Monday, January 21, 2013

Do your photos really belong to you?

Well, of course they do!  Right?  Isn't that the correct answer?  As a photographer, I own and control the rights to the photographs that I've created (with my camera,) even after those photographs have been posted online.  Over the past few years, I've been a member of several online photography communities and I'm always a bit surprised to read negative comments surrounding watermarking. "It ruins the photo," is the most common.

Well, I'd rather "ruin" my photo if it means that I (hopefully) have the ability to prove that the photo belongs to me.  Not only have I seen photos of kids stolen but also those belonging to professional photographers and landscape photographers.  Some with watermarks.  Most without.  This is why I watermark ALL of my photos. And I use an obnoxious watermark for a reason.  It deters thieves, just as those alarm company stickers and lawn signs do.

I want to thank my readers and other bloggers for contacting and assisting me with the FB matter that went down on Friday.  Unfortunately, FB is like a turtle when it comes to these issues.  Long story short, there are a TON of kids "role playing" on FB.  At first, it looked like 25 or so but once I started clicking through their friends, there are at least 100.  In order to role play, they needed an identity of an adult so they hit up a bunch of blogs, stole photos and set up phony FB accounts.  At first, I thought it was teenagers and some of them very well may be but I had direct contact with one "girl," who was taking all of these stolen photos, re-editing them (the term re-edit should be used very lightly here), slapping her watermark on them and posting them on an open FB page.  This girl claims to be 12 years old.  Because her page was open to the public, I set up a FB account and started leaving comments under the stolen photo of my kids.  I was actually late to the party as others had already left her comments.  My photo, along with most of the others, was quickly deleted.  (If you don't already read Melissa's blog Growing Up Geeky, you should see her post here with her experience.  At least my kids were just listed as "models.")

The best part was a comment from one of her "friends," who is probably also 12 years old.  He stated that we, the adults, were all wrong because once a photo is on the internet, anyone can do what they want with it.  Say what?  We were all also told to F off.  Seriously?  

I contacted this girl via a private message and she apologized to me and said that she didn't know that the photos had been stolen and that she hadn't stolen them.  They had come from her FB "friends."  I explained to her that her FB "friends" were all fake.  Regardless, she's still friends with all of them.  I actually sent her a friend request and she quickly accepted it without knowing anything about me.  (I have since de-friended her.)  What I want to know is where the hell are her parents? 
              
So this leads to the question of why the hell am I still blogging?  Honestly, some days I have no idea. My blog has evolved and changed and I expect it to continue to do so going forward.  With the girls older, there is less that I share for their privacy.  Although it may not seem like it, there's a lot that I haven't or won't ever share or show and I imagine that eventually, one day, this will turn into a photography/sewing/lifestyle with triplets blog.    

I feel like I've made a difference, even as tiny as it may be.  Just within the past few weeks, two different message boards linked to my blog to show expectant parents what spina bifida can be like.  I still remember the day I found out that I was expecting identical triplets.  In a cloud of gloom and doom, I searched the internet and I found other sets of identical triplets.  It gave me hope that the doctors couldn't give me.

So, for now, I'm still here.  Ironically, TBB reset their votes while all of this was going on and a few us were left undecided if we would stay there.  I'm going to stay for now.  Although, this may be my last run.  (And I know that it says Top "Baby" Blogs but if you read the website description, it is for parenting blogs, mommy blogs and blogs with little kids.  You don't have to have a baby.  Blah, blah.  No rude comments, please.)

I know it's a bit of shameless self-promotion but would you please vote for me?  Thank you in advance!!

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

I should note that I use Photoshop Elements to edit my photos.  It also allows me to type on them, which is what I do for a watermark.  Just be sure to save the watermarked version as a separate file so you don't "ruin" the original photo.  There are free editing programs out there too that allow you to do the same.

