we’ll have to get a lawyer to write a nasty letter and go from there. I wonder what kind of damages can be collected?

For the record, because someone is bound to ask, every picture I have on any of my blogs were either taken by me or by Fayme, who has given me permission to use them. In the rare case that I have used a picture taken by someone else, I have received explicit permission to show that picture on the blog, and if anyone ever changes their mind, just let me know and it will be removed immediately, no hard feelings at all.

Thanks for reading!


dbowers said...

Unfortunately Greenman, thats the internet. While I agree with you, i don't think theres any thing you can do since the pics are on a "public" server?

Guy Taylor said...

Dave, to the best of our research this is copyright infrigement, plain and simple. It matters not a bit that the original pictures are being shown to the public. Hell, books are available to the public, does that mean it's ok to use an author's work for my own purposes? Of course not.
The internet has made this type of thing easier than ever, but it hasn't made it any less illegal.
What pisses us off the most is these sites not complying with our polite request to remove the pictures. How dificult is it to have a little bit of common courtesey?

Garith said...

Hey Guy start a letter writing deal. Have people boycott the sites and leave unpleasant comments (not rude) until they get the idea. What do you think if the hosting site doesn't give you any love. :-)

Guy Taylor said...

Actually, contacting the hosting company worked so well that I think we'll do that for the rest of the sites. I believe they are all hosted by Go Daddy, who has a page specifically dealing with issues like this and the process to take.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

I think you're point is well made, I always atribute where I can If i use a picture from another blog or site, just as I do when I quote another's writing. however when is someones photo's from picture site I think it's only polite to ask first.


Guy Taylor said...

Thanks for your comment, SBW.
It's not unusual for some sites to use pictures they find on the internet or that are sent to them. But most of those sites say that if the picture is yours, and you object to their use of it, let them know and they will remove it immediately.
If the sites using our pictures had asked for their use we'd probably have given permission. If they'd given attribution for the pictures we'd probably be fine with it. But to just rip the pictures and use them for their own purposes without permission or acknowledgment... they're just ***holes.

Incidently, if any readers want to see a very interesting collection of blogs, click on The Suburban Bushwacker's name above. He follows a very interesting collection of blogs.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


I think we're in accord on this one, fair usage is one thing - passing work off as your own is quite another. Many time just by sending a three line email asking for permission I've ended up having really interesting conversations with people I would nere otherwise have met. Courtesy cost nothing and more times than not is it's own reward.

Thank you for the endorsement, it was very kind of you.