The photo above was taken while I was hiking the new nature trail at Lake Connestee. It’s nothing special, but it’s mine. It’s a photo that I took. And it’s been stolen.
A couple of years ago I had a problem with photo theft. The perpetrator was a young guy that was taking photos and uploading them to his own Photobucket account, then posting them to various forums as his own. Unfortunately he hasn’t learned his lesson, because he’s the same guy that stole my photos this time, and he used the same MO. The only difference is that this time on the forums he did credit “RandomConnections” as the photographer. However, the photos were still on his own Photobucket site.
I would have preferred a non-public, low-key solution. I would have contacted him via private message on the said forum and asked him to take the photos down. However, this time I no good way to get in touch with him. Therefore, my only solution was to issue a DMCA Copyright Infringement Notice to Photobucket, asking them to remove the offending photo from the account. I had to send Photobucket my original photo as proof of ownership, but now all links to my stolen photo on that account produce the following…
I’ve got mixed feelings about DMCA. BoingBoing and other sites have decried DMCA take-down notices that have been used to squelch criticism. For example, a corporation might issue a DMCA against a site critical of that company, usually citing violation of copyrighted logos or names. I find this use of DMCA appalling. However, in my case DMCA was a useful tool to protect my intellectual property rights.
The thing is, I probably would have given this bozo permission to use the images as long as he directly linked to my Flickr photos and gave proper attribution. But he didn’t, and so I was forced to take action. Unfortunately, he still has photographs from several of my photographer friends’ Flickr accounts on his Photobucket account. I’ll tell them my story, but it’s up to them to take their own action.
[tags]DMCA, Copyright, photo theft[/tags]
2 thoughts on “Steal this Photo (not really)”
I’ve read other stories like this and it has had me consider marking all my Flickr stuff as private. I don’t want to do that, and I probably won’t. I appreciate you bringing this to everyone’s attention.
How did you come across this?
Eric Morris (aka Rested Traveler) brought this to my attention.
As for making everything private, I still love sharing my photos in a public forum, despite the risks. I’ve taken precautions, though. I don’t make the original photos available for download, so I’ve always got that as my backup. I also keep a raw copy with its original name (DCS_099.jpg, for example.) I don’t watermark my photos because it’s time consuming and it’s too easy to crop out watermarks. I might be interested in digital watermarking, but right now that’s kind of pricey for a non-professional like me.