Per, Melissa's suggestion, here's the faker's FB profile.  All of her friends are fake too.  I've reported her every which way possible and left several messages.  A few others have as well.  If you wouldn't mind helping me and reporting her, I would appreciate it.  Maybe it will help.

45 comments:

Melissa @ Growing Up Geeky said...

Hey Momma, I'm really sorry that your impersonator profile is still out there. Maybe link to it here and encourage people to report it? That might be why mine was taken down; I had 50+ people report it.

Voted for you :)

Lily said...

honestly, it'll make me pretty sad to see you leave the blogging world. i've never shared this but Anna's story has really helped me. Recently, I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis (sometimes called Painful Bladder Syndrome). It's sort of like Crohn's of the Bladder world: running to the bathroom, spending a lot of time in the bathroom, and bladder pain.
Anyway, some of the treatments for IC include bladder instillations. Through a catheter, the bladder is pumped with heparin (in my case, at least) to help repair it. Through repeated treatments (once every week), people usually can find themselves out of a flare up after a few months.
What I'm trying to say is, thinking about Anna and her daily caths seriously helps me get through the instillations. I'm going to college next year so my urologist is hoping i'll be able to do these treatments on my own. It freaks me out, honestly. But knowing there's a 5 year old who goes through it every few hours helps a TON. Maybe our types of catheters are different, and they probably are, but just thinking about anna helps me through them.

I don't know remember when or how I found your blog, but I feel like it's fate (corny, I know). (sorry this was so long)

Sarah said...

Thanks, Melissa. I added a link. I gave you a vote too. You should be up to #1 soon!!!

Lily - you always leave such nice comments. Thank you for sharing your story. I just learned something new. I know, I can't imagine people cathing themselves but they do. There are 8 and 9 year olds out there doing it so I know that you'll do fine! Anna's inspiration is going to come from those older than her doing stuff like this. If they can do it, she can too.

Katie said...

I absolutely love your blog Sarah and I would hate it if you left the blogging world! I reported the faker on facebook- hopefully she'll be taken down.

Andrea Sotomayor said...

I reported the faker too! While I know sometimes you question if you want to continue blogging, I love your blog & I hope you keep going :)

Heidi said...

This is awful. I love reading your blog. I'll be sure to report the faker, thanks for posting the link!

Laura said...

I also reported the faker, it makes me sick!

Sarah said...

My goodness....what on earth are these kids doing? It is a sick "role play" and the abusive language along with stealing your photos.....and other people's as well is just so awful. I reported the FB faker as well. I love reading your blog and really hope you will continue to blog. I've been reading for about a year now and would really miss all you have to share! I do understand, though, how this invasion of privacy with the FB hacker would really cause one to want to throw in the towel. Things in the "cyberworld" get more complicated each day. I just don't understand why FB can't/doesn't react sooner. I am just appalled at what I saw and I am so sorry for you. Hopefully many more of your readers will report her. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Reported it and I don't know if you know this but the pictures are all still up and they have your watermark on them so who knows how many people have visited your blog from that.

Anonymous said...

this type of thing must be happening alot ,i read the blog 2 kids a morgage and a mn van kate the blogger was just talking about the same thng happenng to her ts really terrble hope these people stop

Hope's Mama said...

I love your blog too. I'd be sad to see you go. What a violation though, I'd be so pissed.
And if you ever want to look me up on FB (because I seem to update that a LOT more than my neglected blog these days) please feel free to look me up.
xo

One Of Those Days said...

Im in shock that someone would actually do this! Iv just read over on abbeys blog that someone has done the exact same to her pictures of her triplets! Its awful Ib be sad to see your blog go but I certainly wouldnt blame you.

MeghanF said...

Reported.This is disgusting. I would threaten to sue her under copyright law.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about this. I reported her! I second that you should threaten to sue her under copyright law since your water mark is ALL over the photos. She is even using your kid's real names!

Coco said...

I reported her as well. That's obscene how many of your pictures she has up. Unacceptable.

KimB said...

Hmmm I tried to report her but I have to be linked to you on FB. Will try later...

Patty said...

I love your blog too, and she stinks. I reported the profile, but it's insane the way she has all of your kiddos' pictures up there still!!! I hope FB gets on the ball with this.

Kelsey said...

I reported her multiple times - hopefully if Facebook gets enough reports about this one profile it will speed up their turtle-ness :) Also, if you go in and click on each picture there's a spot that says "is this your intellectual property?" you should go through and click EACH PICTURE and say yes! that will really get someone to look at them! I'm so sorry someone has done this to you...and it makes me so mad!

Shannon said...

this happened to me too, so i made my blog private. i don't feel that it is my right to share my son's pictures without his consent. it's a crazy world and i felt awful for exposing him more than i should have.

Jennifer said...

I reported her too. It is ridiculous that someone thinks they can get away with something like this!

I know there is a way that you can disable right click (and saving pictures) on your blog. I'm not sure how though.

I would hate for you to have to turn your blog private because of this this, but your family and children must come first!

Emily said...

terrible. i reported her for you.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a while and don't usually comment, but this made me sick. I reported a few of the pictures (couldn't do the whole profile since we aren't FB friends). I would miss your blog, but completely understand why you would stop.

I hope you can get the profile removed and can keep your girls' images safe. This makes me question posting pictures of my son to FB/the internet :(

~Christina

Christi said...

I just read a great tutorial on watermarking your photos on the Vegas Girl at Heart blog: http://www.avegasgirlatheart.com/2013/01/photoshop-elements-tutorial-creating.html

I can't believe these children are using someone else's photos so they can make Facebook pages. Seriously? What is wrong with them (and the parents?) Why would any 12 year old want to pretend she has kids and friend other people with fake children?

Anonymous said...

I reported her, but only an hour later received FB´s reply that the pictures do not violate FB standards. I tried again, let´s see what happens... I am so sorry about all of this :-(.

2littlerosebuds.com said...

Ugh. I hate seeing this stuff. What is WRONG with people?? I just don't see the point of stealing someone's photos... Are people *that* bored?
I had something similar happen to me not too long ago, where someone stole my ultrasound photos & posted them on her blog as her own. A bunch of people reported her & the blog was quickly deleted, but still... It was disturbing, to say the least. :(
http://2littlerosebuds.com/2012/07/06/someone-stole-my-babies/

Anonymous said...

I just clicked on the faker's profile you linked to an several of your albums are pirated over there - FYI!

Sash said...

I too have reported her. I'm so sorry this has happened to you and it upsets me to know end that there is such negativity in the world. It's abhorrent that people think it is OK to behave like this.

I'm sorry Sarah.

Your blog is beautiful and from another mama over on TBB... I'd be sad to see you leave the list because of someone elses mindlessness. But I do understand the concern and the anger and sadness behind the decision (if you were to make it).

It's a new world with all of this technology and this post has made me think harder about the way that I approach my life in such a public space.

Love to you.
Sash
Inked in Colour.

Valentina said...

OMG! I reported her too! It's incredible that this people continue appearing! All your pictures are wonderful, and I think that this girl envy you! I'd be sad to see you leave the list because of someone elses mindlessness! This blog is totally perfect and all your post are awesome. I don't know what that girl have in her head. I'm really sorry that your impersonator profile is still out there...
Love your blog, all your post touch me :) I'm really impressed with all the pictures that you take

Sarah said...

First - thank you, thank you, thank you for your support and help in reporting her. I honestly can't figure out why FB can't get their act together. This girl doesn't seem to be on FB anymore either. Maybe she'll get her internet privileges back from Mommy & Daddy soon.

I should have explained better. The person pretending to be me is still there but the other girl who had "edited" one of my pictures and posted it has taken most if not all of the stolen pictures down. There are still a ton of fake accounts full of stolen photos out there from other bloggers too.

And thank you for the votes. You all are awesome!

Jennifer said...

Sarah this is what I was talking about...

http://www.beinggeeks.com/2009/02/how-to-disable-right-click-in-blogger-blogspot.html

I hope this helps (No I haven't tried it)

~Jennifer

Sarah said...

Jennifer - THANK YOU!!!! I think it is working (hard to tell on my laptop though.) I tried to disable it awhile go and it never worked so I gave up. I hope this works.

Jennifer said...

Sarah IT WORKS!!! I tried several of your pictures :)

Sarah said...

Jennifer - YAY!!! Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Terrible! I know exactly how you feel. I interviewed for a job once and six months later i did a google search of my name and found MY resume with another name on top. My name was in template so It was linked to the imposter resume. I had to threaten to email the imposter's references in order to have the content changed. It was an unpleasant experience and Im sorry that people are abusing your work. Im having my first baby in March and love reading about your adventures!

kdliberty said...

I found it I found it! Rules for pictures are different for children under 13 on Facebook. The page to report you want these pictures removed is https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/?id=473738729306832&rdrhc . It has to be you that does it but it usually works. - Kara D

Becca said...

This makes me so sick. I recently found this happening on Instagram too. Sick.

Julia said...

This is so absurd! Whole albums with your photos! I reported her as well.

Amanda Ridding said...

Hi Sarah, I've been following your blog for a while (my son also has SB) and I can't belelive the nerve of some people! It is discusting someone stealing your pictures and posting them as her own - I know you said your girls were listed as models, but I didn't see that.
I reported it as many times as I could.
I tried to report it as being someone I know, but apparently I don't have you on FB.

I thought watermarking your photos made it safe! But apparently some poeple don't care! I think your photos are unbeleiveably beautiful and I love looking at them.
After what happened with Cassie's pictures in October I I've disabled the left tab so people can't copy and paste my pictures.

I also posted this link to my timeline so my friends and family can report as well.

Amy said...

Hi Sarah - it's Amy (Lilly's mom). I also love reading the blog when I'm able and would hate to lose it... I think it leaves me with a strand of hope that we could sometime connect Anna and Lilly - I'd love for her to know local kids with SB that are about her age! The right-click disable does work, but keep your vigilance - there are other ways to steal pics - I just tried one and it worked (don't worry - I didn't save the image, but wanted to see if it would still work). I don't want to post it here, b/c I'd hate to give people ideas if they don't already know how to do it (it's not a hard skill). I don't want to be a downer, just wanted to let you know so you can keep your eyes open for your stuff :(

Lucy said...

Reported!

It is so disheartening and disgusting to see this sort of thing. That said, I hope you don't leave the blogging world! I love reading about your girls, and especially Anna's successes. My sister has had many medical problems, including chiari, and I've found you to be a wonderful resource.

Mindy said...

So sorry about your thief! I hope the impersonators get taken care of soon. Just wanted to throw out there that I've been reading your blog for so long that I really don't even notice the watermarks anymore. I had to scroll down to a past post to remember where they're placed/what they even look like. I don't think they ruin your photos, and if they help protect pictures of your kids, then they're worth it.

Sarah said...

Kara D - I'm sorry I didn't respond earlier. It's been a busy day. Thank you so much for that link. I reported a few of the photos that way. We shall see what happens.

Amy - Thanks for the heads up. I figured out another way to steal/copy too. Hopefully, they'll just be too lazy to do so.

Michele said...

I reported the page too. I would love to know where the parents are too.

kdliberty said...

You are so welcome! I saw that her profile pic was gone. It worked for the ones you reported. I noticed you can report with out an address for the pic. You just explain how to find it. I am wondering if you report her page that way if it work for the rest of the pics. What a nightmare...

P.S. I wonder were the parents are too. - Kara D.

Sarah said...

OMG - it worked!!! I had given up looking, especially after the "warning" emails I received from FB. Thank you, again! I'm going to have to go and do the rest.